Vermont Energy Control Systems

Ordering

Planning

Specifying and installing a Vesta system requires some planning. We suggest the process described below. Links to tools and documentation are provided where relevant.

Spreadsheet

When you place a deposit on a controller, we create an on-line spreadsheet that can be used to help plan and document your configuration. The spreadsheet has tabs along the bottom for basic configuration, sensors, dsicrete inputs, and discrete outputs. We'll create a copy that is specific to your serial number and can serve as long-term documentation of your system configuration. While it's not required, using the spreadsheet makes it easier for us to review and discuss the details of your installation. Screenshots of portions of this spreadsheet are shown below.

Physical Location

Decide where the controller will be mounted. It needs to be a relatively clean and dry location with access to power and Ethernet. To reduce cable lengths, it should be close to most of the equipment that is to be monitored and controlled. It can sit on a shelf or be mounted to a wall. It should be accessible for service, and there should be access to see the connector legends on the sides of the controller. If you want to use the LEDs on the front panel to indicate system status, then it needs to be mounted so they're visible.

Network Configuration

The Vesta controller is a network device, so it needs to be configured for your network. Directions for getting the necessary network information are here. This information can be provided directly to us or entered in the on-line spreadsheet.

Sensors

At present we don't have all of our sensor products listed on our web site, so contact us if you need information on thermocouples in particular, or if you have any other sensor requirements that aren't handled by our standard TS-1058 temperature sensor.

The Vesta controller can accomodate up to 16 sensors. For each sensor that you need, you'll have to determine a few things:

  1. Sensor type (TS-1058 temperature sensor is the default)
  2. Installation location and method
  3. Required cable length
  4. Brief descriptive name

Using our spreadsheet (or a piece of paper) list the sensors you'll need and the type, location, cable length, and name for each. In the example below, the 'Outdoor Temp' sensor will need a custom cable length. The 'Oil Flue Temp' is a thermocouple. Channels 5 through 8 are on the roof and are connected to a breakout box in the attic. The breakout box will need a 40' cable.

Cable Length

Be very careful measuring cable lengths. It's easy to underestimate. The best approach is to physically run a wire exactly where the sensor cable will be routed and then measure its length. Standard sensors come with a 25' cable. If this is too short, there are three options:

  1. Order a custom cable. These are available for a nominal added cost.
  2. Order a cable extension and mating connector.
  3. Use a sensor breakout box (not currently listed on our product page - available by request)

The third option is useful if there are several sensors at a distant location such as the rooftop. The sensor breakout box handles a group of four sensors and can be connected with a standard Cat5 Ethernet type cable. This allows you to run a single cable to the remote location and then connect up to four sensors to the breakout box. If you use a sensor breakout box, note that information on the planning sheet for the group of sensors that will be connected to it. Sensor cable lengths in this case are from the breakout box to the installation location for each sensor.

If the cable is too long you can either coil the excess or cut to length and install a new connector. Sensor cables use standard RJ-11 crimp connectors, available on request. We can also make each cable to length - there's no additional charge for making shorter cables.

Discrete Outputs: Controlling pumps, valves, motors, lights, etc.

The Vesta controller has 32 discrete outputs that can be used to control relays, LEDs, buzzers, and other low voltage devices. Relays can in turn control high voltage devices such as pumps, valves, lights, fans, and so on. The Vesta system uses the RM-1206 relay module for this purpose. This relay module provides four relays and is connected using a standard Cat5 Ethernet type cable. It is suggested that the RM-1206 be mounted near the loads that it will control.

The Vesta color code standard for discrete outputs is blue, so we suggest using a blue cable if possible. We stock blue Cat5 cables in a variety of lengths.

On the planning sheet, list the devices that will be controlled with discrete outputs. Identify which devices will be connected to an RM-1206, and determine the required cable length. In the example below, channels 1-4 are controlling a buzzer and a couple of status LEDs. Channels 5-8 are controlling a relay module in the attic. Only the first two channels (5 and 6) are in use at this time, so the relay module at this point has two more available relays.

Discrete Inputs: Detecting switch and contact closures

The Vesta controller has 32 discrete inputs that can be used to detect switch and contact closures. These must be passive contacts - contacts where no voltage is present. Examples include limit switches on zone valves, magnetic proximity switches on doors and windows, relay contacts, and snap-action temperature sensors.

Each Vesta discrete input connector provides four independent channels. In almost all cases, a DB-1195 discrete I/O breakout box is used to provide simple screw-terminal connections to each channel.

The Vesta color code standard for discrete inputs is green, so we suggest using a green cable if possible. We stock green Cat5 cables in a variety of lengths.

On the planning sheet, list the devices that will be connected to discrete inputs. Identify which devices will be connected to a DB-1195, and determine the required cable length.

Analog Outputs: variable speed control

The Vesta controller has 4 analog outputs that provide a 4-20mA signal. These are usually used in conjunction with a VS-1108 variable speed control unit. Each VS-1108 can provide variable speed control of most common circulators, fans, and blowers. The 4-20mA output can also be used to control any other device that accepts this type of control signal.

On the planning sheet, list the devices that will be controlled with analog outputs. For each, indicate whether a VS-1108 will be required, and indicate the cable length. Analog outputs use a four conductor flat cable with an RJ-11 connector.