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  1. #14
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    working on controls doesn't need a full knowledge of how the equipment works unless you're making your own program. But knowing how the equipment generally is to work is very important. With out that you may not be able to tell if a dry contact is actually closing and passing voltage or resistance. Same with analog. Knowing the basics well is important to be a well versed technician.

    Example the controller said it was telling the fan to run. But the relay contact on the board was bad and not passing 24v. So the fan didn't run which is why the fan status never closed.

  2. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPeterson21 View Post
    I work in controls and it doesn't take long to get up to speed with the basic mechanical knowledge.
    Basic mechanical knowledge, maybe and it depends on the person. Truly understanding the refrigeration cycle alone is not basic, then to add the multitudes of components and types, high, med, low temp....The best controls techs IMO have worked in the field as service techs a number of years and have a good understanding of even semi-complex and complex mechanical systems.

    You want to be an 'untouchable'/rock star in your career as either and electrician/hvac/controls person...then finish your HVAC apprenticeship. Since you can afford what you can, you might see if there's anyway to expedite it, i.e. work a day on each/every other weekend/add a day of schooling.
    Either way there are very few that will have the licensing you'll end up with if you stick it out. HVAC systems can be very, very complex and gaining the experience will just help you that much more in the future. I understand licensing and/or a degree doesn't really mean your better than the guy/gal that doesn't have it, but it opens up so many more doors and gives you much more of a voice.

    There is a serious disconnect all too often between mechanical/hvac guys and the controls guys. Seriously a couple of years of finishing out your apprenticeship, you'll thank yourself later.
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
    BIG Government = More Dependents
    "Any 'standard' would be great if it didn't get bastardised by corporate self interest." MatrixTransform
    My 5 yr old son "Dad, Siri is not very smart when there's no internet."


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  4. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPeterson21 View Post
    I work in controls and it doesn't take long to get up to speed with the basic mechanical knowledge.
    I'll check with the guy who programmed the chiller hot gas solenoid to energize when the supply water got below 33 degrees. Oh yeah, he's out of work now. Or maybe the guy who didn't program a mixed air low limit and froze all those coils, except I don't know who it was. What about the normally open steam humidifier that cut loose at the art museum and set off the smoke alarm that could have cost millions.

  5. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by crab master View Post
    Basic mechanical knowledge, maybe and it depends on the person. Truly understanding the refrigeration cycle alone is not basic, then to add the multitudes of components and types, high, med, low temp....The best controls techs IMO have worked in the field as service techs a number of years and have a good understanding of even semi-complex and complex mechanical systems.

    You want to be an 'untouchable'/rock star in your career as either and electrician/hvac/controls person...then finish your HVAC apprenticeship. Since you can afford what you can, you might see if there's anyway to expedite it, i.e. work a day on each/every other weekend/add a day of schooling.
    Either way there are very few that will have the licensing you'll end up with if you stick it out. HVAC systems can be very, very complex and gaining the experience will just help you that much more in the future. I understand licensing and/or a degree doesn't really mean your better than the guy/gal that doesn't have it, but it opens up so many more doors and gives you much more of a voice.

    There is a serious disconnect all too often between mechanical/hvac guys and the controls guys. Seriously a couple of years of finishing out your apprenticeship, you'll thank yourself later.
    I agree 100%, finish your HVAC training, even then you will still have a lot to learn on mechanical systems.

    Controls is a lifestyle not a job

  6. #18
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    Regardless of how you get where you want you will not get there unless you learn to evaluate the systems as a whole. Finishing you apprenticeship will help but as you probably know you are just getting started. Do you have a plan to fight off becoming obsolete? That is an ongoing battle and per you goals the way I understand them involves three trades.
    As a design engineer I found fighting off obsolescence to be a full time battle. Advancements made in DDC and electronics alone keep me busy keeping up.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  7. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by incontrol View Post
    I'll check with the guy who programmed the chiller hot gas solenoid to energize when the supply water got below 33 degrees. Oh yeah, he's out of work now. Or maybe the guy who didn't program a mixed air low limit and froze all those coils, except I don't know who it was. What about the normally open steam humidifier that cut loose at the art museum and set off the smoke alarm that could have cost millions.
    Quite literally all of these things aren't supposed to be programmed and are supposed to be hardwired. There's a real big epidemic of farmer engineering out there. That's the reason why almost all chiller manufacturer's have their programs locked from edit as well. If your AHUs don't have the freeze stats wired to kill fan or VFD enables you're asking for trouble. But you're talking about Engineering and not controls. Controls people aren't supposed to be the Engineers.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  8. #20
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    Mar 2019
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks for the comments and advice guys.
    I have turned down the offer for the bas controls technician job and decided to play the long game and finish the HVAC apprenticeship first. Hopefully gaining a deeper understanding of refrigeration and mechanical systems as well as getting the extra trade qualification under my belt before getting into a building automation job will be worth the momentary low pay.

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  10. #21
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    scared straight you`re doing the right thing from an experienced hvac and chiller guy , now moving into controls, it all starts with application
    Keep it simple to keep it cool!

  11. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPeterson21 View Post
    But you're talking about Engineering and not controls. Controls people aren't supposed to be the Engineers.
    Some of us have/had titles as Controls Engineers. Besides in the cut and paste world of Engineering (both the Mechanical and Controls) when jobs bid done/programmer in non-freezing climates get applied in freezing climates...well would've likely lost a number of long term customers if I would've just programmed to 'Spec'. Call it farmer engineering/redneck/duct tape engineering, we can't catch it all, but controls can put a fix on such, but I get sign off's if I have to use controls to cover a missed freeze stat or likes...program change/edit for something minor that I may already had programmed in due to local climate knowledge, if not couple hundred bucks maybe for first and very little for any others...very cost effective until better correction can be applied.
    Next job I'll make sure none of my people nor I have Controls Engineer title so we can use disclaimer!
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
    BIG Government = More Dependents
    "Any 'standard' would be great if it didn't get bastardised by corporate self interest." MatrixTransform
    My 5 yr old son "Dad, Siri is not very smart when there's no internet."


  12. #23
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    It's your funeral if you don't hard wire freeze stats even with a sign off. You either do the job right or wrong.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  13. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPeterson21 View Post
    It's your funeral if you don't hard wire freeze stats even with a sign off. You either do the job right or wrong.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    Nope, had that conversation more than once and showed sign off. Issue resolved. Hell, I've seen factory units utilizing local PLC's for freeze stat protection and they stand by their warranty, so did they do their job wrong? Some things are not just black and white.
    "How it can be considered "Open" is beyond me. Calling it "voyeur-ed" would be more accurate." pka LeroyMac, SkyIsBlue, fka Freddy-B, Mongo, IndyBlue
    BIG Government = More Dependents
    "Any 'standard' would be great if it didn't get bastardised by corporate self interest." MatrixTransform
    My 5 yr old son "Dad, Siri is not very smart when there's no internet."


  14. #25
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    And when down the road your copy and pasted print shows it hard wired, and some genius takes it out of the logic ”temporarily", you won't get work there again. I see it happen a lot. Safeties are meant to be hardwired, just like everywhere else in the automation world.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  15. #26
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    Dec 2016
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    Go for the instant gratification. Anything you need to know about HVAC can be learned in the field. Your opportunity cost of staying in the apprenticeship vs getting into the controls world is too high (meaning the cashflow and salary growth you will lose staying not going into BAS is more then you will make if you start BAS now).

    Plus, if your goal is BAS anyways why not start now?

    I've met to many mechanical guys (from trade schools and apprenticeships) who thought they knew how systems worked but when they actually had to control multiple systems they didn't.

    You don't need to know anything about changing compressors, TXV's, scrubbing tubes etc. That will help you absolutely zero in controls.

    The reality is enter controls now. Make the salary. Identify your gaps, study to close those gaps in the off hours and be making 60k to 80k by year 3 in controls if your average.

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