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Newsletter Issue # 34

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 

Rewriting your Life: Resoluteness, Not Resolutions, in 2017
All About BACnet
Fun Facts and Trivia

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January 10, 2017
CIP Class Complexity
January 9, 2017
OPC UA Scalability
December 20, 2016
AHR 2017
December 15, 2016
Profinet I&M
December 12, 2016
RA Obsolescence
November 30, 2016
A House Divided



Practical tips and information for young engineers. This issue, featuring:

- Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017



Rewriting your Life: Resoluteness, Not Resolutions, in 2017

A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.

It’s sad, but you get to a point in your life – and more likely if you’re married – where you think about whether you want to stay up until the ball drops.

Ready or not, the ball’s dropped and it’s a new year. Many of us have long lists of desires and hopes; for success, money, health, weight loss and more. Many of us are hoping for a dramatically different and better 2017 spontaneously delivered in the Amazon truck. Like Charlie Brown, we want to believe it’ll be different this time. But we know, that Lucy’s going to pull the ball away unless we do something dramatically new, different and better than what we did last year.

That something is not some meaningless new year’s resolution. I’m talking about rewriting your life. About ordering the lifestyle that you want. About achieving everything that you’ve ever hoped for and dreamed of. It’s possible. I know heavy boozers, adulterers, hopeless procrastinators, the miserably impoverished that totally changed their lives. If they can rewrite their life story, with those kinds of problems, why can’t you? Why can’t you have the life you always wanted?

It doesn’t take a resolution, it takes resoluteness. Resolutions are overrated. Resoluteness underrated. In this New Year, I’ve dusted off my magic wand to sprinkle a strong dose of resolve on each and every one of you. I grant you:

  • The resolve to take a few minutes, turn off all the electronics, and write down the principles that will guide and shape your life from today forward. For an example, Google “Yaakov Grossman, 10 Guiding Principles”. Every happy and successful high achiever I know has this type of list.
  • The resolve to live the principles you define for yourself.
  • The resolve to make gratitude a part of each day. You want to be happy? Begin every day listing three things you’re thankful for. You want to sleep well? Do this every night when your head hits the pillow.
  • The resolve to make yourself personally responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in your life. I’ve struggled to teach this to my grandson. Anytime you blame someone or something for a setback, you lose your power to shape your life for success, happiness and fulfillment.
  • The resolve to not waste time waiting for, seeking or asking for permission or authorization to live the life you want.

2016 was a tumultuous year full of uncertainty and dread. I had a number of friends devastated and nearly unable to function on November 9. I am sure that my friends on the other side would have felt the same had it ended with the other result. I think that most of us give way too much credence to what happens in Washington. That stuff’s important, but we actually have little day-to-day control over what goes on there. What we can control is what happens in our house and in our lives and that’s where our focus in 2017 needs to lay.

On a personal note, I am very grateful to each and every one of you. I thank every one of you that have emailed, called or told me in person of your appreciation for the words I write here. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I appreciate what a gift I have been given, and hope for your continued interest in this effort and our company’s products.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and holiday respite, with family, good friends, good food and drink in the spirit of gratitude for your blessings and generosity to others. Now it’s the New Year, so, Happy New Year to you and your families.

Now let’s make this a resolutely productive and happy new year!



- John





·  Who established January 1 as the start of a New Year?

·  What year did the first New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square?

·  How much does the Ball that drops at midnight in New York City's Time Square weigh?

·  About 75% of people keep their resolutions through the first week of the year, and only 46% keep it them for six months. What percent of people manage to keep their resolutions all year long?


Answers located on bottom of page.


All About BACnet

Building Automation is the focus this month as the annual International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) occurs at the end of January. This show started a whopping 85 years ago and is now the event of the year. RTA will be there (Las Vegas this year) along with 2,000 other vendors to introduce two new products; the BACnet Refrigeration Monitoring System and the best on the planet, BACnet router.

Even though you might not be in the Building Automation industry, it’s important to understand a little about each of the major technologies that shape the buildings and factories where we work. BACnet is THE technology of the building automation industry and as we continue to integrate the enterprise, the facility and the factory, it’s important to know all these technologies.

Besides heating and cooling, BACnet is used in lighting, access control, video surveillance, water chilling, and security and safety systems. BACnet accommodates these disparate systems by using an Object-oriented approach to standardize the representation of processes and data within a device. It’s an approach that you’ll find is very similar to OPC UA. And just like OPC UA and other technologies, there are standard services to access data in those objects. And just like our factory floor automation technologies, BACnet is there to standardize how we access all the disparate devices that are needed to have an integrated view of the system (the building in this case).

Building vs. Factory Automation
There are two key differences between building and factory automation. In general building automation moves at human paces. Seconds not milliseconds are the norm. Also building automation installations are often much larger than anything in a factory. Networks with thousands of nodes across multiple campuses are not uncommon.

So exactly what is BACnet?
BACnet (Building Automation and Control Network) is a completely non-proprietary open protocol specification that defines both how data is represented on the network and the services that are used to move data from one BACnet node to another. It includes messages that identify data and network nodes such as Who-Is, I-Am, Who-Has, and I-Have.

In the early days of BACnet, prior to the advent of Ethernet, there were many different physical and data link technologies used to link devices over BACnet. Though some of those other transport mechanisms are still around, BACnet commonly only uses an RS485 and an Ethernet transport mechanism.

MS/TP is the RS485 version of BACnet. It is a Master/Slave, Token Passing system in which devices communicate using serial communications. It remains very popular due to the large installed base of MS/TP devices.

IP is the most common Ethernet version of BACnet. It is a Client / Server implementation in which BACnet messages are embedded in UDP/IP packets.

Like the Control and Information Protocol (CIP) used in many industrial applications, BACnet defines a set of standard objects to represent data on a network. These objects have both required and optional properties. Objects defined by the specification include:

Analog Input Binary Input
Analog Output Binary Output
Analog Value Binary Value
Group Loop
Multi-State Input Schedule
Multi-State Output Command
Calendar Device
Program Event-Enrollment
File Notification-Class

Information in a BACnet device is represented in terms of one or more of these objects. Object can represent information about some physical input or output, or it can represent a logical point that performs some function, such as a setpoint. Objects have an identifier (such as AI-1 for Analog input) that allows the BACnet system to identify it. It’s more than a data point. An object consists of a number of prescribed properties (attributes in CIP), only one of which is the present value (the data point). It is only through its properties that an object is monitored and controlled.

BACnet specifies hundreds of possible object properties, the majority of which are meta-data type properties such as high and low limits, status flags, data types and so on. Three required properties, Object-Identifier, Object-Name, and Object-Type, are present in every object. Like factory floor technologies some of these properties are required and some are optional. Some are defined as Read-only and some as read-write.

A service is the mechanism which a building automation system uses to access a property or request an action from a BACnet Object. Services are how one BACnet device gets information from another device, commands a device to perform certain actions (through its objects and properties, of course), or communicates events to other objects. The only required service that must be supported by all devices is the Read-property service. There are many standard services including services for file access, alarming and events, object access and network management.

Users and system developers don't need to understand how services are executed by a BACnet device, those operations are transparent and automatic. But to design a system or configure a Building Automation System (BAS) you will need to know what objects and services are supported by which devices. This information is found in the device's Protocol Implementation Conformance Statement (PICS).

Because not all devices need to have the same level of functionality, BACnet defines profiles that categorize the capabilities and functionality of devices. All devices of a certain conformance class will have a minimum set of required features (in the form of objects and services). Some other features can be optional. BACnet insists that this information is made public in the PICS, the list of features that the device supports. The PICS lists what objects are present in the device and whether the device initiates a service request (asks or commands) or executes the request (responds or acts). The PICS also provides you with the conformance class of the device. By comparing a device's PICS with project requirements or with another vendor's PICS, you can determine how well a BACnet product "fits" a given application.

BACnet is an unconnected, peer-to-peer network. Any device can send service requests to any other device. Unlike connected protocols where devices have ongoing data transfers, communication in BACnet is unscheduled with few time critical operations.









Fun Facts

·Banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories an hour.

·In 1998, Sony accidentally sold 700,000 camcorders that had special lenses that used infrared light, which allowed you to see through some types of clothing.

·The average woman uses her height in lipstick every 5 years.

·It would cause a paradox if Pinocchio said “My nose will grow now.”




  Trivia Answers: Julius Caesar; 1907; About 12,000 pounds; About 8%

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