Best PLC and PAC Resources

April 3, 2013
Our Editors Search the Web Looking for the Best Online Resources on PLC and PAC. Here Is What They Found
Every month, Control's editors take a specific product area, collect all the latest, significant tools we can find, and present them here to make your job easier. If you know of any tools and resources we didn't include, send them to [email protected], and we'll add them to the website.
NETWORKING PLCS AND PACSField-level wiring used to be simple. A sensor was either powered or passive. But when networking PLCs and PACs into the control system network became practical and popular, engineers started thinking about how to provide power over the same set of wires as the network connection. This whitepaper, "Power over Ethernet: Myths, Mysteries and the Facts," discusses how Power over Ethernet (PoE) is fast becoming the standard. The whitepaper is free and downloadable, but registration is required. The direct link is at Industrial Automation

This whitepaper from National Instruments compares the two technologies, describing the benefits and differences between the NI's line of programmable automation controllers (PACs) and more traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs). The compact FieldPoint PAC hardware architecture is used for this comparison as it is the most similar to a PLC. This document will describe the factors and criteria you should take into consideration when deciding which platform is better suited, depending on your control and measurement needs. Issues covered include graphics, measurements, processing capabilities, platforms and communications. The whitepaper is free and downloadable. The direct link is located at
National Instruments

This simple, one-page chart compares PCs, PLCs, RTUs, DCSs and PACs in terms of their features, functions and capabilities. The same page contains links to other PAC-related information, including, "Considerations for Choosing a PAC" and "Understanding Programmable Automation Controllers in Industrial Automation." The direct link is at

Phoenix Contact has produced a series of video tutorials for PC Worx, the automation software for its PLCs. The eight videos include the following topics: creating and saving new projects, configuration, assigning addresses, bus configuration, program development, working with process data, compiling and transferring projects to the controller and debugging. All are free and available at
Phoenix Contact

This link directs you to a collection of YouTube videos on a variety of PLC, HMI, SCADA, motion control and other automation subjects. Videos include "A Home-Built PLC Trainer," "Configuring RSLinx to Work with a MicroLinx 1000 PLC" and "Connecting a PLC to a SCADA/HMI Using OPC Server." The direct link is at

This is a collection of more than three dozen tutorials, presentations and interactive seminars on a variety of PLC and PAC hardware and software subjects. They are anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more in length. Subjects include basic PLC training, working with Productivity 3000 PACs, DirectLogic PLC hardware and software, Ethernet communication and advanced programming. All are free and no registration is required. The direct link is at

This is a one-stop shop for information about PLCs and PACs. The site includes to links to the history of PLCs, I/O wiring, I/O interaction, number systems, memory structure, bit instruction, times and counters. It also includes links to outside sources and practice projects. The direct link is at
PLC Tutor

This site lists the top 20 Internet sites for PLC/PAC training and information, ranked by user popularity. The sites include links to courses, programming helps, tricks and tips, simulators, books and other PLC and PAC resources. Many are free. No registration required. The direct link is at

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