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?:
What were the biggest problems encountered?:
I would like to thank Eaton and the Element4 team for selecting me for this roadtest.
This was a great opportunity for me to learn PLC programming for the first time.
I have worked with equipment containing PLCs but this is the first time I have had the
chance to program and experiment with one.
The kit arrived well packaged with little chance for damage in shipment. It contained
everything needed to get started with the exception of a power supply. The first thing
I noticed about this PLC was just how compact the unit is. I powered up the
unit with both a 12V and a 24V DC power supply with no problems.
The first task was to update the units firmware to the latest version. Unit was shipped
with version 1.20. Version 1.22 was download from the Eaton website and loaded on a
microSD card. Update went through with no issues. The only issue I could see was the
choice of a microSD card slot. The pull out card slot seems like it could be damaged
and a standard SD card size would be easier to keep track of in an industrial environment.
The programming/simulation software, Easysoft V7.21 was installed and the included license
was registered online. This process was quick and easy, I was up and running in no time.
There are 4 main program tabs, Project, Programming, Communications and Simulation.
Project allows selection of your module and configuration for all it's hardware parameters.
Programming initially asks which of the four program languages is desired and then provides the
Communications provides the connection to the module as well as program transfer and
Run/Stop commands. This was also very easy to set up. Just look at the IP address on the
module, enter this into the interface block and connect.
Finally Simulation provides software environment to test your program and simulate I/O. This is
very useful in testing programs before submitting to hardware.
My project was Home Automation but due to my very limited knowledge in programming I thought I
might keep it simple and limit it to a basic task. How to keep my indoor plant watered while on vacation.
This required the addition of a motor driven pump on the output side and a set of simple probes on
the input side to turn the pump on and off based to soil moisture conductivity.
In conclusion, this is an amazing value for the home hobbyist or individual who wants to learn PLC
programming. Up till now these devices were out of the price range for the casual user as most
industrial equipment usually is. While it may not have all the features of more advanced
and expensive units. For around $150 it does fill a most needed niche.
Have you looked at the capacity of the kit to support an experiment using all of the inputs and outputs?
Also, do you have a feel for the level of complexity you could explore with the kit?
Not having used PLC's I am curious about how robust this solution would be for a real project and at what level of complexity.