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Member Since: December 1, 2009

Country: United States

  • Nice write-up. I agree with you and the comments of others. A new modern PLC does all the things that most have commented on and more (Hot swap, redundant processors, on-line configuration, etc.) and are truly great machines. But these features have always come with a high price tag. For example, an AB 1756-L61 lists for $6K, and that does not include backplane, com card, power supply, IO and all of the other things that make it work. Granted that this way overkill for the home or hobbyist, you get an idea of cost. The nice thing about some of the modern microcontrollers is that you get some of the great features of the PLC for $10 of dollars verses $100s or even $1000s. Would I use a basic Arduino to run a chemical plant, probably not. But for around the house stuff and simple machines, you betcha!

  • "While doing inventory, Joe received the tedious job of counting all of the capacitors on the end of this wire . . ."

  • Good tutorial. I work on industrial automation and am having to learn the basics of serial communication, RS-232 and RS-485, and Modbus. Good info. I also like you comment about engineering falling back on the fundamentals of how things work. Yep. We are problem solvers.

  • I don't think the problem is getting to Mars as much as getting it to stop on the surface without going crunch. As you can see, getting stuff to land safely on our planet is hard enough. If smacking into a planet counts as a successful landing, the Russians beat us to the moon by many years. I really think when those soccer ball style NASA landing crafts hit Mars, the Martians kick the mess out of it a couple of times before it comes to stop.

  • This is great stuff.

  • Good analogy. When I started back into electronics, I purchased an Atmel prototype board and started learning assembler. Then I got the WinAVR C compiler. Things went from painfully slow, to just slow. I finally got an Arduino and things went to fast. I recently purchase one of the 2 axis accelerometer breakout boards. Pins lined up on the Arduino, downloaded some code from the Playground and saw results within a few hours verses a few weeks. No more Yak shaving for me.

  • There is a good tutorial on the Arduino Playground for this type of board. Was able to plug it into my Arduino and start seeing results. I wish all things in life were this easy.

  • Just got mine a week ago. I am sorry that I waited so long to buy one. It is real easy to use, the compiler is great, and the development community is top notch. Plenty of tutorials and examples to get you started. Have been able to do a lot and faster. If you are new at programming and microprocessors or have been out of the loop for a while (like me) this is a great place to start.

  • Thats a good one. Clever idea.

  • Also, if you are using a DB9 cable for RS232, use a straight through cable. A Null Modem cable will not work as the Tx and Rx wires are swapped. (I tried it for fun just to see.)

No public wish lists :(