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How to Create a New PLCnext Engineer Project and Configure Ethernet Port

Learn how to create a New PLCnext Engineer Project and configuring the laptop Ethernet Port to a fixed IP

This is the second of a series of articles about the Phoenix Contact PLCnext Starterkit, and we’re going to take you through the steps of creating a New PLCnext Engineer Project. If you are interested in a powerful but inexpensive PLC, you might want to consider the PLCnext Starterkit.

The RealPars Marketplace now has the PLCnext Starterkit available for purchase. If you want to order this Starterkit to test and run your PLC programs, make sure to head on over to the RealPars Marketplace.

In this article, we’re going to take you through the steps of creating a New Project and configuring the laptop Ethernet Port to a fixed IP address to start establishing Ethernet communication between the PLCnext Starterkit and a laptop or personal computer.

Download PLCnext Engineer

If you haven’t already done so, download and install PLCnext Engineer which is the programming software for the PLCnext Starterkit. This programming software is free and available for download from the RealPars Marketplace.

Once you’re on the marketplace, do a search for PLCnext Starterkit and select the Starterkit from the list.

Download PLCnext Engineer.

Here on the product page if you click on the Download PLCnext Engineer link,

PLCnext Engineer Download link.

This will take you to the page where you can download the latest version of the PLCnext Engineer.

PLCnext Engineer programming software.
PLCnext Engineer software.

Just a heads up, depending on when you are reading this article, we may have changed the structure of the product description here but we’ll always make sure to keep this link somewhere visible on this page.

Start PLCnext Engineer

Alright… let’s get started. The first thing to do is start PLCnext Engineer.

start PLCnext Engineer.

The Initial sign-on screen looks like this.

We’re going to click on Help and then About as we need to collect some information about the PLCnext software.

About PLCnext software.

It’s a good idea to make note of the software version. That way you can ensure that your programming software is always up to date.

Alright… as we said earlier, we’re going to accomplish two things in this article.

1) First, we’ll create a New Project.

2) Second, we will start establishing Ethernet communication between the PLCnext Starterkit and a laptop or personal computer by configuring the laptop Ethernet port and setting it to a fixed IP address.

Setting a fixed IP address will assist you later when we take you through the steps to establishing communication between your laptop or personal computer.

1) Create a new project

Let’s start a New Project. If you’ve worked on any Microsoft Office products like Word or Excel you’ll notice the PLCnext Engineer Folder and File layout is very similar.

Starting a new project is just like opening a new document in Word. So, to start a new project, click File, and then click on New Project from the drop-down menu.

Create a New Project.

A Folder called Project will appear under a window called PLANT.

By default, when a NEW project is opened, PLCnext Engineer automatically assigns the name PROJECT1.pcwex. That name can be changed at any time.

PLCnext Engineer Project Name

This is a good time to talk briefly about what needs to be put into the Project folder.

1) First of all, we need to include details about the PLCnext Starterkit Controller.

2) Secondly, we need to ensure that Ethernet communication is properly established between the PLC and the laptop.

3) Thirdly, we will include information about the I/O modules currently mounted on the Starterkit. This third step is referred to as Configuring the I/O and will be explained in the next article of this series, How to Configure the PLCnext Starterkit I/O Modules and Establish Ethernet Communication.

Select your controller

Ok, let’s add your controller to the Project. You will be able to select your controller from a drop-down menu.

If you can’t recall your controller details from the first article, PLCnext Starterkit | What’s in the Box?, it’s easy to find. You will see the Model Number and the Order Number stamped on the front of your controller.

Under Components on the right side of your screen, drill down through the Network folder to the Controller folder.

As your mouse hovers over each Controller listed, more details about the controller will be shown. Be sure to select the controller that matches yours.

Note that Article Number and Order Number are the same things.

Select PLCnext Controller.

Once you select your controller, drag it over and drop it into the Project folder.

Add PLCnext Controller.

2) Establish Ethernet communication

Connect the Ethernet cable

Now that we’ve configured the Project to match the Controller, let’s move on to our second task and begin the process of establishing communication between the PLC and your laptop.

Connect the Ethernet Cable between the PLC and the laptop.

The PLC and the laptop communicate to each other via the Ethernet Cable if the respective IP addresses are set correctly. So, our first job is to set the IP addresses.

Connect the Ethernet Cable.

Set the IP addresses

Let’s start with the laptop. We’re going to go through the steps to set the laptop Ethernet Port IP address to 192.168.1.1.

We’re not going to go into a lot of detail about what and why we are making changes and establishing certain settings. Our goal is to get your laptop and the PLC communicating as soon as possible.

If you are interested in learning more about Ethernet and IP addresses, the internet is chock full of information.

We are operating in a Windows 10 environment. If you have something different, the following steps may differ somewhat.

Alright… off we go. Click on the Microsoft symbol at the bottom left of your screen. Move the mouse up and hover over the Settings symbol. Now click on Settings.

Set the Laptop Ethernet Port IP Address

From this window, click on Network and Internet.

Network and Internet Settings.

From this window, click on Network and Internet. Now, choose Ethernet from the choices listed. Over the right-hand side of the screen, choose Change adapter options.

Change Adapter Options

Right-Click on Ethernet. Click on Properties from this list. Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).

Ethernet Properties.
Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCPIPv4).

We’re getting close now! Make sure that Use the following IP address is selected. Enter 192.168.1.1 as the IP address Click OK. You can now leave Settings. That’s it!

Set the IP Address.

You have now successfully set the IP address of your laptop Ethernet Port to 192.168.1.1. You might want to write that down somewhere.

That should do it for this article! You have created a New Project and configured the laptop Ethernet port, and set it to a fixed IP address.

In the next article, How to Configure the PLCnext Starterkit I/O Modules and Establish Ethernet Communication, we’re going to show you how to establish Ethernet communication between the PLCnext Starterkit and your computer. Also, you’re going to learn how to configure the PLCnext Starterkit I/O modules.

You deserve a break! Congratulate yourself and have a coffee.

Order the PLCnext Starterkit

From here on in, you’re going to need the PLCnext Starterkit to follow the article series with us and also our students all around the globe.

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 15th, 2021

Ted Mortenson

By Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Mar 15th, 2021

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