Interfacing a Crestron System with a BACnet Based System

This document describes Crestron’s recommended method for interfacing a Crestron control system
with a system that uses BACnet for its communication protocol. Before describing the details of how
to set up this intersystem communication, let’s briefly review the definition of “BACnet” and who
uses it.

What is BACnet?

BACnet is a data communication protocol for “Building Automation and Control Networks”. The
protocol was introduced by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning
Engineers (ASHRAE) in the late 1980s and has become a communication standard in the HVAC
industry. What makes BACnet special is that it specifically addresses the needs of building and
automation equipment (i.e. how to ask for the value of a temperature, define a fan operating
schedule, or send a pump status alarm.)

Who uses BACnet?

Manufacturers of HVAC, fire and life, lighting control, security and other building automation
systems utilize the BACnet protocol. The BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA) is an
organization that encourages the successful use of BACnet in building automation and control
systems. You can find a member listing of manufacturers on their website,
www.bacnetassociation.org.

Crestron Interfacing with a BACnet System

Crestron can communicate with a BACnet system by using the generic communications protocol,
Modbus. Modbus allows a group of addressable “points” to be accessed by the Crestron system. For
an in depth description of how the Modbus protocol works go to:

crestron.com/tools_and_resources/programming_and_integration_resources/integrated_partner_modules/default.asp?manufacturer_id=120


The communication is achieved using an RS-232 port on the Crestron processor and the generic
Modbus module (see above link) that Crestron has developed. The Modbus commands that the
processor sends out the serial port will be manufacturer-specific, so there will have to be a great deal
of coordination between a Crestron programmer and the HVAC/BACnet manufacturer to ensure
proper communication with a specific model/unit. Once the Modbus commands have been defined,
they need to be converted into the BACnet protocol for communication with the aforementioned
BACnet based system. We recommend Fieldserver’s FS-8704-02 Modbus to BACnet converter
(www.fieldserver.com) for doing the conversion.

Following is a list of other manufacturers that make Modbus to BACnet converters:

Automated Logic Portal www.automatedlogic.com
Alerton www.alerton.com
Tridium www.tridium.com


The most challenging part of setting up this communication will be coordinating with the
HVAC/BACnet manufacturer to develop the specific Modbus communication strings that will
ultimately be understood by the BACnet system controlled. All other hardware and software (as
described above) is in place to allow the successful communication of a Crestron System with a
BACnet based system.

If you have any further questions regarding how Crestron interfaces with BACnet, please feel free to
call Tech Sales at 1-800-237-2041 or send email to techsales@crestron.com.