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Affordable PLC for Hobbyist?
Looking for suggestions on a PLC for a home hobby operation

Hi, I am looking for suggestions on a PLC for a home hobby operation. I have a senior project I am required to do. I would rather do PLC than relay logic. I am far from an expert on electrical, but I know enough to get the job done.

My outputs will require 120VAC, I can do the same for the inputs if I buy switches/sensors at 120VAC. (P.s. whats sourcing/sinking?)

I need a controller with about 12 outputs and 5 inputs.

I have experience writing ladder logic, but I never actually programmed a PLC by sending the logic to the controller. SO I need a PLC that is easy to write ladder logic in, can be communicated to with minimal hardware (laptop), and is affordable. Software included?

I've seen PLCs on AutomationDirect but I'm skeptical. I have a budget of 150-200 USD for the PLC. So, cheaper the better.

I have access to colleagues who are experienced with controls to help.

Thanks all and please forgive my amateur questions.

By Bob Peterson on 9 February, 2017 - 1:53 am

There's nothing really wrong with automation Direct. They have a line of small controllers that has free programming software. I've used it. The software is not perfect but it's functional and what do you want for free. The hardware is not the greatest either but is also functional.

By James Ingraham on 9 February, 2017 - 11:38 am

>P.s. whats sourcing/sinking?

Short version: purchase the device type that matches your PLC's I/O, and wire it the way the diagram says. You don't have to actually understand it to use it.

Longer version: http://library.automationdirect.com/sinking-sourcing-concepts/

There's nothing wrong with AutomationDirect.com. There's also a competitor company, EZAutomation.net. I'm quite curious about Velicio http://velocio.net but I've never seen it in the real world.

Most of the low-cost options out there suddenly become not-so-low-cost when you add software and a USB-to-serial adapter. As an example, you can get a Crouzet starter kit with everything needed from Allied, but it'll set you back $332. Crouzet is nevertheless not a bad choice, but it does appear to be a bit more expensive than your range. IDEC is also an option.

Let us know what you end up doing.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

By Jeremy Pollard on 11 February, 2017 - 5:30 pm

You may want to consider a RaspberryPI with Opto22 IO control board..
http://info.opto22.com/raspberry-pi-io

definitely different!! Or consider a Rockwell Micro800 series.. free programming software based on IEC-61131

Cheers from: Jeremy Pollard, CET The Caring Canuckian!
Crisis, necessity, change

Even with the free software with micro 800 http://bin95.com/Training_Equipment/plc_equipment.htm I don't believe Mr. Miller is going to be able to find a plc/software with 12 outputs and 5 inputs for under $200.

The pi starter kit is closest to being in range at $129, but only comes has 4 i/o point modules, and only a 8 slot rack. So once you purchase the additional rack/io modules, he'll be way over budget there too. (its about $15 per i/o point) It actually adds up to about the same the AB Micro 800.

Looks like he will need to scale project down, or budget up.

>You may want to consider a RaspberryPI with Opto22 IO control board..
>http://info.opto22.com/raspberry-pi-io
>
>definitely different!! Or consider a Rockwell Micro800
>series..

Maybe a Controllino Mini?
It seems to be based on Arduino and the relay outputs are impressive.
https://controllino.biz/product/controllino-mini/

Just my 2 cents

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

I'd probably go for a MicroLogix 1000. The model number you want is 1761-L32BWA. Specs are "MicroLogix 1000, 120/240V ac power, (20) 24V dc digital inputs, (12) relay outputs". On eBay for about $90-100.

The software is available free from Rockwell: https://theautomationblog.com/download-rslogix-micro-rslinx-emulate-free/

Make sure you are able to get the software from Rockwell before you do anything else. Just in case. You'll need to sign up for a free Rockwell account.