I often get asked what is the best way to learn how to program PLC's?
In my opinion, there's nothing like first hand experience. Therefore, I always recommend buying a small Micro PLC to use at home as the best way to learn.
But then comes the obvious next questions: Which Micro? What software will I need? Are there any special cables I need to buy? What about I/O?
With that in mind, in today's article I'm going to list the items I would recommend to anyone who would like to learn how to use and program PLC's.
PLC Starter Pack: Items I recommend to anyone who would like to get started programming PLC's:
1) Micro PLC: Allen-Bradley MicroLogix 1000, 1761-L10BXB ($150)
I chose this particular model because it's inexpensive ($150,) it's 24vDC powered (safer than 120VAC,) and it programs with FREE software that's very much like the popular PLC-5 and SLC-500.
For more information about the MicroLogix 1000 check out the below links:
2) RSLogix Micro Starter Lite (Free)
This is the free programming software for the MicroLogix 1000 and 1100. For information on how to get it, visit the below link
3) Low cost cables ($55)
Since the MicroLogix programs via serial, below I link to a low cost serial cable as well as a USB to serial adapter needed if your PC doesn't have a serial port.
4) Inputs and Outputs ($56)
There's nothing like actually wiring up inputs and output to your PLC, and below I list the low cost push button station, LED pilot lights, and a Pilot Light enclosure I used to make my Micro Basics video:
- Low cost Push Button Station, $16
- Low cost LED Pilot Lights, $6 x 4
- Low cost Pilot Light Enclosure, $16
5) Micro Programmable Controller Basics DVD
This last item is a four hour instructional DVD by yours truly 😉
I spent the better part of a year creating this four hour DVD for the backers of my Kickstarter project, and now it's currently available as either a two disc DVD or via HD Steaming.
To find out more about it just head over to PLC Basics to be taken to the product page for this video at The Automation School.
I hope you've found the above article about the items I recommend for a PLC Starter Pack helpful.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please don't hesitate to click on the “post a comment or question” link below to share them with us.
Until next time, Peace ✌️
Shawn M Tierney
Technology Enthusiast & Content Creator
Have a question? Join my community of automation professionals and take part in the discussion! You'll also find my PLC, HMI, and SCADA courses at TheAutomationSchool.com.
Sponsor and Advertise: Get your product or service in front of our 75K followers while also supporting independent automation journalism by sponsoring or advertising with us! Learn more in our Media Guide here, or contact us using this form.
- Automation Morning Show for March 24, 2023 - March 24, 2023
- First Look: Red Lion's New NT5000 Gigabit Industrial Ethernet Switches - March 24, 2023
- Automation Morning Show for March 23, 2023 - March 23, 2023
Excellen!! Are you going to provide wiring diagrams with the DVD?
I do show the button and pilot light wiring, and review the wiring diagrams in the install doc, but also mention the course is about PLC programming and does not cover basic electrical theory.
Hope this helps,
Join my free community to follow along! You can also become a member and support our work at: Automation.Locals.com