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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    NE PA
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    The Rage (because) of the (Gateway) Machine

    I have a soap box to climb on and something to say if it is deemed inappropriate I will submit myself for disciplinary action... but someone needs to say it and it might as well be me!

    This letter was written because of several problems with Modbus to MSTP gateways factory installed and problematic since the day installed.

    It was written to the Manufacture of the HVAC unit and the producer of the Gateway in a conference email.

    Names have been removed to protect the guilty parties and from keeping the lawsuits down to a minimum LOL

    Now on to my never to be humbled opinion.

    I was doing this very same thing (fighting protocol gateways for accurate information, and trying to get manufactures to do what they said they would do.) way back in the year of 2000 working in native BACnet. I did expect problems in the infancy of the open area of BACnet, but now after all these years, why has the industry not improved after all this time of so called open BACnet?

    Most control companies are small in nature and most work as a sub of a subcontractor in the field and simply do not have the resources or time to fight to get what they paid for. They just roll over and get it done by any other means they can. In truth if it was not for the customer based field I work for now I would have removed the gateway and did it myself just to get on to more fertile ground.

    All of this is because (in my never to be humbled opinion) someone somehow does not do the homework needed to make these devices work in the way they are specified. Meanwhile the illusion of conformance and compliance is proliferated and no one really knows how bad the result is of a alpha or beta product being sold as a final gamma. Now that is not a slap at any one of your company’s products or personal,( I am assured you are the best in the field you work in.) It is however a slap on just how good your two companies work together to make it right. Before and after it gets to the field!

    Gentlemen please forgive my candor in this matter but after dealing for 4 months with this issue and the last 20 years in this field, I simply do not have confidence in the way my issues have been dealt with.
    After doing my research and knowing what has been told to me on how to communicate with these devices. I now find out I have been getting incorrect information.

    This is why I started a dialog with XXXXX in the first place, and why I started doing my own research, and This is why my confidence level is at a 0.0%

    I have found out during my research that I am not alone. There are so many other people in this industry that I have talked to that hold the same low confidence level as me about gateways in general and with So called open BACnet HVAC equipment in particular.

    So many others I spoke to have either removed the gateways and did a modbus or native proprietary network connection or just installed their own Bacnet device to do a T-stat level of control all because of not getting the proper response to issues in the time required to make the job work under their construction time line. In essence the warranty to the customer eats up all of the profits of the project. Or in a working man’s parlance (The Juice is not worth the Squeeze)

    This is why I feel the need to push this issue to the max. The way this is being played out for me and all of those building owners and control contractors… It almost seems to be designed or lack of design to be problematic. Or in other words…..Why is there always time to do the job right the second time?

    Why cant we forget the days of monopoly and start playing on equal terms not forgetting who we are looking for... "the customer" after all he is paying for the product and deserves what he pays for!

    The manufacture never gets called out in the middle of the night because of the command level control not getting its correct information. It is the Control contractor who is responsible for the network and devices of that network to operate properly.

    So where is the incentive for the manufacture of the equipment to create a gateway and program it to operate properly when it is them that really wanted a full proprietary network running under their command and installed by their people running on their software getting paid to answer the service call? Just how open is a network when it is run by inferior devices designed to work just barely and only if you know the correct combination?

    Feedback is desired
    Everything you do
    Will come back to you So...
    Do What You Love and Love What You Do

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Pacific Time Zone
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    FWIW - it is not just BACnet, it is others as well. I've seen poor LON & modbus implementations by major corporations, but as you stated being a lowly control contractor at the time, nothing that you can do. Corporate won't listen all too many times. I'd say more but I gotta get.

    Nice thing about such forums though is that people at least can share the experiences and hopefully help you find devices that will do as 'claimed.'
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
    BIG Government = More Dependents
    "Any 'standard' would be great if it didn't get bastardised by corporate self interest." MatrixTransform
    http://threedevilskennel.com/ - not my website.
    Versatile Hunting Dog Federation - www.vhdf.org/


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,459
    Gateways have twice as many chances to drop the ball in any given transaction because they need to be fluent in 2 languages at the same time.

    I think the fact that so many poorly implemented gateways have hit the market has directly influenced the market. Devices like a t-box or l-box that speak multiple protocols are popular in part because they eliminate the need for these gateway devices...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    380
    Those RTU's don't even work with JCI controllers FYI.

    Trust me the manufacturer doesn't even want their own controllers in the unit. Different divisions, different pools of money.

    Send me a PM with a description of your issues and I will see what I can do to assist you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,348
    I'm in the same boat on a job with 53 of these gateways, on 53 York packaged A/C units. I have been following your thread on niagara-central closely.

    You should see where they mounted the controls on the little 3 ton units, inside the fan section, on a slide-out, upside-down drawer type of box.

    You'll see more and more of this. Manufacturer provided controls, with a gateway at each box. It's the future folks. Problem is, the manufacturer's reps don't know their own controls. It's up to us to point out their flaws.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fort Worth\Dallas, Texas
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    1,708
    I too had some problems with these same units, but fortunately not to the same extent as you have DC. When I first worked on these units I was getting an alarm code that was not in any of the documentation and the unit was shutting down because of this. I sent the alarm code the the mfg's senior tech support person (who was extremely helpful with the issues I had BTW), and he did not know what the code was. He contacted the engineers at the mfg and they didnt know what the code was. I later finally figured out it had to do with high static pressure.

    There is just such a rush to get this stuff to the market place without thoroughly testing the product first. And like Digo said, we are stuck with pointing out their flaws. Sadly this is the issue with many things today.

    I know you and I have discussed your problems DC, but keep me informed on the outcome of this.
    Go Rangers!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    NE PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by crab master View Post
    FWIW - it is not just BACnet, it is others as well. I've seen poor LON & modbus implementations by major corporations, but as you stated being a lowly control contractor at the time, nothing that you can do. Corporate won't listen all too many times. I'd say more but I gotta get.

    Nice thing about such forums though is that people at least can share the experiences and hopefully help you find devices that will do as 'claimed.'
    I too have seen poor Lon gateways but they are more uncommon than the RS485. Mainly because of the many different configurations and types of services provided ie. COV, Confirmed COV. Write on settings, APDU, Segmentation, Max info frames. Not to mention full load, Half load, quarter load, and do not get me started on Baud rate limitations and poll timing..

    Even though I am not a advocate of Lon that protocol is much more user friendly as far as automatic configurations and plug and pray (LOL) and seems to have less of a problem with the exchange of information from one format to another. This all because of the stringent transceivers that have to be used to talk Lon. I have done many different Lon gateways and only two times did I have issues with them and then it was a device issue or failure. Most of the time they just snap in place. As far as MSTP most gateways are so dumbed down they do not want to talk with other devices from other manufactures. On my Jaces I normally isolate the gateways on a separate MSTP trunk just to allow for the inconsistencies allowed in the BACnet rules or being complient instead of being native.

    In my experience though it is the Unit manufacturer that is the cause of the issue. Most if not all Gateway producers would create a real smart Gateway if the unit manufactures would just pay the extra money for the better product. My feedback tells me they just do not place the importancy of the Gateway in the priorty array of cost verses operation. (You normally get what you pay for)
    Everything you do
    Will come back to you So...
    Do What You Love and Love What You Do

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCVoltZ View Post
    I too have seen poor Lon gateways but they are more uncommon than the RS485.
    Agreed and there was a RS485 LON, don't recall who implemented it, but it was out there. Far less time wasted communicating/trying to communicate to most LON products than Modbus (RTU & IP), BACnet (MSTP mainly, but IP as well), just getting into SNMP...

    Sounds like people are aware of the product, but IMO if you've given the manufacturer fair notice and have asked them to fix there product and have given them 'adequate' time to work on it/respond and you are not getting a response then why not post their name and specific product?

    Again strictly speaking IMO - I am not into name/brand bashing, but if there is a specific problem not being addressed then why not 'help' others avoid their product? Maybe if they see their name posted it'll but the fire needed to get it resolved?

    FWIW - I have had good luck with gateways from http://csimn.com/
    only used LON to Modbus and SNMP to Modbus thus far.
    I've had problems with another manufacturer's BACnet MSTP to LON and they got that fixed, now yet awaiting the fix for the BACnet IP to LON, but they are at least working with me on it.
    *There's also the pro's controls forum area where such details could be discussed if you don't want it 'known' to the rest of the public world.
    Last edited by crab master; 05-23-2012 at 01:38 PM. Reason: *
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
    BIG Government = More Dependents
    "Any 'standard' would be great if it didn't get bastardised by corporate self interest." MatrixTransform
    http://threedevilskennel.com/ - not my website.
    Versatile Hunting Dog Federation - www.vhdf.org/


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,459
    Quote Originally Posted by crab master View Post
    <snip>
    Again strictly speaking IMO - I am not into name/brand bashing, but if there is a specific problem not being addressed then why not 'help' others avoid their product? Maybe if they see their name posted it'll [be] the fire needed to get it resolved?
    <snip>
    I'm with you here. There is no room for people "bashing" a brand. That is an emotional response, it's often subjective and in the end it isn't all that helpful.

    But warning others about specific flaws/shortcomings of a specific product is wonderful on at least 2 levels. First, it allows your peers to know that there may be an issue with the product. Secondly (as long as it's on an open board) it allows the manufacturer to see the feedback about the specific flaw. This enables them to take one of three approaches- They can explain that it isn't a flaw, they can fix the flaw or they can ignore the feedback.

    I work for a manufacturer and I read these boards. Over the years some people have made comments about about some of the products I have a hand in. Guess what- I LOVE getting feedback, even if it's about a bug. My reasoning is simple, if I don't know about it I'm not likely to fix it unless I stumble upon the issue while adding other features. If someone posts about any of my products I get to the bottom if it asap.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    NE PA
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    36
    Quote Originally Posted by DCVoltZ View Post
    This letter was written because of several problems with Modbus to MSTP gateways factory installed and problematic since the day installed.

    It was written to the Manufacture of the HVAC unit and the producer of the Gateway in a conference email.

    Names have been removed to protect the guilty parties and from keeping the lawsuits down to a minimum LOL
    The reason I did not list company's, or name brands on this post
    I have not done many posts on here and was a little concerned for the reputation of this forum. My mouth has gotten me into many problems in the past, specially when I am not used to the crowd I am speaking with.
    FYI if someone is looking at my previous posts they could figure the whole thing out of what, whom, where, and why or you could just message me for more information. I have no issues with sticking my own foot in my mouth. (pass the salt the shoe leather is a little bland) I just did not want to cause legal issues with this forum

    In the future I will be more up front but only if necessary
    Everything you do
    Will come back to you So...
    Do What You Love and Love What You Do

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Pacific Time Zone
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    Assuming - MSTP to Modbus (Simplicity Linc/Fieldserver) connect to (Niagara Ax)

    Assuming it isn't Niagra, and then it sounds like Fieldserver isn't the problem so it must be Simplicity Linc - York/JCI.
    http://www.luxaire.com/PDFFiles/514067-UAD-B-0909.pdf

    Interesting line though in the above pdf link - "To prevent premature failure of the flash memory, it should not be written to more often than once every 10 minutes, on average." Found to often such a warning was ignored...not saying it's the problem, just commenting.

    Too bad such a company doesn't have the resources available to fix the problem.
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
    BIG Government = More Dependents
    "Any 'standard' would be great if it didn't get bastardised by corporate self interest." MatrixTransform
    http://threedevilskennel.com/ - not my website.
    Versatile Hunting Dog Federation - www.vhdf.org/


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    36
    Quote Originally Posted by crab master View Post
    Assuming - MSTP to Modbus (Simplicity Linc/Fieldserver) connect to (Niagara Ax)

    Assuming it isn't Niagra, and then it sounds like Fieldserver isn't the problem so it must be Simplicity Linc - York/JCI.
    It is in essence a ProtoCessor FFP485 Camry and its made by FieldServer Technologies for York/JCI

    http://www.fieldserver.com/docs/pdf/...L_Approved.pdf
    Everything you do
    Will come back to you So...
    Do What You Love and Love What You Do

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,459
    I just came across this: http://www.fieldserver.com/docs/pdf/..._Worksheet.pdf

    It's revision 3 of a pre-formatted worksheet used only for describing/reporting bugs in ProtoCessor units.

    The existence of such a document, (not to mention multiple revisions of said document) doesn't exactly portray the ProtoCessor in a good light...


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