03 Nov

Product Migration : SageMAX to Aspect

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Origin: SageMAX -> Destination: Aspect

For years, the SageMAX was the primary front end option for the American Auto-Matrix control line. Back in the day, the SageMAX could hold up to the most demanding projects, with support for over 500 PUP devices, onboard trending, alarming, and custom logic. With the SageMAX and Auto-Pilot front end now having gone End of Life, now’s the time to look forward and replace these units with modern technology!

For years, the SageMAX was the primary front end option for the American Auto-Matrix control line. Back in the day, the SageMAX could hold up to the most demanding projects, with support for over 500 PUP devices, onboard trending, alarming, and custom logic. With the SageMAX and Auto-Pilot front end now having gone End of Life, now’s the time to look forward and replace these units with modern technology!

What Options Are Available?

When planning a SageMAX migration, it’s not uncommon to find that documentation is missing or incomplete. The MatrixPNC was designed to aid in these scenarios by allowing you to reuse key components of the SageMAX database. The following features in the MatrixPNC are meant to assist the migration process when details of the network architecture are not available.
Point Database Import – A single SageMAX could contain a database of thousands of points. Reuse the Points database by copying the SageMAX point database from a backup, convert it with SoloPro, and then import it into the desired MatrixPNC. Compatibility Mode - Recall that the SageMAX has 8 physical RS-485 trunks, but the software only recognized these as 4 ports. The SageMAX considered the first 2 trunks as Port 1A and 1B, the next 2 as 2A and 2B, and so on. A feature called “Compatibility Mode” allows the MatrixPNC to operate similarly. Think of the MatrixPNC as a single software PUP port from a SageMAX and each physical trunk as Port A and B. This allows each PUP Port on a SageMAX to be replaced by a single PNC without having to determine which controllers live on which PUP trunk. SPL Program Reuse – The MatrixPNC is capable of reusing the SPL programs from the SageMAX. Not every SPL feature that the SageMAX supported is available, so there will be some changes necessary, but the core program can be reused. The next section will provide additional details on what to look out for.
While some may opt for the MatrixPNC to reuse portions of the SageMAX database, others may choose to start fresh with Aspect and rebuild the programming using modern technology. This has the advantage of bringing any SPL logic into the Aspect block-based logic, however nothing can be reused from the existing SageMAX database. Some features in Aspect, like the Map tree, make it possible to rebuild a SageMAX database fairly quickly.

How They're Different

The SageMAX fit nicely into large applications with hundreds of PUP controllers, however it was a bit overkill for small buildings. The Aspect-Matrix MAX and MatrixPNC were built with a more scalable approach with 2 RS-485 ports instead of 8. Simply replace each set of SageMAX RS-485 ports with a single Aspect-Matrix MAX platform as indicated in the figure below. If a single MatrixPNC can cover the SPL requirements, the remaining PUP ports can use standard Aspect-Matrix MAX units to create a more cost-effective solution.
Figure 1 : A comparable network architecture using SageMAX and MatrixPNC/Aspect devices
As touched on above, some of the features of the SageMAX could unfortunately not be ported into the new platform. In general, the base logic can be reused but some of the advanced SPL features will need to be removed. Namely SPL features such as Initialization (INI) files, Program Reference Blocks (PRB), and custom alarming must be removed from the programs for compatibility with the MatrixPNC. The best way to approach the SPL running in a MatrixPNC is to view the program capabilities as more similar to GPC or DX based SPL logic, but with the ability to reference SageMAX database points instead of a channel/attribute combination. Alarming and trending must also be recreated for the Aspect platform. Because of advancements in the Aspect Map however, these options can be created in a single device template and applied to any number of controllers. With the upcoming Aspect 3.0 release, Templates will be expanded to use canned graphics to save additional time in site engineering

End of the Line

Moving to an entirely new front-end system isn’t going to be easy, but we’ve built several features into Aspect and the MatrixPNC to help give you a jump start. Each has its advantages, so you’ll just need to be aware of the pros and cons of each to select the best option for you. See the Aspect online help or MatrixPNC User Manual for more information on how to use these features and get started on your next site upgrade.
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Read 6822 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 November 2016 09:38
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