Tutorial

Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 13 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

Proper version control is traditionally not done in the world of automation, which is a big shame. The question should not be whether version control should be used or not. The question should instead be what version control system should be used. In this part we will get an introduction to version control in general, and Git in particular. We will start with an introduction to some basic concepts of version control and then show you how you can put your automation projects under version control using Git, using free and open-source tools that are traditionally used in the software industry. You’ll learn how to do proper 100% free and Git-based version control using TwinCAT 3! Let’s start demanding more from our automation vendors and demand that the tooling for version control should be included by default, and get out of the dark ages!

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 12 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

When installing the TwinCAT development environment and runtime you get access the core functionality, but sometimes you might want to extend this with additional functionality as for example adding an SQL database connection. In this chapter we will investigate some TwinCAT functions that can be added.

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I wanted to share with you a tiny celebration and some frequently asked questions, as I’ve recently reached 5000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. I didn’t even know whether there was 5000 people that work with TwinCAT 3 on planet Earth, let alone that would be interested in a TwinCAT 3 related YouTube channel!

 

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 11 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

When you start to develop PLC software and you’ve worked for a few projects, you will come to a point where you will notice that certain parts of the software, like function blocks, will be copied between the projects. You’ll either do it by simple rewriting the same functions or function blocks again, or you will simply copy and paste it from one project to another. Also, once a project gets big enough, you will want to utilize something called libraries. With this we can achieve code re-use.

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 10 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

When designing and building a control system you will eventually want the control system to actuate something, be it a relay, a motor, a pneumatic system or maybe a complete 6-axis robot. To get feedback of the actuation, sensors are needed. In this part we will cover how we communicate with the environment using inputs and outputs.

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 9 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.
In this part we’ll learn how to use one of the most used Beckhoff libraries for various purposes. We’ll learn how to measure execution time of PLC code, how to use a FIFO buffer and how to combine the power of using a TwinCAT real-time program with an application running in user-space (Windows).

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 8 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

As TwinCAT 3 conforms to the IEC61131-3 standard, there are certain things it has to be able to do. The Tc2_Standard library has many of the standard IEC functions such as timers and triggers, which we will look into in this part of the tutorial.

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 7 of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

In this part we will go back to basics of IEC 61131-3 and structured text and look into instructions. This will cover IF/ELSE, CASE-switches and FOR/WHILE-loops. We will utilize our knowledge to write a CSV (comma separate value) event logger by using a state machine.

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Dear existing & future PLC software developers, I have published part 6b of my free PLC programming using TwinCAT 3 tutorial.

In this part we will continue our journey of the object oriented features of IEC 61131-3 and look into something called interfaces. Interfaces provide a layer of abstraction so that you can write code that is ignorant of unnecessary details. Interfaces aid you in designing more modular and robust software. With interfaces it’s possible to decouple direct dependencies between objects in your software.

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I’m currently doing a YouTube tutorial called “PLC programming using TwinCAT 3“, which is one of the biggest hobby projects I’ve ever committed myself to. When I started with the tutorial I had a gut-feeling that it would probably take a huge amount of time to pull this one off. Initially, I guessed I would have to spend around five minutes of work for every minute of produced movie (ratio of 5:1). Now that I’ve done a couple of videos and actually clocked the time it takes all I can say is that ….boy, was I completely off with that guess! Lately I have been receiving many e-mails and messages with the question “When is the next part of the tutorial coming out?”. Instead of just providing the boring and generic answer “When it’s finished” I have decided that I will instead try to explain what it takes to do a YouTube video, and why I am not releasing a video every week.

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