The Blog

Articles, videos and stories to help you become a confident PLC programmer and automation professional.

Programming and Automation Made Easy: A myPLCtraining Academy Success Story

May 16, 2023

myPLCtraining Academy Customer Success Story: Brad Redden

“myPLCtraining Academy is the best value training I have found for programming and automation. Now myself and the guys that I work with are officially trained and have proven knowledge.”


Brad’s Results

  • Officially training in PLCs
  • Has a training solution for his team
  • Saved money over traditional options
  • Easy access to reference material


How myPLCtraining Academy helped Brad to update his knowledge on PLC’s and train his team

  • Courses that teach from first principles
  • Highly responsive support team
  • Access to relevant software licenses
  • The ability to connect with other technicians in an online community


What were your biggest challenges before myPLCtraining Academy?

My name is Brad Redden, and I am a regional electrical manager. I am in charge of all automation and electrical projects for my company. 

I found myPLCtraining whilst searching for a wide ranging training solution...

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Connecting to Allen-Bradley PLCs - Ethernet

May 26, 2021

This post is all about connecting to an Allen-Bradley PLC using Ethernet communications. 

There are 4 steps you need to take to get your Windows computer talking to an A-B PLC.

Number one, you need to choose and connect some sort of cable between your computer and the PLC. That could be a serial cable or a USB cable with some of the more modern controllers, or it could be ethernet or even something else.

Number two, we need to set up your computer so that it's ready to connect to the PLC. So if you're connecting over Ethernet that means setting the IP address on your computer, or if you're talking over serial or USB, you may need to configure the comm port that you're connected through.

Number three, we're going to set up your PLC for comms and some PLCs are not set up to communicate with your computer out of the box. So there may be some things you have to do with the PLC before you can connect to it.

And then number four, we configure a driver in RSLinx to talk to that...

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Intro to Function Block Diagram - Studio 5000 Logix Designer

Apr 28, 2021

In this blog post and video, we are continuing to help you toward becoming a confident PLC programmer by introducing the programming language called Function Block Diagram (FBD) inside Studio 5000 Logix Designer...

But before we get into this video, if you want some structured training courses and support to help you become a confident PLC programmer, then check out our membership called, myPLCtraining Academy

(NOTE: we plan to release a course on Function Block Diagram inside the Academy later in 2021)

Ok let’s get into this. 

Function Block Diagram 

This can be really useful when you have multiple machines that all have the same inputs and/or outputs available to the PLC controller.

Check out the video, transcript and screenshots below.

Intro to FBD - Studio 5000 Logix Designer

Prefer to read? Go ahead...

Hey guys, it's Stephen Gates here from, with another video, to help you get confident with PLCs and become a...

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User Defined Data Types (UDT) in Studio 5000

Mar 26, 2021

In this blog post and video, we are continuing to help you toward becoming a confident PLC programmer by explaining a really cool feature in Studio 5000 that allows you to create reusable tag bundles. 

I'm talking about User-Defined Data Type or UDTs. But before we get into this video, if you want some structured training courses and support to help you become a confident PLC programmer, then check out our membership called, myPLCtraining Academy. There should be a link below this video, if you’re interested.

Ok let’s get into this. 

If you don’t know already there is a really cool feature in Studio 5000 Logix Designer called User-Defined Tags (UDT). This feature allows you to create “bundled” tags into one tag and then reference each of the bundled tags as members of the single main tag.

This can be really useful when you have multiple machines that all have the same inputs and/or outputs available to the PLC controller.

Check out...

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Connecting to Allen-Bradley PLCs - DF1

Jul 01, 2020

This article is all about connecting your computer to Allen-Bradley PLCs with serial communications. Particularly, the DF1 serial protocol from A-B.

The DF1 protocol is usually used when you connect a RS-232 cable from your computer to a PLC. The typical RS-232 cable uses a 9-pin connector as shown below:

Now, to be honest, A-B doesn’t even make PLCs with serial ports anymore. Most newer PLCs have a USB port and an EtherNet/IP port. But there are still a lot of older PLCs out there that have a serial port so this training will probably come in handy for you at some point ;)

Plus, having a good understanding of how to set up communications from your PC to your PLC with the serial protocols will help when you need to use other communication options such as Ethernet and USB. 

So, if you remember from part 1 of this series (back in December 2019), there are 4 basic steps to connecting to any Allen-Bradley PLC:

  1. You need to choose and connect some sort of cable...
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Connected Components Workbench (CCW) - Math Instructions in Ladder Logic

Jun 02, 2020

This post is all about using Ladder Logic for programming in Connected Components Workbench.

If you are new to Connected Components Workbench, I'd encourage you to check out the intro to CCW post here.

Specifically, we are going to take a look at using math instructions in Ladder Logic to do calculations within CCW. 

For example, let’s say we wanted to track the liquid level in a tank as a percentage. In many cases, the analog input for a tank level sensor might be scaled such that it shows the gallons of the tank. 

So if it’s a 4,000 gallon capacity tank with a 4-20mA sensor, the analog input may already be scaled such that the PLC analog input tag sees the 4-20mA value in terms of 0-4000 gallons, which is good. But, sometimes you just want to work with simple percentages.

So we could do a simple calculation to convert the 0-4000 gallon value into 0-100%

In other words, scale the value again to convert from gallons to percentage.

The calculation is simple...

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Studio 5000 Logix Designer - Comparison Instructions

May 29, 2020

Comparison instructions are important for handling analog inputs  into your PLC. Check out how to use the basic compare instructions and some cool things you can do with them!

This is just a sample of the type of training you'll learn from myPLCtraining Academy and the Confident PLC Programmer Method...if you want to know more if you need to start with a little basic stuff before getting to comparison instructions then we have the perfect training method for you.  Click below to learn more.

The Confident PLC Programmer Method

Enjoy and I'll talk to you again soon!



Hey guys, it's Stephen with and today I'm going to do a quick video on how to set up and use comparison instructions in Studio 5000 Logix Designer.

If you're wanting to start creating better PLC programs that handle analog inputs or you just want to be able to understand and troubleshoot existing PLC programs better, then this video will help you get there and if...

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Connected Components Workbench - Using the PLC Simulator

May 27, 2020

In this article we get into how to use the built in PLC simulator/emulator inside Connected Components Workbench (CCW).

Let's get into it!


The CCW software is free at least the standard version is. And it's becoming more and more popular in Industry around the world for a few different reasons.

 For one thing the controllers that you can program with this software are very inexpensive. The controllers are the Micro800 series controllers from Rockwell Automation Allen Bradley. And I believe they are all available for less than $1,000.


 Many of the controllers come with built-in IO which is another cool feature that saves money and configuration work. so4 smaller automation projects the CCW software and the associated Micro 800 controllers  are often a great fit.

 Another cool thing about this software is that it can also be used to program HMIs and drives that would be used in conjunction with the Micro800 controllers

One thing that is...

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How to Get a Job as a PLC Programmer

May 27, 2020

“How do I get a job as a PLC programmer?”

I get this question a lot from my readers and students.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. But, the good news is that it is very doable for many motivated electricians and technicians to make the move to PLCs, automation and controls.

And if you’re a mechanical, electrical or chemical engineer, it’s probably going to be even easier.

Ok, so what does it take to get a PLC programmer job?

Here are 4 things that I think you should focus on:

  1. Get involved in automation related equipment and projects at your current job (if there are any)
  2. Making friends/connections with PLC programmers, automation technicians and automation engineers
  3. Get good at solving problems in your current job
  4. Learning PLC-related skills on your own time/dime (if you’re company won’t pay for it)

Ok, there you go! Thanks for reading.


Oh, you want to know more?

Ok, ok. I break down the 4 things you...

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What is SCADA?

May 27, 2020

This blog post is all about SCADA.

Ever heard of it?

SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.

It’s basically a computer-based system that provides basic control and detailed monitoring of plants and industrial equipment.

The industries where you’ll these systems called SCADA are usually: telecommunications, power and energy, water/waste-water and oil and gas refineries.

On a basic level, a SCADA system is just an Human-Machine-Interface (HMI) (or multiple HMIs) with connections to various automation controllers such as PLCs or monitoring devices such as power meters or anything else that provides monitoring of plant equipment.

All these devices work that control and monitor the plant equipment.

Power Plant SCADA

In a system like a power plant, the SCADA would give operators a zoomed-out. overall view of the plant. This would include the power generators, circuit breakers, transformers, switchgear and more.

You’d be able to see things like: the...

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