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How to Configure the PLCnext I/O Modules and Establish Ethernet Communication

Learn how to establish Ethernet communication and configure the Starterkit I/O modules

This is the third of a series of articles about the Phoenix Contact PLCnext Starterkit.

You can order a Starterkit from the RealPars Marketplace

In this article, we’re going to accomplish two things:

First, we’re going to take you through the steps to ensure that Ethernet communication can be established between the PLCnext Starterkit and a computer.

Following that we will show you how to configure the PLCnext Starterkit I/O modules.

1) Phoenix Contact PLCnext Ethernet communication

Find the IP address

In the previous article of this series, How to Create a New PLCnext Engineer Project and Configure Ethernet Port, the computer Ethernet port was configured and set to a fixed IP address of 192.168.1.1. Now we’re going to find the IP address of the PLCnext Starterkit Ethernet port.

Let’s go back to the PLCnext Engineer program where you have the New Project open.

If you double-click on Project, a window will open for you on the right hand side. 

PLCnext Engineer IP Range

Make sure that the Settings item is selected. Change the Start IP address to 192.168.1.1 and the End IP address to 192.168.1.253.

Change the IP range as what you see in the picture above. 

Displaying online devices

Click on Online Devices. Choose your Ethernet Controller from the dropdown menu.

PLCnext Engineer Online Devices

Click on the disk symbol and a scan will begin.

After the scan completes, online devices will be displayed.

PLCnext Engineer Online Devices Scan

What if no online devices are displayed?

As a tip here, if no online device is displayed, you may have some software installation issues.

You can fix the issues by uninstalling PLCnext Engineer and NPCAP, followed by a reinstall of PLCnext Engineer. Be sure to reboot after uninstall and reinstall procedures.

PLCnext Engineer Software Installation Issues

Controller IP address

Here it says that the Project Controller IP address is 192.168.1.1 and the Online Controller IP address is 192.168.1.10.

Project Controller and Online Controller

The obvious questions are what is the Project Controller? and what is the Online Controller?

Think of the Project to be the Program Controller;

And the Online to be the Actual Controller on the Starterkit.

The IP address for the Project Controller shown should be familiar to you because it is the Start IP address that was set when you created the IP range.

The Online Controller address is the actual address given to the Starterkit controller.

The Project address must match the Online address. Your Online Devices scan results may differ. In any case, you must end up with matching names and addresses for the Project and Online controllers.

If you are having problems and your scan results are not quite the same, the PLCnext Engineer Help function is an excellent resource.

PLCnext Engineer Help Function

Applying the online device settings

Ok… let’s go back to our scan results. We need to apply the Online Device settings to the Project device.

Apply Device Setting.

Alright… we’ve accomplished our first task… we have established an Ethernet communication link between the PLC and the laptop.

2) Configuring the I/O modules

Let’s move on to our second task: Configuring the I/O modules. Phoenix Contact refers to this as Adding Devices.

If you recall from the first article, PLCnext Starterkit | What’s in the Box?, the PLCnext Starterkit has four I/O modules or Smart Elements.

This would be a good time to dig out that information as it is important to know what the device part numbers are, and where they are located in the AXL F BP SE4 Module Carrier.

AXL F BP SE4 Module Carrier

Double-click on Axioline F (0) and an unpopulated Device list will open. This is where we’ll add our I/O modules. The numbers under the pound column represent the slot numbers on the Module Carrier.

PLCnext Axioline Slot Numbers

Slot 1) Digital output module AXL SE DO16/1

We know that Slot 1 in the Module Carrier has a digital output module with sixteen outputs. The Part Number is AXL SE DO16/1. Let’s see if we can find it.

Drilling down through the folders under the Axiocontrol (88) will take us there.

Drag the module to the Type column of the Device List and release it in Slot 1.

AXL SE DO161 Digital Output Module

Slot 2) Digital input module AXL SE DI16/1

So, let’s repeat the process for all the remaining I/O modules on the Starterkit. Slot 2 has a digital input module with sixteen inputs. The Part Number is AXL SE DI16/1.

AXL SE AI4 U 0-10 Digital Input Module

Slot 3) Smart Element Cover – AXL SE SC-A

Slot 3 has a blank or a Smart Element Cover. The Part Number is Cover – AXL SE SC-A.

AXL SE SC-A Smart Element Cover

Slot 4) Analog input module AXL SE AI4 U 0-10

Slot 4 has an analog input module with four voltage channels. The Part Number is AXL SE AI4 U 0-10.

AXL SE AI4 U 0-10 Analog Input Module

Here’s the populated Device List. All the Starterkit modules are configured and assigned.

If you prefer, there is another method to populate the Device List. If you know the exact part number of the module, you can double click in the Type box and begin entering the part number. As you add more detail, the list will eventually show the I/O module you are after.

Populate the Device List

Don’t forget to SAVE often! Better safe than sorry. That should do it for this article!

So far, you have created a New Project, established Ethernet communication between the PLCnext Starterkit and your computer, and configured the PLCnext Starterkit I/O modules.

In the next article, How to Easily Create PLCnext Ladder Logic Programs, we’re going to show you how to write a ladder logic program, download it to your PLC and test it.

Order the PLCnext Starterkit

If you haven’t ordered your kit, make sure to do so from the RealPars Marketplace. Let us know if you have any questions or if we can be of more service to you.

If you have any questions about the PLCnext Starterkit or about PLCs in general, add them in the comments below and we will get back to you in less than 24 hours.

Got a friend, client, or colleague who could use some of this information? Please share this article.

By Ted Mortenson

By Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Mar 29th, 2021

Ted Mortenson

By Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Mar 29th, 2021

SIMATIC S7-1500, Digital Output Module DQ 8x230 V AC2 A ST TRIAC

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