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Article - Jan 2001
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Getting Existing HVAC and Building Automation Control Systems to Work....

Luc Szklanecki / Kurt Booth
HVAC Controls Systems Instructors/Consultants
klcontrols.com

Understanding how to make existing direct digital or and pneumatic HVAC, building automation control systems work reliably to their full potential may save you expensive operating, maintenance, call back and/or unwarranted retrofit costs.

How? By providing technicians and or facilities operators with hands-on training and specific problems consulting they will be able to calibrate, troubleshoot, maintain, suppress control systems hunting deficiencies, poorly set or designed supply air temperatures, economizers reset controls schedules, un-properly calibrated devices, possible system contamination, by applying your new acquired skills and knowledge in resolving local zone design issues that might be affecting the overall global working conditions of cooling and heating systems design.

CatNet SystemsYou will achieve higher efficiency and system performance translating not only into customer satisfaction, lower business operating costs but also by lowering your dependency and some frustration in relying on proprietary systems, often accompanied by hefty maintenance contracts.

But no building automation system computerized, pneumatic or both hybrid will make any part of an end controlled device like a distributed pump, chiller, air handler, fan coil, VAV box, packaged A/C system work if their capabilities and or working design potential are poorly understood, is not properly calibrated, poorly maintained or electro-mechanically unfit to deliver the mechanical work necessary to achieve your targeted control goals and one of the best and cheapest way to diligently operate and maintain your equipment at or near 100% efficiency of its design is to provide your maintenance and or operating personnel through training, the intellectual tools, skills in all the disciplines related to performing the tasks of servicing HVAC, building automation, energy management pneumatic and direct digital controls systems.

Why learn pneumatic controls when everything seems to be run by computers? Pneumatic controls use analog and digital signals just like computer control systems, so if you already understand the mechanical controls fundamentals and principles in pneumatics, which are easier to learn, it will be a lot easier for you to understand PID loop controls algorithms, not only that but a lot of building controls systems are still pneumatics, and even if you think that DDC will eventually replace them, it will be many years until then, meanwhile all of those buildings still have to be operating at top performance or else operating, maintenance or call back costs if you are a building owner or contractor could eat up some of your profits at the rate of several tens of thousands of dollars a year, not dismissing unhappy tenants or customers. If you are planning a retrofit in a few years, the realized savings might get you there sooner.

Here are a few operating, maintenance and energy saving tips

1) Can the original pneumatic compressor be replaced with just any air compressor? No, due to the fact that pneumatic systems must be clean dry and oil free or controls contamination will occur and result in expensive repairs. Although cheaper the regular shop air compressor is designed to migrate a little oil vapor from its crankcase to lubricate shop air tools and should not be used as a replacement to a control instrument compressor that run a third of the speed, run cooler temperatures and are not designed to sling oil.

2) Maintaining proper supply air temperatures during building load changes to achieve higher efficiencies and optimize your heating and cooling system, un-proper setup could result in system hunting, over worked chillers, boilers, pumps, causing unstable controller functions along with hydronic balancing problems. Understanding how to plot reset schedules during controller setup and calibration in accordance to building demand will save energy along with less wear and tear on equipment, thus providing better climate control. In pneumatic controls, the dual input receiver controller's authority adjustment sets up proper deck temperature control automatically, plotted by the technicians reset schedule.

K&L Controls is a Henderson, Nevada-based business that offer seminars in HVAC Controls systems to a wide variety of technical personnel in the controls industry from hotel and offices maintenance facilities operators to school district and contractors field technicians..

Copyright 2000, KL Controls. Used with permission.


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