Networking and automation equipment in the HVACR classroom/lab has always been important because instructors rely on it to provide experiential evidence for theoretical knowledge. Modern HVACR classrooms use technology to network, control and analyze automation processes and require equipment which is intuitive and easy to use and understand by students. Equipment which is difficult to access or understand will distract students from learning the core concepts and causes students to have less time to focus on experimental work in the lab.
Contemporary Controls designs and manufactures the system building blocks for networking, integrating and controlling automation processes where performance and reliability are important. Our products do not require any licensing and are available to all without restrictions. Years of field-proven reliability – unlicensed and unrestricted products – plus a complementary educational discount make our products perfectly suited for training and education. To support HVACR programs, Contemporary Controls has worked with several affiliated colleges and technical schools to create an automation classroom/lab experience that mimics the real world.
The BAScontrol22 is a 22-point BACnet/IP compliant, Function Block Diagram (FBD) programmable Sedona unitary controller with a built-in 2-port Ethernet switch – one port for direct connection to an IP network, and one port to attach a secondary IP device, continue the Ethernet network in a multi-drop manner, or use it for direct PC/laptop connection for programming, configuration or diagnostics on the controller. The unit complies with the B-ASC device profile having a convenient mix of 8 universal inputs, 4 binary inputs, 4 analog outputs and 6 relay outputs. The controller is fully web-page configurable using a common web browser and freely programmable using Contemporary Controls’ free BAScontrol Toolset. BACnet compliance ensures connectivity to any BACnet/IP network with supervision. Its rugged design, wide temperature operation, ease of use, non-proprietary open architecture, and free software tools make it ideal for any HVACR training or educational needs.
With the help of any standard Wi-Fi router, BAScontrol22 units can be conveniently accessed over the Wi-Fi network, giving students and teachers the convenience and flexibility of wireless networking in the HVACR lab. This setup allows students to connect to the Wi-Fi network using their laptop and access their controller regardless of their seating position in the lab/classroom.
In order accomplish this simple and convenient wireless setup, a standard Wi-Fi router and an Ethernet switch are needed. A dedicated Ethernet cable is run from each controller to the Ethernet switch, after which an Ethernet patch cable is plugged in from the Ethernet switch to an available LAN port on the Wi-Fi router.
Alternatively, to save on Ethernet cabling and the need for an Ethernet switch, each controller’s built-in 2-port switch could be utilized to “daisy-chain” the controller’s Ethernet ports which then leads one cable directly to the LAN port on the Wi-Fi router. While this scenario will work, it is not as resilient as running dedicated Ethernet cables, due to the fact that every controller must be powered for the entire network to be online. With dedicated cabling and an Ethernet switch, the network will never fail, even if one of the controllers was powered off for whatever reason.
Network configuration is quick and simple. Each BAScontrol must have a unique IP address and a unique BACnet Device Instance for everything to work well. The unique IP address assignment can be accomplished by either using the DHCP client feature on the BAScontrol22 which will automatically obtain a unique IP address from the Wi-Fi router’s DHCP server. However preferably, each BAScontrol22 should be assigned a unique static IP address which can also be labeled on the unit to eliminate any confusion. A unique BACnet Device Instance must be assigned to each unit from the System Configuration web page in order for BACnet/IP communication to work properly. Proper BACnet operation can be verified using our free BACnet Discovery Tool (BDT).
Do I need to set up BBMD for BACnet to work?
Because the Wi-Fi and Ethernet LAN ports of the Wi-Fi router are bridged together and both are on the LAN side of the Wi-Fi router, no routing between subnets occurs in this scenario, and therefore BBMD setup is not needed. However, if this BACnet network needed to be accessed from the WAN side of the Wi-Fi router, a BBMD would then be needed.
This basic setup allows the connected BAScontrol units in the lab/classroom to be accessible over Wi-Fi, allowing for BACnet discovery of all BAScontrol units using BDT or a building management system / supervisor, Sedona programming using SAE (Sedona Application Editor), project archiving using BASbackup, as well as controller configuration using the resident web page, all conveniently accomplished over the Wi-Fi network. An Ethernet cable can be connected to the BAScontrol22’s secondary Ethernet port if needed for further configuration or troubleshooting at any time.