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Old September 4th, 2013, 04:15 PM   #1
Deejay Chip
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Free PLC software

I am trying to learn about PLC's. I am an electrical engineer with a good understanding of relay logic, control circuits,safety circuits etc. I've done some experimenting with Twincat on a free trial, and written some basic ladders connected to my laptops parallel port. I've decided I need a real application to learn the process fully. I'm putting together a transport system with some meccano parts, a motor, microswitches, indicator lights and control relays. Twincat is too expensive for me, as are Beckhoff embedded PC's, and I expect this project to last way beyond the 30 day trial so I wondered if there was any decent free PLC software I can use, that I can link up to inputs and outputs on my laptop, and eventually use HMI software to control the automation. Preferably something that is 64bit Win7 compatible, although I do have a 32bit Lenovo Vista laptop which I'm using for the Twincat trial.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Have you checked the Beckhoff BK8090? They are about $400USD with the TwinCAT run time.

With TwinCAT, you can also use AdvancedHMI
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Old September 4th, 2013, 06:14 PM   #3
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Try this.. Its RSLogix, the 1100 is a good CPU

http://www.ab.com/linked/programmabl...downloads.html

Here is the user manual on the 1100 http://literature.rockwellautomation...n001_-en-p.pdf
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Old September 4th, 2013, 08:06 PM   #4
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As above an AB ML1100 is a good choice. Doesn't have heaps of IO but the built in Ethernet port is handy for interfacing with your PC and eventually some HMI or SCADA software.

PeakHMI has a free demo download that will run for a limited time.

Citect SCADA is also free to install and will run for 30 minutes without a license (after which you can just restart the runtime). Think they have changed it so that you need a support login to access the download although if you contact the local Schneider office they usually hand out CD's like hotcakes. Shouldn't be too hard to find a download from another source.

Last edited by brendan.buchan; September 4th, 2013 at 08:08 PM.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:29 PM   #5
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If you are serious about getting into PLCs, then invest in a used one from EBAY and purchase the software. Call you're local distributor & ask for student pricing.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:39 PM   #6
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For HMI, there's no reason not to at least look into AdvancedHMI (that Archie mentioned). That is of course if you are using a PLC with supported driver.

*It's very easy to use without having to know any code (just drag/drop).
*If you want to dig into a little VB, it's extremely powerful
*It's free
*Support is great for AdvancedHMI itself and there is a ton of VB support on the web if you want to expand on what you get out of the box.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 06:29 AM   #7
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look at arduino.cc , cheap and open source, free software. cheap hardware. and faster as a plc.
however if you want to learn the twincat you can use codesys program for free, but if you buy the hardware you will need to buy a licence.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 06:58 AM   #8
Deejay Chip
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Thanks for the tips all. Plenty for me to think about.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 07:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shooter View Post
however if you want to learn the twincat you can use codesys program for free, but if you buy the hardware you will need to buy a licence.
Just to help clarify the trial versus license.... If you buy a BC or BX series controller, it has a run time license on the hardware and you can use the trial version of TwinCAT to program it. The "trial" part of TwinCAT is only for the run-time, which is needed to execute to PLC program on the PC. But if you were to use the software only as a programming environment, that part of the software never expires.

The BC and BX controllers are lower in cost than the CX series, however I recommend the CX because you can download your source code to it and access your variables by name with an external HMI program. If looking to use AdvancedHMI with TwinCAT, it does require a CX or PC based control because it only uses variable names.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 08:39 AM   #10
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may i suggest thst you get with your maintenance crew
and find out what plc's your plant is using. that way you learn the plc's in the plant and learn at the same time.


regards,
james
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Old September 5th, 2013, 07:45 PM   #11
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DeeJay,

We represent a company that provides free evaluation software for evaluation.

The company is Triangle Research and information regarding their software can be viewed through the following link:

http://www.eternity-sales.com/tri-plc/plcsoftware.htm

If you are interested in obtaining the software, you can do so through the web link to the manufacturer's site:

http://www.triplc.com/edutrilogi.htm

If you have any questions, feel free to pm or email through the link provided below.
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