Connecting to Allen-Bradley PLCs - Introduction

May 27, 2020

One of the questions I get a lot, is how to connect from your computer to a PLC. This is foundational to getting confidence with PLCs, so I decided to make short video series to show you how to get it done.

This video will walk you through the basics for communicating with ANY Allen-Bradley PLCs.


Prefer to read it? Go Ahead…

Hey there guys, it's Stephen Gates with my PLC with another video here to help you become a confident PLC programmer.

So one of the biggest questions or most common questions I get from people is how to connect from their computer to a real PLC so they can download or upload the program or just go online and see what the controller sees. So I'm going to do a short video series on the steps on what you need to connect your computer to an Allen Bradley PLC. So let's jump right into it.

So before we get officially started, I wanted to let you know about a free cheat sheet I have where I can show you the three things you need to know to understand really any PLC system. So if you're interested be sure to click the link below so that I can send you the cheat sheet and hopefully this can help you become a confident PLC programmer.

Click here to get the cheat sheet.

Okay, so now back to the tutorial, we're going to look at how to set up communications from your computer to a PLC. So this series will show you exactly how to set up your computer to connect to a MicroLogix 1100 PLC.

And you may need to connect to different PLCs at your job or in the job you're trying to get a PLC such as the SLC 500 or ControlLogix, PAC controllers.

But most of these steps are going to be the same. And I'll show you the steps you need so that you can figure out how to connect to really any Rockwell or Allen Bradley PLC.

So before we start, let's lay out the four basic steps you need to know to connect to pretty much any Allen-Bradley 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 ether net 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 coms 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 specific PLC over the specific protocol you're going to use, whether it's Ethernet, DF1, or USB.

So if you keep these four steps in mind you already have a head start on connecting to every Allen Bradley PLC. In the next video we'll cover steps one through four again, but specifically for connecting to a PLC via serial connection. So be sure to head over there and check out the next video.

Click here to get the cheat sheet.

And if you liked this video and are interested in getting more free training, be sure to check out the link below.

Again to check out the free cheat sheet I have on the three things you need to know to understand any PLC system. Thanks for watching and we'll see you in the next video.

Want more training content, support from our team and access to Rockwell PLC/HMI software? Check out myPLCtraining Academy.

Get the Free PLC Cheat Sheet

PLCs are really not that complicated. If you are new to PLCs or just looking to get a better handle on how they work, check out this free cheat sheet, called the "Motivated Electrician's Guide to Understanding ANY PLC System."

Grab the Cheat Sheet

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