Tag Archives: programmable logic controller basics

Click PLC High Speed Counting – Part 2

The Ethernet Click PLC high speed counter has seven different modes of operation. In Part 1 we discussed the High Speed Count Mode, Interval Measurement Mode,
Duration Measurement Mode and Frequency Measurement Mode.

This 100 KHz counter can accept Up, Down, Up/Down, Pulse/Direction or Quadrature (with Z) inputs.
We will be looking at the last three different high speed counter modes available in the click. (External Interrupt, Pulse Catch, Filter) This is all setup through a user friendly graphical user interface. We will also combine the Frequency Measurement and the High Speed Count in one application. Let’s get started! Keep on Reading!

Click PLC High Speed Counting – Part 1

The Click PLC family has been updated, and now has the ability to use high speed counting. This is available on all of the Ethernet units that have DC inputs. The faster processor on the Ethernet unit (3 to 10 times faster than the basic unit) allows this capability. There are seven (7) different modes of operation for the high speed counter available so adaption to your automation solution is easy. The input can count Up, Down, Up/Down, Pulse/Direction or Quadrature (with Z). Maximum speed on the high speed counter inputs are 100 kHz. That is 100,000 pulses per second.

We will be looking at the different high speed counter modes available in the click. This is all setup through a user friendly graphical user interface. Let’s get started! Keep on Reading!

Click PLC HMI Rotary Encoder Dial Input

Rotary encoders are modern digital devices that have taken over from the potentiometer in stereos and many other applications. This is because of their fine digital control and they can fully rotate without end stops. We can connect the rotary encoder into the PLC using just two digital inputs. This human machine interface (HMI) has the advantage over touch screens and other methods of control into the PLC. The operator can control the rate and set point with the dial (rotary encoder) without looking at the control. This will allow the operator to concentration on other tasks.

We will be connecting a rotary encoder with dial into the Click PLC. The signals being sent from the rotary encoder will be explained. Different methods of programming this input in our PLC will be discussed. Let’s get started. Keep on Reading!

Click PLC Update Firmware

Firmware is usually PLC operating system code that is written into a read only memory. The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) of a PC (personal computer) is a good example of firmware. It provides the low level interface between the hardware and software. The Click PLC firmware comes with the programming software.

We will be updating our firmware of our Click PLC from 2.10 to 2.30. Let’s get started! Keep on Reading!

BRX PLC Analog IO – System Configuration

One of the features of the BRX Series PLC is the ability to expand its capability to fit your application. This is easily done by “snap-on” modules that will fit on the side of the BRX MPU (Multi Processor Unit). As we have seen before in the BRX PLC System Configuration post we can add additional discrete inputs and outputs. Automation Direct now offers Analog Voltage and Analog Current input and output modules. These modules come as an 8 point channel unit. There is also a 4 point thermocouple input module also available. We will be configuring, scaling and programming the Analog input and output Voltage modules for our BRX PLC. Let’s get started. Continue Reading!

The 7 Essential Parts of a PLC System

When I was in school PLC’s were just in their infancy. We were taught that the PLC consisted of the central processing unit (CPU), analog and digital inputs and outputs. Everything was programmed with dedicated handheld devices and/or software devices on specialized hardware. We now have modern PLC systems that are capable of so much more. Let’s look at how we can now break up these modern PLC system into the seven essential components.

Inputs and Outputs (I/O)
Analog I/O
Specialty I/O
Programming Tools
Networking Continue Reading…

Understanding the PLC Program Scan

Understanding how the PLC will scan and update your program is critical in programming and troubleshooting your system. Typically a PLC will solve your logic from left to right, top to bottom. The status of the memory from the previous rung, are available for the next rung to use. We will look at a few examples to determine how the PLC will solve logic to illustrate the above program scanning.  Keep on Reading!

Click PLC Installing the Software

Previously we discussed the Click PLC System Hardware – Video. Today we will be installing the free software required to program the PLC. This includes the actual program and communication drivers.  Keep on Reading!

Click PLC System Hardware

Many people ask me what I do when looking at a new PLC model or system. My approach is very straight forward and we will view this in action with this Click PLC series. This series will go from examining the hardware to programming and communicating to the PLC in several ways. If you have questions along the way, please let me know. Keep on Reading!

PLC Bits Numbers and Position

People often ask “What is a PLC?” and “PLC Meaning”. A programmable logic controller (PLC) is a piece of hardware that isolates inputs from outputs. Programs are written to look at the inputs solve logic and set the outputs to perform work. Today we are going to look at the basic fundamental way we program. Every PLC company will do this…

Everything in the programmable logic controller actually boils down to bits in the memory.
Memory Bits-min
It is these bits that we manipulate in order to accomplish the work that we need done by the PLC. The instruction set is the method we use to do this. In general, there are several ways to view the bits. Discrete input and output, Numbers and Position of bits will be covered. Understanding the different ways in which we can view these bits will help in developing programs.
Bits are part of the memory of all PLC systems. The memory can be retentive or non-memory retentive. Memory retentive means that if power is lost to the PLC, the status of the bit remains the same when power is restored. If the bit is non-memory retentive, and power is lost the bit returns to the off state. Addressing refers to how the controller understands what memory location to look at. When we address memory in the PLC we can do this in two different ways:
Direct Addressing: Specify a location of the memory location
Indirect Addressing: Specify a location that contains a value to point to the memory location required.
Indirect Addressing Animation

Refer to the manual of the specific PLC that you are using for the way in which memory is addressed and if it is memory retentive or not.

Discrete bits are the basic building blocks in the PLC. When we talk of digital I/O this is referring to the individual bits that you can wire switches, pushbuttons, proximity sensors, or any other device that is either on or off. (1 or 0) They can be usually wired to the PLC as a normally open or normally closed contact. The ladder logic is written in a way that you examine the bit as either on or off.
PLC Input

We also must look at the frequency (rate of change from off to on) of the input bits or output in some cases. The maximum frequency that we can read an input to the PLC will be determined by the scan of the PLC.
A 2 ms Scan (0.002 second) means that we can read the inputs and solve the logic in 2 ms. In order to ensure that the input is read in both states (on / off) we have to ensure that the input is off or on for at least 2 ms. The maximum frequency (Switching / Second) that the input could switch would be 2 ms = 1/.002 times per second = 500hz

Numbers in the PLC are all based on binary. Analog inputs and outputs are based upon the number of bits put together in order to display the range for the input. (12 bit or 16 bit) The values from the analog 12bit input will go from 000 to FFF base 16 (Hex). Hexadecimal is used to display the binary bits in the word or register. Some of the more common numbering systems in the PLC are binary, hexadecimal, BCD (binary coded decimal) and octal (based on 8 bits)
Additional Information on understanding numbering systems in the PLC:
What Everybody Ought to Know about PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) Numbering Systems

Position of the bits within the word, stack or accumulator can be very useful. Usually we can use this to track items. The typical example of this is to track items on a conveyor belt. The belt movement is usually a pulse input from an encoder. A sensor indicates the item on the conveyor.
Conveyor Reject

Bits are the basic building blocks that we use to program programmable logic controllers. The three ways to view bits (Discrete, Number and Position) will help use to understand the different ways to program.
Here are some additional links that you may find helpful:
Five Steps to PLC Program Development
PLC Programming Example – Process Mixer
PLC Programming Example – Shift Register (Conveyor Reject)
PLC Programming Example – Paint Spraying

The Secret of Using Counters
The Secret of Using Timers

Watch on YouTube : PLC Bits Numbers and Position
If you have any questions or need further information please contact me.
Thank you,

If you’re like most of my readers, you’re committed to learning about technology. Numbering systems used in PLC’s are not difficult to learn and understand. We will walk through the numbering systems used in PLCs. This includes Bits, Decimal, Hexadecimal, ASCII and Floating Point.

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