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HVAC drives offer BACnet support as standard

01 September, 2004

HVAC drives offer BACnet support as standard

ABB claims it is the first drives supplier to support the BACnet communications protocol as standard on its HVAC drives. BACnet - a protocol developed for Building Automation and Control Networks -- is used widely in North America, and increasingly in Europe, to allow plug-and-play integration of building services devices.

The protocol has been under development since 1987 by Ashrae - the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers. Last year, it was accepted as an ISO global standard and is a European pre-standard.

In the past, drives could only be connected to a BMS (building management system) through a gateway, which had to be programmed on a point-by-point basis. Alternatively, drives could be hardwired into the BMS to provide basic control and monitoring.

ABB says that its BACnet-enabled drives will connect directly into networks to take advantages of features such as auto-discovery, dynamic binding, time synchronisation, and read/write variable requests.

"The absence of gateways makes the connection more direct," explains Nick Thorne, ABB`s HVAC sales manager. "Real-time serial communications means better information, enabling operators to make better energy management decisions. With a PC and an Internet browser, you can monitor and modify the operation of your HVAC system from wherever you are."

BACnet is embedded in the standard RS485 interface of ABB`s HVAC drives. The drives also support other protocols including Modbus, Profibus-DP, Interbus, Lonworks, CANopen, DeviceNet, ControlNet and Ethernet.

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