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  • Introduction

    Hello, My name is Mike and I just registered to the forum. For the past year I have been learning how to program PLC's by perhaps a very unusual way. In my former job, the plant closed up but as the machines were being scrapped, I was allowed to take any parts off them as I wanted. I started with one of those small training units which have buttons and lights, but it did not provide a real-world example. So I decided on an unusual approach, building a model train layout and have the PLC control the train movements. This has proven to work for me and I have been posting my progress on my website here:

    Originally I tried to use the Proface HMI panels , but I had no luck getting it to work with the old software I have on hand. Upgrading the software would be too expensive so I purchased a C-More EA3-T6CL HMI panel and so far I have had very good results with it. I find the panel to work well and inexpensive since this is a home project.

    The project uses a Micrologix 1000, but I am thinking of changing the PLC in the future to gain more I/O and to hopefully control the throttle of the trains via analog input and output.

    Although I am still learning, my work is starting to pay off as I was given a project to do at work to help prevent embossing heater fires. The project is still a work in progress but I chose to use a small Click PLC for the project as it has all what I need to do the job. The plastic sheet passes under these heaters to soften the surface so a texture can be applied. These photo sensors will detect if the sheet droops down too close to the bottom heaters and a yet to be installed encoder wheel will sense if the sheet movement stops.

    In the event of a problem, the PLC will cut off the controls to the heater elements and an air knife will be activated to blow air onto the heaters to cool the elements and the sheet quickly. Most of the parts purchased for the project is from Automation Direct. I found using the Click's software a bit different then Rslogix, but I got used to it. The lack of an emulator was the only part that tripped me up, so I first wrote the program in ML1000 and simulated it, then translated it for the Click PLC.

    I am still awaiting for other components to arrive so I can finish this project and put it online. Once proven, it will be rolled out to other lines.


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  • #2
    An alternative for simulation might be AutomationDirect's Do-more software with its included simulator.



    • #3
      I may look into that as an option. If I remember right they sell a starter kit so I could test it out