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Thread: Distech Help

  1. #1
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    Distech Help

    So I recently was tasked taking on several distech jobs that my company has secured. I have no experience with the product besides the recently completed GFX class. So go easy on me regarding the dumb questions!! First one is using the GFX tool by itself and trying to do offline programming using the emulator function I get no Lon controllers listed in the controller selection?? Are Lon controllers not useable with the emulator?? I have been through all the smart installer regarding, support packs, productivity enhancements, and everything looks up to date?? The next one running a station on the laptop launching the GFX tool from the launch wizard selection nothing happens?? The GFX tool never opens?? This is something we didn't do in the class we always worked through a jace. If I put the station in the jace ,and launch the tool everything works fine?? Ok here is the dumb one!! The build and send function VS the synchronization!! I don't know I understand the difference. I won't give my explanation fearing all the laughing that might occur. But maybe some could give their educated version on the difference. I have done years of JCI FX work, and have a higher appreciation of their software for sure. I can't grasp why HW and the spyder tool, and this GFX tool is so dependent on a running station. With PCT I can program every controller on the job without opening AX until necessary. Also can't understand why JCI is the only one I have messed with that has a wireless commissioning tool from laptop to controller which was released like 8 years ago!! Last week I did a small boiler plant with distech running a station connecting my bacnet router, running a wire and connecting to the controller all before I can download!! That sucks compared to plugging in a bluetooth commissioning tool and standing 40 feet away if I want. Sorry went on a rant!! Any distech knowledge that you guys can share would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    There are no Lon controllers in the emulator. It is a relatively new feature, but I doubt it will ever be added. I have messed with the emulator a bit, but I would guess it still isn't ready for prime time. You are better off just running an offline station in most cases. In regards to the second issue, I would check the wizard service under your services slot. Make sure you are not in any kind of fault. Another thing to try is to open gfx directly from the start menu and attempt to login to the station running locally at 127.0.0.1. Build and send just sends the logic of your wire sheet. No configuration or anything like that are sent. When you click synchronize, you are given many check boxes to choose from during the process. One of the ones selected by default will set all the variables and constants at their default values as configured under each object. Build and send won't do this. I would suggest reading though the help documentation on all the options here. The documentation is very good, much better than the niagara documentation. There are also times where a synchronize is required to ouch updates to smart-vues and 50 series displays.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSLLC4Life View Post
    There are no Lon controllers in the emulator. It is a relatively new feature, but I doubt it will ever be added. I have messed with the emulator a bit, but I would guess it still isn't ready for prime time. You are better off just running an offline station in most cases. In regards to the second issue, I would check the wizard service under your services slot. Make sure you are not in any kind of fault. Another thing to try is to open gfx directly from the start menu and attempt to login to the station running locally at 127.0.0.1. Build and send just sends the logic of your wire sheet. No configuration or anything like that are sent. When you click synchronize, you are given many check boxes to choose from during the process. One of the ones selected by default will set all the variables and constants at their default values as configured under each object. Build and send won't do this. I would suggest reading though the help documentation on all the options here. The documentation is very good, much better than the niagara documentation. There are also times where a synchronize is required to ouch updates to smart-vues and 50 series displays.
    Thanks for the reply!! I figured something was up with the lon support in the emulator. I have an offline test station, and job station that I have run on the laptop with no luck launching the wizard in either one of those. I have looked at the wizard service and everything looks correct to me?? I will try the 127.0.0.1 thing. I guess I knew most of the difference between build and send, and synchronize just don't really get why you wouldn't use synchronize every time with all the choices you can customized your download. I have read some of their docs, and yes they seem better than some I can't say I'm in love with smart source yet. I was trying to find a section for flash sheets or tech bulletins the other day seemed to be not much there?? Anyways, thanks again for the response.

  4. #4
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    Personally I've only done 1 Lon job, so these comments are BACnet based, but hopefully it'll help:
    I have to admit that gfx seems a bit 'precious' with N4.3 at the moment.
    How are you adding your network & devices? I find the most reliable way with N4.3 is to drag the bcpBACnet from the palette & dump it on the drivers. Then do the same with the devices.
    I have managed to get new devices added to a BACnet network before & been able to open gfx, but it won't open the software as it can't see the server. So you MUST use a bcpBACnet driver for the network.
    The first time you right click on a device, it should pop up a dialog box asking you to select the device type. Be sure to select gfx, not smart vue (for eg).
    Next right click on the device should open gfx. It can take a couple of minutes, and in my case the splash screen often doesn't display, so I just give it a few minutes and if it's not there by then, I figure there's an issue.
    We recently had a LOT of trouble upgrading a site to N4.3. The site had been built on a bacnet based network originally, so obviously the devices had been discovered as BACnet deices, not bcpBACnet devices. It turns out that you must use the clean dist found under the Distech folder, NOT the one in the usual Niagara folder.
    Which brings me to the next point: are you using EC-net, or another version of workbench?
    Have you checked that the bcpBACnet setup is all good?
    Are you creating your devices as Distech lon or generic lon? (I can't recall if there are Distech Lon devices) as in BACnet world if you add a device in the bacnet device manager view you get a number of options to choose from - select the wrong one & the device will never work right.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreezerGeezer View Post
    Personally I've only done 1 Lon job, so these comments are BACnet based, but hopefully it'll help:
    I have to admit that gfx seems a bit 'precious' with N4.3 at the moment.
    How are you adding your network & devices? I find the most reliable way with N4.3 is to drag the bcpBACnet from the palette & dump it on the drivers. Then do the same with the devices.
    I have managed to get new devices added to a BACnet network before & been able to open gfx, but it won't open the software as it can't see the server. So you MUST use a bcpBACnet driver for the network.
    The first time you right click on a device, it should pop up a dialog box asking you to select the device type. Be sure to select gfx, not smart vue (for eg).
    Next right click on the device should open gfx. It can take a couple of minutes, and in my case the splash screen often doesn't display, so I just give it a few minutes and if it's not there by then, I figure there's an issue.
    We recently had a LOT of trouble upgrading a site to N4.3. The site had been built on a bacnet based network originally, so obviously the devices had been discovered as BACnet deices, not bcpBACnet devices. It turns out that you must use the clean dist found under the Distech folder, NOT the one in the usual Niagara folder.
    Which brings me to the next point: are you using EC-net, or another version of workbench?
    Have you checked that the bcpBACnet setup is all good?
    Are you creating your devices as Distech lon or generic lon? (I can't recall if there are Distech Lon devices) as in BACnet world if you add a device in the bacnet device manager view you get a number of options to choose from - select the wrong one & the device will never work right.
    Thanks for the response,
    I'm a JCI FX guy for years, and some HW webs all tridium frontend. So our current distech guys quit and I was elected to take on the line. I will be honest I thought the learning curve would be better given my years of AX experience, but the first couple jobs have been a disaster!! Guess I thought I was smarter than I'am!! I have a bunch of stuff on my plate some bacnet ECB controllers, some ECY bacnet IP controller and 2 fairly complex lon jobs coming up. With stumbling around on one fan powered box for way to long the other day not feeling real confident!! All these controllers have been setup using EC-NET with everything update according to the smart installer. Most of these issues have been learing curve related so I only have myself to blame. That being said I do have a higher appreciation for JCI's software after using this. Thanks again for the response.

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