Orion I/O

The Least Expensive, Most Dense, Easiest to Configure and Best-Looking Substation I/O Yet


NovaTech Orion I/O™ is an extension of the family of OrionLX™ Automation Platforms for substation automation and incorporates the same security features, software tools and “NCD” configuration as the OrionLX. It is a rack-mountable I/O assembly with four slots—A, B, C, and D—that can be filled with any combination of I/O cards: currently 16-Point Discrete Input Card, 16-Point Discrete Output Card, and 8-Point Analog Input Card. Full population of discrete cards yields 64 I/O in 2 RU (rack units); full population of analog input cards yields 32 analog inputs. See Figure 1 below for rear connections on Orion I/O.

Figure 1 - Rear connections on Orion I/O. Four I/O cards shown populated in slots A, B, C, and D.

Figure 1 – Rear connections on Orion I/O. Four I/O cards shown populated in slots A, B, C, and D.


Input and output status, point state, time diagnostics, and other module data are provided on an Advanced User Interface of a similar design to the Bitronics® 50 Series and 60 Series metering products. A standard, conventional faceplate is also available.


Figure 2 - Advanced User Interface

Figure 2 – Advanced User Interface


Orion I/O is designed for high performance 12V dc to 125V dc monitoring and control applications in electrical substations including 1ms SOE Recording, circuit breaker TRIP/CLOSE, higher-speed control, and analog transducer monitoring and measurement. Although Orion I/O can stand-alone and operate as an independent RTU, it is usually connected serially or with Ethernet to an OrionLX™ or other substation RTU.

The 16-Point Discrete Input Card in Orion I/O monitors the position, status, or health of substation apparatus such as circuit breakers, reclosers, transformers, tap changers, and capacitor banks. The 16-Point Discrete Output Card energizes TRIP and CLOSE coils in circuit breakers and reclosers, or switches other loads. The 8-Point Analog Input Card monitors and measures transducers signals representing amps, volts, watts, vars, frequency, etc.

I/O Cards

Three Orion I/O Cards are available:

  • 1ms SOE Card with 16 inputs. High range (125V dc) or low range (12-48V dc) selection in software.
  • Output Card with 16 relay-grade outputs, ordered normally open (NO) or normally closed (NC)
  • Analog Input Card with eight inputs of -2 to +2mA, 4-20mA, or -10V to +10V

Any combination of the three above I/O cards can be ordered in the four-slot, 2 RU chassis.

Ethernet Ports, Serial Ports, and IRIG-B

Orion I/O provides two copper Ethernet ports (separate NICs). In Phase 2, two LC fiber ports with separate NICs will be optional, as will be copper and LC fiber switch options (one NIC, two ports). A PRP/HSR redundancy option will also be available.

Orion I/O is also available with one RS-232/485 serial port. Webpage software provides selections for full or half duplex, and termination resistor. IRIG-B can be received from an OrionLX RTU on RS-485 terminals. A second serial ST fiber port will be available in Phase 2.

Screw terminals are provided to accept unmodulated IRIG-B. Precision Time Protocol (PTP) will be available in Phase 2.

Figure 3 below shows Ethernet ports, serial port terminal, and IRIG-B terminals.


Figure 3 - Communication ports, IRIG-B terminals, power terminals, and alarm terminals

Figure 3 – Communication ports, IRIG-B terminals, power terminals, and alarm terminals

Advanced User Interface

This optional front panel provides the following at the touch of a button:

  • Point name (default assigned point name or Alias name)
  • Discrete point state (e.g. “Open”, “ON”, etc) and the time point last changed
  • The I/O cards in slots A, B, C and D in Orion I/O module
  • The name of the Active NCD file and firmware version
  • User-defined message
  • Time diagnostics

The Advanced User Interface uses similar touch-sensitive buttons as the Bitronics 50 series and 60 Series meters.


Figure 4 - Advanced User Interface

Figure 4 – Communication ports, IRIG-B terminals, power terminals, and alarm terminals


Figure 5 – Available status and diagnostic displays on the Advanced User Interface



Orion I/O offers the same suite of security features as the OrionLX, including:
  • Linux operating system
  • Trusted Platform using Secure Boot for Whitelisting
  • Secure protocols: HTTPS, SSH, SFTP
  • Strong passwords and password rules
  • Remote Authentication with LDAP
  • User Groups with specific administer-assigned privileges
  • Built-in Firewall
  • Automatic backup of complete Orion I/O configurations
  • Security event logging with “Syslog”

Security Monitoring Points indicating who is connected (by username) and how they are connected (HTTPS, Front Port, SSH, etc.). These points can be mapped to SCADA or to an alarm log.

Communication Protocol

Part #  Slave or Server Protocol
42 DNP3 Serial Slave
44 DNP3 IP Server
46 L&G 8979 Serial Slave
47 Modbus Serial Slave
49 Modbus TCP/IP Server
67 IEC 60870-5-101 Serial Server
68 IEC 60870-5-104 TCP Server
70 SPS Serial Slave
71 SES-92 Serial Slave

Math and Logic Options

Part # Opt. Software Modules Description
35 LogicPak LogicPak provides pre-configured logic functions for commonly-used routines: AND, OR, Negate, Primary/Secondary, Local/Remote, Delay, and KYZ.
99 Advanced Math and Logic (.lua) Performs all functions in the original Orion Math & Logic plus includes advanced functions such as poll modification, string manipulation, arrays, File I/O (open text file, extract data or make changes, close, and re-save). This package is based on the Lua programming language and executes much faster and uses less CPU processing than the standard Math & Logic Module.
101 IEC 61131-3 Math and Logic Includes: LD-Ladder Diagram, FBD-Function Block Diagram, ST-Structured Text, IL-Instruction List, and SFC-Sequential Function Chart.

Software Options

Part # Opt. Software Modules Description
57 WEBserver XML Includes XML protocol to transfer data into custom webpages to be served out from Orion I/O. Also include two Inkscape plug-ins to simplify page animation and to simplify graphics creation with Pre-Drawn Libraries.
60 Accumulator Freeze Enables Orion I/O to process freeze commands from the master, or to auto-generate freeze commands. Includes logging and reset functions.
94 Relay Data Logger or “I-Log” Enables Orion I/O to log diagnostic text.
95 Alarm/Archive/Retentive (AAR) Stores both discrete and analog events based on time (e.g., every 15 minutes) or change (e.g., ON-OFF or analog change out of deadband). Alarm Annunciation functionality includes defining alarm states, defining alarm messages. Pre-engineered “Archive” and “Alarm” webpages included.
108 Tile Annunciator Pre-engineered, multiple page, animated alarm tile webpage served out from Orion I/O.
98 Cascaded Orion Slave Simplifies the integration of multiple Orion I/O modules. Makes multiple Orion I/O modules and the OrionLX RTU appear as a single system. This s/w module is for Orion I/O (up to 10). The Cascaded OrionLX Master s/w module is for the OrionLX RTU.
105 Points Blocking Enables Orion I/O points or groups of points to be manually “blocked” from reporting state changes to the RTU. Useful during commissioning and maintenance.
106 Configuration Backup Manager Software module for Orion I/O that accesses settings and other configuration data, places these data in a file, and saves them to Orion I/O memory. Saved files can be manually accessed, or automatically transferred to a FTP server.

Orion I/O Model # Builder:

    December 13, 2017 – December 14, 2017 Jeddah Hilton Hotel - Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia Smart Grid Conference – Booth 56 – 58

    NovaTech will be represented at the Saudi Arabia Smart Grid Conference on Smart Grid and Renewable Energy (SASG 2017). The purpose of the event is to bring together researchers, designers, developers and practitioners interested in the advances and applications...

    January 23, 2018 – January 25, 2018 San Antonio, Texas

    DistribuTECH 2018 – Booth #2135

    NovaTech will exhibit at the 2018 DistribuTECH in San Antonio, Texas from January 23 - 25. Please come visit us in Booth #2135 to see our latest product offerings.

  • NovaTech Utility Systems and Services

    Almost half of NovaTech’s business is in Systems and Services including web page design, panel design, math and logic development, Orion configuration, and onsite installation and commissioning. Mark Matassa explains how our engineers can work with you to reduce project execution time at the 2016 DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida.

    March 18, 2016

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