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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    73

    Cool Lonworks vs Siemens

    I have Siemens now running my larger HVAC and lighting with 23 MBC's and lots of DPU's and TEC's . In the future I will have a central ice plant to cool 3 new 4-story buildings and eventually the entire college where i work. The people at the top want to use Lonworks for the central plant and some other control system that will interface with my current Siemens EMS. The powers that be say we are favoring one control system while spending public money. Has anyone encountered any major problems with Lonworks and interfacing two EMS control systems? I still have time to try and head this off and remain 100% Siemens if I can raise major objections to going with Lonworks.

  2. #2
    Absolutely no reason not to go Lonworks. Lots of reasons to not to stay with Siemens.

    But the real issue is that you need to pick a front end system. Typically some Tridium Niagara based system would be great as many people can work on it and tying in LON would be easy. There are Siemens drivers available from some people that work with Tridium so you can interface your existing system.

    Why the urge to stay with such an ultra-proprietary system?

    UCLA? CSULB? LA Trade Tech? LA Harbor College?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    73

    siemens vs lonworks

    outacontrol,

    I guess the answer to why stay Siemens is more of a matter of familiarity. I was thinking that it might be double trouble to go with two control systems and an interface. We are to have a lot of equipment to control and the most critical being the central plant with glycol centrifugals, ice storage tanks, control valves, cooling towers, etc. will be under the control of new control system. I'm just much more comfortable with Siemens and I don't how a Lonworks interface would work. However Siemens is very expensive ($700 for a power module) and during a recent campus wide network crash, I had lost confidence in Siemens service techs until finally a tech was dispatced who instinctively knew what was wrong but this was after two other techs had failed miserably. Can you briefly describe how a Lonworks system might interface with my existing Siemens system? My existing system control HVAC and lighting.

  4. #4
    I'm not going to pretend like it's cheap or simple. But I know it has been done - I have seen it. I will check with the person who did it tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    You have a couple options. Either "fold" in the Lonworks with a Siemens front end or interface at the supervisory level with OPC or a gateway from somebody like Loytec or Fieldserver.

    The fact that it's a central plant localizes the installation. I don't think the gateway costs would be out of line. Planning upgrades of the unitary controllers would take some more planning but if you have availability with Ethernet you can motor around that easily enough also.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northeast USA
    Posts
    77
    Lonworks is not a brand and Tridium is not LNS based (meaning proprietary).

    The more important choice to make is finding a good controls installer/integrator to do the work. This topic has been beaten on repeatedly on this forum. There are plenty of controls guys who can do open Lon AHU's and VAV's but complex central plant operations requires a higher skill set. Solving that requirement and keeping an open Lonworks system may be a challenge.

    When you do a gateway to an exsiting system there is always some functionality that is lost so be prepared for that as well.
    Last edited by davetec; 02-14-2008 at 11:54 AM. Reason: spelling
    You lost your dongle!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Float'N Vally, MS
    Posts
    1,853
    Quote Originally Posted by davetec View Post

    When you do a gateway to an exsiting system there is always some fucntionality that is lost so be prepared for that as well.
    AMEN!

    We have a system that is WAYY larger than yours!
    There is problems with gateways to "others", they loose communications, no mapped properly and when there are problems everyone stands around and points fingers at each other. If your guys are familar with Seimens stay with that. It will be easier to add or change things after this project get's up and running (and you will need to).
    Life is too short, Behappy!
    TFMM

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mount Airy, MD
    Posts
    7,281
    Tridium is a multi protocol adapter, escentually. That allows a single front end to communicate whatever protocol to whatever protocol.

    We have several Siemens systems integrated with Lon, Bacnet, Modbus, etc. works great, its simple and it allows for endless options, without being stuck with a particular company or manufacture.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northeast USA
    Posts
    77
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Worthingt View Post
    Tridium is a multi protocol adapter, escentually. That allows a single front end to communicate whatever protocol to whatever protocol.

    We have several Siemens systems integrated with Lon, Bacnet, Modbus, etc. works great, its simple and it allows for endless options, without being stuck with a particular company or manufacture.
    This is a face value question, not a slam. Does Tridium/Siemens integration provide all the functionality that a Siemens front end would provide?
    You lost your dongle!

  10. #10
    Koolncali,

    If Siemens is still giving you good response and service stay with Siemens only. Are you familiar with Lonworks? I have installed, programmed and used both Lonworks & Siemens extensively (among other control systems). And in my preferences, Siemens by far is the easiest to learn and work with, where as Lonworks, pending on the plugin’s is the most advanced (time consuming) and the most difficult to master & use. All other control systems fall in between in my experience -thus far.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mount Airy, MD
    Posts
    7,281
    Davetec,

    Absolutely it does, it does not replace the logic, nor alters the logic in the Siemens/whatever field device, it just interacts with the NV'S IE, a command is given from the Jace or another device on another protocol and translates it to a message that the Siemens/whatever device understands and vise versa.

    My kids can operate the systems I design. There are No limitations to what Tridium provides. "If" you can think it, Dream it, you can make it happen using Tridium, period.

    What happens "when" you become dissatisfied Siemens or whom ever else for that matter? are you going to have multiple frontend's on one campus?

    That's just silly, why not have something that gives you virtually endless options??

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    9,564
    Why wouldn't you consider Tridium an internal gateway box?
    It has to be with multiple protocols.

    Further, it is it's own framework. There aren't multiple vendors out there with their version of a Tridium box talking "tridium-speak".

    Therefore it isn't much different than the Siemens front end.

    If the customer wants to open up competition than aren't they really having to shop pricing on controllers with their programming tools on an open protocol? To do that I haven't seen any bacnet controllers available wholesale and retail, but you can buy Lonworks controllers that way from any industry, HVAC, lights, etc...

    If he can shop the controllers and install the stuff in his Siemens package that's not the worst thing. If he wants a LNS Lonworks network with plugins gated or web services to access it that's not the end of the world either.

    Wouldn't moving to Tridium open up a whole new layer of things to deal with?

    Who has done a Siemens front end changeover to Tridium that can comment?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mount Airy, MD
    Posts
    7,281
    Tridium is multi-lingual, Tridium has multiple vendors and yes Tridium would open up other things to deal with, Options............ and lots of them.

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