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Working with Mark V and Mark VIe
Is it easy to work on Mark VIe compare to Mark V?
1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

Recently after studying Mark VIe feeling it is more easier to work than Mark V, is it like that?

The following are the difference noticed in Mark VIe,

1. ARCNET upgraded to 100 MB Ethernet for both I/O network
2. It can communicate directley to R,S & T
3. Using Toolbox ST
4. Can be downloaded while online
5. Good tending futures
6. Easy to change cards

please add your valuable feedback too.

take care

We have the Mark6e migration from Mark5. This system uses all the Mark5 IO but changes the core processors out to the upgraded Ethernet connected version. We still have Arcnet to the Excitation system and an upgraded C core that has the Arcnet connection.

Regarding the downloading online, sometimes a reboot is required and I wouldn't recommend doing that online.

ToolboxST is much better, trending and troubleshooting is improved significantly over the Mark5 system. This was a strong selling point for us and has paid off.

I like to know more about this migration process. How can I contact you?

You can email me on

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...


I may not be the best person to comment on this, but in my opinion they are not that different from a technical perspective. By that I mean that they both require a good deal of "digging" and reading and familiarization--they are both difficult from a technical perspective.

Yes; ToolboxST does have a graphical user interface--which some of the younger whippersnappers can't seem to do without. But, that means that to find some parameters in ToolboxST one has to expand, and expand, and expand, and open, and expand to get to some minute detail that can be extremely important.

The use of FBD (Function Block Diagrams) in Toolbox and ToolboxST is very, Very, VERY, VERY frustrating to me. I almost always end up redrawing (with a pencil and paper) some rungs which I just can't follow by equating A, B, C, D, and so on, on the screen. It's just maddening. I suppose if I'd just learn to read Boolean equations and only look at the block's equation I'd be okay, but that's not going to happen in what's left of my working lifetime--and still, the Boolean equations use the A, B, C, D, and so on, nomenclature--so, it's still maddening.

And, GE seems to be in the midst of converting a LOT of blocks to macros--and in the process, there is no 'Item Help' available for the Macros like there is for blocks. This is VERY frustrating, because it's very difficult to understand what's happening in the macro, when one has to dive into the macro which still uses FBD primitives, and parameter signal names. Trust me--this is not easy. And it's totally unnecessary. The lack of Item Help (or Block Help as it was called in the early days of Toolbox & ToolboxST) was very helpful. Without pictorial representations of how some functions work, again, you're down to hand-drawing the function to understand how it works. This is a shame.

The business of EGD pages and having to place signals on the EGD to get them on to CIMPLICITY displays is still archaic and arcane. (But, so was using Signal Manager and Workbench to get signals on to CIMPLICITY displays with Mark V!) So, no improvement there as far as I'm concerned.

And, when you make changes to the EGD for one device (a Mark VIe), if there are other devices (HMIs, and EXs, and LCIs, other Mark VIes) you have to update all of them, too! It's just silly that GE can't have a true server version of CIMPLICITY so that when you make changes on a display those changes are automatically available on EVERY HMI. It's just extremely poor programming and lack of concern for operators and technicians that allows this kind of practice to continue for so long--there are SO MANY other HMI programs that don't do this and haven't for many years. But, CIMPLICITY/PROFICY whatever they want to call that abomination, still does.

Trend Recorder and Dynamic Data Recorders are wonderful features in Mark VIe. But, using the VIEW tools in Mark V along with WinPlot was not that difficult--with the exception of having to manually start the VIEW tools from a command prompt.

There's lots of nice things about the Mark VIe--but it's also a networking nightmare. NIC Teaming is rarely left set up correctly after a Mark VIe is commissioned, which can lead to LOTS of problems later.

MODBUS with Mark VIe can be very simple--or it can be very complicated. There are least four (4) ways to implement MODBUS with a Mark VIe installation--that's right, four (4) different methods. And, do you think all of them are documented properly--even for the field service person commissioning the installation? NO.

Look, the Mark VIe is a fine turbine control system--a purpose-built turbine control system, as opposed to a PLC with some special cards that's been adapted for use as a turbine control system. But, as with all things Salem the user interface leaves a LOT to be desired. It's getting better, but it still has a long way to go.

As for the other items on your list, ARCnet was NEVER a problem on any Mark V job I worked on. The quality of many of the BNC terminations was a problem, as was the use of the wrong coaxial cable, and the use of the wrong termination resistors. But, ARCnet itself--never caused a turbine outage. The use of managed switches for the VLAN on Mark VIe installations can be very problematic--and very difficult to troubleshoot. As can many Ethernet RJ-45 plug installations in the field. And, I've only visited a couple of sites the properly protected fiber optic cables when using fiber optic links for the trunk lines. And, that has caused several outages when the fibers get broken because of people not taking proper care (when it was the installers who didn't spend the few extra gazoonies to properly house/shield the individual fiber cables).

Not having a <C> can lead to other "problems". The whole "SIMPLEX" vs. TMR causes many people a lot of grief.

Minor differences can be downloaded on-line (while the turbine is running), but major differences cannot. And, many of us have run into the case where the change was marked as a minor diff, but when downloaded it wouldn't "take" and required a re-boot to make effective. And, it's not very often during normal operation (after commissioning) that changes are required. They should normally be done during scheduled outages anyway.

As for changing cards, yes; you don't have upside down cards on the backs of card carriers and no ribbon cables, to speak of. But, that means there are IONET switches and Ethernet cables. And, when changing even I/O terminal boards, there's the whole serial number thing which has to be done in Mark VIe.

One of the hardest things about learning GE Speedtronic turbine control systems is learning the nomenclature of the signal naming. And, once when is familiar with that, the other things don't seem so daunting. So, when one is more comfortable with "reading" signal names to understand sequencing/logic, or application code as it's called in Mark VI/Mark VIe, that makes things a LOT easier for people. But, learning how to drill down into the various levels and sub-levels and sub-sub-levels and sub-sub-sub-levels to find an important parameter/setting can be very difficult. And learning to "read" FBDs can also be very frustrating.

Which system would I rather work on? Depends on what you want me to do. If you want me to add signals to a CIMPLICITY display, I'd say the Mark VIe. If I'm troubleshooting a problem using trending functions, it's kind of a toss-up for me. WinPlot vs. Trend Recorder.... I like them both. If you wanted me to commission one versus the other, I'd choose the Mark V, but only because of the whole IONET thing and the networking thing (PDH/UDH, managed switches, IONET switches, etc.). Troubleshooting grounds? Just as difficult in Mark VIe as Mark V, or Mark VI, or Mark IV. Troubleshooting Diagnostic Alarms? Mark VIe--the Alarm Descriptions in the System Guide are MUCH better.

Teach someone Mark V or Mark VIe? Both are difficult if the student can't read/understand signal names and doesn't understand relay ladder diagrams. And, your networking skills had better be excellent for Mark VIe.

Hope this helps! They're both fine turbine control systems in their own right--it's really just the user interface (all of the ASCII text files, versus ToolboxST) which set them apart. And while you can use a mouse to navigate ToolboxST, the level of complexity can be very intimidating. And, with Mark V Studio, or even Dynamic Rung Display, I would still rather troubleshoot problems with the sequencing in a Mark V, versus using FBDs in ToolboxST!

Thank you CSA for your as usual supports and detailed explanation. where one can get MarkVIe training?

take care


Thank you for the kind words.

As for Mark VIe training, well, to the best of my knowledge about the only company that can provide that is GE. You might contact, or (the latter is an advertiser here on

To give training on Mark VIe (effective training) one is going to have to have USDs (USB Protective Devices--dongles) for Mark VIe (ControlST; WorkstationST; ToolboxST), and the latest perversion of CIMPLICITY (PROFICY) also requires a UPD. And, to be really effective, one would need Mark VIe processors, and some I/O cards. And those are really difficult to obtain from GE unless one is known to GE as having GE turbines and control systems (and they're not cheap, either).

You might try a new advertiser here on World of Controls,, to see if they offer any training. They're in your part of the world (at your side of the world).

Let us know what your learn!

And, good luck!

(By the way, I forgot to mention the whole ControlST/WorkstationST business of Mark VIe (you can't one without the others--which is horribly confusing, too....)

Thanks again CSA for your information.

On the way we found one more training institute As you said GE is having all features but bit costly and time matter.

We'll update once we finalized one.

take care

Hi Rajesh,

Did you find any training institute providing training for markvie control system_ If so kindly let me know.


By controlshahid on 4 May, 2016 - 1:17 am

Dear CSA,

>Hope this helps! They're both fine turbine control systems
>in their own right--it's really just the user interface (all
>of the ASCII text files, versus ToolboxST) which set them
>apart. And while you can use a mouse to navigate ToolboxST,
>the level of complexity can be very intimidating. And, with
>Mark V Studio, or even Dynamic Rung Display, I would still
>rather troubleshoot problems with the sequencing in a Mark
>V, versus using FBDs in ToolboxST!

Could you please explain me the basic difference and application of "ToolboxST" , "workstationST" & "ControlST".


>Could you please explain me the basic difference and
>application of "ToolboxST" , "workstationST" & "ControlST".

It would be difficult to find someone who works for GE who could define the differences and similarities, as the lines between them are blurred.

It seems to be ControlST refers to the "suite" of applications which GE has assembled and distributed in the iteration of power generation controls software.

WorkstationST seems to be the underlying MS-Windows service (services, reall, as there appears to be more than one) that allows and makes possible communications between PCs and turbine control panels--allowing PCs to serve as HMIs (display operating data; send commands to turbine control systems; display and manage alarms).

ToolboxST is the application/software tool that allows configuration of turbine control panels for particular applications as well as for troubleshooting (trending) and monitoring of low-level processes (algorithms; logic--called application code). To be able to display data one mutt use ToolboxST to make the point/value available on the EGD (Ethernet Global Database) which is the communications protocol used for transmitting operating data and commands between turbine control systems and HMIs for display on graphical user interface applications (HMI applications).

It's important to note that ToolboxST does not require any special intermediate application or background service to communicate with a Mark* turbine control panel. Only HMI applications require intermediate or background services to communicate with a Mark* turbine control panel.

One of the major functions of WorkstationST is to display and be able to manage alarms. This is why it's so difficult to use other HMI applications to control and operate GE Mark* control systems--the alarm handling is very unique and GE doesn't and won't share the details.

So, that's about the best description of the differences that I can provide.

There is one HMI application that does not need WorkstationST to be able to display and manage alarms as well as graphically display data and send commands to Mark* turbine control panels: CSE Engineering, Inc.'s IBECS Turbine Control application built using Trihedral Engineering's VTSCada software. And since ToolboxST can run independently of any other GE applications it can run on the same PC as IBECS Turbine Control. And it's less expensive and easier to use and understand than ControlST and WorkstationST. (