Using Aprilaire 8825 (IP Control) Module

GasHedGasHed Junior MemberPosts: 31
I've seen lots of discussion on the forum about using the 8811 (RS422 Control) module, but nothing about the new 8825. We recently installed one and are getting null pointer errors returned from the 8825 module, so it fails to load. Anyone have any success with the 8825 and the Duet module available on InConcert? If so, any pointers on how to get this thing to work right?

Thanks,

Patrick Clemins
TECHteriors

Comments

  • GasHedGasHed Junior Member Posts: 31
    Got it working!

    For future reference, I got the module working and the Aprilaire 8825 box configured correctly with the help of Stephen Steiner and the rest of the AMX staff. It works extremely well and provides good feedback as to the state of the HVAC system.
  • TrikinCurtTrikinCurt Junior Member Posts: 158
    I believe a new 8825 module just got posted as well... Will be trying it out in a month or so!

    Curt
    Trikin
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    GasHed wrote:
    For future reference, I got the module working and the Aprilaire 8825 box configured correctly with the help of Stephen Steiner and the rest of the AMX staff. It works extremely well and provides good feedback as to the state of the HVAC system.

    I'm going to have to try asking for Stephen. I have a non-communicative module here, and the person I talked to said, and I quote, "You'll have to call April Aire about any setup questions." The problem is the people at April Aire know nothing at all besides the browser interface. They could not even tell me how to activate the so-called "passthrough" mode referenced by AMX in the module docs. And nowhere in said module docs is any reference how to set the module parameters to talk to your installation - I had to dig through the sample code to even find out how to set the IP address.

    From the errors I am getting, it would seem it is trying to connect to the wrong port. Aprilaire had no idea of any port except 80 and 443 - which are, of course the web browser and not applicable.
  • GasHedGasHed Junior Member Posts: 31
    I have the configuration utility to set the 8825 to passthrough. It's under 1MB in size... so, if anyone needs it, I'll be happy to email it to you.

    Pat
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    This is from a previous thread.
    Quote:
    IP Communications

    In order to communicate with the ViewStat through TCP/IP you must use the HomeLogic brick. An RJ45 to DB9 cable is provided by HomeLogic. For more info visit www.homelogic.com. The brick must be set in ?passthru? mode in order for the module to be able to successfully communicate.



    (I beleive HomeLogic is the OEM)

    This quote was taken from the AMXViewstat .doc in the Duet module. Now what exactly this means is anyones guess but it would imply that there is either a dip switch or a setting that is change able through the web server. Maybe it's buried somewhere you haven't found yet. I don't think it would be possible to do both tasks, used via web server and com link to netlinxs at the same time unless "passthru" is appended to the string or something.

    I would agree that the modules should include a scheduling feature but maybe they expect you to use !Schedule or just create your own with a simple GUI and a little code. IMHO having clients use a PC to make changes to programs or device controlled by AMX defeats the pupose of AMX in the first place. A users point of command, control and interaction with connected devices. If they want to access the system via PC have them VNC a TP for control thereby re-empahsizing the role of AMX not dimishing it.

    I am curious so if you finds the answer please post it!
  • GasHedGasHed Junior Member Posts: 31
    Passthru mode is set by using a small, simple configuration app that you run on your PC available through HomeLogic. I haven't found a dipswitch or setting in the webserver pages that allow you to change the mode of the brick. Like I mentioned before... I have the app in case anyone needs it... it's not easily found. Just fire me an email. Note that passthru mode DISABLES the web interface to the brick. What port is used for IP communication is buried within the Duet module... but, I'll bet a lunch that it's port 80.

    I agree that the lack of scheduling in the module does kinda stink, but I suppose that's the purpose of iSchedule now, isn't it ;) And iSchedule does have touchpanel pages for configuration, right?

    Pat
  • RicardoSiqueiraRicardoSiqueira Junior Member Posts: 373
    After trying Vining ViewStat Scheduler, I believe that AMX should do something similar to their ViewStat modules and include a scheduler. Scheduling is an important part of a thermostat and the AMX $900 retail ViewStats don't offer it. Sure you could spend a lot of time adapting i!-Schedule to work with some presets, and Vining probably used the
    i!-Schedule or/and i!-MacroManager principles for developing his Scheduler. However, most entry/mid level AMX programmers will have a hard time doing what Vining did. I thank Vining for sharing his Scheduler with us and all my future jobs will have it. Some of my clients are asking about HVAC Scheduling. What do you guys handle that?

    I was able to adapt Vining's Scheduler to work with ICSNet as well, and I am also looking at the IP alternative for larger jobs. How good is the communications via IP using the homelogic brick? What happens if power fails, the link is lost or some thermostats are powered off? Does it auto sync?

    Ricardo
  • GasHedGasHed Junior Member Posts: 31
    The brick does have some issues with power loss... However, I have a 'hidden' reset button on the interface to reset the module and I wired the power brick into a I/O on the controller so that when the controller is reset, it resets the brick also. This combination has been rather robust so far.

    As far as therms going on and off line... the module seems to handle this well.

    Pat
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    RicardoSiqueira wrote:
    and Vining probably used the
    i!-Schedule or/and i!-MacroManager principles for developing his Scheduler.
    Actually I've never looked at either one of those.
  • RicardoSiqueiraRicardoSiqueira Junior Member Posts: 373
    Sorry Vining. I thought you had used some of the i!Scheduler principles. My mistake, I own you an apology and again thanks for sharing your Scheduler with us, you did a great job. Maybe we could use it somehow with the new IP communications.

    Ricardo
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    RicardoSiqueira wrote:
    Sorry Vining. I thought you had used some of the i!Scheduler principles. My mistake, I own you an apology
    Why, if anything that was a compliment!
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    Well, I'm going to abandon this. My boss wanted to use it because he thinks the scheduling interface is more user-friendly than what I have cobbled together ... and I think he's nuts, but that's another matter. However, we want live control too, and if enabling live control kills the interface, well, what's the point?
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    DHawthorne wrote:
    Well, I'm going to abandon this. My boss wanted to use it because he thinks the scheduling interface is more user-friendly than what I have cobbled together
    Maybe you should try the one I put together. I'll admit my opinion may be biased but I think the user interface is extremely user friendly and simple to operate.

    It's no longer posted but if you'd like I can email it directly.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    A bit of an update on this - we tried paralleling an 8825 with an 8811 Proverter, thinking to use the 8825 for setback timers, and still get live feedback and local control via the NetLinx. It seemed like it should work, but the 8825 completely takes over the RS-485 buss. NO feedback gets to the 8811 at all with both connected, but the instant I unplugged the 8825, the 8811 went back to full operation.
  • alexanboalexanbo Junior Member Posts: 282
    Doesn't the 8825 have an RS-232 port on it?

    The one that magically appeared on a job i'm doing had what looked like a cat 5 type female plug on it labelled RS-232 that I was hoping to be able to use so that we could have the web interface and control from AMX at the same time.
  • robswidrobswid Junior Member Posts: 14
    alexanbo wrote:
    Doesn't the 8825 have an RS-232 port on it?

    The one that magically appeared on a job i'm doing had what looked like a cat 5 type female plug on it labelled RS-232 that I was hoping to be able to use so that we could have the web interface and control from AMX at the same time.

    Were you able to use the Rs-232 on the 8825 from the AMX?
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    The problem is that when the 8825 is connected to the 485 buss, it takes over if it's web interface is enabled. I have experimented with it extensively, and talked to support at Aprilaire and the people that make the box, and they all say you have to disable the web interface to use it for control (passthrough mode). If its not in passthrough, as soon as you connect it, your AMX will stop receiving data on the 485 buss.
  • GasHedGasHed Junior Member Posts: 31
    RS-232 Control

    You can't use the 8825 for RS-232, but there is another control adapter to use for that... the 8811.

    Pat
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    The only thing you can do with the 8825 and netlinxs is to use it in passthru mode and it basically becomes an expensive IP-rs485 converter in which case you should just buy a IP-rs485 converter.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    GasHed wrote:
    You can't use the 8825 for RS-232, but there is another control adapter to use for that... the 8811.

    Pat
    The point (in my case) was being able to use the web interface on the 8825 while still providing some nominal control with a NetLinx. Unfortunately, it's not possible; you have to pick one or the other. You can't use the 8811 with the 8825 either. As Vining states, you can use any old TCP-RS converter if all you re after is IP control, you don't need this particular brick.
  • alexanboalexanbo Junior Member Posts: 282
    Does the 8825 do something to the RS-485 bus that prevents the Netlinx from communicating on the bus if we hook the netlinx directly into the disty panel?

    If it does I was thinking that if you had two ports available perhaps you could hook one to the 8825 and one to the distribution panel and forward messages between the two ports and interject commands from the Netlinx system as needed.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    alexanbo wrote:
    Does the 8825 do something to the RS-485 bus that prevents the Netlinx from communicating on the bus if we hook the netlinx directly into the disty panel?

    If it does I was thinking that if you had two ports available perhaps you could hook one to the 8825 and one to the distribution panel and forward messages between the two ports and interject commands from the Netlinx system as needed.

    Tried that, it still doesn't work. The 8825 simply takes over mastering the buss, and nothing else can act as a master as long as it is there.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    Dave, I was wondering if you ever got around to using my ViewStat Scheduling module? If you haven't tried it yet I think you'd be pleasantly pleased. I believe it does most if not more things than the 8825 does. Of course I never really studied the 8825 in detail to know for sure. If you have tried it, any constructive criticism?
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    I haven't gotten the chance Vining. My boss is so sold on the 8825 interface that he has been having me used a computer control button to display the PC on the panel, and i!-PCLinkWeb to pop it up when the panel button is pressed. And I really hate that solution - computer screens are designed around a very precise mouse pointer, and it is hugely difficult to touch exactly the right spot controlling a computer. I also don't see the attraction - I don't think the 8825 interface is quite all that great. The only feature I think that recommends it (to me) is the history page.

    It's out of my hands at the moment for existing jobs; I'll try to pitch him on your interface the next one ... assuming he doesn't decide to switch thermostats entirely. We have had a history of quality control issues with Aprilaire.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,348
    DHawthorne wrote:
    assuming he doesn't decide to switch thermostats entirely. We have had a history of quality control issues with Aprilaire.
    I like the way the Carrier Infinity is deisgned with the HVAC guys putting in their T-Stats and controller and all we have to do is plug into the main controller with the SAM module and then we access to the entire system. The protocol was recently posted and I wonder if anyone has any interaction with them yet. On the down side you need a Carrier dealer to install a complete system where as the AprilAire can play w/ anyone.

    DHawthorne wrote:
    My boss is so sold on the 8825 interface that he has been having me used a computer control button to display the PC on the panel
    You didn't smack sense into him? He must have already paid for the 8825 brick.
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