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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Field Controllers with Niagara AX and 4

    Hello,

    I was reading in this spyder programming thread and noticed a couple of people recommending to not use the spyder controllers.

    I've been AX certified since 2008 but have really never used it. I just recently took the online N4 certification, but was left with more questions than understanding. I'm not new to controls by any means, but was wondering what other options people are using (not locked down to dealers) for field level controllers. I just recently left my former employer that rhymes with rain, and the new place that I'm at is looking at using the Vykon line. I'm really not sure what field level controllers to use, or really what all the options are. Any help would be appreciated. I'm sure that once I start working with the JACE I'll have plenty of questions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    London
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    Spyders are pretty good. They are reliable and pretty competitively priced BUT... they can be and usually are a complete pain in the rear end! To many moans to go through but most people's issues are not enough AO's, they don't use the kitcontrol palette, to get the best use out of them the Spyder jars need to be put into the Jace, but the jars are pretty massive. The controllers run their program a little slowly. Live value debug through the Jace is often un-useable. Downloading through the Jace is long... Can go on and on.

    I quite like the Distech line. Their stuff is really good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    I second the Distech recommendation. Our shop is Distech, but we have guys with experience in various other control lines, and the overall view is that Distech is really one of the top options. Honeywell gets you name recognition, but with a bit of effort you can convince engineers to accept alternates. Distech's option for built in displays in the controller makes stand alone systems easy to sell and setup. The new IP based controllers offers some interesting opportunities as well. VAV style controller have a lower cost reduced point count option for simpler systems. Factor in that both LON and BACnet are available, and you have a really versatile product line.

    My only gripe (this isn't exclusive to Distech) is that the communicating room type sensors require RJ-45 type connections now. Control bids can be pretty competitive, and having to pull new wiring when perfectly good 3 conductor or even thermostat cable is installed really sucks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Your options for lines without dealer lock in are pretty limited. Even Distech is now mainly a dealer only line. What is available without lock in is stuff nobody has heard of and getting rolling in the market will take serious effort. This is especially true if your company has little or no history in controls.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    To orion242's point, you will be hard pressed to find something of any reputation that isn't sold through a dealer. Going direct will obviously get you better pricing, but any of the big and medium names will expect quite a bit of volume which isn't particularly feasible if you are starting out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    USA
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    And that's assuming you can get a territory with someone to start with. Its a total PITA to start from nothing these days. Almost all the lines and areas have established dealers and will not allow another. Whats left isn't all that great. If you have no history in controls, alot of MEs won't touch you. Establish lines are not too excited to deal with companies without history either.

    As far as volume, most expect you to be pretty committed. I have never thought the volumes were unattainable, but all companies I have work for only do controls. One was a fresh startup and it had 4 guys when it started, combined 90+ years of controls experience. We had connections and reputations, but there where still many projects we were closed out of because the company existed less than 5yrs. It was a money pit for the first 3-4yrs before volumes got high enough to end up in the black consistently. A mechanical contractor that can pull in negotiated work and opens up the wallet to hire top notch guys can cut the length of this process in half or less if they have their crap together. 98% of them don't.

    Not saying its impossible. Its an uphill road to say the least and you will be on this road for 3-5yrs before things start to get roll in your favor.
    Last edited by orion242; Yesterday at 11:17 PM.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Thanks for the input and ideas. I was talking to our rep that we'll be buying the JACE through and he mentioned the Spyder ILC or whatever the designation was that meant it was available to anyone and not just a dealer. I did not like the idea of having to program the field controller through the JACE, and now that I hear you really need to load the jar files onto the JACE directly it doesn't sound very promising. I'll check into the Distech stuff, but I'm sure you're right about them already having a dealer in our market. Anyone use the Easy I/O stuff? If so is it any good? I hear the main complaint about them is they don't offer a small point count device. I just want to ensure that whatever we decide to use is something that I can feel comfortable pushing to our customers because I like the product and not because it's all that we have to offer.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Last I knew Easy I/O support was out of Singapore or some other far flung part of the world. Not all that great when something doesn't work, customer is up your butt, and you need solutions now...not in the middle of the night when they are around. Constantly chasing the time zones.

    Never seen them in the market myself.

    All the ILC spyder does is allow you to program it with any jace. Its more expensive and really a joke. Far cheaper to use a webs Jace and open license that. Can't remember if webs is open by default or not, allergic to HW these days. Anyone can access it and use it to program the devices if that tickles their fancy. Spudder is sold to just about anyone with cash in hand for the most part. ILC only lines the distributors pocket. If you want to add spudder to an existing jace and program it from that jace, you need ILC. The real joke is programming them from a jace is painfully slow to the point its almost useless. Most use workbench running on their PCs to do it and only add the jars to satisfy a spec requirement.
    Last edited by orion242; Yesterday at 11:53 PM.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

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