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  1. #1
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    Siemens Desigo BACnet

    I may be getting involved with a Desigo BACnet system, can someone please describe all the tools required, from the front end graphics creation and modifications to programming the PXC and PTEC BACnet controllers and other related FLN controllers. I want to make sure the building owner has or asks for all the needed software tools and licenses. This is my first crack at Siemens, is this something solid/reliable controller wise that I can pick up fairly quick or should I just walk away?

    thx.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by amigo View Post
    I may be getting involved with a Desigo BACnet system, can someone please describe all the tools required, from the front end graphics creation and modifications to programming the PXC and PTEC BACnet controllers and other related FLN controllers. I want to make sure the building owner has or asks for all the needed software tools and licenses. This is my first crack at Siemens, is this something solid/reliable controller wise that I can pick up fairly quick or should I just walk away?

    thx.
    I am assuming you are US based and you mean Desigo CC otherwise in the rest of the world they call Insight Desigo. If you are using Desigo CC graphics are created using the Desigo CC program, but you must license engineering mode to make changes. Programming is all done through the panels as with Insight, however there is no Program Editor. Instead Siemens must install the Apogee Editors in one of the BACnet PXC panel for you to be able to create/edit programs and points through the Desigo CC front end. Otherwise terminal emulation will still allow you to do this directly within the panel. PTEC and any other TECs requires WCIS, which depending on who you deal with you might or might not be able to get. Official word from corporate is that it is not sold to customers though I have found branches that have sold it or under the table given it to a customer.

    Desigo CC is a very different beast than Insight or most other front ends that I have personally dealt with. It is not inherently obvious how to do things and the documentation is still being developed. On the main install there are help files that will get you through most of how to do things, but lack explanation in the details. I don't know your background and as you say this is your first crack at Siemens I am not sure that diving into programming PPCL without Insight's Program Editor or Comm Tools (which you cannot get) is going to be very easy. You will have to rely on the manual (which you can find online) and either hope that whatever problems you might have are easy to figure out as with the Apogee Editors or Terminal Emulation you get no Syntax checking you just get an error. Graphics will not necessarily be very easy either as there are a lot of options when doing Desigo graphics and most of them are not useful, but can make it confusing to use.

    The Desigo CC product is new. That being said they are still working out the bugs. Most customers find it stable and reliable, but they are smaller customers that don't do a whole lot with the product. Right now larger installations are not moving to Desigo CC as it is not ready for that. The system has memory issues needing a minimum of 16GB RAM (and it really does need it too) and a fairly decent processor. I was told they have on the list to fix this but it is far down as not all of the other features are working yet. The PXC and TEC lines are fairly stable and reliable having been installed all over the world.

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  4. #3
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    Thread Starter
    Thank you, I am in South America/US based. I appreciate the overview.
    Is there a quick way to tell if I have CC or Insight?
    Where are the programs for PXC and PTEC, reside? Can it be sucked out of the controller in whole, edited, and re-downloaded?
    What are these Comm Tools you mention, how handicap am I without being able to get them?

    So to summarize, if I have CC, I need:
    Desigo CC program licensed for engineering mode
    Apogee Editors installed in at least one of the BACnet PXC. (You say Editors, is there more than one program?)
    Comm Tools, (Not sure what these are used for ?)
    WCIS for PTECs and TECs (what is the latest version of WCIS?)
    Anything else?

    Can a different front end be put on top of BACnet PXC, PTECs and TECs? or are there hooks in Desigo that would make it the only functional front end?

    Sorry for all the questions.

    I have worked on a fair number of different systems, so I would say my background is fairly decent.

    Cheers.

  5. #4
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    If it is South America you should have the choice of either. Desigo Insight is mostly a European product but can be used in different areas of the world. If it is a new installation you will probably be offered Desigo CC. If it an existing installation (beyond 2 years or so) it will be Insight. Just starting the program up will tell you what it is as on will say Insight and the other Desigo CC. With Insight you can upload and download the programs from the controllers using both Database Transfer (initial upload) and then program editor (change/create and download). In Desigo CC the program is read from the panel using the Apogee Editor changes can then be made and downloaded/saved back into the controller. Both systems allow you to export the program for editing in Notepad or something similar and then reimporting the file and saving it.

    Comm Tools is what Siemens uses to initially create and program a job. It has all the functions of Insight but with an offline mode and no need for a sentinel (it uses a license code instead). Currently Desigo CC jobs are created using Comm Tools as it allows Siemens to program all the PXCs, define FLNs and generate a file to create a Desigo CC project file. You can however use Desigo CC alone to do an entire job you just have to have everything connected and communicating first.

    With Apogee Editors there are both the program and point editor. If one is installed the other is installed as well.

    Since BACnet is mostly universal you can put Siemens controllers on any BACnet front end. I have personally added a Siemens PXC with FLN TECs and a Diakin AHU integration to a Johnson Controls Metasys frontend. The only catch with Siemens PXC controllers is that you must enable the auto restore function on the PXC. And at some point once you are done backup the panel to the internal flash. As Siemens PXC controllers do not retain their database when coldstarted if this is not done then if you have a power issue or make certain changes the controller will not have any data other than basic BACnet and network info once it comes back online. Siemens gets around this with Insight by having Insight recognize the controller return and downloading the database back into the controller automatically.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickDeal View Post
    The system has memory issues needing a minimum of 16GB RAM (and it really does need it too) and a fairly decent processor.
    WTF is it mining bitcoins in the background??

    I don't interface with our Siemens guys much, but have heard them whine about what a resource hog this is.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  7. #6
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    No idea. I do know that whenever I load it up on my laptop it my RAM usage immediately goes from 2-3 GB to about 12 GB. And it runs like piss on the Core i5 that I have.

  8. #7
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    This is great info, thank you. I am starting to understand the basics of how Siemens brings it all together.

    Other than Comm Tools, Is the only way to talk to and program PXC through an Insight or CC workstation with proper editors?
    Does WCIS program have built in editors for PTEC and TECs?
    Is WCIS licensed via dongle or PC code? What is the latest version of WCIS?

    cheers.

  9. #8
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    You can use Terminal Emulation to do it. It is pain. You can also have Siemens install the webserver in the PXCs. This is free and is what installs the Apogee Editors. You can do everything but graphics (requires license) inside the webserver. I don't believe however that you can program PTECs using the webserver at least I have never tried or heard of someone doing it. I am pretty sure PTEC require comm tools to add programming.

    WCIS is only the configuration tool for TECs. It allows you to set the address, program, BACnet info ect. It is not licensed at all and can be installed on any machine. It used to be sold to customers but at some point they decided to stop that practice.

  10. #9
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    Okay, thank you, sorry I am a bit confused.
    So for PTECs and TECs, I need WCIS to configure their addresses, bacnet info, etc. Can I also view and modify the program of them with WCIS?
    If I can do that by directly connecting to the controller, how does Insight or CC know that the code has changed in that controller once I reconnect it back to the main network?

  11. #10
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    PTECs can be loaded and edited using Insight 3.13 before that it took a combination of files and a command line tool. They integrated the PPCL stuff into 3.13. I don't think Desigo CC has the capability currently to access or change the PPCL in a PTEC. WCIS can only setup the basic functions common to all TEC.

    If changes are made to the PTEC outside of Insight then you need to delete and readd it using the app number. With Insight though you can edit the points and program directly and not worry about that. In Desigo CC any changes made would only be reflected if additional points are added to the program. These would have to be discovered using the BACnet discovery feature of Desigo CC. The PPCL resides inside the controller and is read once you try to edit the program using Insight. Or using the command line tool save the pcl file locally.

  12. #11
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    As Siemens PXC controllers do not retain their database when coldstarted if this is not done then if you have a power issue or make certain changes the controller will not have any data other than basic BACnet and network info once it comes back online...

    Never have heard a good reason as to why the Siemens controllers do this. Ive never seen a system barf their database and programming just because of some minor change in configuration.

  13. #12
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    Don't confuse WCIS with CIS... I have seen CIS out on the internets and is no longer supported by Siemens. It will also not work with any device above more than 99 points. Many of the newer TECs have well abouve 99 points now (Lab Controllers, PTECS) 120, 140 etc,

    You will not be able to program PTECs with WCIS, you would need other software.

    WCIS is a pure Siemens Product and is Propriety. Only Siemens folks are "supposed" to have it but it is out in the wild so to speak.

    You can purchase a program called datamate which is a consumer version for WCIS and does almost all of what WCIS dos. WCIS is currently up to version 4.0.

    Also if you have a Siemens Tech you work with, he can give you a USB Stick of WCIS with a limited supply of connects to TEC devices. I think 99 is max free of charge. It was intended for TAB folks.
    As far as panels go, (PXCC, PXCM) older Insight systems had a restore feature that downloaded info to panels from a cold start. Desigo CC is not like this. You can create backups from Desigo and load them back down into the panel but it is not automatic like the older Insight. Enable Auto Restore at your panels, so if it blips it will restore itself.

    Think of Desigo as more of a Management System of information. Panels do all the heavy lifting.

    All graphics in Desigo are done by Desigo. There is no separate graphics program. Things get different on Webserver Panels and they have their own graphic software and Insight uses Micrographics.

  14. #13
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    Generally speaking, how do I load an "application" into an older Apogee TEC?
    What software(s) are used to do this if I do not have insight?
    Where can I get the "application" files to load into a replacement TEC that is in slave mode?

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