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, the process of actually programming them is quite different, so if possible try to choose to learn on the same vendor you'll be using in the field.

Second, what is the cost of the software?

Some programming packages can run $3,000 or more, so if you want to actually program as part of your learning, this is going to be a consideration.

With those two things in mind, here's a simple cheat sheet I've put together for new users to consider:

Want to learn: -> 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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Please post any technical questions right here in our community - if it's a product I know I'll definitely help out! - Shawn

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Mid-week musings: What's on the calendar for the next few weeks
Last night I taught my final session of Logix Live, and while I enjoyed teaching it, it will be nice to have my Tuesday nights back!

That said, next on my list is editing the replay from last nights class, and then publishing it along with the RSLogix/Studio 5000 files from the session. Then I need to create a completion certificate and the course will be complete.

I also recently decided to give my Logix Live students a free copy of my PAC Basics Extended course, and vice versa - I cover pretty much the same topics in each and I thought it would be a cool "thank you" to all my students of my most expensive course :-)

Along with that, I'm also I'm working on creating the secure USBs for my first two Mega Bundle orders with USBs and I'm very glad to have completed the long process of creating all of the HTML files needed for each of my 8 courses PLUS three of my bundles.

Currently, my Mega Bundle takes up three 64GB USBs, and encrypting each takes a good bit of time. If my ...
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Mastering Logix Applications™
Something I'm been working on for the last couple of weeks that I can't wait to share on the Blog and School is the affordable ControlLogix and RSLogix 5000 simulator we're going to start selling next week.

While it's been for sale by the developer for a few years, new customers who purchase it from my site will also be getting my brand new course, "Mastering Logix Applications" using this simulator included free of charge.

And for those who purchased the PLCLogix simulator already, I'm going to offer my new course as a standalone option for just $29.99 for a limited time :-)

Sincerely,

Shawn Tierney
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