Resources for the Resourceful: The Honeywell "Gray Manual’

Today, I was pleased to discover that a classic control system reference was available on line. Specifically, the Honeywell “Gray Manual” is now available in an interactive HTML
format
(pictured below) as well as a down-loadable .pdf file.

Honeywell Gray Manual Web Site

I lost my hard copy of this classic when I moved from St. Louis to Portland 10 years ago and had not gotten around to replacing it.  After recently hearing that it was available on line, I did some Google searching earlier today and discovered the two versions I mention and link to above.

One of the things I always liked about the manual is that it started with fundamentals and built up from there. For instance, early on, you will find a chapter that will walk you through using a psych chart, complete with examples and copies of the ASHRAE psych charts.

In addition, the chapters on control theory include discussions on many common HVAC control processes, including a functional diagram and description …

Gray Manual 01

… a discussions of the process’s features and benefits and some of the requirements for success, a brief narrative description of the process, and a discussion of the process psychrometrics.

Gray Manual 02

Similarly, there are chapters dedicated to pneumatic controls, electric controls, and electronic controls, including discussions of the operating principles and workings of all of the auxiliary equipment associated with the technologies. While these technologies are not common in the new construction market, they are still common in existing buildings and will probably continue to be around for a while.

Younger people just entering the industry with an interest in existing building commissioning and operation (and us older folks with memory lapses) will find these chapters to be a valuable resource as they dive into improving our existing building stock,
which seems to be in need of some attention I might add. To see what I mean, try going the California Commissioning Collaboratives web site and looking through their case studies.  Or for a one stop overview of the potential, read Tudi Hassl’s ICEBO paper titled Retrocommissioning’s Greatest Hits.

To quote from a recent ASHRAE Journal article by Dr. Joseph Lstiburek  …

The future is not in plastics, my boy, the future is in construction. Actually, the future is in fixing construction.

… an amusing, accurate, sad, and somewhat alarming commentary on the state of our construction industry.

But I digress; irrespective of which version of the “Gray Manual” you end up with you will find a lot of very useful information.

To gain access to the HTML version, you need to register on the Honeywell Building Control Workbench site, but all it will cost is a few minutes of your time and by doing it, you gain access to an electronic version of the manual, including links to AutoCAD and Viso versions of some of the control graphics, like the one illustrated above as well as numerous other resources that will likely prove of value to you if you work in the HVAC industry.

So, many thanks to Honeywell for making this resource readily available to the industry. It provided valuable guidance for a lot of people as they learned the business in its hard copy form. And now, thanks to the Internet, it will continue to provide valuable guidance as we work to improve the performance of our building stock.


David Sellers
Senior Engineer – Facility Dynamics Engineering
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This entry was posted in Controls, HVAC Fundamentals, Pneumatic Controls. Bookmark the permalink.

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