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Old June 12th, 2018, 08:27 PM   #1
Colt Hero
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Suggest PLC as Gift For Son

I was thinking of buying my college-age son a PLC setup as something he could tinker with as a hobby. Right now he has an Arduino (or a knockoff of one?), but it looks to be kind of limited.

What would you guys recommend? Automation Direct? I'm *not* paying for a Rockwell setup. Forget about that (LOL!)
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Old June 12th, 2018, 08:28 PM   #2
OkiePC
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Yes, BRX or Click. I haven't used the BRX, but the Click is pretty easy to configure, program and use.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 11:13 PM   #3
Vlad Romanov
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In all honesty, I would recommend that you don't buy a PLC for the following reasons:
1. PLCs are expensive; you will have to continue investing into the system if you really want him to learn beyond basic inputs and outputs.
2. The experience is extremely limited in terms of what you can control; you don't have 3 phase power in your house, so no motion at all.
3. If your spends time learning Arduino, he will be very easily able to reapply concepts onto a PLC. Perhaps, it would be good to invest in a more advanced Arduino board with ethernet connectivity or just more peripherals. Maybe a PaspberryPi?

I have PLCs at home and the most I get out of them is testing how code runs for networking purposes; it's really hard to make a full control system.

Cheers,
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Old June 13th, 2018, 02:12 AM   #4
cardosocea
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Taking over from Vlad Romanov, I would buy him a Raspberry Pi and an assortment of SD cards (like 5 or so).

This way you can introduce him to Linux, C programming with threads, etc... and also how to program a PLC and HMI via Codesys. You can get a PLC, but you'll then require instrumentation and actuators for it to be interesting, which gets really expensive really fast.
With a Raspberry Pi you can program a PLC and test it on stuff he most likely has already on his Arduino kit.

Also, get him a couple of ESP8266 so he can put his CodeSys PLC talking to them and simulating a remote IO.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 02:26 AM   #5
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for the price of average PLC you will get full table of arduino shields and peripheries....



Also he will learn (almost) C, which is better for possible switch into other fields...
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Old June 13th, 2018, 04:59 AM   #6
Maxkling
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Romanov View Post
In all honesty, I would recommend that you don't buy a PLC for the following reasons:
1. PLCs are expensive; you will have to continue investing into the system if you really want him to learn beyond basic inputs and outputs.
2. The experience is extremely limited in terms of what you can control; you don't have 3 phase power in your house, so no motion at all.
3. If your spends time learning Arduino, he will be very easily able to reapply concepts onto a PLC. Perhaps, it would be good to invest in a more advanced Arduino board with ethernet connectivity or just more peripherals. Maybe a PaspberryPi?

I have PLCs at home and the most I get out of them is testing how code runs for networking purposes; it's really hard to make a full control system.

Cheers,
Vlad
I disagree with almost all of the above...

PLC’s are used in home automation all the way to holiday lights. They can be extremely affordable, the lowest level click with enough IO to tinker with is less than 100$.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 05:09 AM   #7
geniusintraining
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxkling View Post
I disagree with almost all of the above...
2nd that....

I would get something IEC 61131 compliant, depending on your budget Wago or Beckoff, this will give him many options for programming and help him in the future, check ebay for used parts... and a small HMI would also be great

I think you will need to spark his interest so help him so he does not get frustrated
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Old June 13th, 2018, 05:33 AM   #8
damica1
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I believe you may need more than just PLC knowledge for the future.

Ignition (Scada Software) FREE to download.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 08:40 AM   #9
John Morris
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Hmm,

IDEC.....

Just sayin.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 09:42 AM   #10
cardosocea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxkling View Post
PLC’s are used in home automation all the way to holiday lights. They can be extremely affordable, the lowest level click with enough IO to tinker with is less than 100$.
Just because they are used, doesn't mean they are common. Perhaps in massive mansions?

Honestly, you can't beat a Raspberry Pi with CodeSys loaded to learn PLC + HMI for much less than 100 dollars and with the capability to use small electronics for interface and control.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 10:03 AM   #11
Vlad Romanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardosocea View Post
Just because they are used, doesn't mean they are common. Perhaps in massive mansions?

Honestly, you can't beat a Raspberry Pi with CodeSys loaded to learn PLC + HMI for much less than 100 dollars and with the capability to use small electronics for interface and control.
I'm 100% with you on this. Turning your house lights ON/OFF gets dull very fast.

Learning how to work with a RaspberryPi has enormous benefits and is much cheaper. Not to mention, a lot of those leanings will apply to a wide array of systems while a PLC will only expose you to a "narrow" branch of electronics.

What do the licenses for CodeSys look like price wise?

Cheers,
Vlad
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Old June 13th, 2018, 10:07 AM   #12
gclshortt
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I would recommend the Do-More BRX.
Do not buy the hardware yet.
The Do-More Designer software is a free download and comes with a built in simulator. This simulator will also simulate the serial and Ethernet port. You can then use a program like AdvancedHMI to communicate to the simulator.
If he is still then interested, purchase the BRX.
Here is a link to get started:
http://accautomation.ca/create-a-plc...ironment-free/

Do-More Designer Software:
https://support.automationdirect.com...ts/domore.html
AdvancedHMI:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/advancedhmi/

Regards,
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Old June 13th, 2018, 10:19 AM   #13
geniusintraining
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Romanov View Post
I'm 100% with you on this. Turning your house lights ON/OFF gets dull very fast.

Learning how to work with a RaspberryPi has enormous benefits and is much cheaper. Not to mention, a lot of those leanings will apply to a wide array of systems while a PLC will only expose you to a "narrow" branch of electronics.

What do the licenses for CodeSys look like price wise?

Cheers,
Vlad
Vlad,

Not that it does not have its benefits but if I had someone apply for a job and they told me they can program a Raspberry, I would tell them to take a hike

I would much rather have them say that can program a PLC

Not sure how we got talking about home automation but industrial automation is done with a PLC
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Old June 13th, 2018, 11:33 AM   #14
cardosocea
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geniusintraining View Post
Vlad,

Not that it does not have its benefits but if I had someone apply for a job and they told me they can program a Raspberry, I would tell them to take a hike

I would much rather have them say that can program a PLC

Not sure how we got talking about home automation but industrial automation is done with a PLC
Tell us then what is the difference between programming a mini PLC and programming a Raspberry Pi running CodeSys from your perspective?
From my perspective here are differences, but they'll be in the realm of instrumentation and electricity and nothing at all with actually programming a PLC.
Also, most of the cheap PLC options have ladder as a standard and if you're lucky you get function block diagram. The Raspberry Pi lets you program in 5 different PLC languages, all according to IEC61131.

If your interviews are as deep as "tell me what PLC's you programmed", then you're asking for trouble... but that doesn't even matter as Colt Hero isn't looking to get his son a job based on this, but instead is looking to broaden his horizons to industrial controls.

However, all things considered, if Colt Hero's son does go on an interview after only playing with this PLC (whatever the choice), he will say that he did a home project, period.
Going with what is a full fledged development will allow him to test and give an example of using ST or SFC, whilst going with a normal PLC will not be the case.
Perhaps it's just me, but if someone says they can understand Ladder only, they are in the bottom of the pile when it comes to PLC's.
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Old June 13th, 2018, 01:37 PM   #15
geniusintraining
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardosocea View Post
Tell us then what is the difference between programming a mini PLC and programming a Raspberry Pi running CodeSys from your perspective?
From my perspective here are differences, but they'll be in the realm of instrumentation and electricity and nothing at all with actually programming a PLC.
Also, most of the cheap PLC options have ladder as a standard and if you're lucky you get function block diagram. The Raspberry Pi lets you program in 5 different PLC languages, all according to IEC61131.

If your interviews are as deep as "tell me what PLC's you programmed", then you're asking for trouble... but that doesn't even matter as Colt Hero isn't looking to get his son a job based on this, but instead is looking to broaden his horizons to industrial controls.

However, all things considered, if Colt Hero's son does go on an interview after only playing with this PLC (whatever the choice), he will say that he did a home project, period.
Going with what is a full fledged development will allow him to test and give an example of using ST or SFC, whilst going with a normal PLC will not be the case.
Perhaps it's just me, but if someone says they can understand Ladder only, they are in the bottom of the pile when it comes to PLC's.
I dont have the time to go into it.... but a couple of points

1) who said anything about ladder only? and I actually said just the opposite if you would of read what I wrote "IEC 61131 compliant Beckoff or Wago" maybe you should look up IEC 61131

2) I hired over 50 techs so when it comes to my interviews? YES I ask them what PLC's have they programmed and I ask them what languages have they programmed, we had several machines wrote in Basic and C so they would need to know some
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