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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    20

    Extent of market for s600 / apogee mmi graphics software

    About 18 years ago I was involved in developing a windows BMS system for the s600 controls connecting via the mmi port.
    I have recently begun a re-write of the system modernizing it with a webserver interface etc.
    My client has enough invested in MEC / PXC controllers to finance the development.

    My question: Is there a market for a low cost mini BMS system for the s600 / apogee controls?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    121
    Quote Originally Posted by PSControls View Post
    My question: Is there a market for a low cost mini BMS system for the s600 / apogee controls?
    My guess would be NO because anyone who has enough panels would have and need Insight to reload panels, do advanced features that just can e done through the MMI no matter how good a programer you are. Any site that only has a panel or 2 and no Insight would be farther ahead replacing the panel with something like a JACE or other stand-alone web based panel as it would be cheaper and have many more features. What would have a market is something that can talk directly on the P2 network and replace the insight server and allow other BMS systems to become the front-end, but god luck figuring out the P2 protocol, its a mess.

    -Jeremy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    20
    Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you for your reply.
    I have "cracked" the P1 protocol. I have a product DBACnet that provides a BACnet /ip interface to the P1 network devices.
    The downside of switching to DBACnet is that the programmable code and I/O of the FLNC / MEC controllers needs to be replaced.

    I have looked at the P2 protocol and am fairly confident that I could decode it.
    The question then becomes is it a project worth investing in?

    Regards

    Derek

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    121
    I used to be Siemens for many years and now have an independent company and we really find the Niagara AX frameworks great. There are many P1 drivers available and for schools we replace the MBC/MEC/PXC with a JACE and use a P1 driver. This provides many more features, open comparability, etc that customer likely. Sites with many MBC/MEC/PXC and little P1 devices find it to expensive to change every controller but there is no good P2 integration. Most use the MMI port which is to slow and leads to problems with no being able to reload controllers when they coldstart and Insight has been removed from the system.

    Many have tried but IF you could write a P2 driver to allow the system to be opened up to other protocols and still reload the panels on coldstart then yes I believe there would be a market for such a driver. Lots of customers are not happy with Siemens but their system is the hardest to convert to an open system without replacing every panel. I personally use Niagara AX and have looked into it a bit and think the programing part would be easy, its just a matter of figuring out the P2 packets and commands to make the communication work.

    -Jeremy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    20
    Thanks again Jeremy.

    PS: you mentioned not being able to reload panel from MMI.. Reloading via MMI (or even better telnet) is possible, My mini BMS does backup and restore.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    121
    Only the commissioning tool can do a true backup and restore through MMI, unless you have cracked the HASH key which I am not aware of anyone who has. Typically what people who "reload" through the MMI port do is rebuild all the points and code, etc in a blank panel as if someone typed all the data in. This is functionally close to a reload but is not a true 100% reload and can lead to some network issues when state data and networks peers are properly reloaded.

    -Jeremy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    20
    Yes I have cracked the HASH key. I can restore a panel from a datamate .P2 file.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    california
    Posts
    14
    If you can do what you say, we would be very interested in doing business together. I have many customers knocking on my door asking for what is possible. Some of these are very large businesses trying to get out from under the Siemens thumb. If you can develope a P2 driver to a Bacnet or other open protocol, I would sign up to be the first beta test.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Des Moines
    Posts
    285
    Well, it all sounds pretty good, sounds like you've put alot of time working into this.

    Despite being a long term tech with Siemens, you guys are above my head on this - you're at engineering level, I'm at Tech level.

    I'd wonder tho, how the system would work when you have many (lets say 25+) panels on a P2 network - you're gonna pull all data out of one MMI port? Are you sure that trend collections, database loads, data queries would happen in a timely manner? Meaning, I'm doubtful you could load a panel, collect trend data and actually access multiple panels at the same time (as you would with a front end that has direct access to the P2, rather than going thru a single MMI).

    I have to admit, a competitor installed something like this at a largish hospital and at times, it was unusable due to the "latency". Particularly, during an emergency when you might have multiple people at multiple workstations, trying to manipulate multiple parts of the system.

    And if this one panel goes down, you'll have lost all access to the P2?

    On a smaller system, this might work great. IMO, that's where the market would be.
    Dingman from Iowa~
    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

    The Dingman's webpage, featuring the Ding_Z

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    383
    Just make us a P2 Driver for Niagara

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cape Town, South Africa
    Posts
    20
    Wow, after 4 months sudden interest in P2 protocol.

    I have developed many software products over the years and while my coding / technical skills are good I am always let down by being rubbish at marketing my products.
    Who would be interested in partnering with me in a P2 driver development?

    Another question: Siemens sells a BACnet server (gateway) product, does this not give Niagara access to P2 (BLN)?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    california
    Posts
    14
    Yes, but the BACnet server/client option still requires Siemens involvement. Cannot get around Insight server... It loads on top of Insight

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    121
    What is needed is a P2 driver for Niagara AX that allows us to replace Insight. The only current option is to keep insight and export points via BACnet which allows points to be seen but not much else. I know Niagara AX and know there would be a good market, the part I'm missing is figuring out how to decode P2. Every time I have tried to figure out P2 the bytes seem jumbled

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