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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    15

    JCI Facility Explorer-good or bad

    I have a project for a small building complex that will go out to bid soon. Through mistakes on our project manager’s end, the control system to be specified didn’t go through the normal channels and what was specified was Johnson’s Facility Explorer Fx-40 with Fx-16 controllers on York units.

    I raised a red flag and said we would prefer to use Distech’s Niagara based front end with Distech lon controllers since we use lon throughout our facility. We currently do not have any Tridium front end in the complex but I wouldn’t mind to get this in so we can see how we like it and perhaps migrate to it in the future for our existing sites.

    Johnson rep say’s no problem, they have available the same Distech/LON controllers through Johnson Controls.
    What would be my rebuttal to this? (Besides the obvious of having to deal with Johnson which I probably can’t say in a meeting)
    Is Johnson’s Facility Explorer more locked down then other manufacture’s Niagara boxes?
    Will I have to go to Johnson’s ABCS for service?
    I know Johnson has a bad rep out east. Not sure about here in So Cal since I’ve never had to deal with them.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by limadeltadude View Post
    I have a project for a small building complex that will go out to bid soon. Through mistakes on our project manager’s end, the control system to be specified didn’t go through the normal channels and what was specified was Johnson’s Facility Explorer Fx-40 with Fx-16 controllers on York units.

    I raised a red flag and said we would prefer to use Distech’s Niagara based front end with Distech lon controllers since we use lon throughout our facility. We currently do not have any Tridium front end in the complex but I wouldn’t mind to get this in so we can see how we like it and perhaps migrate to it in the future for our existing sites.

    Johnson rep say’s no problem, they have available the same Distech/LON controllers through Johnson Controls.
    What would be my rebuttal to this? (Besides the obvious of having to deal with Johnson which I probably can’t say in a meeting)
    Is Johnson’s Facility Explorer more locked down then other manufacture’s Niagara boxes?
    Will I have to go to Johnson’s ABCS for service?
    I know Johnson has a bad rep out east. Not sure about here in So Cal since I’ve never had to deal with them.
    JCI/AX is surprisingly not as restricted as most, IMO second only to Vykon itself.

    First off Get a FX-60 instead of a 40, much better.
    Yes...The Johnson "LN Series" is rebadged Distech...They are the same thing in a grey box instead of blue.

    The FX field controllers suck...and do get restrictive with software.

    No you are not locked up...any AX guy with workbench can service....if you go with FX-60's and the LN Series JCI field controllers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    157
    ive heard so many mixed opinions about the FX controllers, some people say they like them and others say the dont.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Somewhere, WI
    Posts
    344
    Personally I like the FX's.

    Be carefull with the LN's, the firmware is not the same as Distech's and thus the wizards will not work. Unless jci has changed anything lateley.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ddcfreek View Post
    Personally I like the FX's.

    Be carefull with the LN's, the firmware is not the same as Distech's and thus the wizards will not work. Unless jci has changed anything lateley.
    GPI Works fine for me.

    Even if it was a issue, just upgrade it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Somewhere, WI
    Posts
    344
    Last I checked, the two were incompatable in that you couldn't exchange firmware between Distech and Jci's versions.

    This is all assuming that Jci still hasn't wisened up to the idea to stop f-ing with the software to make it more blue...

    I hope your right. Do they give you more nv's to play with now too? I always hated only having 18.

  7. #7
    The FP's are identical in every way ...the only thing I see different is that it says JCI instead of Distech in the AX lon manager...thats the only "tinkering" I have seen... oh and they are grey instead of blue.

    Messed with one yesterday.

    The ASC's ...well they are lonmark ASC's ....nuff said.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Posts
    2,324
    The product it self is a good product but it sounds like the sales guy has his head up his ARSE. Yes that is from a JCI guy.
    UA Local 141

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Somewhere, WI
    Posts
    344
    Quote Originally Posted by freddy-b View Post
    The FP's are identical in every way ...the only thing I see different is that it says JCI instead of Distech in the AX lon manager...thats the only "tinkering" I have seen... oh and they are grey instead of blue.

    Messed with one yesterday.

    The ASC's ...well they are lonmark ASC's ....nuff said.
    It's easy to forget, with all the freely programmable controllers coming out these days, that ASC's still have a place too.

    Are the program id's identical? It was an ex-Esusa guy that told me they were tinked.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,302
    Quote Originally Posted by freddy-b View Post
    The FP's are identical in every way ...the only thing I see different is that it says JCI instead of Distech in the AX lon manager...thats the only "tinkering" I have seen... oh and they are grey instead of blue.

    Messed with one yesterday.

    The ASC's ...well they are lonmark ASC's ....nuff said.
    We took over a system with the JCI rebadged distech FPs (EC12Bs) a while ago, I believe the trick was to change the program id in the property sheet so that the Distech version of the plug-ins would work, then revert it back.

    80 00 83 05 01 84 04 09
    3rd group: jci=11 Distech=83

    It's been a while though, there's been a few updates to the plugins since then.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    15
    Thanks for the replies guys,big help

    Quote Originally Posted by freddy-b View Post
    GPI Works fine for me.

    Even if it was a issue, just upgrade it.
    That was my next question. Good to know no problems there.

    No you are not locked up...any AX guy with workbench can service....if you go with FX-60's and the LN Series JCI field controllers..
    Freddy,do you mean if they go with an FX-40 it won't be as open as an FX-60?What's the difference between the two that would make it so?

    I know there is a device limit on the FX-40 and the FX-60 doesn't come standard with a LON driver so that would have to be added to the FX-60.

    So basically what I see is I can't use the argument that only Johnson can support this site if they go with the FX-60 and LN series controllers

    I was hoping if we went with the Distech version we could get multiple SI's bidding on this project and not just Johnson.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Somewhere, WI
    Posts
    344
    The software is identicle with the FX-40 and 60. The only difference is hardware, the FX-60 is newer and more powerfull.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Several Miles from Sane
    Posts
    1,442
    The FX-40 is "fixed hardware", you can't add anything to it. 100 Device limit, 1 LON bus, 1 N2 (RS-485) bus and BACnet TCP/IP, No Niagara (ESCP) driver (costs extra) period. The FX-60 is more powerful (150 device limit) but only comes with the N2 (RS-485) and Niagara (ESCP) but can be expanded with cards and memory.

    The FX-60 can be purchased from an ABCS (indepentant JCI rep) and quite honestly serviced by anyone with sufficent "AX" credentials !

    Unless you are going to go strictly JACE, I would say the FX is probably the most "Enduser Friendly" (JMO). As far as your "ASC's" and other field devices see what your bidders come up with. There are several options when it comes to LON.

    Choose wisely !
    If sense were so common everyone would have it !

    All opinions expressed are my own. Any advice provided is based on personal experience, generally accepted fact or publicly available information. As such, it is worth exactly what you paid for it, not a penny more not a penny less !!

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