As a BMS technician, nothing is more important than using your time officially, clients are paying for your time onsite and you could have another 4 jobs to attend to that day. To make yourself time efficient and to be able to troubleshoot any problems that can occur onsite you need to make sure you have the right tools on hand at all times. There is nothing more satisfying, then be able to achieve a fast outcome, because you have the right tool for the job. These tools are sometimes hard to come across or you might not be aware that they exist until someone shows them to you. Here are a few tools that I have been shown be other techs or persons that have increased my speed, efficiency and most importantly decreased my frustrations while troubleshooting onsite:
*these are in no specific order
1. Angry IP Scanner (Software)
Angry IP scanner allows you to scan your IP network for what devices are in use and what IP addresses are free
2. Command Prompt (PC Functions)
A few functions within command prompt that can compliment the above software. First command is "ipconfig" this will give you all the details of your computers ip configuration
Second "ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" this will make sure you can communicate with specific devices on a network.
Third continuously ping an IP address "ping xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx -t". This can be helpful when checking that there is no interference in the network. It will continuously ping whatever IP address you ask it to until you press ctrl+c
3. BACnet MS/TP to IP portable Router (Hardware)
To be able troubleshoot ms/tp communication issues or to setup/check an individual BACnet device there is nothing more useful then being able to connect your laptop straight into the communication line wherever you need. I personally use the Contemporary Controls Portable BAS Router but there are others on the market, this device is powered via USB. (https://www.ccontrols.com/basautomation/basportable.php)
4. RS485 to USB Converter for ModBus (Hardware)
Same goes for ModBus, nothing more powerful then to be able to plug straight into a ModBus device to set it up or check its communications. I have used Novus products in the past, but again there are other available products.
5. CAS ModBus and BACnet Scanner (Software)
No piece of hardware is complete without some corresponding software. When it comes to quick and easy tools to check your communication lines or too trouble shoot specific devices, CAS ModBus and BACnet explorers can be very useful tools.
6. NetSetMan Network Settings Management Tool (Software)
Every site we attend or work on, has a different network setting, trying to remember and record these can be a hassle. Even more so the task of changing your network adaptor settings. NetSetMan allows you to store all your sites IP addresses, with an easy activation button, meaning you never have to go through your network adaptor setting again.
These are just a few tools that I have found extremely useful when onsite. Hope that you will find these useful and if there are any that you use and would like to share, please let myself and others know, your tools could help save many a grey hair.