Do it yourself board level controllers

October 30, 2018 by John Hatcher
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Do it yourself board level controllers

The mass marketing of powerful micro PCs such as the Raspberry Pi brings low cost, computing power to technical professionals and hobbyists alike. Suitable for most field installations, they also provide an excellent training and experimental platform for individuals interested in controls and automation. Contemporary Controls, committed to open controls, is contributing to this effort by offering low-cost controller products under the BASpi name which incorporate BACnet for communication and Sedona for control, and are powered by the Raspberry Pi.

The BASpi I/O board is a 12-point BAS expansion board for the Raspberry Pi 3. The I/O board, plus the firmware files provided by Contemporary Controls turn your Raspberry Pi into a BACnet-networked, Sedona-programmable controller with 6 universal inputs and 6 outputs. The universal inputs can be configured for binary, analog, thermistor, resistance, or pulse inputs. In addition to 12 physical I/O points there are 24 virtual points – all configurable as BACnet points. A total of 48 web components are usable for configuration points accessible via a common web browser. Communication with the BASpi is via 10/100 Mbps Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

"The rise of the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) maker movement has spawned the creation of collaborative work spaces, either physical or virtual, where like-minded individuals can gather to explore, innovate, collaborate, and share their ideas back to the maker community. This DIY revolution is certainly boosting innovation in many fields as well as helping to prepare the next generation of makers today, who will need the critical STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math) for the automated world of tomorrow," says Zach Netsov who is a Product Specialist. "Contemporary Controls supports this DIY maker community with open building automation products built on open software and open hardware, as well as an automation blog that I produce."
Visit the BASpi product page to learn more.

The Advantages of a BAScontrol Open Controller

Contemporary Controls has always supported open protocols like BACnet, but BACnet does not provide control, only a standardized method for communications. Having BACnet is not sufficient when you are locked out of a job due to a proprietary programming language, licensing restrictions, or a proprietary programming tool only available to "partners". The BAScontrol Series is Contemporary Controls' way of providing a truly open controller by having:

  • An open communications network in IP Ethernet
  • An open industry supported building automation protocol in BACnet
  • An open control language that is license-free in Sedona
  • A free programming tool that is available to all without restriction in the Sedona Application Editor

The BAScontrol Series utilizes a powerful 32-bit ARM7 processor with 512 kB of flash memory plus a 16 Mbit serial flash file system for storing configuration data and an application program. By operating at the BACnet/IP level, the BAScontrol20/22 can share the same Ethernet network with supervisory controllers and operator workstations. Each unit can be configured for a fixed IP address or can operate as a DHCP client receiving its IP address from a DHCP server. A real-time clock with a super-cap backup allows for creating local schedules. A 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port supports protocols such as BACnet/IP, Sedona SOX, HTTP and FTP. Configuration of universal inputs and virtual points can be accomplished using web pages. Type II and type III 10 kΩ thermistor curves and a 20 kΩ thermistor curve are resident in the unit. Current inputs can be measured using external resistors. Contact closures require a voltage-free source. Binary inputs and outputs as well as analog outputs require no configuration. The unit is powered from a 24 VAC/VDC source.

BAScontrol Toolset

Contemporary Controls has developed the BAScontrol Toolset, which simplifies controller programming and project archiving for the BAScontrol Series and the BASpi. The following tools are included in the BAScontrol Programming Toolset.

Sedona Application Editor (SAE) — An Open Programming Tool for an Open Controller

The Sedona Application Editor (SAE) is the Sedona tool used to create custom applications in the Sedona environment. Using graphical means, components residing in kits are dragged onto a wire sheet, configured and interconnected with other components to create applications. By keeping the kits database updated with the latest kits, SAE can program any model within the BAScontrol and BASremote series of controllers.

BASemulator – BAScontrol Emulation on a PC

The BASemulator is a handy utility that works in conjunction with the Sedona Application Editor (SAE) and BASbackup - BAScontrol Project Utility. BASemulator can emulate on a Windows PC the operation of any of the controllers in the BAScontrol series - BAScontro20 and BAScontrol22. All real, virtual and web points including Sedona logic in a BAScontroller can be viewed with SAE as if it was the actual controller. All web pages used for displaying point status and for configuration appear on your web browser as if it was the actual controller.

BASbackup – BAScontrol Project Utility

The BASbackup provides a convenient way of storing and restoring a BAScontrol project to a desktop or laptop computer. Although you can store and restore a Sedona application with the Sedona Application Editor, a BAScontroller has IP addressing and BACnet configuration files that are unrelated to Sedona. With BASbackup you can save both Sedona application files and configuration files on the BAScontrol making a comprehensive copy of your BAScontrol project.

Contemporary Controls will be demonstrating the BASpi and the BAScontrol22 controllers at Smart Buildings Show.

 

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