Yesterday I flipped the calendar onto October, a few days late I know, and it made me remember the quickly approaching holiday season. I remember that in grade school I loved October because it meant the holidays were getting close and with them came class parties at school, days off in observance of national holidays, and an ever-present possibility of departure from the regularly scheduled activities.
As I’ve grown older, I still get equally excited, but for different reasons. This year my excitement is brewing in anticipation of a light display at my house this winter. It’s early to think about, but my plan is to have my lighting routed through a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) to control time delay and sequence, so I need to be “on the ball” about everything.
I don’t plan to go overboard and have something like the video below, but I want to have something fun and different.
As I approached this project I remembered the programming I learned while taking a course dedicated to PLC integration for manufacturing processes and so far, everything has pieced together pretty easily. Right now, I plan to use an Allen Bradley SLC 500, a model with which I am fairly familiar.
The majority of our time in the engineering department at EXAIR is directed towards more mechanical disciplines of engineering so I might need to dust off a book or two to make sure I get all the connections and program sequence correct.
Something that has stuck out to me in this process was the overwhelming amount of information available for products on the internet. Not only is there the manufacturer website and a trove of information on reseller sites, but there are threads and forums with detailed information from enthusiasts and end users.
This abundance of information, much of which was conflicting at times, led me to appreciate the ease with which our resellers and end users can contact the engineering staff at EXAIR. A quick call or email can circumvent hours of frustration and confusion. Anyone who uses our product can speak directly to the people who make it, and that’s priceless.