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Development, Implementation, and Deployment of Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics for Vapor Compression Equipment

Automated fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) applied to HVAC equipment has the potential to improve energy efficiency and comfort and reduce operating and service costs. In earlier work, the principal investigators developed FDD methods for packaged air conditioning equipment that has resulted in the development of a successful commercial product, the HVAC Service Assistant™. Technicians use this portable tool to diagnose air conditioning service related problems. It is being marketed by Honeywell International and won a 2003 AHR Innovation Award, which was presented at the ASHRAE/AHR Winter Meeting in January 2003.

Hand tools, like the Honeywell HVAC Service Assistant, are a natural first deployment of FDD technology for HVAC equipment because a single tool can be used for many pieces of equipment, which reduces overall costs. The algorithms embedded in this tool have been developed for a limited number of applications. The next steps in the technology development addressed by the current proposal are to develop/adapt FDD algorithms for new applications and to reduce the costs associated with integrating FDD within equipment controllers. Controller integration will allow continuous on-line monitoring, fault detection and diagnoses and allow a small support staff to operate, monitor, and maintain a large number of different systems for a remote, centralized location.

The proposed project will be divided into three general task areas: technology development, technology implementation, and technology demonstration / deployment. The technology development activities will include: 1) creation of new tools and extension of methodologies for developing FDD systems, 2) development of FDD algorithms for air-to-air and water-to-air heat pumps and walk-in coolers, and 3) development of methods for replacing expensive pressure sensors. The technology implementation activities related to integration of FDD algorithms in thermostats and building automation systems used in small commercial buildings. The technology demonstration/deployment activities involve overcoming deployment barriers by building better field training programs and tools including demonstration a/c units where faults can be implemented in the classroom or during customer presentations.

This is a 2-year collaborative project that involves Purdue University, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Field Diagnostic Services, Honeywell, and others. The total costs for the project is $1,146,600 of which $720,350 is provided through costs sharing from the participants.


Purdue University
Ray W. Herrrick Laboratories
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 494-9157
Contact: Jim Braun
Email: [email protected]


Ben Franklin Technology (BF)
Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Field Diagnostics Services, Inc. (FDSI)


Total project cost: $1,147,849
STAC-DOE portion: $426,249
Participant portion: $721,600

Statement of Work and Status

Quarterly Reports

Below are the quarterly reports as provided by the project to STAC, excluding some non-substantive and financial information. All available
reports are listed below.

© 2006 State Technologies Advancement Collaborative
Send comments, Questions or Suggestions to: [email protected]

Last Updated: 10/13/06