Lowest Cost SW Option PLC-5, SLC-500, MicroLogix: -> RSLogix Micro Lite Cost - Free While RSLogix Micro Lite only supports the MicroLogix 1000 and 1100, learning with it will also help you learn how to use RSLogix 5 and 500. CompactLogix, ControlLogix: -> Studio5000 Mini Cost ~$800, 30 Day Demo Available, 7 Day Grace period While there's no free version of Studio 5000, you're local distributor can get you a 30 day trial license to use. And installing the software on a new PC or VM will net you a 7 day grace period trial. Keep in mind the Mini is Ladder only for the Compact only, so if you're asking for a 30 day trial, ask for either Lite (Compact) or Full (Compact and Control) editions to try out. Micro800: -> CCW Cost: Free While not the most popular PLC, the Micro800 does support Ladder, Function Block, and Structured Text, so it's a good all around option for learning on since the Micro810 and 820 PLC is so inexpensive. S7-1200: -> TIA Portal 21 Day demo The S7-1200 is the small PLC from Siemens which programs nearly identically to the larger S7-1500, and the good news is anyone can download a 21 day demo copy of the software free of charge right from Siemens website. Well, that's what I have so far on this topic - if you have any suggestions or comments I invite you to post them below! Sincerely, Shawn">
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The best Programmable Controller to learn on

While I still have a lot of "web design / admin" work left to do on the TAB and TAS websites, I'm also beginning the process of creating my third generation of video courses.

I'm actually quite excited about the opportunity to create several PLC courses simultaneous, focusing on a modular approach so the courses can be updated and kept fresh for years to come.

As I start this journey, the first question that comes to mind is, "what is the best programmable controller to learn on?"

Obviously this will depend on what is installed at where you work, or where you want to work.

But if you're learning on your own dime, that's not always an option, as high end programmable controllers like the ControlLogix or S7-1500 (and the software that programs them) can cost an arm and a leg.

That in mind, for those who will be funding their own education here's some things to consider:

First, what vendor is used in your plant or where you want to work?

While all PLCs are similar, ...

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Have a question - please post it!

To all Automation.Locals.com Members,

Please post any and all questions you have right here in our community - if I know the answer I'll definitely help!

For those who don't know, members are those who pledge $5, either as a one time donation or a recurring monthly subscription.

Some non-members have been sending questions in via the "Locals.com" messaging system, and while I may use those in my future articles and videos at TheAutomationBlog.com, if you want me to reply to your question you'll need to post them here in our community by becoming a member.

Thanks as always!

Shawn Tierney of The Automation Blog, School, Show, Podcast, Minute, and Tech Tips

Weekly Update and Thank You!

First I want to send out a huge "Thank You" to our new supporters!

Now on to our weekly update:

This week I'm focusing on wrapping up a lot of loose ends so I can get back in the Studio and begin filming new content again.

Due to the state of the economy, I've been working extra hard to try to secure advertising revenue and come up with new products to keep the sites online and new content coming.

We have a long way to go, but I'm happy to announce we are expecting our first advertising buy for 2021!

The good folks over at Siemens have really stepped it up to support us and our mission to to bring industrial automation news and how-to's to the English speaking world, and I can't tell you how much that means in the current economic downturn!

So if you talk to anyone at Siemens in the coming weeks, please thank them for their support of The Automation Blog!

In case you're wondering, I did reach out to all the major automation players, and some you'd naturally expect ...

Currently Working On: Logix Live™ Online Courses

Over the last year many grade schools have instituted "remote learning," which simply put means kids stay home and connect via web-meeting to teachers for instruction.

Wondering if this had sparked any interest amongst our audience, late last year I crafted a survey to see what people thought, and to my surprise I found a lot of people preferred this type of training.

That in mind, I decided to try my hand at it and just scheduled a seven week course on ControlLogix to start on Tuesday, March 16th at 7pm ET.

The plan is to hold seven, one hour training sessions covering all the details of ControlLogix which I also cover in my pre-recorded on demand course.

To put my own spin on it, I also plan to make a replay of the course available to students after the fact, so they can come back and retake the course in the future at no additional charge :-)

I'm looking forward to this new experience, and if any of you would like to sign up I'm offering $50 off to all supporters ...

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