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Platform for Test Scripting and Automated Testing of Smart Meters

We have come up with a unique and tailor-made platform for the functional testing of Smart meters. This allows test staff with no programming experience to create highly complex test cases and test the Smart Meters autonomously. Smart meters are one of the most vital cogs of Smart and connected Grid. Smart meters are essentially Internet connected smart devices, which communicate bi-directionally with a back end server, using a basket of technologies. Add to that the requirements for various combinations of electrical data, control, anomaly and fraud detection mechanisms and operating ranges, you are staring at very large test matrix corresponding to all the different combinations. To add to the challenge above, Smart electric meters are designed and required to be non-serviceable, such that the integrity of the device in the field is undisputed and the data cannot be repudiated. The devices are widely deployed, at every metering point; each home, office, factory, shop; each installation uniquely configured in some unique way. Needless to say, the escapes to customer are both high impact and have high likelihood given the flux of change and that very large test matrix. The embedded and application software is designed to be resilient, reliable and must maintain data integrity in all conceivable field scenarios. Any changes late in the project life cycle introduce a huge risk of regression and project cost overruns due to regression testing. Our platform allows the test staff to create test scripts. We decided that the most intuitive way of slicing the elephant with regards to module design would be to center the task modules around interfaces to the Smart Meter. The Interfaces to a Smart meter can either be electrical (Voltages, currents, frequency, power factors, wave shapes et. el.) or logical (Reading a certain value, writing a certain value), or User interface related (Smart meter Displayinterpreted using a state-of-the-art Convolutional Neural Network [1], buttons et. el.). We abstracted these interfaces out and developed modules exercising each of these interfaces. Additionally, we added some modules for imperative programming constructs such as variables and constants, delay, looping, computations, file I/O and others. The connecting glue to all this is a sequencer, which can be used to put these building blocks in any sequence to run. Essentially, the test script creator drags and drops the relevant module in the script, configures the module using a GUI, and saves the test script. The saved script can be run at any point of time in the future. The test script creates a detailed audit trail to facilitate debugging if and when defects are found.

DOI: 10.32548/RS.2019.005

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