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  1. #27
    I'm actually applying around northern Virginia area (Johnson Controls, etc) most of them require more than 5 years of experience.... Meantime, Do you know some good basic literature and/or online classes to start preparing and educating myself? Thank you!

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    USA
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    1,449
    So many want in controls and so many companies have a hard time finding controls people. Controls programmer candidates fail to make it 95% of the time. I was in the same predicament as many here are. I had several years of hvac under my belt and a degree in information tech. We did not have a controls department, only had a few techs that knew controls and would not share or teach. I decided to apply at another company as a service tech but that company had a controls department. I told them my situation and my goals. Spent the next 3 years as a service tech and ran controls service calls here and there. Lots of patience, self training as you are doing and some company paid training has helped fill in the gaps. Now I find myself looking for others that want to do the same.
    BTW 5 years as a helper, 8 years as a tech and 5 years in controls = there are no short cuts to experience, I am still learning.
    "It's always controls"

  3. #29
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    Start with the gray manual by Honeywell.
    "It's always controls"

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    83
    We either have to grow our own or steal from a competitor to get someone with the right mindset. skwsproul is correct when he states the high failure rate of people trying to make it. We even had a manufactures tech support guy come to work for us but he could never get the contracting part done and get the projects finished. Very smart guy and talented but could not finish without constant oversight. Someone who is a great software guy who knows nothing about the equipment he is trying to control will not be a good technician / programmer.

  5. #31
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by catalina_mike View Post
    We either have to grow our own or steal from a competitor to get someone with the right mindset. skwsproul is correct when he states the high failure rate of people trying to make it. We even had a manufactures tech support guy come to work for us but he could never get the contracting part done and get the projects finished. Very smart guy and talented but could not finish without constant oversight. Someone who is a great software guy who knows nothing about the equipment he is trying to control will not be a good technician / programmer.
    Just got back from a Honeywell conference and they gave a statistic that 92% of companies struggle to grow due to the inability to find talented employees.

    Everyone sees the guy who shows up with a lap top and thinks that's what they want to do. They do not see the amount of work that it takes to be that guy. I encourage those here to go after it, just know that it is a lot of work and sacrifice.

    Do yourself a favor and be a strong hvac. Believe it or not reading these forums at night is a good sign.

    Gray manual, a pneumatics class, hvac knowledge and an ax certification will go a long way.
    "It's always controls"

  6. #32
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    Nov 2006
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    Southeastern Pa
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    Quote Originally Posted by skwsproul View Post
    Gray manual, a pneumatics class, hvac knowledge and an ax certification will go a long way.
    That would be easy if they let you sign up for the cert without working for one of their "partners."
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  7. #33
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    Jan 2005
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    That would be easy if they let you sign up for the cert without working for one of their "partners."
    Mov training will at least train you, not sure on the cert.
    "It's always controls"

  8. #34
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    Nov 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by skwsproul View Post
    Mov training will at least train you, not sure on the cert.
    I have the pre-cert CD from the Tridium folks. Is that what you mean?

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    47
    To skwsproul's point, MOV may be the way to go. There were several end users in the class I attended, and while they were ineligible for certification, they got the exact same training as the rest of us. And, Vern is one of the very best (if not the best) technical instructors I have ever had the pleasure to learn from.

    http://www.movtraining.com/

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
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    12,077
    I am not an HVAC controls guy, however slowly creeping into it. I do Refrigeration EMS controls, and in particular 3 to 4 major proprietary systems. I have done just about it all with these systems. These systems are great beginner steps. There is enough information available, plenty of tech support, fundamentally basic in nature. These systems can have issues with firmware stuff, network stuff, file type stuff, but very little compared to the integration guys on here, and all the hvac stuff where legacy equipment is brought up to modern revisions and what not. This is an important thing to understand, and if your not distinguishing this, your not capturing the entire appreciation of the talent required. I am just now starting to play around in greater depth outside my comfort zone of what I have done and it's just crazy what is left to learn.

    So you have the basics in commercial and industrial refrigeration controls. The business end of the matter. Sensors, relays, actuators, contacts. Inputs and Outputs. Inverters. End devices. And generally all canned logic, where you just tell the controller, this is what this device is, and this is how I want you to control it, and your limited by what the controller has to offer you in it's options and all the guru magic stuff was already pre programmed logic. Many guys in my industry call this programming, and it is and it isn't. Your not creating the logic, the sequence, the process to control the thing your trying to control. Your ability to know all of which the controller can do, what it's limits are, what it's options are, and what can it use as devices and how is about the length at which you go. But the reason why I think this is great beginner stuff is, it puts you in motion, it gets you on the ground running. It begins the imprinting on you on how things work, do, go.

    When you start jumping into the HVAC side, now you have to start getting much deeper. But it's just the next step up. You start with the same canned proprietary stuff in the HVAC BAS, such as your Trane and what not. Then you move onto deeper level stuff that you start to develop the sequence of operation yourself. You actually program, hey I want this relay to turn on when this value rises above x, I want it to shut off when it falls to x and I want it to be at 50% in the middle of the 2 x'. This is a step beyond the canned stuff. At this depth, your not necessarily writing code, but you are definitely now thinking on your own about process. And this is where the real mechanics who have had years of service experience can be so valuable. You know what will flood out a compressor. You know what happens when this or that doesn't take place. So as you begin to think about how you want the controllers sequence of operation to be with a certain process, your years of mechanical service experience pay dividends. Guys who do this level of programming, who don't have that, it has always baffled me how they do their job.

    But then as you get into integration, this is the stuff of gurus. I have mad respect for the guys who do this. They take 3 or 4 propitiatory systems, They also did some systems they did the logic for and then they join them all together in one fluid cohesive system using the Niagara stuff. This is where I want to be in 10 years.

    So. What did I do to start? I am just a guy who won't be denied. I am 39. I got going about 10 years ago just lightly jumping in. Working for a refrigeration contractor who does nothing but supermarkets, you can't help but find yourself touching this stuff. So it's just sitting there waiting for a guy to make love to it. Most guys I worked with, they would stay as far away as possible. I would spend hours looking at this new magic box. I began to perform service calls that were a failure of the system as a malfunction of the controls. So every day I have gotten my a$$ kicked, I was at home and on the internet studying, going in the next day and applying what I learned. The company started to leverage my ever increasing skill set to begin installing the ems side of a refrigeration project, our competition was jumping in also. And away you go, learning and doing and learning and doing. I found it easy to get in. Now after this period, this is the advantage. I know what I don't know. So now I work on those weak skills. And this makes me more prepared for the next day. The next job. This is not for wussies. You have to be willing to step into a world you may not be completely aware of, and have the determination to learn what you don't know. I will not rest till I figure something out. I have been on such stupid little issues that take me a week to crack. During that time, I am in a mania. Up in the middle of night studying, reading, trying. I am blowing up my phone network of experts I know, I am a wreck. At the end of it, once solved, guess what? I know that trick now. I know how to do that thing.

    This is what guys who don't do controls don't understand. They see a guy with pocket screwdriver and a laptop and a cable hooked to a box, and maybe they are not dirty that day. They have no idea, no idea, no fuggeeeen idea how behind the scenes, how much work and how much dedication and sacrafice goes into the real work.

  11. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dowadudda View Post
    They have no idea, no idea, no fuggeeeen idea how behind the scenes, how much work and how much dedication and sacrafice goes into the real work.
    Maybe they have no fuggeeen idea because they are stunods.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

    AOP Forum Rules:







  12. #38
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    Jul 2000
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    Dallas,Texas
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    Hey many Ds. Where in this vast Republic did you land? Might I run accross you one day and not know it?

  13. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
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    I work for Source here in Dallas. For 4 more days. This ole boy is going home to Michigan. Been here for 2 years, live in Rockwall.

    I got called by my old employer several months ago, sat on the idea for a month and just 2 weeks ago flew up and we agreed I would come back. I am really happy about it. I only left cause things were just so slow. The shop I am going back to is like family and good owners and really talented guys. Things are getting better for them and I just could not say no, really really pleased.

    Home is home. And this was a tough 2 years for us. Worked a lot. Got out of debt, got our $hit straight.

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