Get up and running with the PLC Starter Kit
June 1998

Increased demand for easy-to-use entry-level PLC systems has prompted HID to put together the PLC Starter Kit.

Despite being a starter package, this attractively-priced kit is not simply a training tool - both the hardware and software provided are the very latest, full production working units from Hitachi, offering the user the ability to test the system in an extremely cost-effective way. Consisting of the Hitachi EC20 HRP PLC, software package (either Actsip or Actgraph depending on preference), connector cable, 12-way simulator switchboard and a set of manuals, the Starter Kit is ideal for companies which have not used PLC systems before and wish to know how the system can benefit them. Priced at just 275, the Starter Kit allows companies to test the PLC and practice using the different functions.

The EC20 HRP is a block PLC with an exceptionally small footprint of just 170mmx80mmx75mm. It offers 20 I/O (12 inputs and 8 outputs), up to 96 timers and counters, a 10kHz high-speed counter and a 2k-step EEPROM memory. As the EEPROM memory has no battery, it requires no maintenance. The unit can also be used for distributed control systems via twisted pair CPU linkage.

The switch board, which plugs straight into the mains, offers the simplest and safest way to simulate inputs and machine or process operations without complicated and time-consuming wiring.

The kit comes with a choice of two DOS-based software packages. Actsip, which is probably the most commonly-used package, offers a ladder logic style that is simple to understand and easy to use. Actgraph uses a flow chart style and is generally quicker than ladder logic when creating a programme. It allows for easy visualisation of the process during programming and in documentation. Both packages have help texts and pull-down menus.

Programming can be done either on-line, whilst connected to the PLC, or off-line using just the computer. The packages allow ladder diagrams to be printed out, providing the user with an easily updated documentation set. The kit also comes with a complete set of manuals, providing full details of products and valuable assistance in getting started.

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