Surrey, BC, Canada – Efficient Building Automation Corporation (EBAC) is pleased to announce the general availability of the 200 Series (API) Upgrade Program, which allows our customers to upgrade existing networks of Circon 200 series products, using Echelon LonWorks Network Services (LNS®) and Circon 300 series products.
As part of the upgrade program, EBAC is offering a service to convert existing Circon SiteManager (based on Echelon’s LonManager API) databases to Echelon LNS, while still allowing 200 series devices to be controlled from SiteManager software. EBAC has developed automated tools to assist with this conversion of the LonManager database to LNS.
This conversion process allows Systems Integrators (SIs) to create a seamless network of controllers, mixing both 200 series controllers and 300 series controllers on the same network, and allowing the creation of new bindings between 200 series devices and 300 series devices. EBAC believes that this provides a cost-effective upgrade path for expanding and maintaining existing 200 series networks, as it allows customers to preserve their existing investment in 200 series controllers, while also allowing the addition of new 300 series controllers. In addition, it allows SIs to use LNS based software tools such as Circon Network Integrator 4.0, Circon Visual Integrator 4.0, and other third party tools and devices that are available for LNS.
Circon Systems Corporation discontinued the manufacturing and availability of the 200 series controllers as of October, 2008. The Circon 200 series was originally designed in 1995, and EBAC is unable to manufacture the 200 series due to the lack of availability of parts.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What, exactly, will I get by using this Upgrade Program?
A: EBAC is providing a service to convert existing SiteManager databases to LNS, while preserving enough information between the two databases to allow SiteManager software to be used to control 200 series controllers, while still allowing 300 series controllers to be added to the same network in a seamless manner.
Q: How much will this service cost?
A: Please contact EBAC for pricing information, as it depends on the size and complexity of your database.
Q: Isn’t what you are offering just LNS recovery?
A: No, EBAC’s conversion utilities work directly from a copy of the SiteManager database, which allows us to preserve more of the information available in the SiteManager database. LNS recovery (such as available in the Echelon LNS Recovery Wizard), builds a LNS database using the discovery features of the LonTalk protocol to find the controllers on the network.
Q: Why can’t I use LNS recovery to create a LNS database for my 200 series controllers?
A: While it is possible to use LNS recovery to create a LNS database for 200 series controllers; however, if the network variables on the 200 series controllers have been type-changed, LNS recovery will not successfully recover the type changes from the 200 series controllers. The type changing mechanism in the 200 series controllers pre-dates LonMark standards for type changing; LNS only supports type changing that conforms to LonMark standards. Also note that Circon 300 series controllers are fully compliant with LonMark standards for type changing.
Q: What information is preserved in the LNS database?
A: The following information will be preserved identically in the LNS database from the LonManager database:
- Controller names
- Router names
- Device Templates (XIFs)
- Neuron IDs assigned to devices
- Type changes that were made to the 200 series products.
- Subnet/node/domain addresses assigned to devices
- Channels, and the assignment of routers and controllers to channels
Although bindings will be preserved in the LNS database, it is not possible to control the assignment of selectors in the LNS database, so this information will not be identical in the LNS database.
Q: I thought the subnet/node address could not be set directly in LNS?
A: Yes, the subnet/node address is automatically assigned by LNS. By controlling the order in which devices are added to the database, the assignment of subnet/node address can be controlled.
Q: Is this process manipulating LNS in some way that is not supported by Echelon?
A: The conversion is performed entirely using publicly available APIs and interfaces that are supported by Echelon.
Q: What do I need to provide to EBAC to convert my database to LNS?
A: We require a backup of the SiteManager site, as well as any third-party XIFs that were used to create the LonManager database.
Q: Will this consume LNS credits?
A: Yes, you will use the provided LNS database to commission the 200 series network. Any controller commissioned using LNS Network Management tools will consume a LNS device credit.
Q: Why is this being offered as a service, rather than a product?
A: As part of the Upgrade Program, EBAC provides technical support to fully assist our customers during the process. By offering the upgrade as a service, we can provide this support in a cost effective manner.
Q: Do I need to change anything in my LonManager database to make this work?
A: If your LonManager database is using the zero-length domain, you will need to change the database to use a different domain. LNS does not support the commissioning of devices on the zero-length domain. The domain can be changed in Network Editor:
Q: Will my SiteManager applications continue to work?
A: Although LNS will be used to manage the network, most SiteManager applications will continue to function correctly due to the preservation of Neuron IDs and subnet/node addresses between the two databases. Functioning SiteManager applications include: Schedule Editor, Node Editor, Card Access Editor, SiteTime, LON Status, “Trends”, Log Viewer, Alarm Log Viewer, Event Log Viewer, and Local Data Logger.
Q: Which SiteManager applications will not work?
A: Graphics created for use with the SiteManager software will continue to display correctly; however, writes to bound network variables from the graphics will most likely fail, as we are unable to preserve the assignment of selectors to bindings in LNS.
Q: Does EBAC have any plans to port over these SiteManager applications to LNS?
A: At this time, we do not have any plans to port these applications to LNS. We believe that our LNS upgrade solution provides a cost-effective way for our customers to upgrade their existing networks with 300 series products, while still preserving their investment in 200 series products.
Q: Are all the 200 series compatible with LNS?
A: Due to the early standardization of the LonTalk protocol, we have found that most 200 series products operate correctly when commissioned with LNS, which allows LNS to create new bindings with 200 series products, and allows LNS to monitor and control network variables on 200 series controllers. However, there is an issue with the SMC-200 which prevents it from dialing out alarms when commissioned on any domain other than the zero-length domain (LNS does not support the zero-length domain, see #11). As well, early versions of the SMC-200 are integrated with a Serial LonTalk Adaptor that is not compatible with LNS.
Q: Can I use any LNS network management tool (Echelon LonMaker etc.) besides Circon Network Integrator to manage my network using the converted LNS database?
A: Yes, any LNS based network management tool can be used to commission, bind, and replace a 200 series controller using the converted database; however, special support is required to reload the .NXE/.APB file in a 200 series controller that has been type changed where the sizes are also changed. This special support is available in Network Integrator 4.0 and as a patch for Network Integrator 3.9.
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About Efficient Building Automation Corporation
Efficient Building Automation Corporation (EBAC) is a privately-held provider of open, interoperable and integrated facility automation products and services. More than a leading-edge developer and manufacturer of products based on LonWorks® open systems technology, EBAC is dedicated to helping its integrator customers apply the most appropriate technologies, tools, products and services to a wide variety of facility automation and control requirements.
For more information, please visit our website: www.circon.com