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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Anchorage Alaska
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    I was looking through my lesson plans and I noticed we had a section on adaptors. I consider an adaptor anything that you need to make things work together. One of the most common is isolation boards to interface with voltage sensitive equipment. Basically an adaptor can be anything that you add to a control system to make it work. For example a reversing relay, timer module, variable volume reset controllers, etc...
    Law Of The Thermostat: He who has the thermostat wins!!!!!

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    304
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    Nice 'Bottom-Up' structure. Maybe also consider some 'Top-Down' teaching (see attached).

    In regards to effective teaching, the “sage on a stage” method can go so far. My best learning came from
    'hands on' - in class, in the lab at office/home or out at the actual job. I've mentioned building a "lead-lag"
    control circuit with just relays, wire, a power supply and a soldering iron - that may sound 'crude' to some,
    but getting hands on with technology, especially with the fundamentals, can make a real difference.

    I recently read about "tacit knowledge" - the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. Some guys can pick up coding or troubleshoot a low-delta T problem like it's second nature. The Art vs. Science. Good luck with your training program.
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  3. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wi
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    75
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    Thread Starter
    So it's always interesting to circle back years later and look at what you've learned/ accomplished.

    Sitting down now and reflecting on the 11 courses we've created and the 4,600+ folks we've trained I've figured out quite a bit (especially since we added a skills assessment last year).

    First off, my 4-week estimate was a bit ambitious but we've seen many students who have been able to be profitably billable within 3 months.

    We restructured our courses to consist of a four-course track structure that focuses on roles (technician, designer, programmer, sales, project management, and system integration).

    So without turning this into a giant slap chop infomercial about my business here's what I've learned that applies to those of you developing and leading people.

    I was right about the Pareto principle, there is only a select amount of things people need to know.

    For example, we have seen consistently that inexperienced and experienced folks both are limited in a deep understanding of PID loops which is one of the leading causes of system performance issues and service calls. This is an easy fix, seriously you can train someone in PID loops in 30 minutes.

    Next, we found a significant amount of people who didn't understand basic I/O and controller config. This is easy to address with the introduction of design patterns (the same concept we use in our programming course). Simply teach folks the common ways of wiring I/O and you can significantly improve P2P efficiency (another big area on project work and troubleshooting).

    Finally, I noticed a large number of folks who cannot program beyond their manufacturer training because it teaches to follow the workbook methodologies.

    By using design patterns we have been able to take someone who has never programmed and teach them to program VAV's, RTU's, and Air-cooled chillers from scratch in a few weeks. This is a bold statement but we have example after example of this. So how do you do this?

    What I recommend is breaking a program into its simplest parts. For example, Chiller enable may be driven by some comparative and boolean logic (temp and alarms/schedules). Once you can program that snippet then move onto the pump interlock snippet (which by the way is no different than the supply fan/ damper interlock snippet, same code snippet different solution).

    Once you teach folks how to program these snippets (we call them design patterns) you can then easily piece the snippets together. Additionally, you can troubleshoot code because you can identify snippets.

    There's a lot more that we've learned over time and I will be discussing that in Episode 178 of our podcast.

    But what I want you to take from this is:

    If you are new, do not be overwhelmed. You don't need years of training to contribute as a BAS employee.

    If you manage people, focus on profitability. Where do you make your money and where do you lose money. Fix those areas, the worst thing you can do is have someone following you around on a job site. That is pure margin erosion, you're better off correcting bad P2P on a bunch of VAV boxes which will be less overall margin erosion.

    More to follow in the podcast episode. Feel free to ping me with questions.

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    526
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    Good advice.

  5. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    143
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    Former Instructor and I like what you are attempting and wish you the best of luck.
    I came into the trade with an Electronics and Communications background from the military. I had NO knowledge or understanding of HVAC systems at all but I understood relay logic, could use a multi-meter and knew how to use and navigate technical manuals. These three things are what i see missing the most in new technicians. ( I honestly believe these are where many new techs could benefit the most. I have guys green as grass asking me how to tune PID loops but don't know how to wire a relay or read a MA signal. Knowledge of systems and how they work comes with time and experience. Teach them Relay Logic, teach them to use a multi-meter and teach them to read the manual. So many are lacking these basic skills it hurts.

    Sorry ill get off my soap box now.
    Best instructor / DDC classes i ever had was Jim Houck With Tempcon. Dont know if he is still around i need to look him up. Something he said once always stuck with me. Were not trying to send someone to the moon so keep it simple. If its hot turn on cooling, If its cold turn on heat and if its humid do both. This ain't rocket science.

    Good luck and Have fun!!!!

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wi
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    75
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    Thread Starter
    That's actually my background. I was a Missile Tech in the Navy working on Mk 41 VLS systems. I learned electromechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems, plus reading tech manuals. It made the transition into BAS and HVAC so easy.

    I try to impart these topics in my courses especially the ones in the technician track.

  7. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Texas
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    143
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    Quote Originally Posted by philzito View Post
    That's actually my background. I was a Missile Tech in the Navy working on Mk 41 VLS systems. I learned electromechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems, plus reading tech manuals. It made the transition into BAS and HVAC so easy.

    I try to impart these topics in my courses especially the ones in the technician track.
    Ex army here. I was a Microwave Systems Operator Maintainer and cross-trained as a Computer analyst. (I made sure people could talk to each other. IN PRIVATE) Unheard of in the civilian world but I had a 40hr class dedicated to technical manuals and how to navigate and find information. Even had a test where we were timed. So i had a strong background in Electronics, networking and math. Funniest thing is while in the service i installed car stereo's for side work at local shops and didnt even realize how it would benefit me in the future. Was stationed in Hawaii and ended up doing high end installs. ( Mercedes, Porche, Ferrari...) Some of the electronic/ pneumatic / vacuum systems blew my mind even more was how we would retrofit them fascinated me This prepared me for my future in controls more than i would have ever imagined. I've always told young techs that story to make a point. Use the knowledge you have learned in life and adapt it for your needs now. Can build the hell out of a panel too.

    Take care brother and Fair winds and Followings seas you old Squid

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    647
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    I’d suggest adding some training for configuring routers, VPN access, tunnels, etc.

  9. #35
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SC
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    1,876
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    Quote Originally Posted by Profiler View Post
    I’d suggest adding some training for configuring routers, VPN access, tunnels, etc.
    I think that would be a mistake and losing focus on what Phil is. Once you wander into this territory there is a ton of material and certifications available that directly apply to what we do.
    Scott Jalbert, WebCTRL ninja, Naiagara AX and Smartstruxure newb, SiteScan Retired

    The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried

  10. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    647
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    To be honest, you could probably turn this training plan into a degree program. To someone delving this deep, knowing basics of VPNs and how to manipulate a customer router seems like a necessary component.

  11. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wi
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    75
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Profiler View Post
    I’d suggest adding some training for configuring routers, VPN access, tunnels, etc.
    We actually have this in our IT course and our Technician course.

  12. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wi
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    75
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Profiler View Post
    To be honest, you could probably turn this training plan into a degree program. To someone delving this deep, knowing basics of VPNs and how to manipulate a customer router seems like a necessary component.
    I've thought about this. But the process of accreditation is so confusing. I'm looking into this as we have 11 courses now that cover all aspects of BAS.

  13. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Milwaukee, Wi
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBurn View Post
    I think that would be a mistake and losing focus on what Phil is. Once you wander into this territory there is a ton of material and certifications available that directly apply to what we do.
    You're spot on. This was actually my biggest concern when i started recording our IT course. Hell there's IT courses that are 25 dollars.

    But what i realized after recording the course is that putting IT terms in BAS terms using BAS use cases made the course very effective.

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