One question we get asked frequently is if a turbine control upgrade is really necessary. Just because an OEM tells you that you need to upgrade your turbine control system doesn’t mean you have to… 

In this article, we will share some insights on whether or not a turbine control upgrade is necessary, how upgrades effect controls, and what to check for when performing maintenance.

Is a Turbine Control Upgrade Really Necessary?

This is one of the biggest questions right now. Anytime you call the OEM to add a pressure switch, hydraulic system, or anything whatsoever on your MKV, they will likely tell you that you need to upgrade to MKVIe.

Don’t be fooled! You may not necessarily need to upgrade these components—no matter what OEMs tell you. The only reason they tell you that is because they don’t have people within their organization that can write MKV logic. That can do only do MKIV jobs.

For example, we recently spoke with a customer who wanted to add steam augmentation to their system without performing an upgrade. Of course, their OEM told them that they needed to upgrade their MKIV to MKV. 

At TC&E, we have three specialists on staff who can write MKIV logic to add steam augmentation to existing systems, without upgrading.

How an Upgrade Affects LCI Turbine Controls

Another common question we get asked frequently is if an upgrade really is necessary, how does a particular upgrade or solution affect or impact LCI turbine controls, specifically MKV, MKVI, and MKVIe? The good news is that all control signals are hardwired. Always have been, always will be. 

For example, the new TMEiC control upgrade solution talks directly to the MKV and MKVIe. MKV, of course, does not talk to the LCI at all, except for hardwired connections. MKV and MKVIe use the same EGD protocol that you are likely used to with your equipment today.

Turbine Control Maintenance: What You Should Know

The first step of performing maintenance on your controls is to look at what you have in your current inventory for spare power supplies and spare servos for your MKIV, MKVs, and also MKVIes. 

If they have been on the shelf for more than five years, change them out and get them refurbished. Swap them out with the in-service components. You ideally want to do this every one to two years. After five years, those components will begin to break down. Our team can test them to ensure they are functional.

The older MKIV, MKV, and MKVIe systems, OEM prices, and very limited stock all contribute to increased maintenance costs. The OEM field engineering teams are incredibly expensive as most of these components are difficult to obtain from the market. Therefore, having a plan in place to understand where you can get some of these components is important.

We are more than happy to work with you and your team to help find replacement parts and components without a complete upgrade.

How TC&E Can Help

At TC&E, we not only know how to troubleshoot and repair these systems, but we also know where to find older components, such as for CRTs and monitors. We can also perform upgrades, putting in HMI on MKIVs.

We specialize in GE industrial and Aero gas turbine control systems. Our gas turbine controls field team is among the industry’s most experienced engineers.

We can help support any of the control systems and HMIs, including the following:

  • MKI
  • MKII
  • MKIV
  • MK
  • MKVe
  • MKVI
  • MKVIe
  • … and more

If you want to find out if you really need to upgrade your system, or to learn more about how we can help you, contact our team today.