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  1. #1
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    Osy - Here's some instruction from a rather large customer that finds protocol very important:


    They are specifying Lonworks. And, to look into your "French Car" commentary (I owe them this much)


  2. #2
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    Anyone know how much control work the Army Corps specs for?

  3. #3
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    No, but i do know they also spec Tridium.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by jimmyj
    No, but i do know they also spec Tridium.
    Well, nobody gets everything right. At least they nailed down bacnet correctly.

    Actually, I think it was because of the lack of an alternative for Tridium. Now there is the ilon100, Plexus and others more LNS friendly.

    Latest Plexus stuff looks good.

    Here's a Demo of Plexus.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by sysint
    Osy - Here's some instruction from a rather large customer that finds protocol very important:

    They are specifying Lonworks. And, to look into your "French Car" commentary (I owe them this much)
    LOL ... I keep trying to avoid the protocol debates, but yah just can't let me alone about it can you?

    FWIW, SysInt, I agree with you that the implementation of BacNet as done by most of the vendors leaves a lot to be desired.

    For the most part, we find BacNet handy as an option when dealing with existing equipment. ie As I've mentioned before, a lot of our customers will have chillers or whatever which will do BacNet. The Automatrix Sage unit, which I guess yah could describe as a building controller, or front end for distributed stand alone controllers spread around the building, will handle BacNet. So many a job we utilize that facility to bring in the BacNet points from a unit, or from several, and present them along with the points from the AAM controllers.

    <Shrug> We don't get fancy about it, but it's not required. Our customers have not asked us to do so. What they want, and that we do for them, is simple enough.

    Now, as I've mentioned before, we also do LON, using TAC.

    So the fact that the US Army Corps of Engineers has decided to reccomend LON devices, is fine with me.

    My previous post where I mentioned what I thought to be a humorous comment made by one of our guys about Circon. Was supposed to be humor. Not a stab at Circon. As I mentioned, I know absolutely nothing about Circon. Obviously, neither did the fellow I talked to. And if yah think about it, to someone who's never heard of em before, Circon DOES sound like it might be the name of a French car.

    Heck, one of the problems we have is that a lot of prospective customers haven't ever heard of the name T.A.C. A line of controllers we deal in. And when they first see the name, I'm certain they're wondering if we're trying to palm off some no-name, cheap **** on them.

    Honeywell ... they know that name. And Johnson Controls, Trane, McQuay, Carrier, York, etc and so forth.

    They wonder who the heck, and what the heck a TAC is. Are they any good? Reliable? Have a business history that can be checked?

    So, yeah, it's nice that the US Army Corps of Engineers is reccomending LON systems, and ... specifically ...TAC ...

    http://www.lonmark.org/news/press/lm_tac091903.htm

    BTW, the article is written in a way so as to lead the casual reader into thinking the Army Corps of Engineers has more authority and a bigger role than it actually does.

    Their recommendation of LON, only carries force within their own organization. Which, while sizeable, is not huge. Outside of the very specific, and limited, duties and responsibilities they're given. Their role is advisory, only, within the government.

    The way the article is written might lead one to think that since they've signed onto LON, then they can direct other branches of the government to use it. ie The article mentions a blurp about the military. FWIW, I was career military. Occassionally on some matter where we felt the Army Corps of Engineers might have worthwhile advice, we asked em. Otherwise, we ignored em. Same goes with organizations like the GSA, etc, etc. The Engineer Corps has an advisory role only outside of specific projects placed under their responsibility.








  6. #6
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    One thing I dont understand is everyone talks about how great Lon is and how you can use any Lon device on a job.


    Buttttt, for example we have a local TAC and Honeywell dealer and they would never ever sell us any controllers, software, anything.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by joey791
    One thing I dont understand is everyone talks about how great Lon is and how you can use any Lon device on a job.


    Buttttt, for example we have a local TAC and Honeywell dealer and they would never ever sell us any controllers, software, anything.
    Hmmm... there is something new about this?

    Numerous manufacturers of all sorts of things, not just DDC equipment, limit or prohibit sales of whole assemblies or parts to anyone except authorized and approved (by the manufacturer) people. Some HVAC and Refrigeration equipment makers do this, some DDC manufacturers, some fire and safety systems manufacturers, makers of certain medical equipment, so on and so forth.

    It's been a standard business practice, for some manufacturers, for ... heck, I don't know how long. Longer than I've been alive, and I'm closer to 60 than to 50.

    The reasons? Assorted and varied.

    To start with, limiting the supply of anything ... making it hard to get ... drives up it's worth and thus it's price.

    Also, manufacturers using such method can insist a wannabe vendor attend training, buy certain sales literature, pay annual renewal fees and so forth. All of which bring in a few more bucks.

    <G> Now, those first two reasons aren't the usual reasons cited by a manufacturer. But they play a role ... believe it.

    Other reasons are such things as ensuring that only a trainned and certified person install and set up whatever. That whomever ordered the part or assembly acutually knows how to select proper item for the application. That person buying and then installing whatever it is we're talking about is the kind of person manufacturer would like to represent them and their name. (I've known of numerous instances of a contractor losing right to buy from and represent some manufacturer because person or company caused too many customer complaints, lawsuits, etc.) Also manufacturer's who restrict sales like to do a credit check on your ass. To make sure your check doesn't bounce, and that the plastic card you're waving is actually worth more than the price of the plactic it took to make the card.

    And the list goes on. But I won't list all of them.

    Nothing unique about either TAC or Honeywell. The subject of LON or not LON hasn't anything to do with it.


  8. #8
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    Originally posted by osiyo
    Originally posted by joey791
    One thing I dont understand is everyone talks about how great Lon is and how you can use any Lon device on a job.


    Buttttt, for example we have a local TAC and Honeywell dealer and they would never ever sell us any controllers, software, anything.
    Hmmm... there is something new about this?

    Numerous manufacturers of all sorts of things, not just DDC equipment, limit or prohibit sales of whole assemblies or parts to anyone except authorized and approved (by the manufacturer) people. Some HVAC and Refrigeration equipment makers do this, some DDC manufacturers, some fire and safety systems manufacturers, makers of certain medical equipment, so on and so forth.

    It's been a standard business practice, for some manufacturers, for ... heck, I don't know how long. Longer than I've been alive, and I'm closer to 60 than to 50.

    The reasons? Assorted and varied.

    To start with, limiting the supply of anything ... making it hard to get ... drives up it's worth and thus it's price.

    Also, manufacturers using such method can insist a wannabe vendor attend training, buy certain sales literature, pay annual renewal fees and so forth. All of which bring in a few more bucks.

    <G> Now, those first two reasons aren't the usual reasons cited by a manufacturer. But they play a role ... believe it.

    Other reasons are such things as ensuring that only a trainned and certified person install and set up whatever. That whomever ordered the part or assembly acutually knows how to select proper item for the application. That person buying and then installing whatever it is we're talking about is the kind of person manufacturer would like to represent them and their name. (I've known of numerous instances of a contractor losing right to buy from and represent some manufacturer because person or company caused too many customer complaints, lawsuits, etc.) Also manufacturer's who restrict sales like to do a credit check on your ass. To make sure your check doesn't bounce, and that the plastic card you're waving is actually worth more than the price of the plactic it took to make the card.

    And the list goes on. But I won't list all of them.

    Nothing unique about either TAC or Honeywell. The subject of LON or not LON hasn't anything to do with it.

    Your telling me things I already know, what Im saying is what is the benefit of Lon if you cant buy the product?

    Credit check- just in service we did over 10 million in business last year easy.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by joey791
    Your telling me things I already know, what Im saying is what is the benefit of Lon if you cant buy the product?

    Credit check- just in service we did over 10 million in business last year easy.
    Oh, okay I get what you're asking, now.

    I'd suppose that some would assert that a benefit of having a Lon based system is that YOU ... Joey ... wouldn't have to be able to buy a Honeywell or TAC part in order to fix a Honeywell or TAC system.

    If we were talking about a building outfitted originally solely in Honeywell, for instance. And for whatever reason the building owners no longer could or wanted to do business with the original controls manufacturer. And a VAV controller or air handler controller failed. With a Lon system they could go to you, Joey, and hire you. Now, even if you're not an approved Honeywell vendor, and can't buy Honeywell parts. Maybe you're an XYZ Controls vendor. XYZ stuff also being Lon compliant. And yah could replace the failed item with a suitable XYZ controller.

    Said controller, if adequately Lon compliant, being able to talk to the rest of the system, regardless of whether or not the rest of the system is Honeywell. Or TAC. Or whatever. It can fetch needed info, ie a system wide host override of schedule from a front end, OAT, occupancy sensor status of an occupany sensor that's not physically wired to it, system-wide fire alarm broadcast, etc. Likewise, it'd be able to share it's own info with other controllers which need to know something that's resident within it. ie A front end display could get info from it about current status, space temps, and so forth. Maybe it's a VAV controller. And sequence for operation of the air handler is a demand based logic. Where air handler modulates discharge air temp so that it's producing the least amount of cooling at the least maintained duct pressure necessary to allow the one VAV out of 20 that has the greatest load to just barely maintain setpoint. No more, no less. To conserve energy.

    These days, such a scheme is becoming fairly common. We install such all the time. Methodologies, the precise way of accomplishing it varies. In the old days, one scheme was to identify the VAV with the greatest likely loading. And provide a feedback mechanism from it, or the area served by it, back to the airhandler. Electrically or pneumatically. Or, you'd balance system using said key VAV as your guide point for what setpoints of maintained duct pressure and discharge air temp you set up in the air handler controls. And air handler would always run at those setpoints, calculated to meet heaviest expected load.

    The problem with said scheme being that in the real world, it's not always the same space which has the greatest demand. Maybe that "biggest likely load" VAV is serving an area that's now unoccupied, or lightly loaded. If you're providing services intended to meet it's highest load, you are now wasting energy. Nowadays, more common to simply have air handler controller poll the VAVs in it's zone, and adjust itself to meet demands of whatever area is struggling most to maintain setpoint. Or a front end controller is doing polling and monitoring and sending commands to air handler to increase or decrease discharge air pressure or temperature. Or sometimes things are set up so that the VAV controllers themselves, individually, send "requests for services" to the air handler.

    "Hey, Jack, boost the discharge temperature a bit won't yah? I'm having problems here." Or, "YO ! Wake up, rise and shine Mr Air Handler, start up. Somebody just came to work in my area, I'm occupied, get busy and send me some air."

    Etc. There are several workable schemes. And much debate on which is best. Answer usually depends on specific application, building, available equipment, customer's expressed preferences, the design engineer's pet method he or she favors, and so forth.

    Anyway, now yah can toss in an XYZ company controller into an otherwise all-Honeywell system, and hopefully have it work. Yah don't HAVE to be able to buy direct from Honeywell.

    It's not quite so simple as all that however. It's not truly "plug and play". Closer than it used to be. But you are facing some work and some issues.

    One such issue. Physical mounting method, wiring harnesses, etc. Physical wiring and termination is often different. Usually is. And yah regularly face problem of trying to figure out which wire is which on old controller before yah can wire up and terminate new. With some maker's devices it's obvious enough if yah read the markings by the terminals. But in other cases markings are unique to that manufacturer, or to country of origin for device. And can have yah scratching your head. "What the heck does -U- mean? I thought -Y- was call for cooling? But I've traced the wires and that's not what it's being used for here." Etc. It can be confusing and daunting. Altho once yah find a cutsheet or some other explaination for the markings, what to do is usally simple enough to figure out. Regularly our techs call in and ask if the office can do some lookups for them on the Net, or however, and find something for them that's explain what the durned terminal markings mean. Or what the dip switches or onboard jumpers do. Etc.

    Chuckle, I've got gigabytes of PDF files stashed on my laptop and desktop which are manuals or cutsheets for other manufacturer's equipment we don't even deal in, for just this reason. And am always adding more. If I come across something likely, I download it. As such can be hard to find. And also has a habit of disappearing in the future off the Net. Right about the time I or one of my guys need it. I also have cabinets full of hardcopy cutsheets and manuals, indexed so I can find stuff. Same reason. It has often saved me endless grief and wasted manhours.

    Another such issue. Not all VAV controllers are equal, for instance. Regardless of who makes em, whether they're Lon compliant or not. Besides terminations laid out differently and marked differently. Yah face issues like how many inputs and outputs? What kind? Old VAV controller had built in scheduling, and that capability was used in the original system setup. THIS VAV controller, however, to be put in, doesn't. So yah have to make system changes to have somebody direct it and provide it with a schedule. Old one used floating point motor control for reheat valve, this new one uses PWM. Old one used discrete terminals for hooking up each sensor and actuator. This one uses a separate comm bus with sensors and actuators hooked up to it in a series connection on that bus. So yah gotta rip out old sensors and that reheat valve motor and replace em, along with the controller. Maybe a certain control routine, control loop, in old controller was built in, in firmware. And this doesn't exist in new controller, at least not in the same way. So yah gota figure out how to accompish that task, adequately, with new controller. Maybe by using custom program within it. Need to create and load custom routine. Which will now emulate the old VAV's control loop. Maybe low range of pressure that old VAV's flow sensor could handle, is significantly different from the new. And to get decent accuracy yah gotta do some software tweaking, or maybe even replace pitot tubes.

    Etc and so forth.

    So it's not quite so easy as plug and play.

    But it is doable. And in the end, controller can coexist on the network, and play nice along with the other stuff.

    Which is a step forward from where we were at 10 years ago.

    Is Lon, as it now exists the final answer, the perfect solution? Nope. It is, however, progress. It is gonna evolve, change, be tweaked and expanded. It has some issues that need to be addressed and corrected.

    What doesn't?

    And manufacturer's who make the equipment itself, all want to have their differences. Some trademark item which makes their controllers stand out, and hopefully encourages a contractor to use their stuff as versus somebody else's. The whole reason for "plug-ins". Manufacturer ABC might consider self one of the elite players in some specialty control area, and provides features in a device that're outside, above and beyond, the "standard". And a plug-in is needed so yah can even use the extra capabilities.

    ie The other day I was at a customer's site. Fairly large site. A lot of air handlers, virtually no two alike. A lot of VFD's. Most ABB, but not all. Head of Technical Maintenance, as the guy's title was, grabbed hold of me. He had a little problem. VFD put in by someone else, and not an ABB, was giving him a fit. He wanted to change it's operation so it'd take advantage of a certain control loop methodology. Which he employed successfully on other VFD's. Wanted this one set up the same. As a courtesy, I took the time and took a look. A freebie. Finally told guy he was SOL. Couldn't be done with THAT VFD. It simply didn't have the facilities or electronics to accomplish what he wanted. Yeah, it was Lon compliant. That wasn't the issue. It simply didn't have the electronics to do it. Yah can't make something do something simply by issuing commands in a language it technically understands. It's gotta be physically able to accomplish the task. The actual, physical hardware has gotta be there.

    Now, there was a way to get er done. But would've required outside programmable controller, with custom program and some added sensors. Set up to override VFD's internal controls and settings. To change em as needed to make it do what it was not designed to do on it's own.

    But, as I told him, THAT wasn't something I was gonna give him as a freebie. It'd cost. Significantly. My own suggestion and opinion was that VFD was a POS. I forget the brand. Was one I've not seen before. I suspect it was one of those cheapies that original installer had left over from some other job, that'd been collecting dust in the storeroom. And as this new work had only needed one VFD, and this one was rated to handle load requirements, he'd jumped at chance to get rid of it. I suggested guy ditch the unit at first opportunity, rather than pay us to play tricks with it. And get a decent VFD. Perhaps an ABB since guy knew and understood those, and liked em. It was mostly what he already had, by far. And it'd do his requirements, no problem. Was a built in feature. We do ABB, but I didn't even press that point. Gave him the card of local ABB rep. Buy from him, or from us (we'd go to same guy), hire whomever to install and set up. But ditch the POS. Guy has a nice building and a nice setup, he didn't need the headaches of some oddball POS. Didn't make sense. FWIW, I also suggested 2 other makes of VFD that I knew to have features he wanted built-in. But he was inclined to agree with me that consistancy and same type devices would make his job easier.

    Chuckle, as he's a favorite first cousin of the Head Mo-Fo in charge of the organization's checkbook, I suspect he'll get his ABB VFD. Besides being related, this guy knows his stuff and Mr Head Mo-Fo likes it that he gets few complaints as concerns the building and climate control.


  10. #10
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    Joey - lets say I have a Circon or Distech HVAC job. If the LNS database is left with the customer with plugins then you have every tool necessary to program/operate/setup those controllers.

    If you don't have that and get the plugins from the manufacturer you could recover or recreate that datbase with a LNS network tool.

    Some manufacturers like TAC and H-well (they have their reasons some good/bad) have their programming language encased in a different software package. That's not the fault of Lonworks.

    It's more the original installer and manufacturer creating a competitive advantage in an open system. Otherwise a full tool-set would be onsite.

    That's why the protocol debate is meaningful. We leave that full tool-set every time. Not a big deal with Circon as even their programming language is a plugin. (like Distech)This means it runs in any LNS program that works with plugins. I usually use Lonmaker with Circon products and not Circon's Network Integrator. Oftentimes I leave a copy of Network Integrator with the customer, which opens that database I've created with Lonmaker. That's OPEN.

    So, if you started replacing VAV's with manufacturer B you could even re-write the AHU program to accomodate. Or, it's likely with Lonmark product certification that there just may be some binding required.

    These reasons are why Circon doesn't have set territories. What would be the point? They primarily look for reliable firms and let them go.

    For the customer/integrator - they have device level replacement control. Don't have to can whole subsystems to start making a change with product.

    An analogy for that would be a site with 40 rooftop units.

    If I told you if you replace one you would have to replace them all you would be PO'd. (unless you used our brand) If I told you after you replaced 5 with a different manufacturer I'd have to hook them up to make sure they worked with the other 35 (translation - as long as our crap is here you have to deal with us) with an extra hookup fee you would be pissed. btw we won't guarantee it will work. There will be some trial/error you pay for.-

    Well that's called bacnet.

    - Proprietary would be you buy a new rooftop and since we don't support the older rooftops anymore you need to upgrade the other 39 or replace the whole thing, but we will give you a good initial price with a maintenance fee. Since you cannot go elsewhere anyway it's either our way or our way. We are always cheaper initially so we get repeat business. I'll let you kiss my butt and make up.


    Then there is a properly setup LON system. Go ahead, replace that rooftop with whatever you like. Device level open. Huge difference.




  11. #11
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    Echelon Release:

    TongFang (T): There’s an emerging market in China, as the norm is to use standard building management systems. However, there’s a huge desire within China to get out in front of the building controls market, and we believe that means using an open systems approach.....

    E: Why choose to work with Echelon and the LonWorks platform?

    T: Simply because the key to open systems is a platform, not a paper standard.(like bacnet)-mine Echelon provides the cutting-edge technology that enables open systems and many leading companies in China use the LonWorks platform. This lets us choose the right products for our customers and tie them together into highly reliable, cutting-edge, yet cost-effective building control systems. We’re making a long-term strategy investment in open systems so it’s important to work with a company and technology that we know will succeed.

    E: How important is IT integration with building management systems (BMS)?

    T: It’s absolutely the key to energy efficiency. IT is the backbone for a company’s information needs and a BMS is a huge component of that need on the operations and human side. Tying them together is essential in creating a building, or a set of buildings, that is safe and comfortable for employees, as well as valuable to a company. Making buildings energy-efficient is an imperative in China, which, of course, means much more than energy-efficient building techniques or materials. Energy efficiency means creating a BMS that actively and dynamically adjusts its behavior to optimize energy consumption, which is often driven by supply and real-time use. So in the end, the only real way to achieve long-term energy efficiency and serve the needs of our clients is to tie IT and BMS together.

    E: Regarding energy efficiency again, why choose LonMark® open systems using the LonWorks platform?

    T: We believe that the more integrated a system, the better. We also believe that the greater, or finer, the level of control, the more powerful the system. ...Choosing LonMark open systems will give our customers the control foundation that can be used to create the most effective energy management system possible.

  12. #12
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    Cool Oisyo thats what I meant, I understand "Lon theory" just thought you and sys had access to everyones controllers.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by joey791
    Cool Oisyo thats what I meant, I understand "Lon theory" just thought you and sys had access to everyones controllers.
    Nope. Nor do I necessarily want access to everyone's controllers.

    In our Lon work, we're not just pushing Lon. In fact, we don't push Lon, per se.

    We push a solution to customer's problems. If in our estimate, best solution is TAC. we push TAC. Which, incidentally, is Lon. So are other lines of DDC controllers. We push TAC as that is the vendor with whom we've an established relationship and agreement. Our guys are specifically trainned to take advantage of what we think to be superior features of handling the TAC line. We get better support from manufacturer when we have problems or special needs. Get pricing breaks which often can make or break a deal. So on and so forth. Usual reasons one might prefer to specialize in one particular line of controls.

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