Cons to using JACE panels?
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  1. #1

    Cons to using JACE panels?

    I'm doing some research on controls, and would like to know any cons to using a JACE panel? I've seen all kinds of positive information listed about Tridium's Niagara framework, and using JACE panels, but nothing is perfect.

    Is anyone aware of any shortcomings with the design of the JACE panel? What are some of the cons, and why?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    No, its not perfect, your right about nothing being perfect.
    Cons? Lon Purist will say that the JACE is not part of the Flat Lon Architecture, and utilizes a LNS Database...
    Personally I do not care, as I think the positive features Niagara offers far outweight the positive aspects of LNS based systems.

    However, as one whom works with Tridium, and also has the privilage to do beta testing. I can tell you that they are more than responsive to suggestions, and actually request suggestions. Give them a good solid suggestion and they make it happen, period.
    Tech support is second to none, if your question is more than the tech support channel can handle, it gets passed to the person(s) whom created/coded/etc... the portion that is in question, not some person sitting in India with a manual giving you their best guess...

    The great thing about it, is that it works well for both the standard programmer who wants to drag-n-drop, etc... as well as the programmer who wants to be able to create their own programs/appliances/softwares, etc... that work within the enviroment.

    BUT, its Cons you want... Hmm... I will have to think hard about that one...
    “It is impossible for one to learn what one thinks they already know"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glazedham42 View Post
    I'm doing some research on controls, and would like to know any cons to using a JACE panel? I've seen all kinds of positive information listed about Tridium's Niagara framework, and using JACE panels, but nothing is perfect.

    Is anyone aware of any shortcomings with the design of the JACE panel? What are some of the cons, and why?

    Thanks!
    • Price.
    • Licensing and requirements (sales).
    • Doesn't function well in a flat Lonworks architecture.
    • Throughput on the LON control side with it's FT-10 interface is constrained.
    • Architecture constraints.


    Shortly you will be seeing more serious competition to Tridium with better pricing and no licensing requirements.

    Granted, they have enjoyed a head start and seem to have a nice interface.
    Last edited by sysint; 09-17-2007 at 04:41 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sysint View Post
    • Price.
    • Licensing and requirements (sales).
    • Doesn't function well in a flat Lonworks architecture.
    • Throughput on the LON control side with it's FT-10 interface is constrained.
    • Architecture constraints.

    Shortly you will be seeing more serious competition to Tridium with better pricing and no licensing requirements.

    Granted, they have enjoyed a head start and seem to have a nice interface.
    Throughput on the LON control side with it's FT-10 interface is constrained.
    You can use an Ilon600 and do lon over IP to the Jace now.

    Architecture constraints.
    Elaborate on this please.
    Go Rangers!

  5. #5
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    We have had good successes with the product from small projects to larger projects with 40+ jaces. But its just like any other system the product is only as good as who is setting it up

  6. #6
    Bad part:

    Brutal learning curve - especially if you are learning Lon at the same time.

    Manuals are terribly written.

    Good part:

    All of the connections are through one interface - BACnet, Lonworks and Whatever your proprietary network might be - as long as the driver for it is installed and/or available.

  7. #7
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    The good:
    - If you have an existing non-web enabled control system that you like and is working well you can install Tridium and get on internet.

    - If you have numerous frontends from multiple manufactures for a price you can consolidate it all down to one frontend.

    The bad:
    - You will no longer own your entire control system, you will be charged a new licensing fee for any changes that are made.

    - If you are not very familiar with your existing control system and already have a servicing contractor, then chances are that you will have conflicts between them and Tridium. If you are completely self-reliant with your existing system and can work directly with your Tridium contractor you may not have an issue, but I had finger pointing between two Carrier offices (CCN and Carrier One) for some warranty work took weeks to get them to work together and correct it.

    - If your existing controls system already has problems Tridium is not going to correct a system that was not installed and programmed properly just going to move problems to the web.

    - The cost! In my case it was cheaper for me to rip out existing non-internet controls and install all new "web-ready" controls and now have only one manufacture to deal with.

    Disclaimer:
    My bad experience with Tridium was about five years ago so things may have changed under Honeywell.

  8. #8
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    Jace

    Tridium had a good following as seen by the comments in this thread.

    There are a few issues to consider. These will be more important to some and less to others, but they are what they are.

    1. The Tridium (AX) architecture uses proprietary routing between channels for typical jobs. This means you need to use another JACE to get information between channels. Standard LON (ANSI 709.1b) can be purchased from at least 4 independent companies and cost 1/2 to 1/8th the cost of a JACE. This is largely due to competitive pressures that a published standard brings just like using standard IP products (EtherNet switches, 802.11 WiFi etc...).

    2. Competitive issues. The Tridium architecture is now owned by Honeywell. They are building Honeywell only versions of this product architecture that is available only from Honweywell. No suprise that some of these versions will be priced below what they sell the non-Honeywell boxes to their competitors for. Web-stat and Syder programming tools are a good example of this. Also, it will be interesting to see in a year or two after the current licensing (contracts) expire that companies like Distech and JCI have with Tridium what the new contract pricing will be.

    3. The network variable binding algorithm is not very capable compared to other tools such as LNS.

    4. You can't connect to the trunk (FT-10 channel) and reconfigure a device on another channel. This is a real practical issue if you are working on a VAV box in a system and the AHU is on another channel as it might be in a large system. This is because the JACE does not route LON talk messages, it only gateway data messages like NV updates. This become more of an issue when you are diagnosing configuration/system tuning.

    5. If you share data between devices on different channels, you are not getting a true acknowledged handshake at the LonTalk protocol level. The gateway must fake out do the handshake which could lead to some issues.

    6. Due to issues 3,4,&5, you will find most jobs are wired with devices that communicate on the same channel. In smaller jobs this is not an issue. In larger jobs this means you are typically increasing your wiring costs slightly in order to run network wire in a pattern dictated by the need for communication between certain devices rather than by what is the lowest cost path between devices. Again this issue is not noticed by most users of the technology, it's just ignored or not understood.


    Even with these issues, another matter of fact good thing about Tridium, if you need to support both BACnet and LON, it can handle that. All the multi - protocol solutions are proprietary today so Tridium is not different in this.

    Another consideration is the customized programming environment. I think the new AX programming environment is a positive feature. It's more powerful thant the old one. However, some integrators have told me they don't like it though because it is Java. This is a matter of taste based on how much software / programming knowledge you have. Folks with some true software engineering or programming background will like it. Folks with more traditional HVAC programming background may prefer the old BASIC like environment in the older JACE's.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwarren View Post
    Throughput on the LON control side with it's FT-10 interface is constrained.
    You can use an Ilon600 and do lon over IP to the Jace now.
    Architecture constraints.
    Elaborate on this please.
    See (some of) above. Although, if able to utilize the ilon600, possibly they have finally worked around these issues.

    ....."another matter of fact good thing about Tridium, if you need to support both BACnet and LON, it can handle that." It will be a short period of time and their will be competing products that can handle this feature as well.

  10. #10
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    Are you planning on using an Enterprise Server?

    I'm getting ready to jump in the deep end of the Tridium pool by having a few buildings (75) converted to IA and having them all tie into an Enterprise Server. Ask me again in about 2 months if I have any additional cons or pros. Obviously, the higher ups over here have a lot of faith (and commitment) in the product.

    One of my greatest likes about a JACE is that you can have your graphics reside locally. Customize them however you want for the client and techs. If done properly, it can save a huge amount of time troubleshooting and trending.
    Some people just aren't smart enough to be stupid....

  11. #11
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    I hope you didn't jump in the deep end already. Are you aware of the following:

    1. TAC announced almost a year ago that they were developing a different product architecture to replace the Tridium stuff including there own "enterprise level" solution. I sat through a couple of presentations on this and it was clear TAC was moving away from JACE.

    2. The Invensys versions of Triduim are somewhat special and must be integrated with other Invensys versions of the JACE to get full functionality (as explained to me by a Invensys JACE guy).

    Are you currently using LonMark controllers, BACnet, or proprietary versions? This would influence you choices moving forward.



  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by damid1 View Post
    The good:
    - If you have an existing non-web enabled control system that you like and is working well you can install Tridium and get on internet.

    - If you have numerous frontends from multiple manufactures for a price you can consolidate it all down to one frontend.

    The bad:
    - You will no longer own your entire control system, you will be charged a new licensing fee for any changes that are made.
    This statement is misleading. Any Changes? Thats just not true. Name one system that gives away major upgrades in software.


    - If you are not very familiar with your existing control system and already have a servicing contractor, then chances are that you will have conflicts between them and Tridium. If you are completely self-reliant with your existing system and can work directly with your Tridium contractor you may not have an issue, but I had finger pointing between two Carrier offices (CCN and Carrier One) for some warranty work took weeks to get them to work together and correct it.
    Is this not true for any system?


    - If your existing controls system already has problems Tridium is not going to correct a system that was not installed and programmed properly just going to move problems to the web.
    Ditto

    - The cost! In my case it was cheaper for me to rip out existing non-internet controls and install all new "web-ready" controls and now have only one manufacture to deal with.
    Cheaper? It may be a good decision depending on personal choice, but cheaper? Come on man

    Disclaimer:
    My bad experience with Tridium was about five years ago so things may have changed under Honeywell.
    The Honeywell factor so far at least with the honeywell branded Jace's is taking a dark blueish path. I dont like it at all. That would be my only Con with what I have seen so far.

    Never seen the stuff Sys talks about, but it sounds pretty cool from what I read here.

  13. #13
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    Hmm JACE and iLON600

    Quote Originally Posted by sysint View Post
    See (some of) above. Although, if able to utilize the ilon600, possibly they have finally worked around these issues.

    ....."another matter of fact good thing about Tridium, if you need to support both BACnet and LON, it can handle that." It will be a short period of time and their will be competing products that can handle this feature as well.
    Actually, using a pair of iLON600s with a JACE is supported by Echelon not really Tridium. Triduim would rather sell another JACE. Echelon has supported using iLON600's configured as repeaters. Since repeaters/bridges are transparent to the 709.1 devices. the JACE doesn't see them at all. The use of the iLON600 happens because in some cases the two iLon600's cost far less than one additional JACE.

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