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Experiment 1: Introduction to Programmable Logic Controllers

Objective
To learn the basic concepts of Programmable Logic Controllers

Theory
Programmable Logic Controllers are abbreviated as PLCs. PLCs are similar like a Personal Computer. The architecture of PLC is similar like a computer. The basic architecture of PLC is shown in figure 1-1.

Hardware components
PLC contains different components which are as follows: I/O module Processor Power Supply Programming Devices

We will see the details of each component separately.

I/O Module

This module works as interface between the processor and the device attached to PLC. Input interface converts the incoming signal to a signal used by processor. Output interface converts signal coming from processor to real world signal. Two types of input/output modules are used in PLC. 1. Discrete I/O module 2. Analog I/O module Racks are used to place input/output modules. Address of an I/O device is identified by the location os rack and terminal number of module.
Processor

This module is brain of PLC. This comprises of the following sub-modules 1. 2. 3. 4. Microprocessor Read-Only Memory (ROM) Random Access Memory (RAM) I/O interface

Microprocessor is responsible for program scan. Processor has three modes of operation. 1. Program mode In this mode CPU is in offline mode and it will not perform any task. User can write of modify the program in this mode. 2. RUN mode In this mode PLC will perform tasks according to the instructions provided to PLC. 3. REM mode This is test mode of PLC. In this mode user can see the execution of program.
Power Supply

Power supply is the source of energy for different PLC components. Two types of power supplies are used 1. Internal Power Supply (for CPU) 2. External Power Supply (for I/O module)

Programming Devices

Programming device is used to write a program for PLC. Three types of programming devices are used. 1. Handheld 2. Dedicated 3. Personal computer

Memory Organization
Each memory location stores information in the form of words or registers. Word can be of 8/16/32 bits. Mostly 16-bit words are used. Bits are stored in words and words are stored in data files. Data files contain different type of word elements. One word elements (-32768 - 32767) Two word elements (floating points) Three word elements (timers and counters)

Memory organization of Allen Bradley PLCs

Output image (File O) 32 words of 16-bit each. Input image (File I) 32 words of 16-bit each. Status (File S) Stores process operation status. Bit (File B) Size ranges from 1 to 1000 words. Each address must start with B3. Timer (File T) Stores status bits, pre-assigned values and accumulated values. 3 words of memory Each address must start with T4. Counter (File C) Stores status bits, pre-assigned values and accumulated values. 3 words of memory. Each address must start with C5. Control (File R) Used for sequencer and shift register

Contains three words of memory Each address must start with R6. Integer (File N) Stores numerical values Floating (File F) Stores floating point numbers File (9-999) Assign file types as required to increase file size.

Logical addressing
In order to access any input or output in through PLC, proper addressing is required. Different addressing schemes are used in different types of PLCs.
Memory organization of Allen Bradley PLCs

A: BB C/XX A = File type BB = I/O rack number C = Module group XX = Terminal Number For example an address I:0.0/1 corresponds to file (I), rack number 0,module number 0 and terminal number 1.

Program Scan
The basic function of a programmable controller is to read the entire field input devices and then execute the control program, which according to the logic programmed, will turn the field output devices ON or OFF. In reality, this last process of turning the output devices ON or OFF occurs in two steps. First, as the processor executes the internal programmed logic, it will turn each of its programmed internal output coils ON or OFF. The energizing or de-energizing of these internal outputs will not, however, turn the output devices ON or OFF. Next, when the processor has finished evaluating all of the control logic program that turns the internal coils ON or OFF, it will perform an update to the output interface modules, thereby turning the field devices connected to each interface terminal ON or OFF. This process of reading the inputs, executing the program, and updating the outputs is known as the scan.

Figure 1.2, shows a graphic representation of the scan. The scanning process is repeated over and over in the same fashion, making the operation sequential from top to bottom. Sometimes, for the sake of simplicity, PLC manufacturers call the solving of the control program the program scan and the reading of inputs and updating of outputs the I/O update scan. Nevertheless, the total system scan includes both. The internal processor signal, which indicates that the program scan has ended, is called the end-of-scan (EOS) signal. The time it takes to implement a scan is called the scan time. The scan time is the total time the PLC takes to complete the program and I/O update scans. The program scan time generally depends on two factors: 1. The amount of memory taken by the control program 2. The type of instructions used in the program (which affects the time needed to execute the instructions). The time required to make a single scan can vary from a few tenths of a millisecond to 50 milliseconds.