Dedicated Display

Hi All,
I have recently been experimenting with the T3000 controller and software, with a view to implement it alongside the other BMS kit I have been using for years, and I like it.

A problem I am having is that the consultants that spec. the systems we engineer all insist on a dedicated keyboard and display separate to any PC based controls, which connects directly to the controller.

Most other systems use either a small alphanumeric display and keypad (similar to that on bottom of the T3-BB), or more recently a colour touchscreen.

Has anybody any ideas, or is it already possible with any of the kit Temco already has ?

Many thanks in advance.

David

Hello Dave, thanks for your post here. Wish I could offer a little keypad as you describe. There’s just so many parameters to deal with that we had to make the call: to properly manage these devices you’ll need a PC running T3000.
There are some small tablet PC’s out there if that helps, there’s one on the Temco web site in fact:

Hi Maurice, many thanks for the response.
What I was thinking of is a last resort emergency control to allow a few (15-20) set points to be altered to allow a user to keep a system going until an engineer can attend. I would never want any engineering setting to be changed.
I think that more than 50% of our call outs are IT based (people messing with IP addresses, firewalls etc.), rather than actual BMS problems.
That is why the consultants specifying equipment have turned against systems relying on windows based software for user control. Most controllers we use now have internal web servers to allow user control via a simple browser.
It is a shame that this is not an option you are thinking of adopting, as I find the flexibility of your system and its ability to use a simple BASIC style program really good.

Best regards,
David

I am always keen to help grow the market. Let’s keep the discussion going.

Maurice Duteau

Hi Maurice

Looking at your product line would the TStat9 hardware work as a small display ?
It is panel mount with a landscape oriented display and an arrow keypad.
You could have a simple menu driven system with 5 or 6 main menu items, leading to sub menu with again 5 or 6 items each. You would obviously need some sort of editing software which could either be included within the main T3000 package or as a separate entity, if it is easier. The various tags could then be attached to the menu items and updated across one of the RS485 ports as BACnet data.
I don’t know how complicated this would be to implement ? I think it would I be useful not only as a backup system as I have previously described, but you could also use this for small standalone systems, or on sub panels within much more complicated systems to allow for local maintenance purposes.
I am interested to here your thoughts.

Kind regards,
David

Thats a good idea, for sure. It can be done easily. And as my wife likes to remind me, all it takes is TIME and MONEY. Unfortunately right now we are bogged down with a lot of urgent tasks.

If you have a developer there I would support you in this project. Source code, schematics and so on are all available to get you started.

Maurice Duteau

Hi Maurice, yes I understand totally where you are coming from. If you get chance could you please send through some schematics and code for the relevant items. I will take a look over the weekend, with a view to presenting it to the bosses at the Monday meeting.
I think I know what they will say, having previous experience of jumping into the middle of somebody else’s project, but it is in my opinion worth a good look.

Many thanks,
David

Its actually already on Github: https://github.com/temcocontrols/BacnetThermostat
Let me know if you get going on this and we’ll assist, ESPECIALLY if you share some work.

Hi Dave,
maybe my reply will come a little bit too late, but…

I set up a nice android app, Virtuino modbus, to display values of a T3-TB the best way I can. The result is nice and I use a standard Samsung tablet for that purpose.
Look at the result (simple hmi: 3 floaters, 2 pumps and an emergency switch + working history).

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It looks like a good example of a 3rd party HMI which can be used to put together quick applications running on the phone. Thanks for sharing.

I notice on the google play store that the application is free but there’s a $3.49 in app purchase ‘per item’. How does the licensing work actually.

Maurice

on the app itself, you can purchase a pro version at 14.99$ to unlock everything (unlimited items and functions). Nice price for such a tool. Took 2 hours to develop my test app.

Great, I have already recommended this to a client looking for a ‘local display’ for 10 of our electromagnetic flow meters. Something evidently a competitor has and is written into the project specs. I recommended an Android wall mounted tablet and this Virtuino software, we’ll see how it goes for them.

more info from the developper:
virtuino trial: free but limited features and limited (10 mins) working time of the app
pro version (no free or basic version): 15$, unlock all the features and unlimited running time. Can be installed on many devices from the same account.

there is also a virtuino viewer (5$ per device/account) that runs any app developped (even with the trial version) for an unlimited time. I tested my test app: it works as expected (developped with the trial version), without limitations.

Worth the price as a tool (check the T3-XX units and the registers) and/or as a nice display for your customers. Easy to program.
I’m NOT related to the company, but I tested a lot of (insert any OS here) apps for my modbus devices / plc’s

Mike

I made some tests with the Virtuino app. 16b registers were easy to integrate into the app. However, 32b registers returned some fancy (useless) values, especially with negative values.
I obtained clues from the developper: “just” change the MSB in the device config.

Some screen captures:

You will need to know how the bytes are ordered, definitely.

You can see the registers using the register viewer tool at Tab1 and you can also search through the list by importing the register database to Excel. The register database can be found at Tab2.

Hi Everybody,

you’ll find a link here to download what I call my T3-XX registers reader. I made it with Virtuino.
I found it useful because you can have the app on your phone and choose the right register to poll by moving a slider.
If I need to obtain the value of variable 10 and Output 13, the right register is displayed.

The slider is managed the way it’s intended:
Input: 64 registers
Output: 64 registers
Variable: 128 registers

In case you ask: it’s not possible to associate the real register poll and the position of the slider to display in real time the value of the register :frowning:

If you need to install the app :

T3-XX registers reader.mdbs (2.4 MB)

May be this is silly question, but how you actually connect phone to modbus?

Never a silly question :wink:

I don’t connect directly my phone to Modbus. Most of my modbus devices are reachable through their IP address, port 502 and any phone modbus app will reach your modbus devices through their own IP address and the related port.

In Virtuino by example, you need to define the unit by setting (server list) its host IP address, the port and the unit ID. For Temco devices, IP address = unit ID. Not obligatory in other plc’s. I have an old Barionet unit (1-wire concentrator) with a modbus ID= 4 and an IP address of xxx.xxx.xxx.16

If your modbus units are RTU and not TCP, you can’t reach them directly (no serial port on a phone). You need a RTU/TCP gateway for that purpose. Temco devices provide a TCP bacnet/modbus controller (with its IP address) with embedded RTU rs485 sub network to be able to connect your RTU (cascaded) devices.
The new T3-Nano is that kind of gateway, without inputs, outputs and relays.

Hope it helps
Mike

I may as well toss in my two bits worth here. In the old days we would connect to systems over a dialup modem which is basically a serial port over a land line. Like Mike says most connections are done over IP these days.

And since we’re talking about dialup connections, you may run into a project where there’s no internet connection. In this case you can install one of these GSM modems, they operate over the local wireless phone network directly. No cable or fiber connection required.

You’ll need to order based on which country you are located and we’ll be sure to round up the correct model. You’ll also need to set up an account with the local carrier and add the sim card to this unit.

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