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  1. #1

    Andover Continuum Questions

    Any thoughts on Andover Controls Continuum as it compares to other BACnet lines. This is not as a comparison to LON lines.

    Here are my questions:
    1)Is it a good overall product?

    2)Is it priced right - hardware/software? Is it competitive in smaller applications?

    3)How about support and training from TAC?

    4)Does it integrate well with other BACnet lines?

    5)Any thoughts on the controls and security combined system jobs? Does this provide good leverage in the market place?

    6)Does it have a good web interface? Is it expensive?


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    No replies.

    I guess the saids it all about the line.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Halifax Nova Scotia
    Posts
    22

    TAC Bacnet

    guess I should have checked the site sooner!

    I work with andover daily - service and programming - and its and awesome product: using plain english programming, if you can speak it, you can program it. I personally have never used bacnet to program a site (our more experineced tech did that) but have worked on sites that use both their propriatary product and bacnet product to interface with chillers, leiberts, etc. From a single front end, complete with a webserver, you can have an entire building where the lighting, cameras, access control, and hvac work together AND have that same system communicate using various protocols (bacnet mstp, bacnet IP, modbus, lon) to other pieces of equipment in the building. Last year we installed controls in 30 greenhouses with a single front end PC and the controllers communicate wirelessly - the cost of the wireless controllers saved the customer alot of money since cabling did not have to be run underground in conduit. The limit seems to be the abilities of the tech programming it since TAC seems to have a solution/product/peripheral for every occasion. Their product lines and peripherals are extensive.

    I also use the Reliable Controls product line - a solid product (bacnet or proprietary) as well but, for now, limited to primarily HVAC.

    As for a completely integrated building using TAC - yes, they have everything required to do so and then some. According to our estimator for one project, such a solution (cameras, hvac, lighting, card access) could have saved the client 10 000 + on one building as opposed to separate hardware & software for security system, camera system, HVAC system, etc. The trouble in our area seems to be convincing the consultants.

    Is it worth looking into? - yes but it does require a higher training level and skill set from your techs and they do provide very extensinsive training courses.

    Gord.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Fargo, ND
    Posts
    23

    Andover

    We have had nothing but problems. Dont know if it is the controls or the programer. Took them off our bid list.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Amarillo by mornin'
    Posts
    850
    Been in HVAC in Dallas for over 10 years. Not as long as many other guys but long enough to see a few things. By far, hands down the Andover rep and/or product that I have seen here is the worst in the area. Just trying to get service for long time customers is like raising the dead. Maybe its just the company that is here in town.

  6. #6

    I agree with GSavage

    I have been intimate with Siemens Apogee (formerly Landis and Staefa, formerly Landis and Gyr, formerly Powers, etc), Johnson Controls Metasys and Andover Continuum for serveral years now.
    I currently have a new co-gen plant on a 50 story and a new hospital running on Andover and it is a great product.
    GSavage makes the important point. The Tech.
    Andover, Like Apogee, requires plain english programming. You must write sentences for everthing that happens.
    There are a limited number of individuals that can reliably do this, taking into consideration all of the things that must be considered to orchestrate a central plant for example.
    Adding security to the mix is even more difficult as most companies do one or the other.
    As a product though, it is probably the best that you can get right now for the price. Everyone is changing gears with the technology.
    TAC will also be changing gears in the near future but claims that they will continue to support this capable yet under rated line.

    Good luck on your research.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Halifax Nova Scotia
    Posts
    22
    not to start anything here, but:

    xarralu - that sounds like a contractor/rep problem

    crons - IMHO, when you strip away the bells and whistles, most controllers regardless of the mfg, are very similar (user interface and "learning curve" not included - some mfg's just use better hardware and better design. I think 20% is the hardware and 80% is the capabilites, skill, training, aptitude and attitude of the programmer, installers, and those performing the commissioning.

    Issues like these should be directed to TAC - I'd be surprised if they didn't look into it. No manufacturer wants to be painted with the same brush as a bad contractor.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    What? Who? Where?
    Posts
    1,651
    1)Is it a good overall product? Yes

    2)Is it priced right - hardware/software? Is it competitive in smaller applications? No

    3)How about support and training from TAC? Training=Yes Support=No

    4)Does it integrate well with other BACnet lines? Maybe

    5)Any thoughts on the controls and security combined system jobs? Does this provide good leverage in the market place? Yes

    6)Does it have a good web interface? Is it expensive? ? Don't know

    Been working with it for 2 years now, last year and rest of this year on a huge 40+ building project. For large complicated project probably the best product out there, small and medium projects don't appear to be cost effective. I have seen it integrate well into a Delta system and Carrier chillers and integrate badly to a couple of Trane systems.

    kontrol out
    "Open is as open does." - Forrest Gump
    "Can't we all just get a Lon?" - Garry Jack
    "BACnet: integration or interrogation?" - The Janitor
    "Open protocols? You can't handle open protocols!" - Nathan R. Jessup
    “What’s that? Aaa… open protocols? Don’t talk about…. open protocols? Are you kidding me? Open protocols? I just hope we can hardwire an interface!” - Jim Mora http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7fjDS0jKiE

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Moyock ,nc
    Posts
    67
    I have been working with TAC for ten years,first two running SX-8000 then upgraded to continnum I have`nt had many problems i belive if the programs are written properly and the reps. are knowledgable,should be ok. I did find one problem one time the way the lighting program was written for the schedual it was pulsing the logic chip and over heating it.This is what my rep. said I found the problem by shooting the chips with infer red therm.Ithen disabled the out put the chip cooled down.I did this after replacing one board that failed.They then re-wrote the program no more problems.
    Last edited by lawrencep; 04-24-2008 at 10:48 AM. Reason: lousy grammer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Under the sea
    Posts
    229

    Andover Is NOT for Wimps

    I agree with Kontrol and savage. I've worked with Andover since the early 90s.

    The Hardware is tough as nails, and the software has limitless power.
    I maintain a site with over 120 buildings networked to one file server that has just about every Andover product ever made. Not many systems on the market can even think about a controller network this size. For small jobs this kind of power is overkill.

    I have another client that has AC4+4's and AC256's he wont upgrade because they work too well. I replaced one power supply for him in that last 10 years.

    Just my opinion

    Auto

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Halifax Nova Scotia
    Posts
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by AutoPilot View Post
    I have another client that has AC4+4's and AC256's he wont upgrade because they work too well. I replaced one power supply for him in that last 10 years.

    Just my opinion

    Auto
    That's the problem with the ac256 era controllers - they built them too damn good. I still have a several sites with it and, except for the occasional memory loss (some backup batteries were soldered in) its still running. Unfortunately, its getting harder to find replacement controllers and to provide support for them. Some of these controllers have been in continuous operation for 15+ years.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by GSavage View Post
    That's the problem with the ac256 era controllers - they built them too damn good. I still have a several sites with it and, except for the occasional memory loss (some backup batteries were soldered in) its still running. Unfortunately, its getting harder to find replacement controllers and to provide support for them. Some of these controllers have been in continuous operation for 15+ years.
    Well, 15 years is a good run. I would think that it is time to sell them some new stuff.
    Remember, money is like fertilizer. Put it in a pile and it stinks like s**t. Spread it around and it makes things grow.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Halifax Nova Scotia
    Posts
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC-DDC-Guy View Post
    Well, 15 years is a good run. I would think that it is time to sell them some new stuff.
    Remember, money is like fertilizer. Put it in a pile and it stinks like s**t. Spread it around and it makes things grow.
    try to explain that to a bean counter in charge of the purse strings. They seem to be of the opinion that they don't need to spend money on a new system if their old one is still working - even with the knowledge that their old system may soon have a catastrophic failure. We have recommended to all clients with these old systems that they need to consider replacing it in a controlled, systematic manner. Guess they don't seem to mind being told "I told you so".

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