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Thread: Recommended PLC class

  1. #1
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    Recommended PLC class

    I am looking for any recommendations for a good PLC class to take for beginners. Not so much for programming but more for how they operate and troubleshooting. I will want to get into programming after I get more experience with the basics. I have many years in the commercial/ industrial field but I just know the basics when it comes to PLC's. I would prefer a class that you can actually go to with an instructor but if it is a good online class then i'm up for that too.
    I'm in southern CA but can fly anywhere for a good class.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_arc View Post
    I am looking for any recommendations for a good PLC class to take for beginners. Not so much for programming but more for how they operate and troubleshooting. I will want to get into programming after I get more experience with the basics. I have many years in the commercial/ industrial field but I just know the basics when it comes to PLC's. I would prefer a class that you can actually go to with an instructor but if it is a good online class then i'm up for that too.
    I'm in southern CA but can fly anywhere for a good class.
    well, for field work, you verify the inputs, and force the outputs.
    that tells you that your physical install is ok.

    if you've been in the field, you can figure out how to get that done.

    dynamic logic is moving parts, contacts, and timers. stuff that moves,
    with continuity paths that perform the logic, subject to all the whims of
    physical controls... backfeeds, open circuits, etc.

    plc's are static logic. each rung on the ladder is a logic statement,
    true or false.

    if this, and this, and not that, then the output is 1.
    otherwise, it's zero. it's all true false stuff.

    you can have registers in the program that values can be input into
    from inputs fed by encoders, switches, prox sensors, all sorts of stuff.
    those values, which can represent anything about the process that you
    need to monitor, or that will affect the process, can be used to control
    outputs or moved with register shifts to other places in the program
    to accomplish whatever you need to do.

    so, now you need to look for a programming class. simple plc's use
    RLL, or relay ladder logic. looks like a schematic. others use OOP, or
    object oriented programming, and a number of others exist.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fulthrotl View Post
    well, for field work, you verify the inputs, and force the outputs.
    that tells you that your physical install is ok.

    if you've been in the field, you can figure out how to get that done.

    dynamic logic is moving parts, contacts, and timers. stuff that moves,
    with continuity paths that perform the logic, subject to all the whims of
    physical controls... backfeeds, open circuits, etc.

    plc's are static logic. each rung on the ladder is a logic statement,
    true or false.

    if this, and this, and not that, then the output is 1.
    otherwise, it's zero. it's all true false stuff.

    you can have registers in the program that values can be input into
    from inputs fed by encoders, switches, prox sensors, all sorts of stuff.
    those values, which can represent anything about the process that you
    need to monitor, or that will affect the process, can be used to control
    outputs or moved with register shifts to other places in the program
    to accomplish whatever you need to do.

    so, now you need to look for a programming class. simple plc's use
    RLL, or relay ladder logic. looks like a schematic. others use OOP, or
    object oriented programming, and a number of others exist.
    Great, thanks for that info. Then yeah I guess it sounds like I need to start getting into the programming side of things. Any idea what would be some good classes? I heard the AB classes are good but I'd like to learn many platforms than just their own.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_arc View Post
    Great, thanks for that info. Then yeah I guess it sounds like I need to start getting into the programming side of things. Any idea what would be some good classes? I heard the AB classes are good but I'd like to learn many platforms than just their own.
    if you have affiliation with the electricians union,
    the class is free.

    you can also learn programming for lighting controls.
    i know people who are very well compensated.
    it's usually just configuring devices off a web page
    connected with a wireless hub to the lighting system.

    you can do it on an ipad.

    lutron, nlight, are the two biggest ones.
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  5. #5
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    If you feel you are good with somewhat complex hard wired control wiring then ladder logic PLC programming will be pretty easy, when it comes to basic (on/off) inputs and outputs. It gets more complex when you have digital and analog I/O's and need to do some math with the values to determine how to respond to the conditions.

    Been about 30 years ago, but when in college one of first programs we wrote was for a simple traffic control at an intersection. We set up a model in the lab, painted an intersection on a board and installed small neon lights as the signal lights and wrote a program to control those signal lights. We then got more complex and integrated left turn signal, cross walk button, auto detection of traffic in a lane, etc. This was all on a Cutler Hammer PLC (cant remember model) that only had a single line display to enter/view program elements. Much easier when you can see larger portion of the program at one time on your computer screen.
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  6. #6
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    I have 30 years of working with PLCS and taking a lot of classes.
    With PLCs its all about getting into the programming. Classes are OK as long as you have applications.

    I have taken many classes from Rockwell Automation, expensive, but excellent.
    https://www.rockwellautomation.com/g...allControllers

    Take the entry level classes and then purchase a PLC to practice on.
    There are two basic platforms, SLC 500 and Control Logix, software is different, and can be expensive.

    For the SLC, you can buy a basic Micrologix 1000 for around $100 and the software is free. You'll need to wire up some input switches and output lights.
    There is an out of print book, micromentor, that is excellent and goes with the micrologix.

    Lots of info here
    https://www.mrplc.com/
    Moderator-Washington State
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom baker View Post
    I have 30 years of working with PLCS and taking a lot of classes.
    With PLCs its all about getting into the programming. Classes are OK as long as you have applications.

    I have taken many classes from Rockwell Automation, expensive, but excellent.
    https://www.rockwellautomation.com/g...allControllers

    Take the entry level classes and then purchase a PLC to practice on.
    There are two basic platforms, SLC 500 and Control Logix, software is different, and can be expensive.

    For the SLC, you can buy a basic Micrologix 1000 for around $100 and the software is free. You'll need to wire up some input switches and output lights.
    There is an out of print book, micromentor, that is excellent and goes with the micrologix.

    Lots of info here
    https://www.mrplc.com/
    Great! That is just the type of info I needed to get started in this. I am handy with computers and good at electrical/ controls so I believe this should be my next step. My work will send me to any classes that I ask, so I'll look at an entry level Rockwell automation class, then go from there.

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
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    To just dabble around with the programming software, Automation Direct software is free to download. To actually see if your results will work you need to load your program into a controller, but they have some pretty basic PLC's with limited I/O's for under $100, and I'm pretty certain they can have expansion modules added to them if the need arises. Even if this isn't the PLC you want to use down the road, much of what you will do with the software is similar to what you will encounter with anything else out there AFAIK and is cheaper than classroom type training will likely be. You only learn so much from the classroom anyway, the rest comes from hands on, even if just doing some sort of simulated operation, like controlling items in a model of something.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  9. #9
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    The Rockwell Automation classes are excelling. Your local distributor will have info or on line., and even better if you use AB PLCs to learn on what you have
    I have taken many, but without application you don't learn.
    Rockwell has some PLC trainers (PLC in a box with inputs, outputs) get or make one of those, get the software, after the class take time to do some programming.
    I have used Koldwater Technologies, their DVDs are Ok.
    Perhaps you can get a deal on a PLC trainer and software.
    Moderator-Washington State
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    To just dabble around with the programming software, Automation Direct software is free to download. To actually see if your results will work you need to load your program into a controller, but they have some pretty basic PLC's with limited I/O's for under $100, and I'm pretty certain they can have expansion modules added to them if the need arises. Even if this isn't the PLC you want to use down the road, much of what you will do with the software is similar to what you will encounter with anything else out there AFAIK and is cheaper than classroom type training will likely be. You only learn so much from the classroom anyway, the rest comes from hands on, even if just doing some sort of simulated operation, like controlling items in a model of something.
    Their Do-More series has an online simulator. It's limited but you can test basic logic.
    Deserve's got nothin' to do with it.

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