No experience yet, we just plan to have a training this year and do some small installations.
look before you try
Wish I wouldn't see ours. It's given our contractor alot of trouble and after a year they are still trying to get it to work right. I think the contractor has done a lot of R & D for the company that they should have done before it was released.
What kind of problems are you having? Is it a new Aspect/Matrix front end job or something else? And is it BACnet or PUP for the field devices?
I think it is because we had a sage for years and then put in new boilers and put air in more of the building. After all that a we had to get more capability so we got, I thought Aspect but then went to a Facility now. Anyway now we use Google calendar for schedualing and it doesn't always work. The programmer has pulled out most of his hair over it. I wish I knew the answer to your other questions but I don't.
Well if you had a Sage for years then you probably have PUP devices. Are there any more issues beyond the google scheduling? Personally i consider the iCal scheduling 'neat' but not a better method than others. I have used it once but set it up through Outlook on the customer's PC since they could remotely access their PC anyway.
One of the benefits of AAM controllers is that there are schedules built into each controller which is nice should the supervisor go down. I would ask them if they will add a graphical interface to access the internal schedules of the controllers if the google setup is not reliable.
Depending on the size of your facility and the types of controllers you have it should not be too time consuming to change scheduling methods. I have done it this way at a few buildings we converted from Sages and the operators take well to it since they were used to the device schedules already.
I understand your pain.
Originally Posted by dlc2cg5
One of the issues with the Matrix solution is that it is pretty much bare bones out of the box. Minimal number of pre-made solutions and aids or Wizards.
And, while I have not been to their classes, I have been working regularly with a couple of guys who have, and the word I get from them is that the classes are pretty sparse on any really useful, functional content. Just barely enough to get you to the point of being able to fumble around and start figuring it out, trial and error wise.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that after working with a couple real world installations, with LOADS of mistakes made, and lots of trial and error, and a zillion help desk calls ... they're getting the hang of it.
Recently they started a conversion on a major project, several hundred controllers, and so far its been going well. With the customers impressed with what they've seen. System response is snappy and clean. Information overload has presented no problems since the project includes the server which has more than adequate data storage capability.
So its a learning experience. Both for our guys, and for Automatrix. Keep in mind that Automatrix is a fairly small company. Which doesn't have the huge research and development facilities of some of the major players. So sometimes they produce new products, which are wonderful ideas, but which are a little rough around the edges. i.e. Tested in their labs as best they know how, and IAW how they THINK they'll be used. But that is sometimes a far cry from the conditions and expectations of real world install and application.
So its common to have this period of field testing what is essentially a Beta product, then the field feeds em back info about what's right, what's wrong, what was forgotten, etc. In my experience, they've been good about getting things fixed and corrected, improved, and so forth.
The whole Matrix platform is relatively new. And since its release there have been a ton of revisions, to fix that which did not work properly, and to add features.
I expect there will be many more.
As of right now, from what I've seen recently, a quite usable system. Especially now that a couple of our guys have got actual real world experience in deploying it and working with it. Things got off on a bumpy start, but are looking pretty good right now. This latest project, a major one like I said, seems to be going smoothly and well.
I'm still fond of the old Sages. Was kinda hoping that the Matrix system would incorporate some of the really handy utilities built into the Sages. But evidently not, so far. And old as they were, built upon what in the computer world would be ancient technology, the Sages could perform admirably. Have one in one location, for instance, which is continuously running 93 separate programs, and 116 trends, communicating with around 300 field controllers, and hasn't even broke into a sweat so far.
But that technology is aging. Trying to find the raw components to make more is becoming REALLY problematical. Technology moves on.
As far as the iCalendar thing goes, over hyped as far as I'm concerned. The customers I've talked to don't care for it.
And with both the Matrix and the AX boxes, the customers I've talked to are not too fond of relying on schedules resident in the front end. The ones experienced with having Automatrix systems over the years, have much preferred the use of the scheduling built into the controllers. They know it and understand it. And if the front end has issues or goes down, field controllers keep on doing their thing using their own internal schedules and clocks.
I have gone to sites where we made sure the vast majority of all programming is controller resident, as much as practical, and where they're using their own internal schedules, and found that the front end crashed days (or in one case about 2 weeks) before and building maintenance guy never noticed.
On many sites we've done, building maintenance personnel rarely even look at front end screens unless they actually have a problem. Pretty common for me to answer a call and get there and ask guy if he'd noticed whatever problem developing, and when that might have been. And for him to say, "Hey, I haven't even looked at those screens since a week or two ago, and then I was just changing a schedule."
Anyway, the Matrix is a work in progress. Functional, once yah get the hang of it. But the guys are just now getting enough actual hands on experience with it to actually know what they're doing and how to do it.
Price wise, its got advantages. In the installs where our guys have finally got things worked out as to how to do this or that, performance is nice. Real nice.
<Shrug> That's about as much as I know. I don't personally do Matrix setup, configuration, and programming. I've done ... ummm ... two projects that are complete, with Matrix front ends. Am currently working on a third, major project. But another guy was doing the Matrix stuff. I was there to do controller configure, programming, etc.
I know more about the Integra front ends (basically an AX type box, rebranded). I like them, a lot. Many more tools and features, fully developed. But .... the Tridium folks have had many years (a decade?) to refine and enhance ... plus being familiar with that system I'm probably prejudiced by my ignorance of the Matrix.
To be fair, there are things about the T boxes I'm not too fond of. The idea that one needs to be cautious about how much of the available "resources" you're eating up bugs me. I've worked projects where we've had to use multiple T boxes where I thought one should've been more than adequate. Projects where a Sage wouldn't have even had to try hard. Same projects could've gone Matrix, at lower cost, with lots and lots of capacity left over ... and from what I've seen so far ... snappier screen presentation and data box population.
And I like that with a Matrix installation, I can tunnel thru an IP connection to the serial comms (PUP data network) with Solopro. The latest incarnation of it. Previous tries were a bit flaky, latest revision has so far worked well for me.
As far as Automatrix field controllers go, I like em. Oh when they come out with a brand new item, I know we're probably gonna go thru a year or two of getting em debugged. Always happens. First issue will work, but will have some glitch or other, necessitating figuring out some kind of work-around. However the company has been good about paying attention to feedback and getting that stuff resolved.
And I have sites where we installed AAM stuff back in the 90's, that's still there and working. And we can still talk to it with the current tools, program or reconfigure, etc. And if a device needs replacing, for whatever reason, with something newer, that's pretty simple and easy and painless. Requiring minimal effort, either in wiring or reconfig or programming. All using same set of software tools.
As concerns some comments made about AutoPilot. It had some nice features. And some issues. But Automatrix did not actually make that software. At least, that's my understanding. And having done some browsing of the binaries with a hex editor, looks to me like it was made by a third party.
Similar to osiyo, we also had a learning curve with Aspect and Matrix. But once we got the first two jobs under our belt and understood all of the OH BY THE WAYS, we've had great success. We've gone back to a few existing sites and have installed Matrix controllers just to get remote access for engineering tools - that feature alone has saved our company thousands of dollars in troubleshooting and opened up new business opportunities for us to offer 24 hour remote monitoring and support. I don't know how we sell it, but we seem to have a good sales guy in our office.
I agree - the standard factory training is not helpful - but neither was Tridium's training class when I went to learn AX (did not know "R2" beforehand). Guess what...its a software framework. Matrix is a powerful product, and the end result is driven purely by the person programming it. Just like others have said, it's like getting a blank piece of notebook paper and creating something.
iCalendar has presented some challenges for us in the past, but it seems to work once you get it up and running. Similar to osiyo, our customers also like keeping the schedules in the controller. We'll setup a schedule screen with time and day editors, and have the controllers broadcast them. Works perfect and no one complains one bit.
dlc2cg5 - I would suggest that if you're not happy with what you're seeing, say something to the person working on it. AAM has really good support for the product from as low as tech support, to product testing and engineering involvement. If there is anything I can tell you about AAM and their stuff - if there is a problem, they'll get it fixed.
Yep. Seems to work pretty darn well after our guys got through the trial and error phase of learning on real installations.
Originally Posted by hybridtheory
We have a couple installations where Matrix devices are just hanging. Where first attempt to cut over from a Sage to Matrix didn't work out. So system was reconnected to the Sage. Original guy who tried to do the changeover didn't do so well. But now that we've a couple people who're getting a good handle on it, one of them is going back to get those sites done.
A rocky start, but things are looking pretty good now.
Is there anyone who services AutoMatix in Wisconsin? The company will not share that info.
Sounds like you got the wrong number. AAM would certainly give you the closest local dealer's contact information.
You can also go to our website and click the contact button in the header. From there you can select Find a solution integrator. This will give you a form that will send to our inside sales department immediately. They will follow up with you within one business day. MCP is correct, we will always help out an existing site.
I have integrated several AAM sites into Tridium and understand the pup controllers pretty well. I do not have solo pro but I am able to make changes to the controllers using Tridium. I recently helped out a mechanical contractor add reheat to a VAV box. The project has a sage with autopilot graphics. Does anyone have a manual on this software? I need to add the DAT and heat enable points to the graphic, but I have been unsuccessful.
Check your email.
Originally Posted by rgehle