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Books/Resources on programming techniques

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Hello everyone,

Im looking for resources on the "Programming Technique" aspect of plc programming (preferably a book).
I already have a background in electronics ,control, programming in Arduino/C, and even a few projects in Visilogic.
The resources I found up until now mostly deals with :
- Introduction to electronics/computers.
- Introduction to controls.
- Communications.
- Basic ladder logic /HMI operations.
- Generic ladder examples of the common tasks (filling/emptying water tank, object on a    
   conveyor, HVAC control etc…).

And im looking for something else here.
in general, a resource that is more focused on the ladder/code, and not the plc as a whole.
that teaches you problem solving and troubleshooting skills.
like techniques and methods that help "break down" a complex task into the smaller, simpler, logical steps.
preferably with lots of examples that help you to adopt the "Right Approach" for handling similar problems in the future.

I mean….as plc programmers you all know what it feels like.
You've got a task, you know what you want to get out of it, but still you're having a hard time thinking how exactly to execute it in code, step by step without (= with less 😁 ) problems.

Of course it’s a matter of practicing for a long time in order to get good at it.
But it seems to me that at my current level I need to broaden my "Toolkit" for such tasks before I try to solve them,  or else I will spend way too much time/effort/pure rage…
trying to "Reinvent The Wheel" where it's not needed.

Obviously the resource are unlikely to be based on Unitronics software, but it will help in general.
Such books or guides are more common in the Arduino/Raspberry PI /etc scene, and they are very helpful.



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9 hours ago, yyh2 said:

 or else I will spend way too much time/effort/pure rage…
trying to "Reinvent The Wheel" where it's not needed.

If you're not doing that, then you're not trying.  :D  I try to avoid Pure Rage.

I've never seen such a book of what you're looking for.  I think the reason is there are so many PLC vendors out there each with their own way of doing things that you can't really pin down a good overall style.

Arduino code is always Arduino code, no matter which flavor of board you're working with.  And thanks to that little gem's cost, functionality, and popularity there are millions of people playing with them.  Doing really cool stuff, and writing articles about them.

There are not millions of PLC programmers.  Our population is shrinking by the day.  However, a PLC is almost always controlling something that can be broken down into a sequence of operations, and if you can define and tame the sequence your development will become enjoyable.  The key is to plan your program out before you start it.

Have a look at this post-


Also take the time to really learn all the functions in your programming software.  Go through every menu and sub-menu just to see what's there; you don't have to know exactly how they work yet.  Your Visilogic installation includes a ton of example programs under Help->Examples.  Have a look at those and see how the Creators put programs together.


Joe T.

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Honestly it best resource is the documentation of each brand, the functions and its implementation in each PLC are different between brands.

the most "universal" is any book related to digital logic / signals (bit, bytes, logic gates etc..). followed by pure electric circuitry (open/close contacts coils).

 at the end ladder logic is just mimicking an electric circuit, and most functions are pure digital logic.

that is the only common thing between brands.


Having said that, any programming language will be vastly different from ladder logic (which is the most "universal thing on PLC languages), so the thinking approach cannot be the same.

Best advice I can give is: Assume everything happens in parallel at the same time (even that there is a time between scans) any "async logic" that you need must be designed by you. the main difference between PLCs and micro controllers is that on a machine a sensor could be triggered at any time, there could be loose connections, dirty sensors and other stuff that could trigger bits ON/OFF in an unexpected way.





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Thanks for the detailed answers.

Joe, your post is great and pinning it is super important for beginners, luckily for me, I ran into "State Machine" programming style in my Arduino learning in the past.

I get what you and Fernando are saying about the difference between brands and softwares.
Still I think that there is room for learning general concepts and templates of some successful control schemes.
If there was a book that sort of "reverse engineers" key projects in the industry, I feel I could learn a lot from it.
The examples in Visilogic aren't that great for it.

Anyway,  I hope others will have some resources.

(by the way….im from Israel, so if any Unitronics rep has some info in Hebrew thats fine as well).

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Hey Ausman, Thanks.

I'm familiar with this thread and the pdf's, although I got them from all around the web and not your zip file , since its protected with an unknown password.

I use the online help files a lot, but they're just not a programming guide, they're more like a……..software guide ?

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9 hours ago, yyh2 said:

since its protected with an unknown password.

Somewhere in the scheme of things, reference to using my forum name as password has gone missing.  ???    It's now back.   Just maybe I didn't have it there in the first place!  😖

Anyway, as others have said, different makers have vastly different ways of doing things.

I'm sad for you because I could have recommended a small book I had years back that assisted my learning curve, but it appears to have gone to the paper gods during a bookshelf clean-up/huge office re-arrange some time back.  I'll keep my eye out for it, as it was the sort of thing I would never  throw out, but likely by the time it shows up you will be proficient!

cheers, Aus

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