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Best Practice for MS/TP Wiring The BACnet Device ID More BACnet Object Types? Introduction to the BACnet Discovery Tool
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June 2012

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MS/TP provides a means of conveying a message from one device to another.Best Practice for MS/TP Wiring By David Fisher. Member ASHRAE. Be sure not to expose too much bare twisted wire so that adjacent wires don’t short. This means that only one driver can be asserted at any time. BACnet International Education Committee Master-Slave/Token-Passing (MS/ TP) is a media access (MAC) layer technology defined in the communications standard known as BACnet (ANSI/ASHRAE 1352010). When the node needs to transmit. BACnet Lecturer. MS/TP uses a daisy-chained communications bus. devices use a single twisted pair which carries a differential voltage relative to a shared ground: Each node uses a transceiver that consists of a differential receiver and differential driver whose legs are connected together on the “plus” and “minus” sides. In this article we’ll be primarily concerned with the electrical aspects of this signaling and wiring rules that result in more reliable communication. PolarSoft. For electrical reasons we want to make the lengths of stubs as short as possible. What is MS/TP? As a MAC layer. Most of what MS/TP is involves the signaling of 0s and 1s organized into discrete packages called packets or message frames. The network itself uses a twisted-pair plus shield type of wire. The wires that form the rung are called stubs. The root cause of communications issues in MS/TP networks can most often be traced to deviations from these recommendations. Some BACnet devices include two sets of screw terminals. That’s why MS/ TP specifies the use of daisy-chain wiring. MS/TP uses a type of signaling known as EIA-485. MS/TP is widely used and deployed all over the world with estimates ranging into the tens of millions of deployed devices. But usually there is a single pair so the daisy chain must be created by twisting incoming and outgoing wire ends rattail fashion and capturing the twist in the corresponding screw terminal for the network. This article will discuss the theory and best practice to use when designing and implementing networks of MS/TP devices. Experience has shown that those who follow these principles will generally have efficient and reliable MS/TP communications. applying the Tx state to the differential bus. and the rules that are associated with arbitrating how devices find each other and negotiate to take turns using the communications network. President. The pair is like the rails of a ladder with individual devices wired across the rails like rungs. Previous Next Jump to Article . one for incoming and one for outgoing wires. When the node is “listening” the driver TxEnable is deasserted putting the driver into a high impedance tri-state mode. Chair. It is VERY IMPORTANT to assure that shields are connected to ground at only one location along the bus! Typically MS/TP networks will have a single router or large controller in addition to many small devices. In some cases devices have “empty” screw terminals where shields can be landed. or use crimp sleeves. The shield wire should enter the wire cabinet and shields should also be daisy-chained together and then taped or covered. Termination. Loading and Biasing Electrically. Daisy-chaining means landing the network wires on screw terminals that are directly part of the device itself. It can be convenient to use the router/controller as the single grounding point and as an end node at one extreme of the network or the other. With EIA-485. the driver TxEnable is asserted.

With local biasing each node has biasing resistors but the values are much larger.The EIA-485 standard models each transceiver as an idealized 12KΩ impedance (load) and specifies that each driver shall be required to source no more than 60mA. The standard indicates a strong preference for network biasing. This can cause undesirable effects including random transitions that receivers can interpret as valid data bits. the biasing philosophy becomes very important. To help overcome these effects. The extreme end nodes of the network bus are enhanced to include pullup and pulldown biasing resistors. He served as a voting member on the Standing Standards Project Committee-135 until July 2000 where he is still an active participant and contributing author. At 115200 bps the length must be degraded to 3280 feet (1000m). and large enough that they do not exceed the driver’s ability to overcome the bias which would prevent transmitting data: MS/TP specifies the use of 510Ω resistors for end point biasing. For network segments containing 32 or fewer nodes that is not a problem. When there is an active driver asserted the voltage differential is reliably held in the 0 or 1 state by the driver. 2008 and 2010) since its inception. but allows an alternative called local biasing. Previous Next Jump to Article . or any of the organizations with which the author is affiliated. Under some circumstances we can take advantage of this and have more than 32 devices on a segment. BACnet MS/TP specifies the use of active biasing. and even 1/8 load). Since the standard allows both types of biasing philosophy there is always the possibility that a given MS/TP segment may include a mixture of types. This works out to 32 unit loads. and also less power is required to be sourced by the node’s power supply. 38400. when you want to have the same MS/ TP segment include more than 32 nodes. The larger values provide less bias so the effect is localized to the node itself. and direct digital controls. Unfortunately there is some difference of opinion within the industry regarding whether network biasing is the best approach to use. MS/TP specifies values of 47KΩ for these types of biasing resistors: He was a charter voting member of ASHRAE’s Standards Project Committee 135P and has been active in the development of the BACnet standard (ANSI/ ASHRAE 135-1995. However when all drivers are tri-state (all deasserted) the differential floats at an indeterminate level. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of BACnet International. dfisher@polarsoft. MS/TP allows the total length of the twisted pair bus to be up to 4000 feet (1200m) using datarates from 9600. A lot has changed since the EIA-485 standard was created and today there are transceivers designed with higher impedance (½. However. 19200. including ASHRAE PDS and Short Courses. ¼. He has taught many courses about BACnet. 57600 or 76800 bps. The standard also requires that both extreme ends of the network bus shall have 120Ω termination resistors across the receiver: Termination is important over longer distances and higher speeds to eliminate reflections. He is chairman of the BACnet International Education Committee and convener for the MS/TP Working Group. networking and communications. 2004. The values chosen for these resistors must be small enough to provide more than 200mV of voltage drop across each receiver.

On the other hand. Suffice it to say that there is no clear consensus on a best approach even after 15 years as a standard and many millions of installed nodes. it boils down to some simple rules. e.g. Recall that the differential voltage signal in EIA-485 is referenced to a ground return path. For example all ¼ load transceivers can have up to 128 nodes without repeaters. memory. We will greatly oversimplify this view with the block diagram to the right. and network biasing is used. • If there are any locally biased (47K) nodes on the segment. Data incoming to one set causes the other set(s) to retransmit the same data with low latency (delay). advocates of the 47K philosophy argue that their approach is easier to remember and apply because all nodes are the same and repeater cost is only incurred in larger population network segments. The other camp would argue that a slight increase in power supply capacity would allow any node to fill the role of end point biasing source. They would also argue that repeater cost is similar to the cost of dual end point biasing. if implemented as a separate device accessory. the segment is limited to 32 or fewer nodes unless repeaters are used. NoN-isolated poWer The Microcomputer. Input/Output (I/O) and EIA-485 components share access to a power supply circuit that provides appropriate voltage(s) to all of the individual components. Of particular interest is that the ground reference for the entire device is the same as the power supply ground. Repeaters are bidirectional so there is some logic within them that determines which side is transmitting at any given time and enables/disables the EIA-485 drivers accordingly. So which philosophy is “better?” Because of the ubiquity of partial-load transceivers. Non-isolated Power A typical microcomputer-based controller device that implements MS/TP has several important parts. Repeaters are special devices that include two or more sets of EIA-485 transceivers. This is important to remember because it’s one of the things that make the two-wire EIA-485 concept work. and the generally cost-sensitive nature of MS/TP devices.Although the mathematics is somewhat complicated. the BACnet standard leans toward the use of two point network biasing which allows devices to exploit the additional device possibilities without requiring repeaters. all ¼ load. Previous Next Jump to Article . • If all of the nodes use partial-load transceivers. then you can extend the total number of nodes based on load. In this case it’s clear that this ground is the same as the power supply ground for the transceiver and also for the whole device.

The net effect is to disturb the ground reference not only for the EIA-485 transceivers but also for the CPU. such as variable frequency drives (VFDs). motors and so forth. This helps the differential signal measuring reduce the effects of transients on is mostly immune to this kind the communications signals. However introducing an isolated ground creates a new problem. This is usually accomplished by isolating the power supply for the EIA-485 components (or disruptive I/O components or both) from the power supply used for other internals. The EIA-485 standard specifies a wide range of +12 to -7 volts relative to the reference ground. such as causing the CPU to reset unintentionally. memory and I/O components in the devices on the network as well. By connecting the shield at a single ground point. they all theoretically share the same Earth ground point where AC power enters the building. affect the ground potential on the power supplies of non-isolated Previous Next Jump to Article . Modern transceivers have protection built-in that shuts down the transceiver if these voltages are exceeded. Note that the ground for the isolated side is not connected to the non-isolated side and is brought out to its own terminal. induced transients are mostly reduced and channeled to ground. this works great. In those cases it is more than desirable. Isolated Power Clearly it would be desirable to design the EIA-485 circuits in a way that would reduce or eliminate transient intrusion into the sensitive internals of the microcomputer(s) and their memory. Because isolated EIA-485 power has its own ground. However there are some bad aspects as well. the motor control circuits themselves can be a source for disruptive transients. There is a second power supply that uses its own transformer isolation to provide power for the isolated side of the circuit. This greatly simplified diagram shows how this works: The EIA-485 components (and in some cases also I/O components) instead of being directly coupled to the microcomputer. This can have many different side effects ranging from mild to severe. it is possible and quite common for electrical transient pulses to become inductively coupled onto the network wiring. This means that the twisted pair is wrapped with foil or braided copper shielding along its whole length. both of which use isolated power. are connected using optical isolators which convert electrical signals to pulses of light and back to electrical signals again within the isolation chip itself. it’s necessary. it can and does transient effects. While devices. particularly magnetic coil devices like fluorescent ballasts. In some kinds of MS/TP devices. but of noise because it tends to be does nothing to prevent ground induced equally into both sides of the differential. the whole MS/TP segment is a 4000 foot long antenna for gathering transients. MS/TP specifies the use of shielded twisted pair wiring. electrical transients that may be induced onto this ground do not affect the microcomputer. if their isolated ground references The good aspect of this is that a third wire isn’t needed because the nodes share this same ground reference. In a real world situation where the network wiring is pulled through ceilings and placed in close proximity to other electrical devices. So in effect there is an implicit shared “third wire” in addition to the twisted pair that is common to the MS/TP devices on the same segment: In a laboratory setting with devices on a test bench. But even with these measures it is still possible to actually damage some transceivers with sufficiently large transients. Many designs use microfuses and extremely fast switching transorbs for protection also. When there are two or more devices on the same network. I/O and communications components.Because all of the devices have power supplies that use the same AC power in the same building. Keep in mind that to a non-isolated device. interfere with communications and other bad effects.

and only one. These objects provide a framework for BACnet messages to access and manipulate the properties of these objects. Its purpose is often misunderstood. careful planning for new construction and diligent research when retrofitting existing networks is essential to reap to benefits that MS/TP has to offer. Mixed Networks Sometimes it is necessary or desirable to have a mixed network that incorporates some number of non-isolated MS/TP devices and some number of isolated ones. outputs. the common wire is landed on each isolated ground terminal. and processes. Although it is possible to do this with a separate wire. Biasing.are not tied together then it is possible for the two “floating” references to be at different levels. Watt Stopper The BACnet Device ID is a commonly misunderstood term and value by newcomers to BACnet. The Device ID is used for resolution of network layer addresses into application layer addresses. However. This is perhaps because many developers come to BACnet from other protocols which do not have the extra complexity of an address resolution protocol. Device object. The Device ID is a non-volatile value that is chosen and configured by someone at the site where the BACnet product is installed.5 pair. When daisy-chaining the segment into a device cabinet. Senior Engineer. The term “Device ID” is short for Device Identifier. The BACnet Device ID Steve Karg. it is strongly recommended that isolated devices have their isolated ground references tied together through a third wire. How the objects map to the real values or physical points used in the device is what each vendor gets to choose when they develop a BACnet product. values. Summary MS/TP can provide low cost reliable operation under a wide range of conditions. the 135-2010 BACnet standard introduced new guidelines governing best practice for MS/TP. Under the new standard. Failure to take these factors into account is the number one cause of field issues with MS/TP. commonly referred to as “binding”. thus their combined voltage range can easily push outside of the design spec during transients. The answer is that the common third wire is tied to the Earth ground through a current-limiting 100Ω resistor. However. Objects BACnet uses objects to represent physical inputs. a gateway device could represent multiple devices by having each device appear as if they were behind a virtual router. loading and wiring become particularly important in any mixed device network segment. The drain daisy-chains through cabinets but is only grounded at one point. As a result. and is shorthand for the Instance Number portion of the BACnet Device object Object_Identifier property. the best practice is to use (or retrofit with) shielded twisted triple which is also called 1. Previous Next Jump to Article . The exception for choice in the quantity of objects is the Device object. and also the easiest to prevent using best practices. Every BACnet device has one. The issue is how to reconcile the ground reference used by the isolated devices (through the third common wire) and the implied Earth ground used by the non-isolated devices. The quantity of each type of object in a BACnet product is also something that the vendor will choose.

” It also says “. Having an address resolution protocol is useful if a device fails and is replaced as it can simply be re-numbered to the failed Device ID. and DeviceCommunicationControl. and an object instance number. The object instance numbers can range from 0 to 4194302.the system-wide unique Object_Identifier of the BACnet Device. which is required in every BACnet object.”. but an MS/TP MAC address is too small to be used in any building that requires more than 127 devices. The standard specifies that the instance number range is 22-bits: 0-4194303. that are directed to that Device ID. from a user interface on the product to simply allowing the Device object Object_ Identifier property to be writable using the BACnet WriteProperty service. The device reply (I-Am) will contain information about the route and include the MAC address. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. After discovery. Most of these numbers are prescribed and defined in the standard. Some properties are writable.As an example. or they can be a nonstandard type numbered from 128 to 1023. Some properties are read-only. The vendor of a device can choose which types of objects are used in a device. is useful for uniquely referencing each object in a device. The address resolution protocol is needed when routers are utilized in the network to join various datalink and physical network segments. which must be unique system wide. a Device object type is enumerated as 8. Some properties are proprietary.e. but is not defined by the standard set of properties for that object in the BACnet standard. BACnet uses a type of address resolution protocol based on a Device ID query broadcast (Who-Is service) to the network to find a specific device.. Some of the properties are required to exist in the object. It is also useful in systems where the MAC address may change (i. which can be chosen initially by the vendor.. The router (network layer) must also be accounted for when communicating between BACnet devices located on different interfaces. BACnet devices can use a variety of datalink and physical layer interfaces. This data will be used as the unicast address in the majority of BACnet messages. The Object_Identifier is made of two pieces of data: an object type. It also states that “No object shall have an Object_Identifier with an instance number of 4194303. and utilize a BACnet router to pass messages between the interfaces. or non-standard. Previous Next Jump to Article . including ReadProperty. Device ID Value The BACnet standard tells us that “each object within a single BACnet Device shall have a unique value for the Object_Identifier property. This Device ID. Object types can be any of the BACnet standard object types and are enumerated from 0 to 127. Device Address Binding But why do we even need a Device ID when each device has a MAC (Media Access Control) address? An Ethernet MAC address is large (6 bytes) enough to be unique across a large building network. and Object_Type properties.. BACnet/IP and DHCP service). WriteProperty. or if the vendor chooses to implement a feature that mandates that an optional property be supported by that object.” The only method to make a system-wide unique Device ID from 0 to 4194302 is to have this value configurable at the building site where the BACnet product is installed. Object Identifiers The Object_Identifier property. Object_Name. Some properties are optional and may be supported by the vendor if that device needs that property.Properties Each BACnet object contains a number of properties. provides a mechanism for referencing every Device in the control system network. A proprietary property is often a property that is needed by the vendor for specific object functionality.. The vendor can choose which object instance numbers are used for each object. There are many numbers used in the BACnet protocol to communicate information on the network. such as Object_Identifier. The exception to this is the object instance number for the Device object. but must be configurable and survive power and controller resets (non-volatile). the Device ID can now be associated with this MAC address and route.

Building automation companies need to be equipped to recommend a solution that meets the customer’s needs at an affordable price. Determine actions that can be taken to avoid such problems on multi-vendor projects. Presenter Mike Olsen. 3. The S4 Group. integrators. consultants. an exemplary case study for each area is summarized. Next Jump to Article . The old approach of ripping out the old system and putting in new equipment many not be the most cost effective or technically savvy approach. programming. Why submit your BACnet Success Story BACnet . This year’s BACnet International education track features eight sessions of varying topics: BACnet Success Stories Abstract A review of some of the most compelling BACnet Success Stories submitted to date including contenders for this year’s “The Best in Show Award. the commissioning process and finally the operational phase. KMC Controls Which Points Should I Use and Why? Abstract Learning Objectives 1. OEMCtrl / Marketing Chair. Manager . Modern Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) have 80 or more points (BACnet Objects) available for monitoring and control over the BACnet system. BACnet is the protocol of choice for this task. OEMctrl Building Sustainability through Building Automation Abstract This session describes four primary areas of achieving sustainability. Wichenko will also offer tips and tricks when specifying Energy Dashboards normally used by Senior Management. Discover the benefits of using distributed BACnet lighting controls. contractors and manufacturers will be identified. Facility Managers. wiring. Abstract For years. graphics and commissioning BACnet interfaces on Mechanical. Inc.HVAC Applications. Inc. 4. then through the design and LEED Charrette process. Where available all contributing firms. Become aware of common hurdles related to interoperability. Learning Objectives 1. etc by equipment suppliers. Presenter Ron Poskevich . Learning Objectives 1. Describe one or more ways that building automation contributes to each of the four areas. recommendations for the end-user and consultant will be presented. 2. The presentation will touch on specifying BACnet in the SmartGrid environment. Learning Objectives 1. LEED Energy and Atmosphere Sections will be explained and discussed. 2. Enumerate the criteria used to select “The Best In Show” award for a BACnet Success Story 2. Explain what they can do to ensure a greater level of building sustainability on their next project. During the last year. Learn how to obtain Credits under Section 5 . common building automation strategies and tactics are discussed. Which points are important to monitor and why? 3.” Project reviews will identify the unique challenges and solutions and how BACnet as the key to success. Presenter Michael R. Distributed BACnet Lighting Controls When Interoperability Isn’t Abstract We will describe various hurdles to achieving interoperability on a multi-vendor control project and what facility professionals can do to alleviate such problems. Do I need to monitor all 80 points? Which points should I use and why? This paper will discuss which points are important for basic energy savings and control strategies and also give examples of more advanced usage of the points available.Energy Measurement and Verification. Vice President of Marketing. 2012 at the Mirage Event Center in Las Vegas. USA. President. Also. co-located at NFMT Vegas October 2-3. How to avoid negative bandwidth effects and still mine the data. Nevada. specification and installation of distributed BACnet controls. Managing Partner. Blue Ridge Technologies When to use a Gateway Abstract Presenter Ben Dorsey. 3. BACnet native lighting controls were locked away in the electrical closet. Mr. 2. Wilson. BACnet International. meters. ABB. Define “building sustainability” and “building automation. 2. Learning Objectives 1. What is and is not a BACnet Success Story 3. Understand the goals of interoperability. This session will cover how to obtain “free” LEED Credits by connecting your VFDs to the BACnet system. Learning Objectives 1. Learning Objectives 1. For each of these areas. Electrical and other equipment to avoid Change Orders. Identify clear lines of responsibility for installation. Outline the benefits of a BACnet-based design model to Facility Owners and Managers.HVAC Applications.” 2. Explain how the BACnet-based Networked Controls design model assists with compliance to LEED and SmartGrid Interoperability.Save the date for the BACnet International conference. the construction phase. and will provide best practices for designing and specifying an open BACnet native distributed lighting control system. Understand the architecture of a gateway appliance that enhances the open system approach of BACnet. Business Development Manager. Take away a decision making model for including a gateway in the overall customer solution. more building projects have been proposed to retrofit or remodel buildings than to build new structures. Presenter Mike Olsen. 3. 3. Identify pitfalls in the design. What BACnet points are available from VFDs? 2. Appin Associates Presenter Steve Jones. 2. Review real world distributed installations and applications. Vice President of Marketing. chillers. Free LEED Credits with every BACnet connected VFD Abstract Both LEED New Contruction and LEED Existing Buildings have Credits available for Energy Measurement and Verification. The presentation will outline how to design and specify BACnet-based BASs from the initial concept. Manager . 5. Learn that up to three LEED Credits are available by using the BACnet information available from your VFDs. Specify on board BACnet controls from equipment suppliers in a simple and understandable manner. KMC Controls Presenter Grant Wichenko. 4. 3.Vice President of Sales. Identify four major areas where building automation can influence building sustainability. ABB. Inc.The Best Choice for Designing and Specifying Building Automation Systems Successfully Abstract Learning Objectives 1. List the characteristics of well designed BACnet Interfaces for boilers. This education session will discuss the industry’s movement towards distributed BACnet lighting control devices. Owners and Specifiers need a simple bulletproof solution for specifying BACnetbased BASs and equipment that will apply to simple as well as high performance Green buildings. Presenter Previous Ben Dorsey. Finally.

One can add objects (analog. On the contrary. DateTime Value Date Pattern Value. Positive Integer Value. Object_Type. and 2. Project Manager. In the past. there interoperating with extensions implemented by is usually full others. it does not provide sufficient precision for certain applications (e. Most of the new object types also include optional support for intrinsic reporting. This Committee. defining 12 new BACnet value object types. In these implementations. the most commonly used object type for numeric data values. Time Value. The Analog Value object. The new object types added in addendum 135-2008w are: • • • • • • Integer Value. The New Value Objects The addition of value object types for most of the basic BACnet data types allows products to hold in standard objects almost any basic data value. Time Pattern Value. each interesting piece of data in a product is placed in The extension mechanism has also gained a bad one of the basic BACnet object types.More BACnet Object Types? Carl Neilson. This leads to either more work during the interoperability engineering phase or a lack of interoperability on between special features that products provide. Delta Controls In January 2010. Each requires the three properties required of all objects (Object_Identifier. properties to the standard object types and can binary and multicreate new object types if the standard ones state inputs. This leads to the belief that the extended has not escaped the notice of the BACnet objects and properties are not interoperable. to ensure data can be expressed in basic object types. products. do not match the needs of the product under outputs and development. the committee only occurs because vendors do not implement recognized the situation and recently made full support for the generic extension mechanism changes to the standard that will make it easier defined in the standard. reputation because vendor-defined objects and properties are labeled “proprietary” by the BACnet This common approach to product development standard. when a vendor implements all of a product’s functionality using a BACnet provides powerful extension mechanisms collection of vendors may use to extend and supplement the basic BACnet standard objects and services. The numeric value object types also require the Units property. This datatype (which has a range ± ~1038. Although a primary motivation for these new object types was to provide small-footprint data values they are not just simple data values. has an IEEE 784 single precision floating point Present_Value. and some have support for change of value reporting. Why did the BACnet Committee add so many new object types and how would someone use these to solve building automation problems? In contrast. power metering). it does not work well for precise integer calculations. device designers had the choice between an Analog Value and a Multi-State Value object for numeric data. Previous Next Jump to Article . addendum 135-2008w was published. This design choice by the BACnet committee minimizes the overhead for simple data values stored in these new value objects. and Object_Name) plus Present_Value and Status_Flags.53 and provides 6 significant digits) suffers from 2 problems: 1. Numeric Value Objects There are three new numeric value object types added into the standard: Integer Value.g. Large Analog Value Date Value. DateTime Pattern Value CharacterString Value BitString Value OctetString Value The new value object types have been defined with a minimum number of required properties. Positive Integer Value and Large Analog Value. values) instead of adding extension The problem with the extension mechanism is that objects and not enough vendors have provided full support for properties. command prioritization.

or a BitString Value which provides a more compact representation and indicates some form of logical relationship between the values. can be used to represent positive integer values but there are 2 significant issues with using it for a generic integer data type. these objects provide an excellent location for indicating when the action is expected to next occur. The non-pattern date / time objects will be useful for devices that need to record when an action is going to occur. Date and Time Objects The new date and time object types come in two main classes: specific date / time values and date / time patterns. and it is required to have a character string description for each of its – potentially many – values. while intended for modeling discrete states. While the new integer value types theoretically have an unbounded value range. Matches odd days of the month. provide textual diagnostic data. the only choice the product had for character string values was to use a standard property. A product designer will need to choose which is better for their use case. such as Description. UNspecified date/time ValUes CharacterString Object Before the addition of the new object types. Matches to even months (February. 999999 (accurate integer range) ± ~1038. outside of its intended purpose. Matches even days of the month. They do not suffer from the calculation issues of the Analog Value object.53 with 6 significant digits ± ~10308.) Matches the last day of the month. etc. Can be used in any of the date fields and is used to match to any valid value. April. March. The new Integer Value and Positive Integer Value object types allow for proper representation of integer data values. This greater range and greater accuracy will be useful in many applications. etc. if a product needed a string value and the product was restricted to using standard properties. The same information could be modeled with multiple Binary Value objects..3 with 15 significant digits Previous Next Jump to Article . Some expected use cases for the CharacterString object type are: provide access to the text for small displays and annunciator panels. The Multi-State Value object cannot hold the value 0.The Multi-State object type. The Present_ Value of the object contains multiple Boolean values that are read and written together. If the time that an action is to be executed is not governed by a schedule but rather by a calculation. The new Large Analog Value object type provides better value range and precision that the existing Analog Value object type. BitString Object The BitString Value allows a device to have a related set of Boolean values.. a set of Binary Values allowing each to be independently written to. Unspecified Date Values unspecified even months odd months last day of the month even days odd days Unspecified Time Values unspecified Can be used in any of the time fields and is used to match to any valid value.) Matches to odd months (January. 4294967295 -999999 . Range A: Integer Value Positive Integer Value Analog Value Range B: Analog Value Large Analog Value -2147483648 .. a device might use a DateTime Value object to indicate the next transition to or from daylight savings time. For example. The new character string object type solves this problem. 2147483647 0 . Unspecified values available in BACnet date and times are listed in the chart to the right. The ranges and precisions of the two analog value object types are shown below in Range B. nor do they suffer either of the problems noted with Multi-State Value objects. BACnet devices commonly limit internal integer and positive integer values to 32 bits which provide the ranges shown in Range A below. Significantly simpler than a Schedule object a device might use these date / time pattern objects for indicating simple scheduling (that relies on a single rule instead of the set of complex rules contained in a Schedule object). The pattern values allow the specification of a recurring date or time. The pattern values differ from the specific date / time value in that they can contain unspecified values.

Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name 512 (kW Pulse Count) 514 (Current Demand Level) 515 (kW Daily Peak) 516 (kW Monthly Peak) 517 (kW Yearly Peak) 518 (kWh Today) 519 (kWh Month To Date) 520 (kWh Year To Date) Value (128. 3) (Large Analog Value. 2) kW Monthly Peak 59877 kW Value (Analog Value. Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Present_Value Units Value (Posi ve Integer Value. Instead of implementing a proprietary object type. 3) kWh Month To Date 13002390 kWh Value (Large Analog Value.g. the BACnet Committee’s proposed direction for modeling standard complex systems is in an Advisory Public Review. 1) (Large Analog Value. 1) (Large Analog Value. it is more likely that these will be used for diagnostic purposes showing the detail of internal items within a controller or providing a raw configuration item. Instead of implementing the models as new BACnet objects. Smart Grid experts would develop the standardized models for the Smart Grid objects). nor would the ”name” of the data values. 3) Previous comparisoN of a proprietary exteNsioN object VersUs strUctUred VieW aNd basic objects Next Jump to Article . The BACnet Committee is looking to the Structured View object to perform this function in a standard way in the future.OctetString Object The OctetString Value will mostly likely be the least used of the new object types as the data value of the object will not be as easily understood as that of other types. interoperability is more commonly achieved when a collection of basic objects is used in place of a complex proprietary object. The benefit of this approach is twofold: • those devices that understand the Structured View based model can determine the semantics of individual basic BACnet objects. 1) (Analog Value. While they can be used interoperably for control. 1) (Analog Value. and • those devices that do not have knowledge of the models can still easily consume the data because the data values reside in known object types (basic value objects). For example. these new objects are in the standard and are available for product designers to use to design better solutions to the problems found in building automation. 3) kW Yearly Peak 92302 kW Value (Large Analog Value. 1) Current Demand Level 47844 kW Value (Analog Value.. The downside is that the relationships between the data values can be lost when an object is broken up into its constituent parts. basic BACnet object types are used. Looking Forward As mentioned previously. Given that the data value is an arbitrary sequence of bytes. The committee is actively developing a process whereby standard models can be developed and implemented using the Structured View object. and the Structured View object is used to collect all of the data values together into a single grouping. The feedback from the public will drive the ultimate direction that the BACnet standard takes. 2) (Large Analog Value. 1) Meter 1 Equipment “Electrical Meter” (Posi ve Integer Value. 1) kW Pulse Count 4327890 no-units Value (Large Analog Value. To solve the logical grouping problem. The concept is to allow faster development of standardized “objects” by those industry groups that are best placed to develop those objects (e. the value of the object will remain somewhat proprietary. 1) Meter 1 4327890 47844 59877 59877 92302 291000 13002390 5250469131 The property IDs used in this object would not be known by other devices. 4) kWh Year To Date 5250469131 kWh Property Object_Iden fier Object_Name Node_Type Node_Subtype Subordinate_List[1] Subordinate_List[2] Subordinate_List[3] Subordinate_List[4] Subordinate_List[5] Subordinate_List[6] Subordinate_List[6] Subordinate_List[6] Value (Structured View. 2) (Analog Value. a BACnet gateway might provide an OctetString Value object for displaying the content of recently sent or received messages on the “other side” of the gateway. Regardless. the Structured View object can be used. As of this writing (April 2012). 1) kW Daily Peak 59877 kW Value (Analog Value. one for each data value. the models would be implemented using Structured View objects. 2) kWh Today 291000 kWh Value (Large Analog Value.

BDT has proved to be very popular — as one satisfied user reports: BDT 2. Contemporary Controls Contemporary Controls has developed a vendorneutral BACnet Discovery Tool (BDT) to determine if a BACnet router is successfully communicating to attached devices. which should only be used after a search has built a database of objects. double-click that device’s line in the discovered device list. Windows may warn you that the file has no valid digital signature.03 one of the most feature rich freely down-loadable BACnet applications on the web. As the Search function runs. if needed. choose to “Run as Administrator” and click “Yes” in the dialog that appears — otherwise. After downloading BDT from Contemporary Controls. the discovered BACnet devices will be listed in the main window and the number of discovered devices will be reported in the Devices Discovered field. But if you are using Windows 7. A new window will appear (the pop-up in Figure 1 below) and display a list of the discovered objects within the selected device.exe file to launch BDT. you would normally register with the central BBMD and thus access the entire BACnet internetwork. registration is completed. we use BDT with equipment from different BACnet vendors to prove our routers operate with different equipment configurations. the BDT is available as a free download from the Contemporary Controls website. In such cases. You can do this by using the BDT’s Foreign Device fiGUre 1: discoVered objects list Next Previous Jump to Article . You could perform FDR with a non-central BBMD on a specific subnet.exe mfc71d. enter the IP address of the BBMD with which you wish to register. It is safe to ignore this warning and proceed. As part of Contemporary Controls’ ongoing mission to simplify the use of BACnet. there may be multiple BBMDs. For a quick snapshot of networks and the MAC addresses of the controllers on them is as easy as one click. you may wish to use it to examine more of the BACnet internetwork than just your local subnet.03. Targeting the central BBMD is almost always the best option. When you attempt to open BDT.) In some larger networks with several subnets. but you may not know the extent to which the various BBMDs are sharing information — and you might not access the devices that you need to contact. The ability to scan the present values of all supported BACnet objects in discovered devices as well as the ability to write to the present value (at selectable priority levels) of certain objects make BDT 2. Before initiating any BDT activity. The file set will include an instruction sheet in PDF format and the following four files: • • • • bacnet-stack.Introduction to the BACnet Discovery Tool Discover and Verify Communication with MS/TP Devices by Bill Greer. right click the file name. To investigate the objects contained by any discovered device. the BASRTP-B. and the support of BBMD to connect to remote sites is a great feature. Using the Search function. unzip its file set to any location on your host PC hard drive (be sure to keep all the files together at the chosen location). Registration (FDR) function to register the BDT application as a Foreign Device with a BBMD in a remote subnet. the progress bar will disappear. Also. In the BBMD Address field. you should determine the scope of what you wish to accomplish. double-click on the BDT2. At Contemporary Controls. The first thing to consider is whether or not your BACnet internetwork crosses IP subnets — and is therefore using a BACnet/IP Broadcast Management Device (BBMD). then the MS/TP Network and MAC information will complete the line. When you click on the Set BBMD button.dll BDT 2. BDT can support up to 1000 devices and each device can have up to 2000 objects.03. the number of discovered objects will be reported in the Objects field. If a BBMD is present. click the Search button — not the Scan button. NOTE: BDT sends a BACnet/IP Who-Is — not a BACnet/ Ethernet Who-Is — so it will not discover devices that only support BACnet/Ethernet. (You do not specify a subnet mask — this is determined by other equipment in the network.00. If the reported Device Instance is that of an MS/TP device. It is an excellent means for discovering and verifying communication with MS/TP devices that are being accessed through BACnet/IP routers such as those available from Contemporary Controls: the BASRT-B DIN-rail mounted BACnet/IP-to-MS/TP router — or its portable counterpart. BDT is a BACnet/IP application for Windows® that is easy to install and use.03 has become one of the BACnet applications I have begun to rely on when discovering BACnet devices and objects. If you are not using Windows 7.dll Each I-Am response identifies the • the Device Instance number of the responding device • the Device Name of the device • the IP Address and UDP Port number through which the device was contacted • and (for MS/TP master devices) the MS/TP Network number and MS/TP MAC Address Each piece of equipment producing an I-Am response could be simply a BACnet/IP device — or it could be a BACnet/IP to BACnet MS/TP router acting as an intermediary for devices on the MS/TP side. When BDT has completed its search. Setting the BBMD. BDT will not function properly. it transmits BACnet WhoIs messages and a progress bar appears.00.dll msvcr71d. After setting theBBMD (if needed) and with your host PC attached to the network of interest.

BDT will display the currently read values. its Present Value and four on/off status reports (checked means on) — and two writeable elements lower down which. creating a scan list of objects extracted from the object database. As shown. although always visible.ccontrols. BDT retries the data acquisition four times before registering an error and moving on to the next object. the Scan function can usefully confirm that all devices and objects are properly installed. As the list is built. Only click the Scan button after the Search function has been run. you can double-click one of its objects to bring up an Object Properties window. Usually you should avoid the Scan function because it often creates more network activity than desired by continuously reading the Present Value of most objects that have this property (and alert you if an attempt fails). NOTE: The Scan function only stops when you close the Scan window. If an object fails to report its data. this window reports many helpful Device Object Properties (Device 2749211 in our example in figure 2). the scan proceeds as shown in Figure 3. Clicking If you close the above window and the Refresh button on the right will reacquire and redisplay the readagain display the list of objects only information. an error statement will occupy a line in the list. When scanning for present-values. you can enter a number in the Write Value box. If a present-value cannot be read. BDT will start displaying again — at the first line. To download BDT. Then you can double-click another object to view and/or adjust its properties. If the Write button is not dimmed. Leaving it running can consume significant network bandwidth — and if a building controller is running. After the scan object list has been built. you can close it with either the OK or Cancel button. when commissioning or troubleshooting a network. working and updating — this could be especially helpful if you do not have a building controller at your disposal to check this for you. only yield results for output objects. These two fields — Errors and Retries — are incremented without reset for as long as the scan proceeds. When you are finished with the BDT. Executing the Search function creates an object database that is used by the Scan function. click the OK button to terminate the scan. communication errors could result. When all objects have been read. When you are finished with scanning. the examined object is writeable — in which case. Previous Next Jump to Article . close all of its windows. You can also Pause the scan. Clicking the Scan button opens a window where you will see a bar indicating the progress in Building Object — that is. set a Priority value and click the Write button to apply your changes. go to www. the current Device and its Object being scanned are identified in their respective fields. After you are done with the Object Properties window. the current Device and its Object are identified in their respective fields. However. current values can be viewed by scrolling the list up or down. Because present-values will appear in the same place fiGUre 3: Scan fUNctioN in the display. As the list is scanned.The Object Properties window displays read-only values — Object Name. You can double-click the device object line to examine the Device Object Properties which brings up an window. contained by the device. Set a priority value by clicking the Priority field then adjusting the level displayed below the field by scrolling through the available levels using either your keyboard up/down arrow keys or the miniature up/down fiGUre 2: deVice object properties scroll if needed.

Foundations is supported by the BACnet International Board of Directors: Andy McMillan. Reliable Controls Raymond Rae. As BACnet International Executive Office PMB 321 • 2900 Delk Rd. there may be references to resources. Responsibility for accuracy lies ultimately with the individual authors. American Auto-Matrix Roland • info@bacnetinternational. companies or services that have not been vetted or endorsed by BACnet International. and would not be publishable without those volunteers’ time and talents. Dave Robin. © BACnet International 2012 – further editorial use of articles in Foundations is encouraged. Automated Logic Nancy Stein. Please send a copy to the BACnet International office at info@bacnetinternational. Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. Inc. Inc. Inc. A special thank you to all volunteers in the BACnet community. Suite 700 • Marietta.DISCLAIMER OF ENDORSEMENT: Foundations is a publication which is as designed to be as inclusive as possible in sharing of views and information. Additionally. Honeywell International Paul Jordan. products. GA 30067-5350 770-971-6003 (ph) • 678-229-2777 (fax) www. (ASHRAE). Building Better with Special Thanks: Foundations is a project of the BACnet International Education Committee. Philips Teletrol Brad Hill.bacnetinternational. © BACnet is a registered trademark of the American Society of Heating. BACnet International provides these resources solely for your Previous Jump to Article . Siemens Industry. Delta Controls.

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