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Router connects HVAC drives to IP network

03 August 2011

Drives can be easily connected to an HVAC system with BACnet, using an IP router from ABB. The RBIP-01 router eliminates the need for gateways and is compatible with all ABB standard drives for HVAC. The unit transfers data between the IP network and MS/TP (RS-485), a network standard used by many devices in HVAC installations, such as drives. Unlike a gateway, the router does not interpret data or translate from one language into another.

Instead, it simply passes on the data from one medium to another, making the router much easier to set up than a gateway and ensuring that no information is lost during the transfer.

To configure the RBIP-01 router, the user only needs to set the IP address. No tools or cables are needed, apart from an Ethernet cable that connects to a PC. The configuration window opens in an ordinary web browser, eliminating the need for special software. The RBIP-01 module can be named freely for easy access on the network.

The module is fitted inside the drive. It is powered by a 24 V AC or DC supply from the drive or an external source. All standard MS/TP baud rates are supported: 9.6, 19.2, 38.4 and 76.8 baud. The module has built-in “Help” functionality and 200 MB internal memory for storing manuals; this memory can also be accessed by the user for storage of additional information, such as project-specific data.

The drives can either be equipped with one RBIP-01 module each, or be daisy-chained into a sub-network. In this case, one router can manage up to 31 drives. The MS/TP segment can be up to 1200 m. The I/O points of the drive can be freely used by other devices on the BACnet network.

BACnet is an open system, giving users the freedom to select the most suitable equipment from a range of manufacturers. All BACnet devices communicate in the same language, without the expense of additional hardware. Equipment using BACnet is integrated without effort and gives more comprehensive information than other communication technologies when in use. With BACnet, all device data is visible throughout the system. There is no need to select which data to use; all parameters are available for possible future use.

BACnet can be used to fully integrate the complete building automation system, including BMS, heating and ventilation, fire alarm, intruder protection and other systems, from field level up to management level. A person working from home can dial in and get the same functionality as at the workstation in the office.

IP has become very popular in recent years thanks to the success of the Internet, and many companies use an IP backbone for their intranet. While it can be difficult to make systems with proprietary communication protocols to talk to each other, exchanging data between MS/TP and IP is a simple operation. The RBIP-01 module provides an easy way to join the two network types, making the ABB standard drive for HVAC compatible with a range of BACnet/IP devices from different manufacturers.

Both the drive and the router are BTL approved and certified as B-ASC (BACnet Application Specific Controller), ensuring the conformance to BACnet standard ISO 16484-5:2007.

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