Building Management

Digital Switchboards – Plug’n’Play device discovery that needs no network skills


With the coming of the centralized management of panel board devices connected in local networks, we’re all going to have to rethink the way we … well, think. But that doesn’t involve becoming IP eggheads or network experts. Even though digital switchboards are crammed with more and more devices, there’s ongoing work into plug and play solutions. Here in our company we’re building once such solution. We give it the working name of Plug’n’Test.

What are we plugging and testing?

A simple, transparent solution to discovering panel board devices.
Instead of rummaging about in the panel board cabinet to ensure devices are connected and check their status, you can do it automatically. And – whether you’re a panel builder, an electrician, or energy efficiency expert – it’s simplicity itself.

What IT skills do you need?

Device discovery with Plug’n’Test is no different from using your home computer. So, it doesn’t detract in any way from your core competency. You don’t need any particular IT or IP knowledge. In fact, we designed it with that in mind.
And once we’ve all got our head around the different approach in digital panel device management, Plug’n’Test will make life easier. And device discovery will involve far fewer errors.

How does the device discovery feature work?

Plug’n’Test runs on Windows. So check that you have Windows Seven or a later version.
Plug your PC into a free Ethernet plug on the digital switchboard, start your PC, then launch your network Explorer. The search run automatically. Now double-click on the icon that appears. Your devices are displayed whether they’re arranged in star, daisy-chain, or daisy-chain-loop topology.

How long does discovery take?

As little as 15 seconds and no more than 45.
It’s that easy. You discover all your devices connected to your panel board in a given subnet – i.e. room or rooms, though the scope will soon be wider.
You don’t need any special software, you don’t need to configure or to know device IP addresses or URLs. And there’s never any confusion on either the PC side or the device side.

How is device discovery a practical solution useful to panel builders and electricians?

Panel builders

If you’re a panel builder the first thing you want to check as part of factory acceptance testing (FAT) is that the communication cabling works properly (so you don’t actually need to access the device webpages).
You launch Explorer and your panel board automatically connects to its devices. If any don’t display, you have a cabling issue – which should be confirmed by the test report the panel board prints out.


The panel builder’s FAT-level device discovery helps you electricians, too, when you’re commissioning a panel board.
In the event of a malfunction, it’s not always clear where it lies with the panel board or end-user settings. If the panel builder’s test discovery has shown the physical wiring is okay, you know you’ve got to check the settings. You double-click on the device icons to call up their web pages which give you device status and where you can set or reset, name or rename devices.
Thanks for your comments!


Smart Panels by Schneider Electric

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