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Old April 7th, 2021, 08:36 PM   #1
ganutenator
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Arduino

I know I am going to get heck for this, but if manufacturers can sell us a circuit card in a plastic box, why can't I use an Arduino?

Has any used an Arduino for something simple?

Thoughts?
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Old April 7th, 2021, 10:42 PM   #2
willxfmr
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I've never used one, so can't help you there. As to "why not?" To me it would depend on the application. The decider for me would be what happens if it fails to run, or fails to stop. As long as it doesn't pose a safety risk if it fails, then I'd say sure, why not.

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Old April 7th, 2021, 11:34 PM   #3
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The Arduino problem that I saw was that the connectors were too delicate.
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Old April 7th, 2021, 11:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganutenator View Post
I know I am going to get heck for this, but if manufacturers can sell us a circuit card in a plastic box, why can't I use an Arduino?

Has any used an Arduino for something simple?

Thoughts?

2 big parts:


1) you're paying as much for the FW on the circuit board as the board itself. Things like making it easy to deploy code changes on the fly without interrupting the process is a lot harder with a PC based system.


2) I think a big part of it is end user acceptance and who's willing to take the liability if something fails. Siemens/Rockwell/Etc have warranties. In theory, they have tested the product to be used for the kind of environment you need, and have very good reliability. Most of the end users I work with are very hesitant to accept black box solutions, and if they do, they had better be proven to be rock solid, or easily repairable.

Arduinos don't have BAD reliability, by any means, but I don't think they have all the signal conditioning etc built in that most equipment designed for the industrial environment does.
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Old April 8th, 2021, 02:04 AM   #5
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I took over a very small (4 inputs/2 outputs) project to automate a circular saw blade sandblaster. The Arduino Uno board and dc motor driver board had already been purchased.

If you have any ST experience there won't be much of a learning curve, the language reminds me of BASIC that I learned in high school.

I second the remark about lightweight construction, although there are a raft of add-on boards that will help with that issue.

If you program it you own it. Unless you have the original "sketch" (Arduino speak for the program), you can't pull it off the board. The only way you can walk away from this is to leave a CD or thumb drive on the machine for the next guy to see what you built.

Trouble shooting/debugging can be a pain. The IDE only supports monitoring a single item inside the program at a time.

Power up can be exciting. I found that if I power up 10 times, 1 or more ouputs turn on briefly 4 out of 10 times WITH NO COMMANDS TO DO SO.

Using analog inputs means you'll need a linear PS not switch mode (see previous comment about filtering).

Given all of this the end user was happy, anything being triggered was happening inside a sandblast cabinet, and once it finished the power up "burps", runs flawlessly. It's been running 7hrs a day, 5 days a week for almost a year now.
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Old April 8th, 2021, 02:16 AM   #6
Ken Roach
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There are a handful of companies that have gone into the business of industrializing popular hobbyist hardware like Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

The first couple that spring to mind are ModBerry, Controllino, and the ProductivityOpen product by Automation Direct.

That sort of isolated I/O circuits and buffered power supplies would be the minimum for me to use one in a PLC-like application.

My company uses Arduino and similar microcontrollers frequently, but only to do specialized high speed or low-cost functions we otherwise couldn't do with a full size PLC.
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Old April 8th, 2021, 03:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soggy Canuck View Post
Power up can be exciting. I found that if I power up 10 times, 1 or more ouputs turn on briefly 4 out of 10 times WITH NO COMMANDS TO DO SO.

This point is really important since it can cause very severe damage to property or god forbid people.


During start up of a micro controller all pins will be in "undetermined" state for a short time.
You need to use external pullup/pulldown resistors on all the ports to prevent unwanted states.


With real PLC's this is taken care of for you but when rolling your own you need to take all these sort of things into account.
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Old April 8th, 2021, 04:17 AM   #8
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In the EU and all the other countries that adhere to CE, as a minimum the device must have an EC Declaration of Conformity, and it must state that its EMC sensitivity is rated for industrial environments.
Therefore, no hobby or do-it-yourself stuff.
You can get Raspberry PI that is industrialized: https://revolution.kunbus.com/

Dont know about the US.

edit: Controllino has an EC Declaration of Conformity:
https://www.controllino.com/wp-conte...Conformity.pdf
Notice the references to IEC 61000-6-2, immunity for industrial environments, and IEC 61000-6-4, emission standard for industrial environments.
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Old April 9th, 2021, 02:24 PM   #9
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thank you
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Old April 9th, 2021, 02:30 PM   #10
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I think an Arduino would be fine to use for making a small testing system. For instance, if you're making custom cables and need to make a fixture to do point to point continuity testing for all cables I don't see any issue with that.
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Old April 9th, 2021, 03:11 PM   #11
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We use them in our PID trainers https://www.plccable.com/miniature-m...al-derivative/

We use it to control the lower damper and we could not find a analog sensor for the ball height that could give us 0-10v out that would work in the range we needed also did not cost more than we are selling the trainer for, found a couple that would work for just under 1k for the sensor... so we built our own using the Arduino and it works great.
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Old April 9th, 2021, 03:13 PM   #12
ganutenator
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Roach View Post
There are a handful of companies that have gone into the business of industrializing popular hobbyist hardware like Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

The first couple that spring to mind are ModBerry, Controllino, and the ProductivityOpen product by Automation Direct.

That sort of isolated I/O circuits and buffered power supplies would be the minimum for me to use one in a PLC-like application.

My company uses Arduino and similar microcontrollers frequently, but only to do specialized high speed or low-cost functions we otherwise couldn't do with a full size PLC.
productivity is what i was looking for. thank you Ken!
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