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  1. #1
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    Learning Distech

    My background with BMS or controls is mostly with ALC so I am trying to relate what I am learning to ALC.

    If I can get some clarification, it would be great!

    First question, is Niagara only for programming? or is it also a web base front end?
    For example, with ALC, Web Control is the front end web base that I used to monitor the building in real life time and as well modify set points, schedules, trends, and all other types of configurations. Is Niagara the same?

    Secondly, does distech/niagara connected to a main router like an LGR with ALC? and then does it go an equipment controller? and then a zone controller?

    Third, how do JACE, s1000, Eclypse differ from each other? is it the amount of points that they have or much more than that?

    Pretty much I am trying to understand Distech based my experience with ALC, although they are different softwares I would assume there are some similarities. Am I correct?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuildingMech88 View Post
    My background with BMS or controls is mostly with ALC so I am trying to relate what I am learning to ALC.

    If I can get some clarification, it would be great!

    First question, is Niagara only for programming? or is it also a web base front end?
    For example, with ALC, Web Control is the front end web base that I used to monitor the building in real life time and as well modify set points, schedules, trends, and all other types of configurations. Is Niagara the same?

    Secondly, does distech/niagara connected to a main router like an LGR with ALC? and then does it go an equipment controller? and then a zone controller?

    Third, how do JACE, s1000, Eclypse differ from each other? is it the amount of points that they have or much more than that?

    Pretty much I am trying to understand Distech based my experience with ALC, although they are different softwares I would assume there are some similarities. Am I correct?

    Thanks
    Niagara is the same as ALC.
    Workbench is how you configure a site.
    The equivalent of a LGR is a JACE. This is where all the points logic trends alarms reside.
    A JACE is a supervisor device. The dystech s1000 is more of a field device (plant controller).

    Dystech is trying to separate themselves from Tridium with eclypse line. Sort of like Samsung was trying to do from android.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to ask follow ups.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Free courses on Tridium University, you registered there yet?

    Introduction to Niagara 4 (FREE)
    https://www.tridiumuniversity.com/ap...G00000DIIoVQAX

    Between ALC and Tridium there's lots of structural differences.

    Workbench/supervisor - ALC has no equivalent to this, you could sort of think of a ALC hiearchial server like a supervisor but there's few parallels and the layout/structure is all different in Tridium. If you have many jaces in the field this will pull them all together and make it one big system with potentially secure encrypted connections between the jaces and supervisor.
    A jace contains a platform and station. On small sites this might be all you have...
    platform - Sort of like a computers OS, change IP's here, view logs, load software and drivers etc.
    station - this is sort of equivalent to the ALC job file folder, contains all your programs, graphics and parameters.

  4. #4
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    Agree with Maxburn but will add my perspective.

    I've worked with multiple systems and have found no comparison to the seamlessness of the ALC product. It's a feeling.

    From programming, through point-to-point and graphics I verbalize the experience as using ONE product. Easy, smooth,easy, easy. And the Web Front end has been unmatched.

    I've worked with Alerton, Schneider stuff, and JCI. They all work when pieced together at the end, but describe the experiences as TRUNCATED. Have a stand alone tool for this. Another tool for that. Rougher around all edges. I guess the ALC has its own distinct tools, but they all FEEL like one.

  5. #5
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    I'm wondering if Distech and Tridium side is married similarly. Like ALC.

  6. #6
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks guys for replying, I really appreciate you taking the time.

    The more I learn about distech the more I become confused haha, to be fair I am fresh off the boat so I am sure I will over come it.

    Would you guys agree with saying that ALC is an a lot easier program to use and learn?

    I have not joined Tridium university but I recently did join the distech controls forum, I also been partaking in daily on line classes been taught by Distech which have been very insightful, except that its like they are way ahead of what I know which leaves me feeling "alienated" unable to grasp most of the concepts.

    I will keep on trucking, thanks again guys

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuildingMech88 View Post
    Would you guys agree with saying that ALC is an a lot easier program to use and learn?
    Buckle up, story time. The ALC WebCTRL product is a lot more focused and with that comes some simplicity and elegance as long as you are doing what it is designed for. The tools like eikon and viewbuilder are nicely polished and easy to use but when you think about it they are offline tools and require an interruption in operation to implement changes unlike niagara where that all happens live, sometimes that's good and sometimes bad, just different. One of the major benefits of this focus is the tree structure in ALC; alarms and schedules filter themselves automatically depending on where you are in the GEO tree. You can also build source trees very easily for vav/chiller/boiler systems. Next it's trivial and covered in any operator 101 course for USERS to create their own schedule groups and manage sections of buildings to focus their scheduling and enable savings. I'm not aware of any such source tree elegant solution like that in niagara and that's something all the distechs/JCI/honeywell's are building on their own, each differently and with varying success. Niagara is an open framework that depends on being as flexible as possible which opens up possibilities of working on camera and security systems, which is something you either flat out can't or would be crazy (security) to do in ALC. Niagara has, for a long time, the ability to encrypt communication between the supervisor and jaces via foxS. ALC might implement BACnet/SC "soon", but even if they do that's just BACnet, not other languages. Niagara embraces third party development and has a thriving community of developers that make high level things on the platform like schooldude or low level stuff like legacy drivers maxline and infocon. Try and do the same external developer thing on ALC, low level driver development is flat out is impossible with locked hardware and high level you only get grudging acceptance after years of business cases showing the need for third party scheduling with an external scheduling addon. Drivers in tridium are fantastic, you can talk to anything. In ALC you get BACnet and Modbus, everything else including the terrible LON solution is ignored and they pretend it doesn't exist. Niagara also has a nice ability to scale "down" to a single piece of equipment and be highly functional there. You can commonly find a jace in a AAON unit for example, and it gives you a full web page and many languages available to integrate in. ALC doesn't scale down well, you would have to get a server (and somewhere to put the server) to get a operator web page. This is one area where an LGR or the newer Optiflex modules are nowhere near a comparison to a jace, jace wins hands down. ALC is the iPhone of the HVAC world being simple and polished and I'm seeing Tridium as more of a PC in that there is a way to do damn near anything you want or need.

    Then you have the distribution models. ALC WebCTRL has a dealer network with guaranteed territories, only one dealer/branch is allowed to service/sell WebCTRL in that area. Exception for national accounts that can sell anything anywhere they want. Outside of WebCTRL you can get Carrier iVue which is a more limited and some ways easier to work on (again more focused) version of WebCTRL. The Carrier version is a little more opened up and I'm not aware of territory issues there. There's also the OEMControls division you might see OEM modules in things like florida heat pump, munters etc. Within these channels the hardware is locked to that channel and hard or impossible (technically or politically) to join together in a nice way and you generally treat a munters unit inside WebCTRL like any other third party device and do a BACnet integration to it. They are both ALC but there's no advantage to that.

    Tridium has so many flavors I don't even know them all, you are just dealing with one in Distech. The more common "open" ones would be the vikon, lynxspring etc. Open here meaning about any version of workbench can work with those devices but my knowledge falls short here. Main drawback is every channel has their own framework (jars) they have built for the tridium platform and some of those are locked to their devices so you might have trouble working with them, thus you see a lot of people here asking about jar files from channels they don't have access to. Region wise I'm not aware of any serious lock on distributors with tridium. You might run into one that doesn't want to sell to you because you are taking a customer from them but you can then (with customer backing) turn around to tridium and get the license opened up and service that customer with one of the other dozen distributions. Good for the customer and good for tridium. Integrating between vendors isn't too bad either, you can simply pull your AAON jace and honeywell webs jaces up into your supervisor (secure through foxs) and pull together one cohesive system easily.

    Career wise I think you are better off with Tridium, but the learning curve can be steep. More opportunity with the different channels in any given area but again learning about that different vendors tools isn't trivial. If you were to specialize in WebCTRL like I have there are plenty of opportunities out there (we are always hiring) but due to the distribution model you need to be open to relocation to get into the service territory of a different office. In tridium that other office might be on the other side of town and still deal in the same channel.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBurn View Post
    Buckle up, story time. .
    Holy smokes, that was on hell of a reply. You must have some serious brain power....

    The only system that I found similar to ALC with the "tree" is Delta Orca 3.0-4.0. That seemed to have a similar configuration but I did not get much practice on it either since by the time I arrived to the building it was ripped out and replaced with ALC.

    I am a bit overwhelmed by all the different "flavors" of distech but I think once I am on the field and get to shadow some of the techs I will feel better about it.

    My biggest weakness in my opinion is network/configuration.

    All the talk about backnet/DHCP/IP adresses/ Static/ Topologys... all that I need to really dive into. Its kind of a hard transition taking in so much information at once but I need to over come it.

    Thanks again for the long reply, it was a great read.

  9. #9
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    I like the Iphone to Android analogy. Very much agree. Will be stealing. Thank you.

  10. Likes MaxBurn liked this post.

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