Free BAScontrol Toolset Now Includes the BASemulator
Contemporary Controls has just released its BASemulator which replicates on a PC the operation of the company’s BAScontrol series of open unitary controllers, thereby allowing sequence of operation (SOO) verification without having the actual controller. Using a PC, specifying engineers can now view the same program that will be used on the job to verify that it meets the engineer’s intended sequence of operation. For a contractor, programs can be developed, configured and then saved on a PC for eventual downloading to the intended controller at the job site.
The BAScontrol series of BACnet/IP unitary controllers are built on the Sedona Framework™. Sedona is an open-source technology that facilitates component-oriented programming where components are assembled onto a wire sheet, configured and interconnected, to create applications. The BASemulator is free and joins the other free Sedona tools such as the Sedona Application Editor (SAE) which allows for Sedona programming, and BASbackup which will save and restore all BAScontrol configuration and programming files as a project. Contemporary Controls believes that an open controller requires tools available to all without restriction.
Although the BAScontrol series is freely-programmable using Sedona, Contemporary Controls worked with system integrators to create application packages for common HVAC sequences used for RTUs and AHUs. Included in the packages are a system schematic, sequence of operation, points list and the actual Sedona program along with a pre-configured BACnet points file for loading into an actual controller or emulator. Using SAE, the program can be modified for the required sequence and saved using BASbackup.
The BASemulator faithfully mimics the operation of the actual controller including its web pages. It can even be “discovered” by a BACnet client on the same network as the attached PC. Although there are no physical connections to inputs and outputs, inputs can be “forced” via the configuration web pages and BACnet client commands are honored. It is the next best thing to a real controller.
The BASemulator is part of the BAScontrol Toolset, which also includes the Sedona Application Editor (SAE) and BASbackup – the BAScontrol Project Utility. Provided free of charge, these tools simplify controller programming and project archiving. All three programs are available as a single install sharing a common Sedona bundle of kits and components. Along with a common web browser, the toolset is all that is needed to commission a BAScontroller.
Go to the BAScontrol Toolset product page and login or create an account.
BAScontrol Project Management Simplified with BASbackup
BASbackup, our latest BAScontrol Project Utility, makes managing your BAScontrol Sedona projects a breeze! The Sedona Application Editor or Workbench AX are used to save Sedona wire sheet application files (SAX files) to your PC. A Sedona wire sheet application is the running program, but device configuration is not captured in the wire sheet application file. To back up a device in its entirety, you need both the wire sheet app and the device’s configuration files. BASbackup makes backing up and restoring devices streamlined and simple with its ability to backup all parameters of the device — the Sedona wire sheet application and all the device’s configuration such as IP address, BACnet Device Instance and name, I/O channel configuration, web page and time settings. All the BAScontrol’s configuration is saved in one zip file (Backup/Recovery file) for easy project retention and recovery.
BASbackup is also used for cloning and quickly commissioning controllers by allowing device network and BACnet configuration alterations on the fly, with the result that each controller in the field has a unique project file for easy retention and recovery. Intended for BAScontrol20 and 22 beginning with firmware release 3.1, our latest BASbackup version is now available for free download with the BAScontrol Toolset. Several new features in our latest version simplify the backup and restore operations of our BAScontrol series.
BASbackup 2.0.25 release notes:
- Unit Status feature indicates online/offline status of the target device
- List of recently used IP addresses for quick connection reference
- Static address entry for default BASemulator address for quick connection to emulated controller
- Shared Sedona data folder with Sedona Application Editor
- Identification of the Sedona Bundle currently in use
- Improved device communication
- Graphical content improvements
BASbackup is part of the free BAScontrol Toolset. After a short registration process, a download of the utility is made available. Also included with the downloaded package is the Sedona Application Editor and our BASemulator — a software emulation for the BAScontrol series. This toolset encompasses everything you need to program, configure, retain, recover, or emulate our BAScontrol series.
The BAScontrol Quick Start Guide is opened as a PDF after installation of the BAScontrol Toolset and it is a good place to get started.
For more detailed description of operation refer to the BAScontrol Toolset User Manual.
The Advantages of a BAScontrol Open Controller
Contemporary Controls has always supported open protocols like BACnet. But BACnet does not provide control – only a standardized method for communications. Having BACnet is not good enough when you are locked out of a job due to a proprietary programming language and tool. System integrators are often faced with challenges when trying to access a BACnet site:
- Proprietary programming language requiring unique training or licensing
- Restricted programming tool only available to “partners”
- Contractor no longer has access to product line
- Programs are not transferrable among different controllers
- No access to passwords, diagrams, or the running program
The BAScontrol Series is Contemporary Controls’ way of providing a truly open controller by having:
- An open communications network in IP Ethernet
- An open industry supported building automation protocol in BACnet
- An open control language that is license-free in Sedona Framework
- A free programming tool that is available to all without restriction in the Sedona Application Editor
- A free backup utility for the Sedona application and all of its settings
- A free emulator which you can use to test your Sedona application and its communications
- Access to a Sedona community where there is a sharing of development, know-how and applications for the common good
Programming independence arrives in the form of the Sedona Application Editor (SAE). An open programming tool for an open controller available without restriction to system integrators. It is used to create custom applications in the Sedona environment. Using graphical means, components residing in kits are dragged onto a wire sheet, configured and interconnected with other components to create applications. SAE is part of the BAScontrol Toolset, which simplifies controller programming and project archiving. Also included in the BAScontrol Toolset is the newly released BASemulator – BAScontrol emulation on a PC, and BASbackup – BAScontrol Project Utility. These three tools are available free as a single install on a PC. You can even develop and test a BAScontrol program without investing in a real controller. If you are new to Sedona, you can learn the programming language using the BAScontrol Toolset and watching our SAE video series. There are no system integrator setup fees – just register and create your own test drive.
The BAScontrol series provides freely-programmable controllers but can be made into configurable controllers by installing one of Contemporary Controls’ pre-built applications. Configuration can then be accomplished via web pages. Pre-built applications speed up installation time by only requiring configuration during installation. Sequences can be modified using the Sedona Application Editor. Not only are the BAScontrol tools free but the pre-built applications as well. A truly open controller requires non-restrictive tools and applications.
Visit the BAScontrol Series to learn more.
Remote Your JACE…Securely
Remote access to a device can be very handy in troubleshooting your customers issues quickly. It saves time by eliminating the need to go to the site. It can also be used to constantly monitor and tune the setup. This generally involves talking to the IT department and asking them to open ports in the firewall for the required service and forward to a specific device. This is called Port Forwarding. Every service requires a different port and the IT department is not generally happy to poke holes in the firewall. Another issue is the need for a static IP for the firewall router. The use of RemoteVPN, a secure VPN service from Contemporary Controls along with the EIPR-V router eliminates the need for a Static Public IP address and the need for Port Forwarding. All the traffic can be tunneled through the VPN over a single port. Best of all, it is also encrypted!
The EIPR-V is a VPN router that connects to the RemoteVPN and provides secure access to the LAN side devices. This LAN side device can be a JACE. You can connect to the webpage of the JACE or connect to it via Workbench to update the program running in the JACE. You can also run BACnet discovery on the JACE to see the connected devices. All this can be done without the need to open BACnet UDP ports, HTTP port or the port for the SOX protocol.
The JACE has two Ethernet ports – primary and secondary. When packets traverse through an IP router to reach a device on a different subnet, the device needs to have its gateway address set for the IP address of the router so the responses can traverse back through the IP router to the originating subnet. This works fine if the JACE is only communicating with other devices on the same local subnet and not using the gateway address setting. The secondary port on the JACE can then be configured for a different subnet that is used on the EIPR-V router LAN side and the JACE gateway address can be set for the router LAN IP address. But what if the JACE is already accessing controllers that are on a different subnet and the gateway address on the JACE cannot be changed? The RemoteVPN/EIPR-V provide the IP masquerade feature to resolve this issue. The EIPR-V forwards the remote message to the JACE by changing the packet to the local subnet for the JACE secondary port. The JACE sends the response back to the IP router on the local subnet (without the need for a gateway address) and the IP router sends it back to the originating site via the secure VPN. The primary Ethernet port can stay on the control network and the secondary port on the JACE can be used for secure remote access with minimal setup.
Learn more on the EIPR-V product page.
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