Eaton easyE4 nano programmable logic controller - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Eaton easyE4 nano programmable logic controller

Author: mstewart197930

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Electromechanical

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Before recieveing this product I have been reading the documentation for it, and it seems very similar to the Allen Bradley Micrologix 1400, just cut down on the inputs and outputs, but this is expandable with the expansion modules. Bonus is the documented ability to be able to modify the logic from the front panel which will be interesting to try out.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: German Web interface on first activation of web on the device.

Detailed Review:

Introduction.

 

Before recieveing this product I have been reading the documentation for it, and it seems very similar to the Allen Bradley Micrologix 1400, just cut down on the inputs and outputs, but this is expandable with the expansion modules. Bonus is the documented ability to be able to modify the logic from the front panel which will be interesting to try out.

I have used the micrologix devices through my work and am looking forward to recieving this product to review.

I believe I will recieve the 12-24v version as I have access to PSU's etc as I work on a current project using PLC's, and previous ones also.

 

Intended Scenarios:-

Simple switch and light operation

Switch and light operation with timers

Simple analog input driving a realy output.

possible fumes detector to operate fan e,g use in road tunnels. (used to detect issues in road tunnels, when the fumes get too much they first enable the fans, if this doesnt work quick enough they close the tunnel) (Didnt get chance to do this one yet, but still do plan to in the next week or two, perfect example of a previous project I worked on)

 

 

First things of note after recieving the product:-

 

The device didnt come with an micro SD card, now after using for a few days, the sd card is used for offline updates, firmware updates and logging, so if you dont need to do any of these then it is not needed, although i believe it would have cheap anough for EATON to include one in the box.

The device is physically light in weight

The location of earth point really awkward location, it would have to be removed to easily access relay number 3 as the wire comes in directly above the screw holes for Relay 3.

also location of network port blocks screws to relays, all beit on site this probably wouldnt cause an issue as you would more than likely qire it up and not touch the outgoing relays anyway.

 

Installing and Licensing EasySoft.

To license you have to go to a website and they email you the license key to input into EasySoft, one note was that immediatly got warning for the website only supporting weak encryption, so I had to add an exception to get to the site.

 

 

The installation of the software was really straight forward, as in any normal piece of software, no issues at all, and licensing went smoothly also.

 

Installation and initial setup of device:-

 

Wiring up was really simple, +Uc for +24v (in my case) and 0V for ground, plug the ethernet into the same switch as your pc/laptop and run up the Easysoft software,

goto communication on the bottom of the screen and press search.

This then brings up the below screen, where you select your network card, and press new search, now mine was found on first go, and then i specified the network parameters, wrote these to the device so I could access it via IP.

 

First things first.

Firmware for device, the firmware on the device as shipped was 1.20 and the latest on the Eaton site was 1.22, always check what the changes are, especially if you have an existing program setup, as sometimes upgrading the firmware can cause issues that wasn't there before, some of our device at work cannot be upgraded as the company who make them, altered the way some things work on the later firmware updates causing the code to break.

Easy enough to do, but you will need a micro SD card as one does not come with the device, I had a 512mb laying around which would be plenty of space for this.

Download the firmware update files from the website ensuring for the correct type of device, extract the contents to the root of the sd card, and then check the pdf manual from teh extracted files.

There are some settings you can change so please ensure you read this.

Power off the device and insert the SD card and start it up, straight away it find the firmware update and off you go, really simple, no serial connections of TFTP updates etc.

 

 

Basic Setup

Below is the basic setup I had on the board i layed out, a simple led light showing the 24v PSU was powered up, and three switches with built in LED's.

 

Initial Project Creation

On first creation of a project it asks you what language you wish to use shown below:-

I chose ladder logic as this is what I am used to, but the fact it offers different options is definetly a plus,

EDP seems to a structure specifically designed by EATON and it is what it says on the tin, easy.

ST is a language like BASIC, so if you prefer textual programming this is for you.

FBD and LD both look extremely similar, both a ladder type programming structure.

 

Basic program for first test

First thing to try and a simple press the button and that button lights up whilst pressed, this is very easily dont in ladder logic as shown below:-

if I01 (Input 1) is pressed, then enable Q01 (Relay 1)

....

 

This works as expected, press a button and that button lights up whilst the button is pressed.

 

 

 

Program 2, this time same physical setup as program 1

This time with some logic built in, so have to press Input 1 and 2 and this switches on the 3 outputs connected.

Press button 3 by itself and all 3 lights go out.

 

 

This time used a logic gate, so buttons 1 and 2 had to be pressed to make the LED's light, then button 3 switched them all off.

 

Same setup, Timer Relay

Setup a timer relay on inputs 1 and 3, that starts counting from the time the button is pressed, up to I1, on completion of timer, it enables Q1 on the timer block.

 

Being a simple program, I decided to try and up the timer from 2 to 5 seconds on the second branch of the ladder logic, but this time from the module itself.

This was really straight forward to do, see video below:-

 

 

Web Interface

Next decided to see how the web interface looked, you have to enable this from EasySoft and then upload the config to the device.

First enable the web browser in the configuration for the device in easy soft as shwon below:-

And then as you would for the actual code upload, goto the communication section and online the device and upload the config/code.

Once this is done you should now be able to connect to the device from a web browser using it's ip address, in my case this was https://192.168.100.70.

http or https depending on what you selected in the config.

One issue noted on first connection to the web interface is that it is in German and can only be changed after logging into web server.

To change this, after login delect DE from the top right hand corner and change to your language, there doesnt seem to be a way to do this before enabling the web server.

On login, you are presented with the main login screen showing some details of the device:-

From within the web interface, you can see the screen of the device live:-

and also monitor all inputs and outputs (if you enabled this functionailty from the config:-

 

Analog Comparator

Next decided to try an analog input with an analog comparator as shown below in ladder logic, basic explanation of below ladder is, EN is enable, so set to 1, I1 is input so IA4 (Analog Input 4) and 900 is the threshold where Q1 gets triggered, which in this case switches on Q01(output 1).

Wiring is a 5V LDO (as max analog input is 10V) with a voltage divider built on a variable resistor so I can change the value on the fly.

 

 

Screen shot below from web interface showing analog value:-

 

Editing the ladder Logic on the device itself

 

Due to the size and limited buttons on the device, to write a full program on the devcie itself would be totally not doable, BUT as in the above example, to simple change the threshold value from 900 to another value is relativly straight forward, so instead of having to dig out your laptop/console open up the software and program it, you can change the value in two second on the front panel.

Also tried front panel editing on the above example of a timer, chaning the timer from 2 seconds to 5 seconds, worked perfectly.

 

Conclusion

 

I really like this device, it is perfect for a small scale project, a few sensors and logic inputs and up to 4 relay outputs.

I find it a bit like a minature Allen-Bradley micrologix1400, and with the price comparisons and functionality of this device it is definetly worth a look when deciding which device to go for, based on your input and output needs.

I will definetly be playing with this for a little longer before probably implementing it to my office where i have a heat and extraction system, which would suit being controlled by something like this.

for anybody even wanting to just play with a physical device it is a great device to start with and not too expensive compared to other manufacturers products.

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