This week’s EYE ON NPI (video) is like a Vulcan: no, it doesn’t have pointy ears, but it is totally logical! It’s the Crouzet Millenium Slim Ultra-Small Logic Controller. It’s the darn-cutest looking logic controller we’ve seen, with wireless BLE programming support for 4 inputs and 4 outputs.
Each controller is very small compared to large PLCs, with 4 inputs and 4 outputs. There’s a version with 500mA transistor sourcing outputs which can do PWM output, and two relay versions – one AC powered and one DC powered. Each input can also be PWM input and some can be tachometer or analog inputs.
The nicest part of this product is the programming interface software. The software only runs on Windows that we could tell, but it’s a simple drag-n-drop flow-based programming kit that lets the operator come up with simple logical operations that can be combined to create advanced control flows.
This is a bit different than microcontroller programming: all the logic executes at the same time, so perhaps it’s a little like a cross between block-based coding and FPGA/CPLD coding. There are some simple commands like Boolean logic, or simple counters – to more advanced ones like PID controllers, timers, or Schmidt triggers. Even though this is like a ‘baby’ PLC, it seems like the programs can be simulated/shared from smaller to larger controllers.
The BLE connectivity is handled with a BlueGiga dongle – this is a device that presents itself as a serial COM port and then takes commands over UART data to connect and transfer BLE data. This might seem a bit odd given that Win 10 has native wireless support – but probably a good idea since native BLE connectivity is really tough on desktop. There’s also a better chance that the programmer could run in an emulator because the driver is generic.
We think the Millenium Slim Ultra-Small Logic Controller could be an excellent first-time-PLC for someone starting out with PLC, or anyone with a small automation project where a big controller is overkill. Best of all, both the BLE dongle and PLC are in stock right at Digi-Key for immediate purchase. So whether you are an expert automator, or a beginner mechatronist – purchase today and you can get it in your hands tomorrow morning!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.