Automation Direct PLCs

What’s everyone’s experience with Automation Direct PLCs? How is the OPC server/driver support? The price is definately right.

I myself do not like these plc. They are cheaply built and hard to program in my experience. When they are in a Machine that I am working on. I replace them ASAP.

1 Like

I’ve been successful with Automation Direct PLCs on small projects.

Frankly, they’re a lot like working with the old A-B PLC2

Automation Direct is the trader, the PLC’s is the KOYO.
The KOYO make the old Siemens.
I start use them 4-5 year ago and don’t experience any problem.
I’m a AB programmer and took me a mount to learn AD (it is ladder logic).
The cheaper price is come from skipping the middle man with direct sale.
:thumb_right:

We have 24 of them at work. Have never had any of them fail yet. 4 of ours are the older DL-305 PLCdirect branded product from Koyo and they are in production equipment. 6+ years no failures.

The remaining 20 plcs are a mixture of DL-05 and DL-06 models which are newer and all of which have been solid performers. 4+ years on these no failures.

On half of these we utilize the ECOM-100 Ethernet module along with its email capability all of which work awesome. Sharing points and data between units via the ECOM module works pretty slick also.

We also use RS232 and RS485 on a few to tie Master/Slave units together.

We have swapped out a handful of base line AB micrologix 1100 with them without problems and at a significant reduction in cost.

The programming in my opinion is excellent and easy to understand. The built in help of the DirectLogics V5 software is very helpful. Tech support via Automation Direct has also been excellent.

Driver support, I’m using the Ignition OPC-UA MODBUS TCP driver now and mapping to the MODBUS memory locations and works just fine for me.

For OPC drivers, the Kepware OPC Servers both KepServerEX demo and KepDirect have all worked just fine for me.

The Automation Direct PLCs are a great Product. We have been using them for 20 years and have had great success with them. Anyone who doesn’t like them has been brain washed to the first two letters of the alphabit.

AD PLCs can communicate via ethernet & Modbus TCP. THe cost per point of I/O is incredible and the built in features are great.

Tech support is incredible and FREE.

You won’t be disappointed in using them.

No doubt Koyo (D1 through D4) is a difficult PLC to program. We’ve been using this platform for over 15 years and generally they’ve been extremely reliable. The remote IO (terminator) thermocouple input is by far the best we’ve had experience.

I don’t use AB or Siemens but we have a DL450 PLC at work. I don’t like it at all.
Maybe PLC’s of that era are the same in terms of their low level programming (which i have no problem with as I have writtin plenty of assembler for microcontrollers) but even their implementation and use of the stack is flaky. I find myself writing intermediate variables constantly as a lot of the functions force you into using V memory locations.
Also the native use of BCD in my mind is annoying but workable. I find myself converting back and forth continuously.
I however don’t like writing software in abstract values, that is “raw” vs “engineering”. It becomes far too easy in large programs to forget what real world parameter a variable meant. Also if you have more than one system hanging off of it, then you need to ensure all of them are converting it correctly.
I made use of the 32bit floating point number (real) on these PLCs which was nice however I found myself converting back and forth continuously.

I am however using it with Ignition via KEPServerEX as OPC-UA. Works much better than Adroit v5 which was being used before.

I’ll probably get smacked by some hard-core fans, but…

I have been working with AD PLCs for almost 20 years and have experience with all of the Allen-Bradley platforms from PLC-5 on. I select PLC hardware, based on application requirements, to meet current and future customer needs at the best price possible – and price goes beyond the cost of hardware.

It is true that the older model AD PLCs used BCD as the native format, which was annoying. However, newer models, such as the Do-More PLC, do not suffer from this “ailment.” I was pleasantly surprised with its capabilities while working with the processor during the pre-release beta testing program and the production version has performed flawlessly in the customer sites where we are using it.

For large projects, there can be cpu-power and/or memory issues that would demand something other than an AD PLC. None of their products are designed to compete with ControlLogix, for example.

I have NEVER had the communications nightmares with any AD hardware that I (and many others) have experienced with Allen-Bradley hardware and RSLinx. The AD PLCs will communicate via multicast, regardless of any IP configuration problems, allowing the programming software and/or utilities to locate them on the network. From there, errors can be corrected, firmware updated, etc. I’ve never had to connect to the serial port to get an Ethernet-capable AD PLC working! The same cannot be said of Allen-Bradley.

Speaking of firmware, there is ALSO no issue of the PLC firmware not matching with the programming software firmware version in AD PLCs. Allen-Bradley could definitely stand to learn a few things about keeping connectivity simple.

As an integrator, the ridiculous cost of acquiring and maintaining Allen-Bradley’s numerous programming software packages is also frustrating because, ultimately, we are forced to pass those costs on to our customers. That is not something we take lightly.

Given the price-point and ease of use, I am stunned that anyone would simply replace an AD PLC with something else if there is no known capabilities/performance problem. :scratch: It smacks of PC vs. Mac arguments, which is not the business we are in. Our job is to recommend the most affordable, reliable systems that will meet our customers’ application needs.

1 Like

I’m not sure if I “like” many PLCs. They all have quirks, and none of them ever get me cake…

I installed my first DL405 in 1997, I believe. That was 17 years ago – it’s certainly not a modern platform. It replaced a Siemens S5 processor and the entire platform cost 1/2 the price of the Siemens CPU. While it had some really annoying features, such as the native BCD numbering, it was a capable machine that did the job.

Over the years, we installed numerous DL406 and DL205-based systems and quite a few of them are still in use.

The systems that were upgraded to non-AD hardware were migrated because of specific performance/memory requirements. We never had a situation where the AD hardware was less reliable than competing platforms.

In the 1991-1997 time frame (yes I’m old) I installed TI405 PLCs on maybe 20 incandescent lamp making lines (discrete-parts machines). They were easy to program and I didn’t have many analog values so I didn’t encounter BCD so much. We used Slice remote I/O also and it all worked great. It would have taken more time, effort, money, and knowledge to use A-B. What Automation Direct has done with those products and software is impressive to me even though I am not currently programming. Just my $0.02.