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Thread: Auto Matrix

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    116
    Anyone know how we can access this system? We have a SF-1 monitor panel but no way to see the points. We need to make a change to the setpoints.The system is about 10 years old.

    I did email American auto matrix but found their version of open system and mine are two different things. They did not want to give out the information.

    We have accessed many Johnson systems with out a problem using hyper terminal, could we do the same with the Auto matrix?

  2. #2
    I think its VT-100, not sure, been a long time for those.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    56
    Open? Thats a joke! Unless you're good with Hex decimal, forget it. Their support is horrible!!!!! You can access the AAM with a 232 to 485 converter and a program called Solo Pro. If you don't have the labels for the points, or know what each I/P and O/P is, it's kind of tough.

  4. #4
    You can access the system with a 232 cable and hyperterminal (vt100). You will need a user name and password. When you reach the main menu press m for monitor/modify points. Then enter and the default group will appear, you can navigate the system groups and points from this (default) menu. Only points originally programmed will be available, this should include any setpoints. The N+ and N- is the (485) pup system, you will need solopro software to navigate to each controller. You can create points in the SF-1 to edit any controller points. Automatrix still sells the SF-1 controller, but a Sage is a better option. A local Automatrix Dealer may be able to help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    116
    Thank you for the information. We will try Hyperterminal tomorrow. Without a user name and password we may be sunk.

    I do agree the support for this system is very poor. Seems to me even the manufacturer does not want to work on them. Just happy it is the only Auto Matrix we run into.

  6. #6
    There is a backdoor password if they will give it to you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    56
    I think the user is aam and the password is system or the other way around

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,376
    Originally posted by hvacmanager
    Thank you for the information. We will try Hyperterminal tomorrow. Without a user name and password we may be sunk.

    I do agree the support for this system is very poor. Seems to me even the manufacturer does not want to work on them. Just happy it is the only Auto Matrix we run into.
    Hmmm. The manufacturer does support all their stuff. However, like many, they won't tell you much unless you are an authorized dealer.

    <Shrug> That's as much as I'll comment on that.

    AAM is one of the lines of DDC we deal in. A lot of folks have bad things to say about their stuff. Which is fine. But routinely we make their stuff stand up and perform as well as or better than competing systems. Do it all the time.

    I like their stuff. Very flexible. Very easy if yah actually understand the system. As concerns the hardware, we have stuff we installed that's considerable older than 10 years which still works just fine. And have numerous customers who're loyal to the brand.

    If there is a weakness, it is that it's a proprietary system. Which can be very frustrating to those who don't have access to the info and software needed to work with it.

    Now, we (the company for whom I currently work) give the customer all the docs and manuals on every project, And offer in depth training, if they wish. But not all contractors do this. And sometimes even when they do, the customer loses the stuff or tosses it. And at later dates regrets that.

    That last, is actually done by a lot of folks, not just customers with AAM systems. I've worked on older systems of numerous name brands where customer once had the manuals, listings, data, software and knowledge. But somewhere along the line all was forgotten or lost. I see it all the time.

    Factory default user name is: SYSTEM
    Factory default password is : AAM

    Might be useful if someone did not disable the factory default.

    That's about all I'm willing to discuss publically.

    FWIW, while I do like AAM's stuff, I'm not trying to sell yah on it, or any other particular system. We do more than one. In LON, I prefer TAC. Most of our business is in one of the two. (And still do a fair amount of CSI older stuff)Tho we do a lessor business in some others. We've recently dropped Honeywell, except to provide service for what we previously installed.


  9. #9
    Why did you drop Honeywell ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,376
    Originally posted by fat eddy
    Why did you drop Honeywell ?
    If you are wondering whether or not I'm gonna bad mouth them, no ... I'm not.

    I live in the land of Honeywell, Minnesota.

    And to be fair they make pretty good stuff.

    Let's just say it's a business decision. Jointly decided by management, the salesmen, the engineers, and the automation techs.

    The capabilities of their hardware and software, hardware reliability, promptness of customer support, etc just didn't work out well when viewed from the point of value gotten per dollar spent. As compared to a number of their competitors.

    That's not to say their stuff is bad.

    It was just a very hard sell for our salesmen to justify to our customers. Except for those who are just plain sold on and loyal to Honeywell. And there are plenty of those. But also there are plenty of contractors who're in the business of selling Honeywell. At least there are here in Minnesota.

    So for that reason, and a couple others, we decided to back off on Honeywell. Absolute cutthroat competiveness if the customer wants, specifically, Honeywell.

    We looked at the situation. Got plenty of Honeywell contracts. Big dollar ones. But ... profit margins sucked. We had to sharpen pencils REAL friggin sharp, grit teeth and put in some low durned bids to get the contracts.

    In short, on the Honeywell side of the business, a lot of money went thru our hands but we sure weren't getting to keep much.

    OTOH, if customer not absolutely sold on Honeywell, but wanted good quality, Lon, etc ... Heck we could toss a proposal at em using TAC. More often come in low enough to get the contract, but make more of a margin.

    If LON wasn't specified or particularly wanted by customer, we could go two ways, TAC or Auto Matrix. Could bid even lower if Auto Matrix was acceptable. And it is often enough. There are still a lot of folks buying propriety systems. And a lot of our past Auto Matrix customers LIKE that line. Have been using it for years and are specifying it on new projects.

    The decision was more of a business decision than a decision based upon pros and cons of hardware and software.

    Just as we review our past customers time to time. Do formal reports and run the numbers. Sometimes a person can have a customer you do significant business with, a lot of dollars, but ...

    Some customers are so hard to please, deal with, keep happy, and penny pinching. That if you look at the numbers you find out you're spending a lot of time, an inordinate amount of time, on a customer. Such that in the end, you're not making a dime, or not much. While tying up a lot of manhours that's not out there doing work for a better customer.

    <Shrug> So sometimes we "fire" customers.

    In this case, we fired a manufacturer. Not because they're bad or anything. We just don't find it beneficial, to us, to hawk their goods for em, to make half the profits we'd get if hawking somebody else's stuff, which works just as well ... in our experience. YMMV





  11. #11
    I guess they didn't CARE for honeywell!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    473
    We too found a similar experience with Auto-Matrix. Having a proprietary line isn't all bad - having product lines like Honeywell and Johnson in the stable are nice for dealing with engineers stuck on names, but even Auto-Matrix can do a great job if the customer is interested only in results.

    And the tech support available from AAM is really no different than that available from any other manufacturer. Get any guy off the street to try to reach Honeywell TAC or Johnson's tech support. Isn't going to happen. Only once you know the proper channels (whether that means being a dealer, or knowing a distributor that can place the call for you) will you get manufacturer tech support. So that really isn't a mark against AAM - that's just the way they all are.

    So it boils down to the same conclusion as most threads on this particular forum - finding the right contractor, willing to work with the customer to properly support something they've properly installed.

    Don't abandon hope for the AAM product you've got, hvacmanager. Properly configured, it works great. (Just make sure you're using a null modem cable to talk to that SF1...)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,376
    Originally posted by davem
    We too found a similar experience with Auto-Matrix. Having a proprietary line isn't all bad - having product lines like Honeywell and Johnson in the stable are nice for dealing with engineers stuck on names, but even Auto-Matrix can do a great job if the customer is interested only in results.
    Yep, precisely.

    It's all fine and well to have the discussion about open protocols, interoperability and so forth. Such ideas are great.

    However, the reality is that the majority of the customers we do business with are FAR more concerned about results ... that count. ie Equipment that operates properly, good sequences of operation, energy savings and efficiency. Front end control that's clean, neat, professional and allows em to do things their way. And, of course, affordability.

    Another thing some look at, is history. Of performance. ie We have customers who've used AAM for many years. It does everything they want, does it well. And once they understand how it works, THEY think it's simpler and easier than many other systems they've had experiences with.

    I know, there are folks who'll take exception with this. Fine. I'm not here to sell yah on AAM. Make your own choices. What I'm repeating is what more than just a few of our customers tell us. And some of those customers we've had since the mid to early 90's. And I'm not talking small businesses only. ie We're currently working on a project, new construction. Controls end of which is a contract near $2 mil. Controls are AAM. And the customer has had AAM in other buildings owned by them since the mid 90's. They know it, understand it. We've made it sit up and dance as fancy as they've wished and it's done all they asked. One of the things they like is that if one of their inhouse folks understand a 1996 AAM controller, He will easily understand the latest. Works the same-same. Just more added features. Retraining is a minimal necessity. And there are fewer operator caused problems. THAT is very important to them. They also like the fact that they can stock a few controllers. And are then covered for every repair/replacement need. Service and repair they do inhouse. And reliability is one of their absolute top priorities.

    This customer has the bucks to buy simply anything they wish. Money is not a question or issue. ie In the new building all the air handler stuff, and the new chiller stuff is top of the line Trane. Air handlers bought with no controls. We tack on AAM stuff. Chillers have Trane controls with which we interface, minimally. We import Trane controls into front end via BACNET. This is something we see a lot of in the case of chillers and boilers. Where the built in controls of the manufacturer are left intact. As it thought the manufacturer knows his equipment best. And will have the most reliable controls for that item.

    <Shrug> In other cases we have someone like another large customer. Again, an account of significant money. Who likes the cost-performance ratio of AAM stuff. As they are trying to get the most per dollar spent. In their case, no interest in big, fancy front ends. Which we can put in for em, they just don't want or require it. About 30 buildings, each having AAM installations. But they just use local access via an in-house tech connecting to a system with a laptop when needed. Or, dial in using a terminal program from the main office. They haven't opted for a graphics front in, as yet. Not sold on the need, as versus cost. <Shrug> Their call. Thier buildings, their equipment. The only extras they asked of us was data recording, trend logs and so forth set up in the various Sages. Info they collect and use periodically.

    Another account, also large. A major medical equipment manufacturer with multiple sites. They've had experience with Honeywell in this building, JCI in that, so on and so forth. This past year they decided to retrofit all with AAM as the system giving them, in THEIR estimate, best cost-performance ratio. Plus they're a bit displeased with Honeywell and JCI over several issues. Combination of contractors who did not do a good install, program job. And difficulty getting customer service at Honeywell and JCI to respond in what customer thought was a timely fashion. Without also giving em answers that seemed to always include the need to spend more money ... a lot more money.

    I'm not friggin knocking other systems. Or dismissing the appeal and advantages of LON, or BACNET. Etc. Just pointing out that there are reasons some customers, and this incldues some corporations any one of yah would recognize the names of, big players, still see usefulness and advantages to continuing to use some older, propriety systems.

    Especially if manufacturer has been consistant thru the years, ensuring compatibility between old and new products.

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