OrionLX Family Overview

Multiple Functions, Minimal Headaches

The Cyber Secure Substation Automation Platform of Choice for More U.S. Utilities Than Any Other

The Orion Family of Substation Automation Platforms perform an expanding array of automation and security applications in electric utility substations, with minimal setup and maintenance. A single Orion can replace multiple legacy boxes in a substation, reducing hardware, design, wiring, and panel costs. Orion is the automation platform of choice for more U.S. utilities than any competing product.

“We’ve used six different boxes…and your Orion is the best we’ve used so far”  – Terry S

Design Goals

The OrionLX and OrionLXm borrow design features from rugged protective relays, modular PLCs, powerful PCs, diagnostic test sets, and secure routers. The result is a rugged platform that can reliably take on a range of automation tasks.

  • Rugged Meets ANSI C37.90.1 2002 Fast Transient on I/O and power supplies and ANSI C37.90.2 1995 RFI to 35 volts per meter. Direct fiber optic is available on serial communication ports and Ethernet port. Designed to operate over -40°C to 70°C without heaters, fans, or moving parts.
  • Flexible and Modular Both hardware and software are modular. Communication cards can be switched or added, software options and protocols can be added quickly and easily in the field. Toolsets for logic, HMI development, and points mapping provide the flexibility to meet the needs of multiple applications.
  • Standard  Tools from the PC Industry Includes a large solid state memory, SQL-compliant relational database, web technology, and standard tools for file transfer, diagnostics, and time management.
  • Utility Specific Includes functions for breaker controls, counters, accumulators, Local/remote, and momentary-change-detect. Includes support for both legacy utility protocols (Modbus, CDC, Conitel, etc.) and new international standards (IEC 61850, IEC 60870, and DNP3).
  • Built-In Diagnostics Includes a built-in protocol analyzer to view all messages, plus extensive diagnostic LEDs, internal health monitoring, and time diagnostics. Commissioning tools include points blocking and forcing functions.
  • Built-In NERC CIP Security Comes equipped with built-in security, including strong passwords, remote authentication, encrypted protocols (OprnVPN, HTTPS, SSH, SFTP), firewall, and syslog. Solutions to meet NERC CIP Version 5 available.
  • Consistent Setup and Configuration All Orion software features and configurations are seamlessly transferable from one generation to the next.

Hardware Features

An OrionLX can be configured with wide-range redundant power supplies, a fiber optic Ethernet port, a Multimedia Board with VGA Video Output, and any combination of RS-232, RS-485, and Fiber communication cards. The OrionLXm is a physically smaller OrionLX designed for applications requiring fewer connections and less space, including smaller distribution substations and OEM and pole-top RTU applications. All OrionLXm connections and diagnostic LEDs are on the front face, and universal mounting options include panel, 19” rack, or DIN-rail.





The Kaizen philosophy of continuous evolutionary improvement is central to the Orion product family. By simplifying complexity with consistent and intuitive configuration while continuously adding new capabilities, Orions provide application flexibility and increasing value in substation automation applications. Some of the latest innovations include:

  • Intuitive PLC-Like Programming IEC 61131-3 is the international standard for programmable logic controller (PLC) programming, specifying the syntax, semantics, and display for five languages. This enables the control program developer to select the language best suited to a particular task.
  • High Performance CPU The optional OrionLX High Performance CPU provides two to three times more speed and processing power than the standard OrionLX CPU. It is intended for larger automation applications, notably transmission substation applications with large SCADA databases, extensive math and logic, many webpages, and encryption.
  • Relay Data Retrieval Simplified NovaTech currently provides over 200 pre-engineered SEL® “point pick lists” (or “Default Files”) to simplify the process of selecting points from SEL relays. OrionLX Relay Helper simplifies the Default File creation process by automating the extraction of SEL relay “ID” and “DNA” from any new relay models. Using these data, Relay Helper automatically creates a new complete and accurate Default File.
  • Secure Web-based SCADA in Your Hands OrionLX WEBserver is a web-based SCADA and local HMI solution that uses open-source web technologies to build interactive screens accessible from standard web browsers. A browser can connect to an OrionLX and view data from connected IEDs and RTUs. Displays can range from a single text-based screen to detailed substation one-line drawings with multiple password protected drill-down screens for viewing IED data or establishing a pass-through connection with the IED. WEBserver has pre-configured pages for Data Archiving/Sequence of Events Recording, Alarm Annunciation, one-line diagrams, IED faceplates, control screens, alarms, trending,  and communications diagnostics.
  • VGA Touchscreen Monitor A rugged VGA touchscreen monitor is available for the OrionLX, eliminating the need for a substation PC and its inherent software and Cyber Security hassles. Webpages served from the OrionLX, and applications supported by the OrionLX (terminal mode, screen capture, text editing, etc.) can be viewed on this VGA touchscreen when OrionLX is equipped with the optional Multimedia Board. This monitor works both as a touchscreen monitor and with a keyboard/mouse at the same time.
  • Data Visualization and Dissemination Tools A wide range of modern software tools “bring the data out of the box” with minimal engineering effort. The new Tile Annunciator – up to 24 pages of 60 alarms each – simplifies interpretation of alarms and reduces configuration time. Any substation data point – breaker position, monitored temperature, user access attempt, etc. – can be accessed by Orion and presented to engineers and operators where they want it, when they want it and how they want it. Secure file transfer, secure webpages, email, and data logging are all supported in Orion.

Feature Comparison

Physical Feature OrionLX OrionLXm Reasons Different
Serial Ports An number from 1 to 17, RS-232 (A or E), RS-485, RS-422 (B or G), Serial Fiber (C or H), Bit Synchronous (D), HDLC (F) Up to two serial cards, factory upgradeable Less space, less cost
Ethernet Two Standard Eth0 / Eth1 copper ports, Optional Eth1 fiber, Optional Eth2 copper port Standard Eth0 / Eth1 copper ports Even smaller jobs will need more Ethernet
Maintenance Port USB or RS-232 USB only Less space, RS-232 not available on newer PCs
Aux USB Port 2 standard, 2 optional on MMB None available Less space, Direct Video not on OrionLXm
IRIG-B Unmodulated or modulated COAX Unmodulated only, twisted pair Space and cost
1PPS input Yes No rarely used in distribution substations
Local I/O 4 in / 2 out, Alarm Contact 1 in, Alarm Contact, plus up to two optional 12 in/4 out cards More built in I/O can eliminate the need for a separate I/O module
VGA Direct Video Port Available option Not available Less space, No HP CPU to support Direct Video
Modem (built in, internal) Available option Not available, but can connect external modem Less space, Fewer modem applications due to NERC, plus more broadband
Power Supply 12 and 24 V dc, 48V dc, 120V ac / 125V dc and 120V ac, Dual option 24 – 250V dc; 120 – 240V ac, 12V dc, No dual option International will require 240V ac, No space for dual power supply


Build an OrionLX/LXm Part Number and Request a Quote. 

Click here for the Orion Support website (separate login required) 

  • TechTalk Summer 2017  

    Orion I/O Upgrade Assemblies for D20 I/O Modules
    South African Partnerships
    Split-Core CT Option in M872

    August 2, 2017

  • TechTalk Fall 2017  

    Bitronics Pole Top Power Monitor
    Orion Active-Standby Redundancy
    Orion I/O Update (new Model # Generator, and new video)
    NCD v3.31

    November 15, 2017

  • Orion Products Overview Brochure  

    The Orion Family of Substation Automation Platforms and I/O perform an expanding array of automation and security applications in electric utility substations, with minimal setup and maintenance. A single Orion can replace multiple legacy boxes in a substation, reducing hardware, design, wiring, and panel costs.

    December 6, 2017

  • NovaTech Orion I/O  

    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,

    August 16, 2017

  • TechTalk Winter 2017  

    DistribuTECH 2017 Edition
    Orion I/O Advertisement Spotlight
    PRC-002 Compliance Literature

    January 10, 2017

  • TechTalk Fall 2016  

    Product Update: Configuration Backup Manager
    New Pre-Drawn Image Library
    Quickly Add Automation to an Older E/M Relay Substation
    IEC 61850: More Than Just a Protocol

    November 3, 2016

  • Additional Datasheets, Application Notes, Customer Success Stories and other documents in our documentation library

  • 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

  • 61850, PRP, and Merging

    Industry expert Bruce Muschlitz discusses the latest 61850 standards and applications, the components and performance of a PRP system, and the emerging role of Process Bus and Merging Units at the 2016 DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida.

    March 18, 2016

  • SCADA in 20 Minutes

    Learn the steps to set up an OrionLX RTU, configure a Bitronics SCADA meter, build a WEBserver HMI (no PC required) and setup a WEBserver SCADA system.

    March 18, 2016

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