Trane Tracer Summit guru questions from a wrench slinger
LONG THREAD.....if you do not care to read it, then do not respond. I am in need of Trane Control experts input.
I compare the world of HVAC/R to the army. To win a war you need more than the simple guy in the trenches with a gun, behind the scenes to protect his ass you have the geek squad, a whole group of people collecting intel, working communications, and monitoring the battle field for possible danger making sure that grunt is safe.
In this industry, when it comes to large commercial sites, I find myself and other wrench slingers as the guys in the trenches and I compare the Geek Squad to the elite group of guys directing me to where the conflict is. On large sites utilizing building automation controls, no single person can do everything, takes a team to tackle a job.
With that said, two years ago I took over a new account. A basic 3 story building utilizing a 75 ton Ipak packaged unit on the roof feeding 38 VAV boxes through-out the building.
On the control side, I have never had an issue, it was the Ipak unit that a previous company goobered up and I was called in to fix that mess.
Now I am dealing with some control issues. I called out my local Trane specialists and it has become a "he said" "she said" finger pointing game internally between their salesman and the techs that have come out and it has left me utterly confused.
Other than these local Trane specialists, I have no one in my area I can turn to, to get a second and third opinion to clear up some things.
So I am coming here.
I will start with what is currently installed:
Software: Tracer/Summit Version 11 (installed on a desk-top tucked in a phone room)
a single wire runs from this computer through the wall into the boiler room and is attached to the Ethernet card installed on to.....the BCU
Serial# E99B09089 "Blue Board" REV 4
P7 Slot Card part# 50100757 REV 7 "COMM 4 card)
P8 Slot Card part# 50100737 REV 5 "COMM 3 card)
Total of 38: VCWE (hot water coil) VariTrane/VariTrac VAV boxes of varying cfm (type with the long jack screw). Each box contains a DDC UCM II control board. Each VAV is controlled by an X13510558 zone senor (thumbwheel with an ON and CANCEL button, only). Each VAV has a three-way TRANE water valve tied back to the boiler system.
In addition to the BCU in the boiler room is the following:
TCM (Thermostat Control Module):
Tracer PCM (Programmable Control Module) 20 point PCM, does not utilize the display or keypad option.
As for what the TCM and PCM are for, I do not know. I assume one is to link all the VAV boxes and zone sensors to the BCU and I believe the other was SUPPOSE to operate/monitor the boiler plant.
So here is my issue:
Trane system was installed in 1998. Other than the rooftop unit having some mechanical issues over the years, replacing a water valve actuator at a particular VAV or two, and replacing a zone sensor that got whacked the building automation system has basically been problem free. Maybe a few times a year, I may actually fire-up the desk top running the software and look at alarms or issues, but other than that, never make adjustments.
Even though there are graphics in the computer for the boiler plant, the boiler plant was never integrated into the Trane system. Not sure why, there are pressure and temperature sensors installed, RUB1C relays installed on the pumps and both boilers, but for some reason, and I do not know why, none of it is being utilized. Boilers are running on there own accord.
About a year ago, I noticed the system generated an alarm stating loss of communication to VB10. Checked operation of VB10 (VAV# 10) and it will still operate off of the zone sensor, just can not see via the computer what it is doing.....okay, no big deal, just a bunch of question marks on the screen, will survive. A few months later dropped in after working in rooftop unit and found the same thing with VB26....same deal as VB10. No concern on my part, just again, bunch of question marks on the screen, but zone sensor is operating that VAV just fine.
Talked with the owner of the building and advised that I think it is time to have Trane come by and just take a peek at the system. It has been probably 10 years since the control side of things have been looked at. Got the okay and called Trane and explained that I just need a controls service guy to come on out and check out the building, just some TLC, and get communication back up for VB10 and VB26.
Trane sends a guy and I meet him. The guy is not a tech or serviceman, he is their main commercial controls SALES guy. Okay, no problem, obviously knows what he is doing. Well, I get some big sales pitch about some new fancy software, I think it is called the SC Program, this would require gutting about everything and installing some new SC Module, Legacy Device Bridge, UC6000 boiler control, web-based, etc.
I advised that all I need is some spit and polish on this older car, do not need an entire ground up over-haul.
Advised to call the office and ask for a service ticket to be opened and send a service guy out?
I thought that is what I did originally?
So he leaves and a week later I get a GREAT service guy, really down to earth and old school controls person. He patiently takes the time to walk the system.
He has the following diagnostics and suggestions:
1) Need to replace the UCM boards on the two VAV boxes that are not communicating.
2) No need for the SC software, he can either upgrade the version 11 software to version 16 for free with service paks, or we can pay to upgrade to version 17.
3) Found that there are two VAV boxes that the jack-screw are missing entirely, suggests upgrading those two VAVs (VB7 and VB2) with a new damper kit that mounts to the original box.
4) Need to integrate the boilers to the system.
He makes all the notes and list of things and will email me a proposal.
Well, a few days later I get the proposal, from the original sales rep, which is to install the SC software, add the upgraded controls, replace UCM boards, and install new dampers.
I email him back and ask why the SC software license and all the new stuff...just stick with what his service guy and I talked about...simple as that. Please re-write the proposal and itemize everything.
Advised back that the BCU "Blue Board" can not be utilized with the new UC6000 boiler control. Asked why we can not utilize the VIRGIN boiler control and the existing sensors to integrate the boiler plant?
All I get is sales pitch after sales pitch.
I trust the service guy and felt like he understood that even though this building is operating on 1998 to 2000 Trane technology, that other than a few dings and dents, things can be buffed. I am being told by the saleman that this is not the case.
I just can not win, every time I have one of these guys come out, I am paying them to do nothing but internally bicker about things....feels like the US Congress.
So in a nut shell,
What is going on here?
What would you guys do if you walked in on this building?
Why the strong sales pitch for the SC software, prepacked computer?
Why can I not just have the software upgraded to version 16 for free or even pay for the version 17? Hell, I will supply the new computer if they need it.
Why can't the boiler plant simply be integrated with what is already there? I realize there will be programming time and labor and even the possibility of adding some new sensors, but why an entire new control module?
I am swimming in a whirlpool of visits by Trane to the building and just can not get anyone to agree on what simply needs to be done. Ross Perot, once talked about potholes in a street, he explained that it is not hard for some one to stop by with a shovel of hot asphalt and fill the hole. Instead it takes a month of town council meetings, permits, road closures, and budget accounting to finally figure out how to fill that hole......I just need a guy with a shovel and some asphalt to get this job done!
Trane. Enough said. Locally they are impossible to deal with as well. I have a 1988 ish building with Trane controls. Some comm problems. Same BS. Wouldn't even hook up to the old system to see what's going on. No front end here, I just use a serial cable to get access to some line by line menus on the controllers. Wouldn't talk about parts availability, back wards comparability, selling me old software, or even new software with new controls for me to install. Apparently I'm not a vendor of theirs so I can't. So I put in something else.
As for your problem, I don't see why you can't fix up what you have. If the boiler controls can't be finished, because they forgot how or whatever the case may be, and they don't want to play nice, then put in controls from someone you can work with. Doesn't have to be Trane stuff. I would do the minimum you need to with them and start changing the stuff over to a vendor that is helpful.
I have seen the newest Trane stuff and it seems very nice. Simple and capable. But the juice isn't worth the squeeze, if you know what I mean.
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Hey slctech! I think I can help. First a little back story.....A lot of Trane offices are sending sales people first. Especially if the building hasn't had anyone from Trane on it in years. This is for a couple reasons, first to do the exact thing they are pulling with you which is to get a proposal in your hand. Most likely also because its the tail end of summer any they're backed up....combined with the fact a controls service tech that has legacy experience is hard to come by. I was the last of the "old guys" in my district when I bailed out in 2013. Oh and by the way GCC(global controls and contracting in St. Paul) hasn't supported legacy in about 5 years so all support for existing installs was at the local level. Lest I digress any further....The controls guy you had onsite was absolutely correct, you can upgrade a V11 to V16 for free, if you can still find a Pre V13 upgrade kit because it had an authorization code on the envelope. Any versions of Summit prior to V13 used the job S/N for an auth code in your case likely a number like (E98Axxx). V13 and later used the locking code from the PC plus an authcode (eg. E1111-12345-ABCDE) to generate a license file. I can get you a copy of V16 and service packs but authorization codes are going to be a bi**h to get. Now to the bad VAV boards, yes they fail over time they're just old. The boiler likely wasn't ever intended to be fully "integrated". Trane had a standard that included Supply/Return temps and a start stop relay controlled by outside air temp. That was it, they relied on the internal boiler controls to stage and for all the safeties. I can send you an outdoor air enable CPL to download also if you need it. The boards from trane parts for the VAVs is a BRD2803 btw...just grab how ever many and replace wire for wire and make sure the dip switches are set the same for addressing and you'll be good to go. If you need any more info or any parts(yes i have a crap load of PCMs, a BCU etc.....hell I even have an SC if you want it. Wouldn't recommend it though lol. Shoot me an email if you need anything and I will reply with my contact info. Probably shouldn't post my number here....the paparazzi is no joke ;-)
Calder.....just sent you an email.
Originally Posted by Calder
Do you happen to have a Tracer Summit System Programming guide available? I am stuck with integrating a Trane system, replacing the BMTX with Niagara, and am looking for any programming that might communicate data between rooftop units and VAVs, which look like pressure-dependent zoning system dampers, with "flow" setpoints shown as percentage.
Same ole song and dance!
1) Need to replace the UCM boards on the two VAV boxes that are not communicating.Yup
2) No need for the SC software, he can either upgrade the version 11 software to version 16 for free with service paks, or we can pay to upgrade to version 17.I would add NO NEED to upgrade Tracer Summit. All you have is a RTU and some VAV's.
3) Found that there are two VAV boxes that the jack-screw are missing entirely, suggests upgrading those two VAVs (VB7 and VB2) with a new damper kit that mounts to the original box.They are old! you'll have that
4) Need to integrate the boilers to the system.Integrate the old PCM to BCU easily. If really needed
As you stated you very rarely even start up Summit so the system works pretty good as is. I am sure you could find some energy conservation somewhere in the control system.
My only input is that the BTMS may be on it last legs (replacement not CHEAP), PCMs are pretty bullet proof except for the fact of replacements.
Upgrading to SC and BTMB maybe in the future so may want to talk to the building owner about budgeting for it, there is a life span on everything.
Beware of the prophet trying to make a profit.
There is less oxygen from knee level to the floor! Check it out next time you tie your boots.
Buy the VAV Boards from Trane and get some Spares. Get a 120 VAC x 24 VAC Transformer and put a plug on it. Call and request your favorite service tech. Have him program the boards in the VAV Boxes. Then program the spare boards by powering them up with the transformer. All you'll have to do to replace one is change the dip switches for the address.
I love an good SC upgrade but a BAS R'Newal to a BMTX might be a more cost effective solution.
Originally Posted by qtip
dont worry what people think, they dont do it often
are you giving that SC away for free?????
Originally Posted by Calder
dont worry what people think, they dont do it often