I built this PLC Trainer to help me learn how PLCs are wired and installed, as well as how to program them using ladder logic. Here's a video where I demonstrate it and talk a bit about how I put it together:
I chose a CLICK Basic PLC (model C0-00DD2-D) based on recommendations and its low price. It's easy to learn, has free software, and there are several videos and other documentation readily available online to help newbies like me get started. I was able to very quickly learn the software and write some simple ladder logic programs in no time.
I wanted to get a feel for how it would be wired "in the field". So I mounted everything on a DIN Rail, used terminal blocks, put in fuses where I felt they belonged and installed a separate power supply for the field side devices. I didn't use wire trays since I wanted to keep the trainer fairly compact, but I did try to do a clean wiring job. I am by no means an electrician and I'm sure there are some things I could have done better, but I think it looks pretty good.
Many of the parts on the DIN rail are surplus I purchased from Ebay. I could have purchased some of these parts brand new for very cheap, but they would have been imported parts that aren't tested/listed and I didn't want that. Buying proper parts brand new often meant buying large quantities, so that was out as well. I had good luck getting the parts for reasonable prices on Ebay. The Omron power supply for example was around $10 shipped.
I did go the cheap import route on he indicators, push-buttons and switches since I wasn't as concerned about electrical safety with those. They all came from Amazon.com. The indicators are okay; some of the screw terminals were wonky and hard to tighten down but they light up okay and are bright enough. The push-buttons are actually fairly nice, they have a good feel and are well-built for the price. The rotary two-position switches aren't very good, they feel cheap. These parts were all okay for the trainer, but not something you'd want to use in a production environment.
The board everything is mounted to is an old plywood scrap that looks like it came from a shelf or a piece of furniture. I bought it for a quarter or so from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I drilled holes for the indicators and switches using a drill press and forstner bits. I'm still fairly green with woodworking, the green indicator is a bit off center and there's too much space between the blue and white indicators, which I didn't notice until much later.
Now that's it's built, it's time to get busy learning ladder logic, I think this should keep me busy for awhile...
MicroLogix PLC Trainer
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