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  1. #1
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    Download field controllers from N4 Supervisor

    We are instaling JACE 8000 to replace a very old supervisory level BAS. There are several different BACnet controllers "factory-installed" for new equipment installed over the years. So it is great that we can pickup these systems for an integrated control level beyond supervisory. BUT what if they lose their programming?! What field controller brands have tools (besides Honeywell Sypder) that permit download through the JACE connection at N4 Supervisor?

    We need to decide if we just pick-up the variety of BACnet field controller as-is (ALC, JCI, Trane) and deal with a lost program by calling in a service contractor for the brand OR should we just replace all controllers with a known N4 Supervisor compatible. In case of the latter... seems like proprietary still wins.

    Any & All advice appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I can say with finality you aren't going to be downloading ALC equipment from a Jace without WebCTRL. However you can use the jace as a router and download ALC attached equipment over the network through the jace no problem. I haven't done it but we use third party routers all the time. Should be pretty easy to support this type of situation.
    Scott Jalbert, WebCTRL ninja, Naiagara AX and EcoStruxure Building Expert newb, SiteScan Retired

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

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnewcombe View Post
    We are instaling JACE 8000 to replace a very old supervisory level BAS. There are several different BACnet controllers "factory-installed" for new equipment installed over the years. So it is great that we can pickup these systems for an integrated control level beyond supervisory. BUT what if they lose their programming?! What field controller brands have tools (besides Honeywell Sypder) that permit download through the JACE connection at N4 Supervisor?

    We need to decide if we just pick-up the variety of BACnet field controller as-is (ALC, JCI, Trane) and deal with a lost program by calling in a service contractor for the brand OR should we just replace all controllers with a known N4 Supervisor compatible. In case of the latter... seems like proprietary still wins.

    Any & All advice appreciated!
    IMHO if you chose new controllers look at JCI FX controllers. The controller tool PCT is outside of workbench but controllers are easily accessed with bacnet routing turned on in the jace. I personally have worked with HW spyders, and a lot of JCI controllers, and now distech which can be accessed via the jace using the wizard lauch in workbench that opens the GFX controller tool. I personally hate the dependent jars that are needed in the jace for both HW and distech. The jace housing the controller database I think sucks. I have seen HW jaces fail to start because of corrupt controller files. IMHO never should the supervisor controller fail on controller level file issues! With JCI PCT you can program everything necessary without ever opening workbench, and if the CAF file is corrupt it would never fail the jace. Once done import the resource file if using a JCI jace and points are proxyed and your done. I can't stand HW,and distech being so dependent on a running station!! Just one guys opinion. Also spyder line is going away soon.

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  5. #4
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    [QUOTE=MaxBurn;25482336aren't going to be downloading ALC equipment from a Jace without WebCTRL. However you can use the jace as a router.[/QUOTE]

    DOes this mean webCTRL is configured to see the JACE and its MSTP BACnet network? Then is the JACE configured in a way for WebCTRL such that N4 SUpervisor cannot communicate with the JACE and the MSTP network?

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnewcombe View Post
    BUT what if they lose their programming?!
    Forget about downloading them through Tridium. Its a total nightmare. Fix the root problem, controllers that lose their programming at the drop of a hat.

    In this day and age there is no reason a controller should do this. With what I work with the controller internally has three copies of it. The running version which is what the controller is actually running. A backup of the running copy, which is saved from the running copy on a regular basis, and a "backup" copy that is what was last downloaded to the controller. All three would have to fail for a controller to require a download. Its extremely rare that downloading is require outside of some major change. Power loss, random crap...almost never requires any action. Its either a hardware failure, or some major change done on the fly followed by power fail.

    Tech has been there for more than a decade to make sure this isn't a problem. If the vendor has failed to adopt it, maybe you need to look elsewhere.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion242 View Post
    Forget about downloading them through Tridium. Its a total nightmare. Fix the root problem, ...
    Agreed on field controllers should be reliable, and most are. (I don't know of a field level controller with that backup strategy however.) There is still the need to change a program for non-ASC equipment.

    Are you saying that all brand downloads are a nightmare, or just JCI or HW?
    Do you dare recommend a particular brand?
    I really like the idea of a standard open source programming protocol like Sedona, but what I see today are only BACnet/IP and we need MSTP.

    Do you know anything about the prior comment that Spyders are going away?

    As always, really appreciate any and all advice!

  8. #7
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    Got any of the info on the spider line going away?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnewcombe View Post
    DOes this mean webCTRL is configured to see the JACE and its MSTP BACnet network?
    Yes, document the network in SiteBuilder with all addressing, device instances, network numbers etc and it will reach through to the ALC modules no problem. Pay attention to the WebCTRL server BACnet device instance and potentially the device instance to deliver alarms to if you are using that.

    Quote Originally Posted by lnewcombe View Post
    Then is the JACE configured in a way for WebCTRL such that N4 SUpervisor cannot communicate with the JACE and the MSTP network?
    No? I can't think of a reason why this would be mutually exclusive. I guess you would need licensing to run BACnet/IP and MS/TP in the jace if you didn't already have that. Your niagara connections are all still there at the same time.
    Scott Jalbert, WebCTRL ninja, Naiagara AX and EcoStruxure Building Expert newb, SiteScan Retired

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

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnewcombe View Post
    Agreed on field controllers should be reliable, and most are. (I don't know of a field level controller with that backup strategy however.) There is still the need to change a program for non-ASC equipment.
    Certain older ALC stuff lose memory if the battery dies. As stated though that's a problem that needs to be fixed. Agreed that having a maintainable way to update programming is the real goal here.

    Quote Originally Posted by lnewcombe View Post
    I really like the idea of a standard open source programming protocol like Sedona, but what I see today are only BACnet/IP and we need MSTP.
    I haven't done it but EasyIO has MSTP on some of their controllers, and they are sedona. I'm told it isn't a router though, it's been described to me as merely a means to pick up a VFD for the unit the particular controller is attached to for example.
    Scott Jalbert, WebCTRL ninja, Naiagara AX and EcoStruxure Building Expert newb, SiteScan Retired

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

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bolt950rider View Post
    Got any of the info on the spider line going away?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Company I work at is a large HW dealer. I don't have to play with them that much thankfully. New controller line is coming soon. So I can't see it will take much for people to go away from the spyders. Of course remember how long to it took to get I/O for the spyders after they said it was coming. LOL New controller line is suppose to have IP controllers, some programming that might include some care objects from the XL5000 line, and a plant controller that looks like a jace with I/O to me. So going away maybe not? But some new things coming.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBurn View Post
    I haven't done it but EasyIO has MSTP on some of their controllers, and they are sedona. I'm told it isn't a router though, it's been described to me as merely a means to pick up a VFD for the unit the particular controller is attached to for example.
    You are correct here. It would be REALLY NICE if it did route though...
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by xarralu View Post
    You are correct here. It would be REALLY NICE if it did route though...
    I got pretty excited when they mentioned that and started asking questions to some disappointment. I can think of some applications for something like this that did route BACnet. As is I suppose you could bring in some points and put them right back out on your wire sheet?
    Scott Jalbert, WebCTRL ninja, Naiagara AX and EcoStruxure Building Expert newb, SiteScan Retired

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

  14. #13
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    Very useful information!

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