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PLCnext Starterkit | What’s in the Box?

Learn about all of the PLCnext Starterkit bits and pieces in the box that arrived at your door.

This is the first of a series of articles about the Phoenix Contact PLCnext Starterkit. If you are interested in a powerful but inexpensive PLC, you might want to consider the PLCnext Starterkit.

Here are a few reasons to help you decide to get one.

The programming software is free! 

In addition to typical PLC programming languages such as ladder logic, function block diagram, and structured text, you can also use other PLC programming languages such as Python, C++, and Java amongst many others.

The RealPars Marketplace now has the PLCnext Starterkit available for purchase at a discounted price for a limited time.

In this article, we’re going to identify all of the PLCnext Starterkit bits and pieces in the box that arrived at your door. We’re also going to familiarize you with everything in the box and discuss the purpose and function of each item. 

Alright… let’s get started. 

1) AC plug

The first thing you might notice is the 24 Volt power supply and a bag called AC plug-Mix.

All you need to do is pick out the AC plug that matches your wall receptacle and slide it into the open slot on the 24 Volt power supply.

Mean Well AC Plug-Mix Interchangeable

The output male plug of the power supply plugs into the female connector at the bottom left corner of the panel.

Power Supply Plug.

2) Ethernet cable

Next out of the box is the Ethernet cable.

The Ethernet cable is the communication link between your computer and the PLC. Don’t worry about Ethernet right now… we will be talking about communications in more detail in the next article, in this series.

Ethernet cable.

3) PLC panel

Let’s have a look at the PLC panel itself.

There’s lots of stuff on this panel, so here we go… We will start by examining everything mounted on the DIN Rail.

DIN Rail

Terminal block

Mounted on the far left side of the DIN Rail is a PT 1,5 Quattro terminal block.

There are 4 actual terminal blocks on the DIN Rail.

A terminal block allows multiple outgoing wires to connect to one singular incoming wire.

PT 1,5 Quattro terminal block

The Starterkit terminal blocks are currently used to distribute the 24 Volt power supply where needed on the panel. The red wire is the positive side of the 24 Volt supply and the blue wire is the negative side.

The terminal blocks are there for future use if you choose to use the power supply in your projects.

24 Volt Power Supply

Controller AXC F 2152

Located beside the terminal block is the brain of the operation: the controller itself. The Controller Model Number is shown at the top.

If you need to order the AXC F 2152 controller separately for your projects, you can check out this link

SD-CARD expansion slot

On the right-hand side, an SD-CARD Expansion slot is located under the plastic cover.

Controller Model and SD-CARD Expansion location

Administration password

A very important piece of information is shown next.

This is the Administration Password for your Controller. Be sure to note this password as you will need it in the next article of this series, How to Easily Create PLCnext Ladder Logic Programs.

LED’s indicator

There is a cluster of LED’s located in the middle of the controller.

These LED’s are there for Diagnostic and Status Indication. We will explore the function of this cluster in more detail in later articles.

Administration Password and Status LED indicators

Power Supply Connector

At the bottom left of the controller is the Power Supply Connector.

Controller Power Supply Connector

Ethernet ports

And, underneath the controller, you will find 2 Ethernet ports.

Controller Ethernet ports

AXL F BP SE4 module carrier

Next on the panel is the AXL F BP SE4 Module Carrier which is the backplane allowing connections between the individual I/O modules, the power supply, and the controller.

AXL F BP SE4 Module Carrier

I/O modules (smart elements)

Four I/O modules can be inserted into the Module Carrier. Phoenix refers to the I/O modules as Smart Elements.

Here is one interesting fact about this PLC. In a typical PLC, when you have four input and output modules, you need to put the modules next to each other on the rack.

Now with this new PLC, having the same number of I/O modules takes half the space compared to using a typical PLC. This means in the same space that you could only have two modules, you can now have four modules instead.

Phoenix Smart Elements space.

I/O modules are plugged into the slots and each module will have a dedicated Slot number.

You might want to make note of these slot numbers because they are not visible once the I/O modules are inserted.

AXL F BP SE4 Module Carrier

We’ll tell you about the Module Status Indicators in the next article, How to Configure the PLCnext Starterkit I/O Modules and Establish Ethernet Communication.

Just a word of caution… If you decide to remove or insert an I/O module, be sure that the PLC is not powered!

OK… now it’s time to investigate the I/O Modules or Smart Elements that are included with the Starterkit.

The Module Carrier has 4 Smart Elements plugged into it.

1) AXL SE DO16/1 digital output module 

Slot 1 has a Digital Output Module with 16 outputs.

The Part number is AXL SE DO16/1.

AXL SE DO16 1Digital Output Module

2) AXL SE DI16/1 digital input module 

Slot 2 has a Digital Input Module with 16 inputs.

The Part Number is AXL SE DI16/1.

AXL SE DI16 1Digital Input Module

3) AXL SE SC-A Cover

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

4) AXL SE AI4 U 0-10 analog input module

Slot 4 has an analog input module with 4 voltage channels.

The Part Number is AXL SE AI4 U 0-10.

AXL SE AI4 U 0-10Analog Input module

Here’s something for you to remember for the next articles, How to Configure the PLCnext Starterkit I/O Modules and Establish Ethernet Communication, The Part Numbers and slot locations are very important for PLC and I/O configuration.

PLC slots

The modules can be removed and inserted by the orange tab.

Detailed specifications for each Smart Element can be found at phoenixcontact.com.

Remove orange tab

Starterkit field devices

Let’s move on to the Starterkit field devices.

You will see 4 Pushbutton-Normally-Open switches to the right of the I/O modules. For our discussion, we’ve labeled them as S1 through S4.

Starterkit Pushbutton-Normally-Open switches

These switches are connected to the digital input module located in Slot 2.

If a switch is pushed, 24 volts will be applied to an input terminal. For example, pushing S3 will apply 24 volts to Input 3.

Push Button Switches Connected to Digital Input Module

We’ve seen how the field devices are connected to the digital input module so now let’s explore the field device connected to the analog input module.

There is a Slider that provides an adjustable voltage from 0 to 10 volts DC directly to Channel 1 on the Analog Input module.

Starterkit Slider

Let’s have a quick peek at how the Analog Voltage Input Adjustment is wired and connected to the analog input module.

As discussed earlier, the Analog module will accept an input voltage range of 0 to 10 volts. There is a voltage divider circuit connected to the 24 volt supply to ensure that the voltage applied to the analog input card never exceeds 10 volts.

The gray wire connects the variable voltage from the potentiometer to the positive input terminal of Channel 1 of the analog input card. The negative input terminal of the analog input card is connected to the negative terminal of the 24-volt power supply.

Here’s a small challenge for you… Using your electronic circuit knowledge, can you confirm that this voltage divider circuit design will perform as needed?

Slider Connected to Analog - Input Module

Here’s a small challenge for you… Using your electronic circuit knowledge, can you confirm that this voltage divider circuit design will perform as needed?

Summary

That should do it for this article! Let’s have a quick review and highlight some key points.

– The Starterkit comes with its own 24 Volt DC power supply.

 – The protocol used to communicate between your computer and the Starterkit is Ethernet, and an Ethernet cable is provided.

 – SD-CARD Expansion is available.

 – The Administration Password is written on the front face of the Controller.

 – There are 3 Smart elements, or I/O modules available for your use:

  1. A digital input module
  2. A digital output module
  3. An analog input module

 – The digital input module and the analog input module have field devices connected to them for your use.

Order the PLCnext starterkit

You can order the PLCnext starterkit at a discounted price for a limited time on the RealPars marketplace.

We will create more articles on how to configure and program this new innovative PLC soon so make sure to order your starterkit today while the promotion is available and stay tuned for new easy-to-follow articles from RealPars.  

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 Feb 8th, 2021

Ted Mortenson

By Ted Mortenson

Automation Engineer

Posted on Feb 8th, 2021

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