This the second PLC Trainer I built, after the first one that used a CLICK PLC. This one uses a MicroLogix 1100, has more I/O wired and is more compact. Here is a video showing it in operation:
I chose to build this trainer after signing up to take PLC Programming from Scratch (PLC I) on Udemy. This online class uses RSLogix so I wanted something I could easily follow along with. I got a good deal on a MicroLogix 1100 which was sold untested and "AS-IS" from an Ebay seller who had good feedback on their previous sales. I took a gamble and it paid off as the PLC worked flawlessly.
For the first trainer I wired all the I/O through terminal blocks and used separate power supplies for the PLC and I/O. This time I chose to simplify things to save on cost and space, especially since it's just a trainer. So I have a single 24v DC power supply and only used terminal blocks for power distribution. I'm glad I did this; it's more compact and the added complexity isn't necessary for a trainer.
I wanted better components on this trainer, so I purchased most of them used from industrial surplus sellers vs. getting new "cheap" components. Most of the switches are made by Allen-Bradley, with a couple made by C3 Controls. The stack light is made by PATLITE. I got it cheap as it needed to be rewired. I also cut a few inches off of the pole to make it fit better. The other LED indicators are nothing special, they're inexpensive but they work well.
The 1100 has 10 digital inputs and 6 digital outputs, and all are used. There are only 8 switches for input but two of them have both Normally Open (NO) and Normally Closed (NC) contacts resulting in a total of 10 inputs. For the outputs, I chose two sets of red, amber (or yellow) and green indicators so I can simulate a traffic light system with this trainer.
The 1100 also has two analog inputs which accept a 0-10v signal. a 10 VDC supply and a potentiometer would be enough to generate a signal, but I chose to purchase a DROK signal generator from Amazon.com as I wanted to get this done quickly and didn't have all the parts on hand. It was approximately $26 and can generate both 0-10v and 0-20mA signals. It also has a built-in display and accepts 24VDC in for power which is convenient. I've been happy with it and the 5-turn potentiometer on it allow for fairly fine control over the signal. It's not super precise by any means, but it's good enough for training.
Like the first trainer, everything is mounted to a scrap piece of plywood I cut and drilled. Most of the work was done with a drill press and forstner bits of various sizes. I cut out a large area on the back of the trainer so the plywood would be thin enough to allow all the buttons and indicators to be inserted and fully threaded.
I'm very happy with how this turned out! It's working very well and the Udemy class is proving to be excellent, I've learned a lot already and I'm only half way through the class. Here's a video demonstrating a HOA (Hand, Off, Auto) program which I learned to do in the class:
Click PLC Trainer
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