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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Grand Rapids Michigan
    Posts
    1

    Updating Metasys and Tracer

    I work for a automotive parts manufacturer that is trying to remain profitable. We have a Johnson Metasys control system that controls our penthouses and two older chillers. We also have a Trane Tracer Summit control system (ver 10.04.0025) that controls our two newest chillers. Needless to say both are legacy systems. We are having issues now with the Arcnet cards in the Metasys PC's (Win95).
    My question is this. Without upgrading the hardware in the feild, or the network they operate on, what in your humble but wise opinion would be the best way to integrate both of these into a single HMI?
    What would be needed for hardware?
    What would be the easiest software to configure, and will talk to both?
    How do we choose something that will be around 5 years from now?
    How about a recommendation of a reliable system integrater?

    we are trying to upgrade a little at a time in order to keep costs down, yet the past culture in this UAW plant was to "buy from the big guys so they will take care of everything", and yet they don't (unless you want to pay through the nose). You all know the problems with dealing with both of these proprietary systems.

    Any comments would be welcome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    MARTINEZ, CA
    Posts
    8
    From the sounds of it, your Metasys arcnet-networked system is probably running the PMI software that is no longer being revised by JCI and like it or not, you need to start down the path to upgrade. The day you can't find a computer with an ISA or PCI slot and JCI compatible ARCnet card, or you can no longer find a replacement ARCnet card for your NCM, is the day you'll wish you started hiking.

    In my current building (24-stories, (750) VAV-111's, 18 NCM's, arcnet, originally WIN95, then WIN98) I have worked with our controls specialist to find an economical path to upgrade, to at least get us changed to ethernet cards in the NCM's and WinXP-pro on the workstations. The problem is now becoming the availability of the ethernet cards for the NCM's. They were third-party to begin with, and NOW you'll be lucky to get them from a second-hand parts source.

    The day that the JCI workstation software no longer works with your only available flavor of Windows, JCI will just say 'Sorry, it's not designed to work with WinXX'.

    You can probably find a used JCI MOD-bus ARCnet-to-ethernet interface (if you have a lot of NCMs to convert) and convert NCMs one at a time. If you don't have a lot of NCM's, buy the ethernet cards and firmware required, and go ethernet with a new computer and WinXP. THEN, when it absolutely has to happen, you can add or replace NCM's with the new device that can be installed as either an NCM or NAE (I believe the product is an NAE45xx), and as an NCM it can still run your existing GPL (if you have to). Otherwise, when the time comes, you could change its use from NCM to NAE and run newer software.

    As of our last pricing on the firmware, ethernet cards and WinXP, we could convert one workstation and one NCM to ethernet for about $900 (parts). (we got our MOD-bus box from someone who was just going to trash it!) If you had multiple NCM's to upgrage, you could get the MOD-bus box and just move it down your N1 line, keeping all ethernet devices on one side and arcnet devices on the other, until you were all changed over.

    don't know what or if Trane has for a less painful 'path' to upgrade.

  3. #3
    The JCI software can be upgraded and used on a new Windows 7 PC. The software is called FacilityWorx and it is sold by Linda Perez at Iconics in Foxboro, MA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    18
    To recommend a solution, I need to clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish. From your message, it appears that your primary issue is addressing the issues with the arcnet cards on the JCI system and a secondary issue to integrate the two systems together. If this is correct, there are multiple options available and you should focus on a vendor solution that minimizes the amount of existing "functional" controls that need to be replaced, as well as selecting a vendor that has a good reputation of supporting their customers in your local market.

    The Trane solution would involve installing a Tracer ES server, which would easily tie your existing Trane BCU's into a web accessible network. This same server could pull the JCI N2 field devices into it via a JENEsys integration device, which would eliminate the outdated JCI NCM's altogether.

  5. #5
    I will expand on the FacilityWorx solution. This software is a direct, updated version of Johnson's M3 or M5. It will automatically suck up the old data and spit out the same graphics with very little effort. This is the cheapest, easiest, and best way to deal with multiple NCMs on the N1 protocol. Once your software is upgraded any additional DDC companies hardware can go in to this new universal software front-end. Call Linda Perez at Iconics in Foxboro, MA. before you make a decesion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by control distributor View Post
    I will expand on the FacilityWorx solution. This software is a direct, updated version of Johnson's M3 or M5. It will automatically suck up the old data and spit out the same graphics with very little effort. This is the cheapest, easiest, and best way to deal with multiple NCMs on the N1 protocol. Once your software is upgraded any additional DDC companies hardware can go in to this new universal software front-end. Call Linda Perez at Iconics in Foxboro, MA. before you make a decesion.
    He would still need to address the fact that the Arcnet NCM's need to be upgraded or replaced. It doesn't matter who's server software you try to pull the data into, if the data is failing to transmit because of the failing Arcnet cards.

  7. #7
    What makes these jobs tricky is that the NCMs talk on an N1 bus. The N1 bus can be Arcnet or wired differently. The most common problem people have is that when one NCM fails there is not a good replacement that will replicate what the NCM is doing, often that includes communicating on both N2 and N1 protocols. The JCI branch will most likely propose an expensive rip out and replace option. With the FacilityWorx solution you first upgrade the software. Then when an NCM dies you use whatever control you want! Bring the new control on a new bus to the FacilityWorx software and you still have all the information on the same front-end. This solution allows not only allows the end user to replace each NCM (with whatever they want), but it gives them a migration path to upgrade as their current system as it fails. This is really easiest, most affordable and “open” solution available.

  8. #8
    If he is looked at upgradeing FX is by furtherst the best. I had not found the JENE intergrateing device. Do not know what that is can not find any thing device. The Johnson Controls branch is always a solidified chosen path for all control systems.

  9. #9
    I agree with Super Duper Tech. When the NCM fails the FX60 is the easiest replacement. It speaks N2 flawlessly and it can export data via BACnet, Lon, or Fox protocol.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    285
    Quote Originally Posted by Riverat View Post
    To recommend a solution, I need to clearly understand what you are trying to accomplish. From your message, it appears that your primary issue is addressing the issues with the arcnet cards on the JCI system and a secondary issue to integrate the two systems together. If this is correct, there are multiple options available and you should focus on a vendor solution that minimizes the amount of existing "functional" controls that need to be replaced, as well as selecting a vendor that has a good reputation of supporting their customers in your local market.

    The Trane solution would involve installing a Tracer ES server, which would easily tie your existing Trane BCU's into a web accessible network. This same server could pull the JCI N2 field devices into it via a JENEsys integration device, which would eliminate the outdated JCI NCM's altogether.
    I would recommend the JENEsys which is for all purposes an FX or AX rebranded. I would however not recommend the ES server not seen too many installs where it worked right or the customer was really happy with it. All it does is bring everything in via BacnetIP anyway so just use a Tridium supervisor from the guys who make the JENE or any Tridium rep. It does the same basic thing and is much more stable product.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by dave2142 View Post
    I would recommend the JENEsys which is for all purposes an FX or AX rebranded. I would however not recommend the ES server not seen too many installs where it worked right or the customer was really happy with it. All it does is bring everything in via BacnetIP anyway so just use a Tridium supervisor from the guys who make the JENE or any Tridium rep. It does the same basic thing and is much more stable product.
    What is the advantages of JENEsys over the others?
    I also don't see the N2 integrator from JENEsys.
    Why are you seeing dissatisfied customers with the Trane ES?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    285
    Quote Originally Posted by Controls_Ninja View Post
    What is the advantages of JENEsys over the others?
    I also don't see the N2 integrator from JENEsys.
    Why are you seeing dissatisfied customers with the Trane ES?
    No real advantage to the JENEsys just the device I am familiar with, they do have an N2 driver so you could do the N2.

    As for the ES I should clarify. It depends on what you are wanting. It is an exellent product to just tie in separate front ends to one high level supervisor. By high level I mean it in a simple sense just displays everything to a single web interface. However it is not a true web based system. It has very limited functionality as a true web based system like other systems. You can edit schedules, setpoints and view alarms and trends but not much else. If you are used to a workstation system you would be very unhappy. You cannot access any sort of programming or data in the field level.

  13. #13
    Do you have a link to the N2 driver?
    What is their angle, since it looks like almost everything is rebaranded products from Tridium, Viconics, Distech and others?

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