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  1. #1
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    How would you prepare, and educate yourself for controls?

    Okay. I asked for some guidance a couple of days ago from one forum participant, and got no reply. Basically, it was (paraphrasing) 'I teach my employees.'

    Here is the situation:

    One well-versed HVACR tech is looking to make a controlled transition into an increasing amount of controls work. His present commercial HVAC employer is small, and management believes that only the owner needs this skill, so no training is available. (It costs money!! In fact, there is NO company paid training of ANY kind...)

    This particular tech has a background in electronics and some Fortran and Basic from many moons ago, but he knows how that kind of thing is done.

    One forum member suggested this tech be exposed to some java scripting sites, so he did that.

    He is also slogging through the Honeywell Gray Manual.

    Are there any courses, say on the local college level, that would be of benefit, such as Cisco, MS, or other networking or programming courses that would be of benefit to this tech?

    If YOU were this guy, knowing what you know NOW, how would you accomplish what is being suggested?





    And yes, this tech is me.

    .
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Canada
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    1,817
    Since they are in your state and offer online training check out http://www.alpscontrols.com/resource...niversity.html and add it to your plan.

    Today there is plenty of info available online thats a great help , many of the big supply outfits offer some sort of training as does RSES ( they had some really good control courses in the past ) .

  3. #3
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    Jul 2001
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    Heres another source for training as well http://www.industrialcontrolsonline.com/training

  4. #4
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    Jun 2006
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    New Jersey
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    I don't know, but I would think I would start off by learning the integration and installation of the products your company is putting in. Before diving into the custom programming end.

    Do you have list of products that you are supporting? I probably have some info for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
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    A couple of our guys just took a PLC class offered from the utility provider. Now we do not do PLC but knowledge is power. Kele has some good basic stuff as well. The problem is that every manufacturer has their proprietary programming methods and procedures so generic stuff is about all you will get without being employed with a dealer or factory office. I hear your frustration and some people believe that if everyone knew as much as the boss the boss would not be needed. So fear motivates many in giving up knowledge. I was forced to learn many products over the course of me doing service work and now ultimately just do controls.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ascj View Post
    I don't know, but I would think I would start off by learning the integration and installation of the products your company is putting in. Before diving into the custom programming end.

    Do you have list of products that you are supporting? I probably have some info for you.
    The current company is not a controls outfit, but the boss has been to Metasys class and has the software on his laptop, so when I go to, say, a store at the Montgomery Mall, and I can't determine the problem by looking at the sensors and actuators, or the LCD panel variables, the boss comes out and hooks into the controller and determines the needed repair.

    And then, he shares NONE of the info he found.

    Some of our larger third-party stores use Novar (which I believe is a LonWorks based system) but the store's corporates have their own EMS providers who dial in and approve the finished work, checking that we cleared the codes from the IMC, ect.

    This is to prepare me to become a more salable commodity at my next place. That is, should I find one that wants to hire me.

    I want to achieve at least a foundation of a couple of approaches to the work in this area, as I feel my hands-on HVAC experience might serve me better than someone who codes and creates GUIs without having the big picture.

    Eventually, I'd like to move past the point of having to drag a compressor up onto a roof by a rope. At this moment, that seems a few years away.

    But, it pays to be prepared.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by catalina_mike View Post
    A couple of our guys just took a PLC class offered from the utility provider. Now we do not do PLC but knowledge is power. Kele has some good basic stuff as well. The problem is that every manufacturer has their proprietary programming methods and procedures so generic stuff is about all you will get without being employed with a dealer or factory office. I hear your frustration and some people believe that if everyone knew as much as the boss the boss would not be needed. So fear motivates many in giving up knowledge. I was forced to learn many products over the course of me doing service work and now ultimately just do controls.
    I think part of the frustration is that most places won't pay any significant money without experience, but if your company won't provide the experience of doing that work, you don't end up with any experience.

    Sort of a Catch-22.

    I'll have to work my way through that page of links and see where it takes me.

    I had one service call today. Three hours instead of eight. That gives me "motive and opportunity," like they say on the detective shows.

    Not long ago, I "thought" I was going to get hired at an outfit that worked with Tridium/Niagara, so I got ahold of them and got a "pre-certification CD," and worked though it.

    Well, I didn't get hired.

    And now, I can't take the certification class because I didn't get hired by that company.

    See?
    Last edited by timebuilder; 03-11-2013 at 10:00 PM.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  8. #8
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    Baton Rouge, LA
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    I started with these........
    Parallax

    Lego Mindstorm
    If you're too "open" minded, your brains will fall out.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by XcelTech View Post
    I started with these........
    Parallax

    Lego Mindstorm
    Cool.

    I recall this one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HERO_(robot)

    I never had the money to buy the kit, but I saw one at one of their retail stores in Philly. I remember how much it seemed like R2D2.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  10. #10
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    Mar 2009
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    Mid-Mo
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    I'm in a similar conundrum. We really don't have anyone that is a good mentor. Basically it takes me forever to figure anything out, if I even get something figured out....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    63
    This will be too quick...

    Build your own at home. Find something to automate. It sounds expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are take-outs around that are not obsolete.

    licensing is going to be an issue, but try to get Niagara - many vendors sell it as their front-end, and it can pretty much connect to anything.
    .ja.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Pacific Time Zone
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    4,211
    These were pretty easy to run - http://us.idec.com/Catalog/ProductSe...ammable_Relays
    Don't recall cost but it seemed reasonable. I see they have demo software on the link so maybe you could mess with that.
    Ebay might be a good option as long as you can get a hold of the software. I have older INET, TAC & ALC controllers, but no software I can give.

    One manufacturer's week long class I went to gave the software with the class and the class cost was very reasonable.

    Another option would be to pay attention when there are classes nearby and just sign up for those. Not sure how far Penn State is from you, but years ago I looked into it, but it's on the other side of the country from me - http://www.pct.edu/catalog/majors/BBT.shtml maybe you can find a class or two you could sign up for.

    One more item on the 'good mentor' comments - I learned a long time ago many of the 'better' controls guys don't want to waste their time with you unless you prove yourself and you don't come off as an arrogant SOB. If you already know it all then why waste time trying to teach? One guy I worked with took 6 months of a couple of days a week of working with to finally open up. Him and his wife now send my family Christmas cards. Learned a ton from that guy. You also get the flip side of which people possibly know they aren't that good and they are afraid you'll take their job or show them up.
    "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/


  13. #13
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    Good info.

    Keep it coming.

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