NAC System Time

Discussion in 'C-Bus Automation Controllers' started by Thomas, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas

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    Further to my previous post of various issues with the NAC, I have tried a few things to at least have it keep its time.

    To re-cap, the unit does not keep time on its default settings whereby the NTP server service is enabled. At random intervals it runs some 40 minutes behind the correct time, sometimes it recovers, mostly not.

    Funnily the cheap tablet I am running as a display does not have any such issues.

    So, to eliminate the Clipsal NTP servers, I selected different local servers to see if that helps.
    Unfortunately no luck.

    Next I switched off the NTP server service in the hope that whatever internal clock it has might do the job. I thought it more acceptable to set the time every six months or so by a minute that it may loose.
    Unfortunately that didn't work either. Within 2 hours the unit trailed almost 2 hours behind, not exactly 2 hours, mind you.

    I have now re-enabled the NTP service and left just one server in the list.

    I am located UTC+2. I would assume that I am not the only one who this is happening to, and wonder how anyone can run any schedulers on these units.

    What am I missing here?
     
    Thomas, Apr 22, 2018
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  2. Thomas

    Ashley

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    Mine did exactly the same thing. I've actually given up using the NAC. It's a complete disgrace.
     
    Ashley, Apr 22, 2018
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  3. Thomas

    Thomas

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    That is terrible. I was hoping I had a dud.
    There are another two serious issues with that product.

    Even when it is on the correct time it seems to run schedules only when it feels like it.

    Really doesn't keep track with GA changes.


    So what are we supposed to use? I don't want C-Bus to be demoted to the backbone of other AV systems.
    This is such a sad state of affairs.

    Ashley, you've been busy with C-Bus for so long, you must be in tears every day.
     
    Thomas, Apr 23, 2018
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  4. Thomas

    Thomas

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    Well I woke up this morning to find the NAC time to be 34 minutes behind.
    I am speechless. This thing really can't keep time, no matter what you do.
     
    Thomas, Apr 26, 2018
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  5. Thomas

    Thomas

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    Today, for a change, 1 hour 11 minutes behind.
     
    Thomas, Apr 28, 2018
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  6. Thomas

    daniel C-Busser Moderator

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    Hi guys, I checked with a dev and they said 'Their NAC probably can't get to the internet for NTP to work, and so it's accepting time from some other device on their C-Bus network that is advertising greater authority."

    Is this something you can confirm or rule out?
     
    daniel, May 1, 2018
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  7. Thomas

    Ashley

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    We can rule it out. My NAC lost over 1 hour in the last day (the loss is random). I have a Wiser on the network which broadcasts time to 3 touch screens that are always correct.
     
    Ashley, May 1, 2018
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  8. Thomas

    sjfp

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    Just to mention. We have 5 NAC's running (for more than 2 Months) fine with no system time errors.
     
    sjfp, May 1, 2018
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  9. Thomas

    daniel C-Busser Moderator

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    Hi Ashley & Thomas,

    What you're describing isn't normal, the NAC is expected to keep time. The mention of missing schedules and inability to track groups points to something fundamental - you could check the traffic levels on the bus and also see if any scripts are commandeering the NAC CPU/daemons (disable them for a while). If nothing comes to light please raise it with technical support (ask for level 2 or 3 support if you need to).
     
    daniel, May 2, 2018
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  10. Thomas

    NickD Moderator

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    As Daniel has stated.... this is certainly not normal.

    In Ashley's case, the fact that the Wiser and the rest of C-Bus has the correct time indicates that the Wiser is acting as the time master on C-Bus and the NAC is not. This is normal, as they both have the same accuracy class. If the NAC has NTP enabled and the time is wrong, it suggests that NTP is not working. If NTP is not working, the NAC should be accepting the valid time from C-Bus, and this does not appear to be working in this situation. This is something we are looking into.

    @Ashley - can you confirm whether your NAC has the ability to access the NTP server? If it doesn't have a valid DNS then it won't be able to. You can check this on the System page using the ping utility to ping google.com.. if it finds it, then DNS is working and NTP should to.


    Nick
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    NickD, May 3, 2018
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  11. Thomas

    Thomas

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    Hi Daniel,

    I also have a Wiser on the network, plus a spectrum. Both are correct in terms of time.
    The same applies to the one of my clients who has a NAC running. Wiser fine, NAC not.

    All NACs are on the latest firmware.

    I suspect the issue is far more than access to the NTP servers. I think this because I assume, if Wiser was the master on those networks, then NAC should accept the system time from the Wiser.
    It does, however, not.
    Neither does it transmit system time to the network, else the network time should have to be wrong when the NAC time is wrong.

    I also just checked if I can ping Google as suggested. This works fine. Interesting is that NAC is currently about 30 min behind.

    Also, there are no scripts running on these NACs, except the one required for displaying the time.
    Also no schedules, as they can't be relied upon.

    I think NAC is also extremely slow in terms of its CNI. Why?

    I did the following: Connect TK via serial onto the network, then open both Wiser and NAC in my browser, or on my phone. Then switch whatever GA on and off in TK.
    If you check the response time of Wiser vs NAC you see very quickly why NAC doesn't keep up changes. It is extremely slow, and probably eventually misses a change altogether.

    I am wondering what hardware is in these units? Not that the C-Bus network is very fast, but NAC is considerably slower.

    In general I would say that if any of the older products manage to function properly on the network, then firtly there is no network issue, at least no significant one.
    And I would expect that a new product would be able to handle more trouble than an old one.

    Would that be expecting too much?
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Thomas, May 3, 2018
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  12. Thomas

    Ashley

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    Yes, I can ping Google and all the Clipsal time servers

    Like Thomas I also find the NAC only works intermittently. I have several schedules set up and some events fire and others don't. I set up a trend to monitor one schedule and there are huge holes in the data. I have to admit I haven't spent that much time with it as it just seems too unreliable to bother. I also have to say I lost a lot of interest the first time I clicked on the tag drop down list and found it ordered by group address. If the developers think that is suitable for release, then I figured there wasn't much hope for the rest of it.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Ashley, May 3, 2018
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  13. Thomas

    Damaxx

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    Seems like the common issue is wiser on the same network as the NAC.

    I have a NAC but no wiser (removed it when I got the NAC) and it is connected to 6 modbus tcp devices with a dozen registers or more on each device, a few modbus 485 devices, a serial device, a few schedules and it doesn't skip a beat. Responds c-bus to modbus and modbus to cbus as if they were the same protocol let alone changes in C-bus. The NAC response time on my system is flawless.

    I would start by disconnecting your wiser and check response times & network time to see if there is any change.
    Probably stating the obvious but I am curious if it is a simple as the NAC and wiser not playing nice. Next question would be why??
     
    Damaxx, May 4, 2018
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  14. Thomas

    Thomas

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    Thanks for that input Damaxx,

    I have taken off Wiser for now, corrected the NAC time (again) and will see if it does any better. If so, it will indeed be interesting when going back to the various clients and telling them that now they have to remove a device which cost them the same as the NAC, because it is not compatible.

    Can you tell me if your NAC updates the C-Bus network time, or receives updates from other C-Bus devices? Mine does neither.

    The more I read about that NAC the more I get the feeling that it is a BMS device which Schneider is trying to adapt to C-Bus.

    BTW, I also got a response from one of the trainers saying that there is not even a plan to correct the atrocious GA selection drop down.
    So anyone programming larger C-Bus networks will have to continue to waste hours, no, days in getting that sorted.

    I have to admit that I am seriously disappointed. This is so shoddy!
     
    Thomas, May 9, 2018
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  15. Thomas

    Ambro

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    Just to chime in here with a few thoughts after reading this......

    I have a NAC, wiser2 & CTC all running on the same network and I haven't had any time problems to date. I have the local service and client status boxes enables in the NAC.

    I have resident & event based scripts running and haven't had any issues regarding missing operations and schedules being dropped.

    That being said the work involved for a once statement is disgraceful and hence I have put very little effort into the programming of this unit as it takes setting up 'user parameters' which is so clunky & time consuming & introduces another layer to monitor(introduce programmer errors) - its ridiculous. The training involved with this has been so minor and at a juvenile stage that even the trainers are admitting it as a work in progress. I wouldn't blame the OP at all for maybe having a programming issue rather than a hardware issue because of this.

    The hype around the product at this point is not deserved & I would install a PAC/wiser always over this in a heartbeat if a client doesn't need a touch screen, only using this as a touchscreen/modbus interface if needed for the project.

    Lets hope the next stages in the roadmap give it a major boost in a programmer experience & I hope that there is not a fundamental issue with its hardware. To quote - I'll watch this thread with baited breath......
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    Ambro, May 11, 2018
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  16. Thomas

    Thomas

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    More feedback....

    Thank you to Ambro, for his well put message. Couldn't agree more.

    Back to Damaxx's suggestion:

    It's about a week without Wiser on the network, and NO time issue. So, looks like a good call, as such.
    This allows us to celebrate the first product in the C-Bus line-up which actually necessitates "scrapping" of an existing product.
    That alone is a poor show.

    Further, since NAC doesn't broadcast time, how does this help the other C-Bus components, say an existing touch screen? More importantly, why does it not broadcast time or get updated by other products, and worse still, when you switch off its NTP service, time bounces around like a wild horse on NAC.

    I have put Wiser back online now, and disabled its NTP functionality. Let's see what happens.

    Barring the possibility of having a nice screen display, NAC really is a super cumbersome product, by all accounts. The lack of willingness by the devs to even look at the multitude of serious issues is truly worrisome.

    So we have a very expensive display adapter. I'd like to spend that money rather on a graphics card for my PC.
     
    Thomas, May 15, 2018
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