Your experience in networks is extremely valuable to companies that deal with whole building automation/energy management systems (BAS/EMCS). You will find these in most medium to large buildings, and in campus and industrial settings as well. Go to the big boys' (JCI, Honeywell, Siemens, Andover, Alerton, Automated Logic) web sites and do some research. Do a google search for DDC, BAS, EMCS, HVAC controls.
Most of these systems exist on one network or another with multiple workstations, servers, laptops, etc - and the industry is fast moving into web-based systems and applications. Most control companies (contractors and manufacturer reps/dealers) are ill equipped to handle this part of their systems. You will still need experience in HVAC (alarm priorities,etc) and may likely have to know some about lighting, access control, life safety, etc - but my guess is if you talk to companies that handle these size systems you may find a position that will pay you equal or more than what you are making now.Good luck!
You know. At best I dabble with small time controls. I do quite a bit of DDC stuff with supermarkets. And you know. I am an idiot. Beleive me. But it's easier than controls guys really thinks it is. You know why. Cause most of them have no comprhension at all of the actual science and facts of how a system runs and why. They just know, turn the actuaotor on, off at this setpoint, yada yada yada. So my advice, be a mechanic first. Then do controls. And with both, your high dollar superhero. Just a controls guy and you won't make the same cash.
And as for the internet based stuff mentioned earlier. Whoa a buddy. It'll kick into high gear here this year and next. Gateways between the web based front end, to the relay to turn a damper. There will be huge money in that. Cause the demand will be for that. No one is going to rip out the system just to have web based front end. So that means the front end has to integrate.
I know a cheesehead who will become rich in about another 2 years doing this. It's going to hit big this year I am betting on it. Jump aboard now. Don't wait.
I always wonder where we will be in ten years with this fancy stuff.
No one said you need to rip out the whole system, and gateways are a necessary evil but ultimately not the solution. IT types will solve these problems. This field is continuously evolving, but seamless integration is the future. New or retrofit - web based systems are already here, and there are a ton of systems out there that need attention. As I said - this area of controls can be a great fit for an IT type - and will have the greatest likelihood for future innovation. Battle between LON, BACnet, etc will be moot.
[Edited by ps on 03-24-2005 at 08:59 AM]
I just saw someone looking for a controls guy in the jobs section of this site.
"The battle between BACnet and LON will be moot."
....well not exactly. If you actually took the time to examine a Lonworks network you would find that it has characteristics that the IT/Ethernet world hasn't solved.
When devices on an Ethernet network communicate they do it by listening on the network. When they get a chance they send data. If 2 or more devices send at the same time you get a collision. That's why Ethernet gets to 40% capacity and you are done because of all the collisions taking place.
Lonworks by contrast grows "communication slots" or gets smaller based on network traffic. Not to mention that you still have priority message slots available.
Also, full Ethernet is still an expensive proposition. That's typically why the BACnetter's have these boxes. Can't afford to bring it to the device level.
Now we have standards coming out such as oBIX (oasis). So now the device level networks can migrate to the Internet with a common understanding of the information. Interestingly enough, BACnet has pulled out of oBIX. (crying)
If anything, BACnet will be the displaced implementation as it was designed for higher level data transfer and is getting supplanted by oBIX, XML/SOAP,Niagra Framework etc...
I have read many of your posts and don't pretend to have your depth of knowledge concerning the "wars" at the networking/communication/data transfer levels - and I don't advocate or have a vested interest in any side! I do know that these issues take up an ever increasing amount of job time and resources - while the customer justs wants a reliable and manageable system that plays well with all its components.
As I have stated - I will leave "examining networks" to the IT types. They are far more qualified in that arena than I. I know it is a very important piece of the pie - but frankly I have a difficult time keeping my eyes open when I try to inform myself in these matters. If I misspoke (sp) - my bad, sorry!
Which brings us back to my encouragement of the OP (IT type)to look into this evolving area of controls. Check it out and if it appeals to you - go for it!
[Edited by ps on 03-25-2005 at 12:12 PM]
Let me help here... they want standards to move/integrate the data. (XML oBIX) They don't care what it does necessarily. Give them a box they can read/write data.
while the customer justs wants a reliable and manageable system that plays well with all its components.
That's why device level functions are served better by a device level network and then pushed into "the Internet". So, you see routing and web servers moving data around after the reliable control network did it's thing.
Next step: Having a universal tool to create device level networks so multiple manufacturers products can be integrated, configured and operated. Protocol analyzers can be used to make sure data gets where it needs to go. A universal database generated that can be "passed" around. It would also be nice that this "database" is not require past setting up the network.
This is called LNS Lonworks. A very scaleable open architecture.
Now with the $345.00 development package making talking light switches and other basic devices will get really inexpensive.... These sequences can be set up easily and really doesn't require an Internet connection.
As I stated before (again) - should be numerous opportunities for OP (IT type). Do some research and jump into the fray!
well its been 10 years. where are we now?
Originally Posted by Dowadudda
10 years..and where are we now? Ok, I'll bite.
1) saw an ad for Tridium job in Texas last year that wanted a few years experience in Tridium coding. The job was to setup Energy Dashboards.
High School degree ok. Pay: $65-70K.
2) an MEP company in the NW that was looking for a "Level III – Control Systems Integration Specialist". Inside house position. They wanted
a guy with IT experience, HVAC controls and Tridium (welcome to the 21st century). Here's the spec:
• Develop and maintain SQL server data base.
• Interface with customer IT departments for data base connectivity.
• Install and set-up switches, routers, computers, etc…
• Write new or update existing code for SQL database, XML, Java, VBA, and .NET applications.
• Webpage Development
• Develop and write necessary software to meet project requirements.
• Become Tridium Niagara AX Certified.
• Proficient at reading electrical, architectural and control drawings and project documents.
• Confirm that electrical systems and equipment operate properly via the control system.
• Perform thorough point testing of all new points, and functionally testing associated systems.
• Identify and communicate any associated points, equipment, and system deficiencies.
As I see it, the DDC Control world can be put into three groups:
1) Open System Integrator. "OPEN" for the most part means Tridium.
These guys sell software solutions.
2) Bldg. Automation Manufactures. The "Big3": HON, JCI, Siemens.
+ Distech, Reliable, Alteron (part of Honeywell), Schneider Electric, Trend....
3) MEP Services (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)
Even though these guys sell 'tin' & 'piping', in today's world some outfits got a pretty talented 'controls' crew...and to get more sophisticated with the growing
IT need (see above #2 job position).
If your serious about picking up the trade and you want to start with controls, if I were you I would go find a tech school that offers courses in VPLC and DDC Controlls. Then your best bet is getting a job at a lager university or school as a controlls tech to build experience.
Originally Posted by jpruett1
I've kinda moved my response into a new thread - sorry for the kidnapping. Maybe we could use this thread to explore where the most career opportunities exist in the building controls field.
First of all, it should be agreed that data networks are designed to carry data - control networks are designed to control things with data. Control networks monitor and control HVAC, Lighting, process, and energy systems. Data networks connect you to Facebook and Yahoo.
So, the question becomes which control protocol should I know the most about if I want to get into controls?
Let's look at the most widely used control networking technology for building automation ,IMHO
- has unacceptable latency (takes too long) when used on the field bus level for control applications
- has physical limitations
- requires specialized network management and infrastructure
- does not include message delivery methods. It leaves the field bus up to the manufacturer. And it's either an antiquated RS485 method or TCP/IP
- requires proprietary tools to configure device behavior - typically not openly available
- is designed for field bus control networks regardless of media.
- thousands of device breeds freely available
- open tools freely available
- open training freely available
Proprietary control networks require specialized tools and relationships.
BacNET and Tridium networks require specialized tools and relationships
Open control networks such as LON using open LNS do not require any special tools or relationships. Devices, tools, training all freely available to anyone
way more career opportunities in cultivating flat LON's!
A hundred million nodes - it's a LON story.
LOL! hmmm i wonder which protocol type "lonboy" is going to suggest is best.....
To get into controls you need to get a job for a controls company or the right building services/maintenance company as a controls/BMS engineer. I say engineer but the term you seem to use in America is Tech. When employed, you will then have access to technical certification courses in the products that company installs/services.
To get said job in most cases you either need to be already certified as a BMS engineer (vicious circle) or have a related HVAC trade and experience. Most newbs in the UK will be electrician's or chiller engineers or boiler guys something like that first. If you are not BMS certified then you need a good qualification and HVAC experience.