Are you familiar with the term “hot keys”? The term refers to using combinations of keys on the keyboard as a shortcut to a certain function or action in a program. For instance, let’s say you wanted to copy a file to another folder or attach to an email. First you highlight the file then hold the Ctrl key and press the letter C to Copy. Then you locate the place where you want to copy to, hold down the Ctrl key and press the letter V and the copied file will be pasted. These combinations of Ctrl+C (Copy) and Ctrl+V (Paste) are called hot keys.
The first hot key you will use is Ctrl+E to edit Graphics. This combination toggles CBAS in and out of Edit Graphics Mode, hence the letter E. To use it, go to any graphic in CBAS that you want to edit or duplicate and use the hot key Ctrl+E. You will see the Main Menu change to a Graphics Editing Menu. If you go into one of the menus, you will see the hot keys listed next to each menu item. However, getting to the Menu requires a right-click first.
Another useful key is the Space Bar which brings the background picture in and out of sight so you can see all of the objects that have been placed on top of it.
A very popular Graphics hot key is Ctrl+D, which duplicates the current Graphic. If you are doing Graphics for a large building with lots of AHUs and VAVs, many of which are exactly the same except for the prefix in the point names (Ex. AHU-2 Floor 2), duplicating will save you a ton of time. You only need to program one from scratch and you can duplicate all the rest of them. When you duplicate, you can change the point names automatically using the find and replace feature. The prefix can be different from VAV to VAV but the rest of the point names have to be the same for this to work. So using templates to program your points on AHUs and VAVs makes this feature work very well and saves a lot of time because the point names are all the same.
Select the Graphic that you want to duplicate, do a Ctrl+E to Edit, then Ctrl+D and the Duplicate box comes up where you can change the name of the Graphic, change the background picture, and put in the point name prefixes you are finding and replacing. Hit Enter and you will see the new Graphic with all of the objects shifted down and to the right. To fix this, hit Ctrl+A to Select All, then press the up arrow and left arrow on your keyboard and the objects will shift to the correct location.
Where did 2018 go? For Computrols, it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. It was a year filled with new customers, new faces, and the opening of our new corporate headquarters. As lively of a year as 2018 was, we couldn’t be more excited about what we have coming up. But first, let’s take a look back at what happened over the last 365 days.
Computrols Grand Opening
In April, Computrols hosted the grand opening of our new corporate headquarters in Gretna, Louisiana. “After spending the last 15 years in a modest 7,500 square-foot facility, our ownership and employees are ecstatic to call this new building home,” said Computrols CEO Drew Mire. “Our new corporate headquarters provides our company with the space needed to expand as we scale our operations. We are proud to say that Computrols’ technology can be found in some of the most prominent buildings in the country and the world, but our strongest presence and commitment remains here in the Greater New Orleans area.”
Computrols Turns 35!
In October, Computrols celebrated its 35-year anniversary with employees and distribution partners. Computrols’ founder, Roy Lynch, said, “It’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years. We have certainly had our ups and downs, but overall, I couldn’t be happier to see what our company has become.”
The First Inaugural Distribution Partner Summit
This year was the first year Computrols hosted it’s Distribution Partner Summit. Computrols’ distribution partners from around North America joined at the company’s headquarters to hear the latest about Computrols new products and growth strategies and had a little fun along the way. The group enjoyed a Louisiana fish fry, some classic New Orleans cuisine, and even ventured out for a swamp tour.
As a part of the event, Computrols’ also announced it’s 2018 distribution partner of the year, C&S Building Services. President of C&S, John Culkin, accepted the award on the company’s behalf. Culkin first came across Computrols when he won a contract to operate to operate the HVAC systems at Ellis Island. Computrols and C&S have since been partners for the last 16 years.
2018 also brought Computrols two new distribution partners. The first, ACA Mechanical Industrial, is based out of Alexandria, Louisiana, where they have been servicing mechanical systems for over 70 years and counting. The second, Just Controls, is a new company with owners who have decades of experience in the building automation industry. Just Controls is based out of Millerstown, Pennsylvania and specializes in installing, servicing, and commissioning HVAC controls systems.
New Customers + New Integration Solutions
Some of the noteworthy customers Computrols brought on this year include Gateway Center (Pittsburgh, PA), 400 Oceangate (Longbeach, CA), 24 Waterway (Houston, TX), and 2000 Penn (Washington D.C.). In the process of bringing on these new customers, Computrols also developed a few new integration solutions.
At 24 Waterway and 400 Oceangate, Computrols technicians successfully integrated with two different Teletrol systems. The 400 Oceangate system was a legacy Teletrol system which required our team to integrate using the TSC protocol. The project at 24 Waterway, on the other hand, involved integrating with a newer Teletrol system using the BACnet protocol. Our project at the Gateway Center in Pittsburgh involved rehashing an old integration solution to a Honeywell Delta 1000 fire and life safety system. Developing custom integrations to legacy systems continues to be a unique core competency of Computrols.
Computrols, The Educator
2018 also brought Computrols first-ever live webinars. In August, our Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Mike Clayton, presented on the capabilities and benefits of Computrols Building Automation System. In case you missed it, Mike will presenting on the same topic on January 16 at 1pm. You can sign up here. Later this year, Computrols’ Director of Marketing and Business Development, Scott Holstein, presented a webinar on “Understanding the Life Cycle Cost of a Building Automation System”. A recording of that webinar can be found here.
As a part of opening our new corporate headquarters, we also began hosting our training sessions in the building’s state-of-the-art training facility. This year we offered four CBAS Level I training courses along with a CBAS Level II course, and sales and marketing training for our distribution partners.
Computrols at the Podium
It was another strong year for Computrols as a presenter at a number of industry events. In March, Computrols CEO, Drew Mire and Software Developer, Bryce Jacobs presented at NFMT Baltimore on the topic of “Machine Learning in HVAC Controls”. Simultaneously, Computrols’ Director of Research and Development, Mike Donlon was presenting in Boston at Globalcon on the topic of “Optimal Virtual Metering in Building Automation”.
In April, Mire presented at the annual Interlink conference in Dallas, TX for the Texas Association of Healthcare Facilities Management (TAHFM). He presented on Technology Trends Impacting Building Automation Systems in Healthcare Facilities. The next month, Mire presented at the Southern California Facilities Expo in Anaheim, CA on a similar topic. In the latter part of the year, Drew partnered with long-time Computrols customer, David Handwork of Arkansas State University, to discuss “The Total Cost of Ownership of a Building Automation System”.
Finally, this past November, our Director of Marketing & Business Development spoke at NFMT Las Vegas on the topic of “Understanding the the Life Cycle Cost of a Building Automation System”.
New Faces and Anniversaries
We had the good fortune to add 8 new team members this year. Here are some of the new faces you might see in the field and at our corporate office.
Hector Fernandez, Application Engineer (HQ)
Matthew Gelardo, Manufacturing Technician (HQ)
Skyler Goodwin, Building Automation Technician (New Orleans)
Nick Harper, Building Automation Technician (New Orleans)
Phillip Mckee, Business Development Associate (HQ)
Sergio Zurbano-Perez, Building Automation Technician (Houston)
Austin Sherrod, Application Engineer (HQ)
Andrew Stradley, Building Automation Technician (New Orleans)
We would also like to recognize 20 employees who have been with Computrols for more than 10 years!
Travis Core, Research & Development (HQ) – 21 Years
Thomas Bordenave, Research & Development (HQ) – 18 Years
Mike Daigle, Manufacturing (HQ) – 12 Years
Mike Donlon, Research & Development (HQ) – 29 Years
Bonnie Frey, Secretary & Treasurer (HQ) – 27 Years
Morgan Gregoire – Business Development (HQ) – 27 Years
Bob Hand – Branch Manager (Washington D.C.) – 14 Years
Mike Harper – Programmer (HQ) – 13 Years
Jay Heine – IT/Manufacturing (HQ) – 16 Years
George Hingle – Tech Support (HQ) – 17 Years
Kevin Lynch – Vice President (HQ) – 33 Years
Roy Lynch – President (HQ) – 35 Years
Vincent Medina – Building Automation Technician (Houston) – 10 Years
Drew Mire – CEO (HQ) – 10 Years
Shawn Neyrey – Project Management (HQ) – 23 Years
Ed Rodriguez – Branch Manager (San Antonio) – 25 Years
Bobby Rodriguez – Application Engineering – 16 Years
Ramon Torres – Branch Manager (Houston) – 23 Years
Cuc Tran – Manufacturing (HQ) – 13 Years
Arthur Wilamowski – Building Automation Technician (HQ) – 19 Years
Programming Schedules with the Graphical Schedule Editor
There are a few different ways to program a Schedule on a point in CBAS. Go to any output point in CBAS, click the point and go to Program. Then click the Program Schedule button. The most apparent way is to click on a day in the first cycle column and it gives you choices. It’s pretty intuitive because it gives you the appropriate choices and when you make a selection, it goes to the Time column and so forth. Pretty simple. Continue reading George’s CBAS Tips, November 2018→
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m the youngest of 4 children, born in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas to a farming family. We had 300 acres of rice and soybeans. I took computer science in high school and have been working with computers ever since.
I’ve been at ASU for 17 years where I started in the electrical department and was moved to the controls department when they learned I had a computer background. At the time I started, we had 4 control systems: Trane Tracer, Honeywell, KMC, and Computrols. We have since moved away from the other controls systems and have replaced 90+% of the older controls with Computrols with more being replaced every day. I’ve now been using Computrols Building Automation System for about 15 years. Continue reading CBAS Power User: David Foster→
Tell us a little about yourself…
I have been in the HVAC trade for 34 years now, with my past 22 years at Saddleback College. My first introduction to building automation was a Barber-Colman Network 8000 system featuring a server the size of a small desk and 8” floppy disks for backups. It seems DDC technology has improved a little since then. Continue reading CBAS Power User: Alan Cherry→
Did you know that you can easily discover how points are related to each other through Logic or PID? This can come in handy when you have an Output point that has been commanded but you don’t know exactly where the command is coming from.
Find a point that you are interested in and click it. If it’s an Input point, it will go straight to the Program Screen. If it is an Output, click Program to get to the Program screen. Then click the Show Point Relations button in the top row to the right of the History button. Continue reading George’s CBAS Tips, October 2018→
As I’m sure you know, power companies charge a premium when a certain demand threshold is reached. Load shedding during high electrical demand periods is a good way to lower electrical consumption and avoid paying premium prices for exceeding peak demand limits. Metering or monitoring the load for the building will tell you when that threshold is nearing.
Load shedding will probably not work if the demand follows a bell curve during the day, where the threshold is exceeded for a good portion of the day. In this case, the building needs to find ways of increasing energy efficiency, either by purchasing more efficient equipment, eliminating waste, etc. However, if there is a peak in the demand curve that is exceeded around the same time everyday, load shedding could help. The question is, what can you afford to shut down without making people uncomfortable and angry? Continue reading Load Shedding and One Approach in CBAS→
Did you know that it is possible in CBAS for certain points to show different background colors? This works on any Binary software point that is programmed into the DPU. Under the Program Alarm screen, you will see an option to “Change Point Color ONLY”.
Hopefully, you know by now that Computrols prides itself on empowering our end users. There is nothing we love more than seeing our customers take our system and run with it. As a way of recognizing these self-performers, we’ll be doing a series of interviews featuring these individuals as CBAS Power Users. If you are a CBAS Power User and would like to be included in one of our upcoming articles, please email us at email@example.com.
CBAS Power User: Alec Andrews
Chief Engineer, JLL
Tell us a little about yourself…
I have a BS in Nautical Science from Maine Maritime Academy as well as an AS in Electrical Engineering from New England Institute of Technology. I am a licensed electrician in both Virginia and Massachusetts and am a Chief Engineer with JLL at One Post Office Square in Boston where I have been for the past 13 years.