April 2010 Archives

MicroLogix 1000 and Linux (er, Win7)

So, because I'm a geeky guy, and I wanted something fun to play with (and since I've been taking a course on Factory Automation), I went over to America's junkyard and picked up an Allen-Bradley MicroLogix 1000 PLC on the cheap.  Good deal, and while not very featured (doesn't even have analog inputs), it's still something to tinker with.  Also had to buy a 24V power supply and a cable to program it with (which pretty much doubled my cost), but anyway, on to the fun stuff.

I'm a Linux user.  I prefer it, spend the majority of my day working with it, and don't even have a system that will natively boot to Windows anymore.  The one version of Windows I use on any regular basis is a VMware image of Windows 7.  Well, with this new PLC, I wanted a way to keep this trend going.  Maybe the title is misleading (or I cheated), but... it's the best I can do.

First hurdle was USB.  The drivers for the chipset (CP2102) weren't in Windows 7, and the provided drivers also wouldn't work... so it was off to the vendor to find something compatible with Win7.  That didn't take long, and after a quick reboot, that was up and running.

Next, I had to get RSLinx Classic running to allow communication.  Setting up a DF1 device is pretty simple in RSLinx, and autoconfiguring communications worked great with the PLC, but in Win7, I was getting an odd "Could not create registry" error.  Well, I remembered, it's not running privileged, so I shut it down and restarted it, this time running as an administrator. After I did this, it created the registry and started going, so all was happy there.  It also seems that on subsequent starts, it doesn't need to be run privileged anymore, since all the communication parameters are present.

Third, I just started up RSLogix Micro Starter Lite (I'm poor and it does what I need).  Since everything in RSLinx was good, I just tried going online and uploading the program from the processor to see what was on there, and saw there was a pretty simple program.  I mucked around with it a little, forced a few inputs, toggled a couple bits, and saw the state changing appropriately.  Satisfied all was well, I decided to write this and get some sleep.  But, before I go, I leave you with a pretty picture of my accomplishment.  Enjoy.

PLC Stuff - RSLogix

New Car and Ham Radio Install

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Well, switched out cars today--dad took my old Dodge Neon, I get his old Camry.  Not a bad trade overall, and while I owe him some money for it, it's a nice deal.  Anyway, of course the first thing I want to do as soon as I have it is throw all my radio gear back in.  

My last car ('05 Neon) was a pain to install my radio--running the power back to the battery took much work with a coathanger and patience.  This time, the story was quite different.  Toyota got a couple things right with the Camry.  First, the grommet holding the wiring in place was actually very easy to move out of the way, letting me slide my power cable through, and they gave plenty of room to work in the engine compartment.  Then, routing the cables inside the car was very friendly, too--only needed a screwdriver to pop off one cover, and the rest of the paneling was toolless removal.  They gave plenty of space to route more cables, including clips to hold things in place.  Overall result was a very professional-looking install, with only a tiny bit of wire showing.

Anyway, enjoy a few pictures of the car, and some of my own handiwork after the break.

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