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A prototype data collection system was developed in order to acquire field data as a part of the development of HVDC fault location techniques. The system was installed at the Celilo Converter Station of the Pacific HVDC Intertie, owned by the U. S. Department of Energy-Bonneville Power Administration in May, 1983. It monitors two line voltages, one neutral voltage, and two line currents. It also has an event detection function to trigger saving data onto a diskette. In this paper (Part I) the data collection system hardware is described, and several field data are plotted and analyzed. Development of an HVDC fault location algorithm and its evaluation using field data are given in the second paper, Part II.