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Old July 30th, 2015, 01:41 PM   #1
onefineday2010
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PLC Advice - Home Automation Needs

Hi All,

I have been searching through post to post trying to find answers to some questions I have. But somehow I believe I am going round in circles now and hence would need your help.

My Need:
I am building a new house and before the wiring commences I am trying to get the logistics in place.

Approach:
1. I want to control lights, fan & other electrical equipment within the house using a PLC connected to the mains.
2. There will be no inputs connected to the PLC rather the plan is to add small wireless sensors throughout the house which will send a command (presence detection) to the server.
3. The server will then send a command to the PLC or Raspberry Pi connected to the PLC to switch an output port On or Off. (I have seen parts of this working on many youtube videos)
4. Post the timeout the server will send an Off command to the specific port of the PLC
5. I will be using python as the main coding language wherever possible.

My Reasoning:
1. I am not building any logic inside the PLC rather using it as an alternative to Cheap Chinese Relay Boards that I am getting in my country OR probably I do not know how to select good quality wifi/ethernet enabled Relay Boards. Either ways PLC is my first preference.
2. I am already getting a server room with 2-3 units so it makes a lot of sense allowing the server to control the PLC which allows me a lot of flexibility to modify timeouts, logic sequences etc. on the server itself using a UI.

Background:
1. I am new to the PLC World - less than 2-3 weeks of theoretical experience (neither do I own a PLC and neither do I know anything about PLC programming - AS OF NOW)
2. I am looking at either Delta or Omron PLC's - ES2/EX2 or CP1E to help me do this. I am more inclined towards Omron CP1E-N30DR-A for my needs and I want to add a couple of Output only ports to it.
3. WAGO - A lot of information is available for these on the net and on youtube but unfortunately they are only modular. I spoke with their representative in India and am waiting to hear back from him on a possible configuration for my needs and to check if it fits my budget. The Omron's or Delta's do fit.

My Questions:
1. Would my choice of PLC's do the task of switching on or off lights, fan etc properly ?
2. How will output power be supplied to these units - lights, fans etc. ? Do I have to go after a specific voltage based PLC or buy a power module separately ?
3. Would using an Ethernet module with the PLC rather than Pi provide more stability and reduced latency ? If yes what is the communication medium I will have to study about ?
4. Would using a modular PLC be advisable or I can go with the chosen options ?
5. Can someone please direct me to a website / book / article / video anything which can help me learn about these:
-- Basic Programing knowledge which will be required in my case
-- Setting up a PLC
-- Communicating using Ethernet or advisable communication ports
6. Digital or Analog output which one should I prefer ? I want a dim effect on all my house light when they are switched on or off. i.e. they should create that soft on or off feel.

I know many might advice me to go and get some professional help or get an existing automation solutions like Insteon or Zigbee etc... But I like challenges and coming from a commerce background I could program, manage a server room, design a wifi motion sensor etc. etc. SO I hope you get the gist... if you could guide me I will be thankful... Anyways thanks a ton for stopping by.. I appreciate it

Regards
OFD
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Old July 30th, 2015, 02:19 PM   #2
gclshortt
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1 - The PLC outputs do not usually switch the load directly. They are usually rated around 2Amps maximum. Usually an interposing relay or solid state device is used to handle the switching.
2 - You would supply the power to the unit through the output. See manual for the PLC you decide to use.
3 - I would go with the Ethernet module. The Modbus TCP protocol will work.
4 - This is just a mater of choice. Check the specifics of the installation in relation to the loads to determine if other options are better. I would check out the following PLC:
Automation Direct Do-More
5 - http://accautomation.ca/now-you-can-...r-free-part-1/
Logging tutorial on Modbus TCP using VB
6. If it is just lights that you are dimming then using multiple outputs for switching might be a more cost effective solution to change the voltage to the lamp.

These are just my thoughts.
Hope they help you out,
Regards,
Garry
http://www.accautomation.ca
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Old July 30th, 2015, 03:05 PM   #3
Doug-P
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onefineday2010 View Post
1. I am not building any logic inside the PLC rather using it as an alternative to Cheap Chinese Relay Boards that I am getting in my country OR probably I do not know how to select good quality wifi/ethernet enabled Relay Boards. Either ways PLC is my first preference.
Brainboards are industrial quality and pretty reliable: http://www.opto22.com/documents/1546..._datasheet.pdf
__________________
Let's eat Grandma!

Let's eat, Grandma!

Words are very important, but punctuation saves lives...
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Old July 30th, 2015, 03:09 PM   #4
boneless
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6. Would modern LED lights be dim-able with PWM? If so choose SS-relay and an PLC or interface that does PWM. (click)

You could do the entire thing with the raspberry PI. I run codesys on mine and use arduino connected wirelessly. Protocol I am using with that is a version of modbus that I changed slightly (click)

Depending on how many arduino's you would need that could be a cheap choice.

Anyway, welcome to the forum, and keep us updated!
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Old July 31st, 2015, 06:29 AM   #5
PLC Pie Guy
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I think this is a super cool idea and I am not trying to deter you from doing an automated house BUT, what if you are ever to try and sell this house. A non tech savvy purchaser may not even consider such a purchase.
Will there be some type of manual control for when the blackberry kicks the bucket?
You would have to offer a support contract !
Just kidding.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 09:02 AM   #6
iraiam
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I don't think the CP1E-N30DR-A has any Ethernet capability unless you add the option board for it, adding cost as well. Since you aren't going to use the PLC for logic programming, it seems like a lot of added cost for no real benefit.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 10:28 AM   #7
onefineday2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraiam View Post
I don't think the CP1E-N30DR-A has any Ethernet capability unless you add the option board for it, adding cost as well. Since you aren't going to use the PLC for logic programming, it seems like a lot of added cost for no real benefit.
That's absolutely right... I am also looking at the add on ethernet card... and I agree thats a lot of cost.. but somehow with my budget of around $1500 for approx 100 output ports / relays switches I am includes towards this. DO you have any other option in mind ?
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Old July 31st, 2015, 10:33 AM   #8
onefineday2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLC Pie Guy View Post
I think this is a super cool idea and I am not trying to deter you from doing an automated house BUT, what if you are ever to try and sell this house. A non tech savvy purchaser may not even consider such a purchase.
Will there be some type of manual control for when the blackberry kicks the bucket?
You would have to offer a support contract !
Just kidding.
Good point.. its an ancestral house and we have it from the past 40+ years.. will have it for another 40+ if things remain okay

Yes, I am planning for a manual override switch for each socket.. not sure how.. but luckily I have my local WAGO guys showing a lot of interest in this project.. They are coming over tomorrow.. lets see how it goes
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Old July 31st, 2015, 10:38 AM   #9
onefineday2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gclshortt View Post
1 - The PLC outputs do not usually switch the load directly. They are usually rated around 2Amps maximum. Usually an interposing relay or solid state device is used to handle the switching.
2 - You would supply the power to the unit through the output. See manual for the PLC you decide to use.
3 - I would go with the Ethernet module. The Modbus TCP protocol will work.
4 - This is just a mater of choice. Check the specifics of the installation in relation to the loads to determine if other options are better. I would check out the following PLC:
Automation Direct Do-More
5 - http://accautomation.ca/now-you-can-...r-free-part-1/
Logging tutorial on Modbus TCP using VB
6. If it is just lights that you are dimming then using multiple outputs for switching might be a more cost effective solution to change the voltage to the lamp.

These are just my thoughts.
Hope they help you out,
Regards,
Garry
http://www.accautomation.ca
Thanks for your advice, I appreciate it.. Unfortunately I do not get Automation Direct products in India.

Any others that you might recommend which would serve my purpose ? I do get Omron, Delta, WAGO, Micrologix and the other big brands (ABB, Schneider, Siemens etc).

Also, any starting point where I can get some practical advice regarding shortfall of using a PLC vs Relay for my purpose ?
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Old July 31st, 2015, 10:41 AM   #10
onefineday2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug-P View Post
Brainboards are industrial quality and pretty reliable: http://www.opto22.com/documents/1546..._datasheet.pdf
Thanks will surely consider it.
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Old July 31st, 2015, 10:43 AM   #11
onefineday2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneless View Post
6. Would modern LED lights be dim-able with PWM? If so choose SS-relay and an PLC or interface that does PWM. (click)

You could do the entire thing with the raspberry PI. I run codesys on mine and use arduino connected wirelessly. Protocol I am using with that is a version of modbus that I changed slightly (click)

Depending on how many arduino's you would need that could be a cheap choice.

Anyway, welcome to the forum, and keep us updated!
Thanks for your advice.. appreciate it.

For my use.. automating nearly 100 light switches across 5 floors.. PLC or Combined Relay Boards would be a cheaper option... that is again in my noob opinion.
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