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  1. #1

    Confused NAE35 to VMA1420 HVAC PRO Passthru

    Intro:

    Hey everyone this is my first post on HVAC-Talk. I'm just a lowly co-op going into my third year of electrical engineering, so I have literally zero knowledge when it comes to HVAC (and a lot of other things I probably should have learned my first two years ha) so try not to come at me too hard when I may appear to have little to no understanding of things being talked about.

    My manager just purchased a few Johnson Controls Metasys devices off of eBay a week ago and gave me a few tasks. I've looked through the manuals, searched all over the internet, called tech support, and haven't found an answer to my problem. Most of the google searches led me here, and all of the technical expertise seems to be hanging around this forum so I hope I get a few good responses to my questions. I'll mainly post what I've done so far primarily hoping that if there's a part that I messed up, maybe someone can steer me in the right direction so I'll apologize in advance for the lengthy post.

    What I've done so far:

    I have an NAE35 device, and a VMA1420 device (and a few others but I'm not worried about them just yet). My first task was to get my computer talking to the NAE, and all of the devices talking to each other via N2. I found the instructions in the manual, so I hooked up my laptop to the NAE via an ethernet crossover cable, and accessed it through a web browser (IE) via its ip-address/metasys. Initially I had some Java version problems, but I downloaded the correct specific version and was able to open the, I believe it's called, Metasys System Extended Architecture software. I verified that the devices are talking by searching for field devices automatically, and up popped the VMA (and the other devices). I slightly configured it, and the device is online.

    Problem:

    My manager asked me to see if I can control the actuator on the VMA1420 via my laptop. After doing a bit of research, it appeared that I could do this through HVAC PRO (not sure). I installed the entire M-Tools Rel 5.4.2 software package, which includes HVAC PRO on my laptop, but I'm having trouble connecting to the VMA1420 through the NAE35.

    I've tried going in the MSEA menu under Tools>Field Device Tools>HVAC PRO (N2) but when I click on it, an alert pops up that reads "You must first install the passthru components on this machine before running the selected tool." The version of MSEA that's running from the controller is version 4.0.0.3400.

    If somebody could enlighten a young student like myself and help me learn how to use these devices and primarily solve this problem it would be much appreciated! Any additional advice, info, or guidance is encouraged.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    151
    You need to have SCT installed on your laptop to do passthru.

  3. #3

    Hmm SCT

    OK I've come across SCT a couple times, and thought maybe I needed that to do passthrough, but I guess I don't understand how else I could connect to the VMA1420 device other than through the NAE35. The only communications port on it is N2, and I don't know how I would go about connecting directly to that from my computer. Is there a way it could connect to my serial port somehow? What kind of adapter would I need to wire it up in that way? Pictures/links would be very helpful.

    Also, I wonder if I should recommend purchasing SCT to my manager. How necessary is it to build a simple system/what kind of benefits does it provide? I have a simple understanding of it being able to upload and download from the controller, backup configurations, and apparently do passthru, but I guess I just don't quite understand if it's a necessity where I'm very limited without it, or if it's just optional and I can do a lot without it.

    Thanks for the input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Western Colorado
    Posts
    497
    There's a reason your manager found all that Metasys junk on eBay!

    "Hey Cunningham, This is 2011 calling, Go with Niagara & Throw the VMA away!"
    RealEyes
    Realize
    RealLies!




  5. #5

    Cool

    Hey rad1, I appreciate the response, but I'm in the understanding that the main goal of our project is to demonstrate something along the lines of how to seamlessly transfer an old system to newer stuff using newer equipment such as touchscreen HMI's and such. Could be wrong there, but that's what I got out of it. I'm aware this stuff is not modern, because apparently nobody in our whole control systems company which has a pretty broad knowledge base knows how to use it.

    Also, throwing the stuff away is probably not a sound solution to this problem. Still looking for a solution though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    115
    Hello CunninghamC16, take he Metasys haters out there with a grain of salt. Although I am a former JCI employee I still love the product. The NAE that you have is the newset in the line of supervisory controllers by JCI. The VMA that uses the N2 protocol is an older product, as is HVACpro, but they are both well tested, used and they are great in what they do.

    As for SCT, the advantage is you can do offline database generation and database management. Without the SCT you cannot backup and download a freash database meaning if the NAE looses it's brains you do not lose the program.

    You must have SCT loaded on a computer along with HVACpro to do passthrough.

    If you wish to connect to the VMA with a laptop, there are two comm trunks available to you. You can use the zonebus throught the installed t'stat but do not recommend it. Or you can use the N2bus. Either way you need a converter CVTpro from Johnson of visit s2innovations out of Edmonton, they are on the web. I use their converter for my N2 work. The Zone bus is too slow with the VMA applications.

    If you wish to control the zone damper of the VMA with the NAE you can map the point in the NAE. The Auto discovery mode does not give you everything. Open HVACpro, open your program and goto the options drop dwon menu. Ensure that generate prn on save is checked, then save the file. The file should save in the default directory c:/winpro/files.
    In the NAE, goto the controller listed under the N2trunk and move it onto the viewing panel on the right. You will see a tab called resource. Click new and search for the name of the controller file that you just saved in HVACpro. Save that and then highlight the controller on the navigation tree, left screen. Goto to Insert field point and when it comes up there is a choice between assisted or manual, select assisted. This will allow you to choose from all the points defined in the HVACpro program and you will find the damper control in there. You will have to look for it through the list of points.

    This is a bit cumbersome but remeember that the N2 products have been around since the 80's and are not being upgraded. They have been replaced by the FEC line which has a much better self discovery function with the NAE.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Western Colorado
    Posts
    497
    Just a couple clicks, eh Froz?
    Hi Cunningham,
    Just a little 'poke', no offense meant. I could not tell from your OP what you were doing with the Metasys equip. But if you're trying to bring old to new, a Fx-60 would do the trick!
    RealEyes
    Realize
    RealLies!




  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    343
    Quote Originally Posted by Froz'ninWpg View Post
    you need a converter CVTpro from Johnson of visit s2innovations out of Edmonton,
    We use a RS232 to 485 converter from B&B electronics. I know there are others that work too. There are some that don't. It sounds like there may be some resources at your workplace for this kind of interface. The biggest restriction is the COM port must be 1 or 2 for HVAC Pro. I have used HVAC PRO through the serial Tunnel on the FX60 with the laptop connected directly to the 60's Ethernet port. If you get too far away from the FX60 (through switches and routers) the timing of the serial connection will cause communication failures and the connection becomes worse than useless. So I think a virtual serial port on the ethernet would work though I have not done this application. And I have used a B&B USB to 485 interface also.

    So what I am saying the CVTpro or s2 are not the only way to get the laptop on the N2, but they are the guaranteed (supported) way.

    BTW the N2 can only have 1 master. If you put the laptop on the network the NAE must be removed from the network while you are using the laptop.

    IT is still not clear to me what you are trying to accomplish with this network as you have not talked about what kind of system you are controlling.

    Bill

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    2444 Washington Blvd, Suite 100 Ogden, UT
    Posts
    359
    Is your project strictly a training exercise or is it a prototype for a production system? You might want to take a look at our S4 Open appliances. This gives you the option of using any OPC or BACnet application to talk directly to the N2 device while still keeping the Metasys supervisory controller in operation.

    Contact information is in my profile.

    Quote Originally Posted by CunninghamC16 View Post
    Intro:

    Hey everyone this is my first post on HVAC-Talk. I'm just a lowly co-op going into my third year of electrical engineering, so I have literally zero knowledge when it comes to HVAC (and a lot of other things I probably should have learned my first two years ha) so try not to come at me too hard when I may appear to have little to no understanding of things being talked about.

    My manager just purchased a few Johnson Controls Metasys devices off of eBay a week ago and gave me a few tasks. I've looked through the manuals, searched all over the internet, called tech support, and haven't found an answer to my problem. Most of the google searches led me here, and all of the technical expertise seems to be hanging around this forum so I hope I get a few good responses to my questions. I'll mainly post what I've done so far primarily hoping that if there's a part that I messed up, maybe someone can steer me in the right direction so I'll apologize in advance for the lengthy post.

    What I've done so far:

    I have an NAE35 device, and a VMA1420 device (and a few others but I'm not worried about them just yet). My first task was to get my computer talking to the NAE, and all of the devices talking to each other via N2. I found the instructions in the manual, so I hooked up my laptop to the NAE via an ethernet crossover cable, and accessed it through a web browser (IE) via its ip-address/metasys. Initially I had some Java version problems, but I downloaded the correct specific version and was able to open the, I believe it's called, Metasys System Extended Architecture software. I verified that the devices are talking by searching for field devices automatically, and up popped the VMA (and the other devices). I slightly configured it, and the device is online.

    Problem:

    My manager asked me to see if I can control the actuator on the VMA1420 via my laptop. After doing a bit of research, it appeared that I could do this through HVAC PRO (not sure). I installed the entire M-Tools Rel 5.4.2 software package, which includes HVAC PRO on my laptop, but I'm having trouble connecting to the VMA1420 through the NAE35.

    I've tried going in the MSEA menu under Tools>Field Device Tools>HVAC PRO (N2) but when I click on it, an alert pops up that reads "You must first install the passthru components on this machine before running the selected tool." The version of MSEA that's running from the controller is version 4.0.0.3400.

    If somebody could enlighten a young student like myself and help me learn how to use these devices and primarily solve this problem it would be much appreciated! Any additional advice, info, or guidance is encouraged.

    Thank you
    Steve Jones
    Managing Partner
    The S4 Group, Inc.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    254
    Quote Originally Posted by Froz'ninWpg View Post
    Hello CunninghamC16, take he Metasys haters out there with a grain of salt. Although I am a former JCI employee I still love the product. The NAE that you have is the newset in the line of supervisory controllers by JCI. The VMA that uses the N2 protocol is an older product, as is HVACpro, but they are both well tested, used and they are great in what they do.

    As for SCT, the advantage is you can do offline database generation and database management. Without the SCT you cannot backup and download a freash database meaning if the NAE looses it's brains you do not lose the program.

    You must have SCT loaded on a computer along with HVACpro to do passthrough.

    If you wish to connect to the VMA with a laptop, there are two comm trunks available to you. You can use the zonebus throught the installed t'stat but do not recommend it. Or you can use the N2bus. Either way you need a converter CVTpro from Johnson of visit s2innovations out of Edmonton, they are on the web. I use their converter for my N2 work. The Zone bus is too slow with the VMA applications.

    If you wish to control the zone damper of the VMA with the NAE you can map the point in the NAE. The Auto discovery mode does not give you everything. Open HVACpro, open your program and goto the options drop dwon menu. Ensure that generate prn on save is checked, then save the file. The file should save in the default directory c:/winpro/files.
    In the NAE, goto the controller listed under the N2trunk and move it onto the viewing panel on the right. You will see a tab called resource. Click new and search for the name of the controller file that you just saved in HVACpro. Save that and then highlight the controller on the navigation tree, left screen. Goto to Insert field point and when it comes up there is a choice between assisted or manual, select assisted. This will allow you to choose from all the points defined in the HVACpro program and you will find the damper control in there. You will have to look for it through the list of points.

    This is a bit cumbersome but remeember that the N2 products have been around since the 80's and are not being upgraded. They have been replaced by the FEC line which has a much better self discovery function with the NAE.

    Hope this helps.
    LOL....see how easy they are to beat! If they only knew hoy Tonka they are.

  11. #11

    Thumbs up Thank you!

    Thank you all for your feedback.

    Froz'ninWpg... You're solution worked! Thank you so much for showing me how to use the HVAC Pro file as a resource for the VMA device in the NAE software. One of the main problems I had before was, since I don't have an HVAC Pro file established for the VMA, I couldn't use anything for a resource. I went into HVAC Pro from my Start Menu instead of trying from the NAE software, quickly went through the Q&A to create a file/program appropriate for the VMA1420, and followed the rest of the instructions to get the IO points on the VMA recognized by the NAE software. Before, I could not find the damper control AO point when manually creating field points for the VMA, but now since I've used that file as a resource, I've found it and have control over it. I tried creating a small program before in HVAC Pro, but I could not figure out how to transfer it to the VMA device because it only offered COM1 and COM2. I still believe that, to do this, I need passthru via the SCT software, or the adapter (correct me if I'm wrong).

    Technically, by using that configuration file as a resource, that doesn't count as "downloading the code", but merely telling the NAE exactly what kind of inputs and outputs the VMA has available to use? I'm still under the impression that SCT or an adapter is necessary to do some more powerful things (not sure exactly what quite yet).

    billcontrols: I believe my manager may still purchase the adapter to allow my computer to talk directly to the N2 devices, however, because it seems that configuring the controller with the HVAC Pro software might still be necessary. We're going to figure out how much I can do this afternoon with the setup I have now.

    steves4: For me, this is a bit of a training exercise. We're just trying to gain some knowledge on how to use these devices and what their capabilities are. These most likely will not be used to actually control HVAC in a building.

    If there are any more persistent problems I run into in the near future, or if there's any questions I may have, I'll most likely be posting them back on this thread. Thank you all for your help & input; it was very beneficial, and I'm sure I will be making more posts shortly.

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