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Eaton easyE4 nano programmable logic controller - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 9
Demo Software was of good quality: 9
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 56 / 60
  • RoadTest: Eaton easyE4 nano programmable logic controller
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Electromechanical
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?:

  • Detailed Review:

    I would like to thank Eaton and the Element4 team for selecting me for this roadtest.

    This was a great opportunity for me to learn PLC programming for the first time.

    I have worked with equipment containing PLCs but this is the first time I have had the

    chance to program and experiment with one.

     

    The kit arrived well packaged with little chance for damage in shipment. It contained

    everything needed to get started with the exception of a power supply. The first thing

    I noticed about this PLC was just how compact the unit is. I powered up the

    unit with both a 12V and a 24V DC power supply with no problems.

    firmware

    The first task was to update the units firmware to the latest version. Unit was shipped

    with version 1.20. Version 1.22 was download from the Eaton website and loaded on a

    microSD card. Update went through with no issues. The only issue I could see was the

    choice of a microSD card slot. The pull out card slot seems like it could be damaged

    and a standard SD card size would be easier to keep track of in an industrial environment.

     

    The programming/simulation software, Easysoft V7.21 was installed and the included license

    was registered online. This process was quick and easy, I was up and running in no time.

    There are 4 main program tabs, Project, Programming, Communications and Simulation.

    Project allows selection of your module and configuration for all it's hardware parameters.

    Programming initially asks which of the four program languages is desired and then provides the

    drag and drop programming options. Language options are Functional Block Diagram, Ladder Diagram,
    Structured Text and easy Device Programming.

    Communications provides the connection to the module as well as program transfer and

    Run/Stop commands. This was also very easy to set up. Just look at the IP address on the

    module, enter this into the interface block and connect.

    Finally Simulation provides software environment to test your program and simulate I/O. This is

    very useful in testing programs before submitting to hardware.

     

    My project was Home Automation but due to my very limited knowledge in programming I thought I

    might keep it simple and limit it to a basic task. How to keep my indoor plant watered while on vacation.

    This required the addition of a motor driven pump on the output side and a set of simple probes on

    the input side to turn the pump on and off based to soil moisture conductivity.

     

    In conclusion, this is an amazing value for the home hobbyist or individual who wants to learn PLC

    programming. Up till now these devices were out of the price range for the casual user as most

    industrial equipment usually is. While it may not have all the features of more advanced

    and expensive units. For around $150 it does fill a most needed niche.


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