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  1. #1

    service tech or systems tech?

    Hi guys. I work for jci as a systems tech. I handle commissioning on our new installs and it's alright. I'm from a service background in hvac and wondering if service in controls might be more up my alley. Has anyone got experience in both and able to offer pros/cons?
    I'm mainly missing moving around the city more, and dealing with customers directly, in retail and commercial environments. As apposed to working on construction sites with mixed personalities, the majority being male. What is a day in the life of a service technician for a controls company?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amarillo by mornin'
    Posts
    853
    That’s one of the reasons I like being in service and not in install is not having to deal with the construction crew type people. In service, you deal with the customers/end users one-on-one and not in and out and to never come back. One day you might be on a PM the other driving all over the place. Service is the one that usually gets tasked with figuring out the hair pulling issues allot of times, which as odd is it may sound I like.

    BUT...service is being on call, will be on the phone 1/4 of your day, will need to be at three different places at once, and will be the "go to" guy for everyone (seems like anyways) in the company.

    The other thing is you have to keep up with the software and hardware of yesteryear. That part can be a real pain at times.

    I think the big thing that I see that is different between install guys and service guys, the service guys can usually talk to the end user on more of a professional level. You've got to be able to listen and speak well...at least to the customer.

    Oh and then be able to fix stuff and not just control stuff either. Once you figure out that it's not a control problem they will almost get to the point of begging to get you to fix it.

    Whatcha think so far?
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Sounds like we share similar views xarralu. I've got a headache from these construction super egos whining about completion dates. And the sub trades whose vocabularies don't often go past "F" words. Use one of the construction site jiffy johns and see the graffiti encompasses the same mentality of primary school students, spelling and all.
    Anyway, pm? I used to have to change filters, grease bearings, change belts as part of pm in hvac service. What kind of pm is involved in controls?
    I enjoy not having to go on call, but I'd gladly sign up for it again if it means my day to day is more rewarding.
    I enjoy the software/hardware communication of controls so I don't think learning older coding language will be much of a drawback.
    I'm only coming up on 6 months since I've switched over to this part of the industry so I'll give it a bit more time before I transfer to service, but it's going to be a necessary move for me. I need more variety than what I'm getting. Thanks for your input!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    49
    I have never worked for systems besides a few small projects and helping out here and there on older controls. I like variety service provides. Being stuck at a place more than a few days gets pretty old pretty fast. Also a benefit; you're not stuck in a salaried position (LSS and up) once you start to make a decent amount of money. I wouldn't consider a move to systems, although a lot of my buddies say it's a nice place to learn. You also built up good working relationships with customers.. I go shooting with a few building engineers, etc..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amarillo by mornin'
    Posts
    853
    On a PM it usually ends up being the end users wish list for the most part. If the PM is on a fairly new building it's usually, "there is something I would like you to add to the graphic" or "AHU-3 the static pressure is hunting a little too much for what I like". What it's supposed to be is make sure the system as a whole is running/working correctly, do any software or driver updates, and go through and check for anything overridden or locked.

    If there isn't really too much to do on the PM I will ask if there is anything they want added or changed. I have in the past if there just wasn't anything to do I've helped out on their chores, cleaning pump strainers, changing light ballasts just so they know at least they are getting some of their money’s worth. So when the contract renewal comes around they remember the extra steps that I do to take care of them. Just depends on the customer.
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    166
    Having worked both service and construction I prefer the service end. When arriving on a service call the customer is usually glad to see you. Construction is dog eat dog for the most part. Construction techs are usually the last guys on the job site, hurry up and finish.

  7. #7
    I believe not everyone is under standing your terminology. I think your using JC talk. JC has BAS Techs in new construction and large installations which is referred to as "Systems". JC also has BAS Techs on the repair and maintenace which is referred to as "Service". "Service" also includes Union HVACR Techs working on Mechanical Systems.
    I think only Honeywell divides their BAS Techs that way. At Honeywell and Siemens, BAS is BAS.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    26
    See if you can move over to the service side of JCI.But if you looking to be around women good luck,you will spend most of your time behind the scenes with the building maintenance people.On the bright side you will get to "finish" all the things the installers didn't get to before the job ran out of money.Even better you get to be on call with the great fun of being called out at 3am,

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    56

    Hmm BS is BS

    Quote Originally Posted by MechanicallyInclined View Post
    I believe not everyone is under standing your terminology. I think your using JC talk. JC has BAS Techs in new construction and large installations which is referred to as "Systems". JC also has BAS Techs on the repair and maintenace which is referred to as "Service". "Service" also includes Union HVACR Techs working on Mechanical Systems.
    I think only Honeywell divides their BAS Techs that way. At Honeywell and Siemens, BAS is BAS.
    I worked in the service side at Siemens and they do have a systems side; not that the subject of your statement interests me at all, but the inaccuracy mildly does

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by MechanicallyInclined View Post
    I believe not everyone is under standing your terminology. I think your using JC talk. JC has BAS Techs in new construction and large installations which is referred to as "Systems". JC also has BAS Techs on the repair and maintenace which is referred to as "Service". "Service" also includes Union HVACR Techs working on Mechanical Systems.
    I think only JOHNSON CONTROLS divides their BAS Techs that way. AROUND HERE, IT SEEMS at Honeywell and Siemens, BAS is BAS.
    I thought I had already changed it, but thanks for addressing it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    SE Pa.
    Posts
    5
    Interesting that I found this post string. I am looking to join JC and I have a couple of opportunities. One as BAS tech and the other as a LSS PM. I'm a little leery of the 50-60 hours a week on salary, but 3am phone calls don't appeal to me either. I love being at the top of the techs (in my field) as opposed to being at the bottom of the managers. I like the responsibility, but hate being pulled in 5 different directions at once. I'm 46 yrs old and crawling through the dirt and grease to repair or replace a motor actuator is almost as unappealing. I enjoy a challenge and like to figure out the "puzzles".

    This may sound like a bunch of bs, but I respect opinions especially from those already " in the know".

    Can any of you shed some light on a day in the life of the LSS/PM? I have already read the "van-yes, and in charge of everything under the sun" thread.
    Is it worth the $70+k/yr.
    what amount of time is JC going to expect out of me?
    When do you have time for "a life" and family? Even though its just my wife and I, now.

    Respectfully waiting for your inputs...

  12. #12

    Cool Service Vs. Install

    During my Honeywell days, a controls engineer informed that Install was at the 'paper' level (Design, SOO, P&I dwgs, BOMs). Service works backwards - no drawings (good luck finding them), just the built system. Both have their pluses and minus.

    During my control service days I would tell my supervisor that I've got "20 Bosses" including him (has 20 accounts). No one at the construction site would to complain that you did a "boo-boo" and call the 'principle', but if you dirty or crack a ceiling tile, I've seen office managers make a call to your boss. Rarely do they ever call in when you're the "hero" and saved the day. If they are asked - sure.

    So, after getting laid off at a start-up company doing AX-programming siting in a chair for two years, I'm getting back to service controls (AX-based). For one of my job interviews, I made up a list of troubleshooting activities (thank god I kept good journal notes). Broke it down into (4) areas: 1) Workstation, 2) Network, 3) Controller, 4) Graphics. See attached PDF and see the light.

    "Git yer done"
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,682
    Is this a game of deja vu? Nothing but a string of dead threads from yesteryear.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

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