4 Best Free PLC Software For Windows
Here is a list of best free PLC software. Some of these software can be used for industrial purposes, while some can be used for both educational and industrial purposes. These free software help you learn the basics of PLC programming. You can learn Ladder Logic Language, Sequential Text Language, etc. using these PLC software.
Some of these PLC software are specially designed for beginners, so that they can practice Ladder Logic language (basic PLC programming language). You will find all necessary programming instructions in some of these freeware, while some come with only basic instructions list. All these freeware are best to learn the basics of Normally Opened and Normally Closed contacts, as these sometimes become the most confusing part of PLC programming. Apart from this, there are other Ladder Logic instructions, like: Timers, Counters, Relays, Analog I/Os, Math functions, Comparators, etc. Besides these, High-Speed Timers and High-Speed Counters are also available in some of these software.
If I categorize these free PLC software on the basis of Simulation, some of these are software with inbuilt PLC Simulator. With the help of simulation, you can examine a written PLC program in real time. From education perspective, PLC simulation is a very important feature of a PLC software, as it helps you analyse every rail in a rung. While analyzing a program in real time, you could know, what is going on in your designed Ladder Logic.
In this list, you will also find one Allen Bradley PLC software.
My favorite free PLC software:
I like PSIM PLC Training Simulator. This is the only software in this list that comes with pre-designed process animations. It is developed by one of the leading firms in industrial automation, Allen Bradley. Here, you will find process animations of Traffic Light, Batch Mixer, and more. Besides these, On-Delay Timer, Retentive Timer, Up-Counter, Down-Counter, most of the Bit Logics, Comparators, Math Functions, etc. are also available.
Go through the list and install these free PLC software on your PC and start practicing PLC programming.
PSIM PLC Training Simulator
PSIM PLC Training Simulator is a free Allen Bradley PLC software. This PLC simulator for students not only lets you simulate PLC circuits, but also helps you learn PLC programming. It comes with built-in PLC simulator that lets you analyze PLC program in real-time.
It is one of a kind in this list; unlike HMI and SCADA where you have to design animation, you will find pre-designed animations here. Only four types of animations are provided in this software. You can operate them as per your designed Ladder Logic. Let’s have a look at some of these process animations:
- I/O Simulator: This is a very basic simulation provided in this Allen Bradley PLC simulator. I/O simulator is designed to clear your basics on NO and NC, i.e. Normally Opened and Normally Closed contacts. This PLC simulator contains digital inputs and outputs. The interface of this PLC software looks like basic architecture of PLC. You will find digital inputs on its left side and digital outputs on its right side. The middle part contains Data Table, where you can view real-time values of all digital inputs, digital outputs, timers, and counters by executing a written program. Two types of digital inputs are provided in the software: Push buttons and Toggle switch. It can display input and output values in binary, decimal, or hexadecimal form. To make a Ladder Logic program, simply press F5 function key on your keyboard and you will be on the programming screen of the software.
- Traffic Light: This is a traffic light simulator. In this process animation, you will find a traffic light with 6 outputs. Enter into the programming window by pressing F5 key and design a Ladder diagram which can simulate this traffic light correctly.
- Batch Mixer: It is a Batch mixing simulator. You can perform the process automation of a Batch mixing plant here. Animation of Batch Mixer is designed in such a way that it looks like an original Batch mixing plant. The inputs and outputs provided in this process animation include: Mixer, Heater, Ultrasonic sensors, Solenoid valves, etc.
You will find all necessary instructions to create a Ladder Logic program. From digital I/Os to timers and counters, from comparators to math functions, all instructions are available in this free PLC simulation software, even On-Delay timer, Retentive timer, Up-Counter, and Down-Counter are also provided in the software. Defining address to your instructions is also very simple. You can enter preset values of timers and counters easily. Unlike some PLC software, there is no need to enter preset time in coded instruction. Just enter a value and it accepts that value. For example, if you want a time delay of 10 seconds in your program, just enter 10 as its preset value.
This is one of the best PLC programming software in this list and is only PLC software that comes with process animations.
NOTE: This is a PLC simulator software and is only developed for education purposes. You cannot use this software to download a PLC program in a PLC.
i-TriLOGI is a free PLC Simulator software for PC. Thanks to its built-in PLC Simulator that lets you simulate a written PLC program in real time, you can learn the basics of PLC programming and practice it. You can also find out if a program is working properly or not with the help of this feature.
Do note that the free version of this PLC Simulation software is designed only for educational purpose. If you want to use it for commercial purpose, you will have to purchase its full version.
In the free version, you will find only a limited PLC instructions, that are good to learn basics of Ladder Logic programming language. You will find Normally Opened contacts, Normally Closed contacts, Timers, Counters, Relays, and many other instructions to design a Ladder diagram.
Interface: It comes with a simple UI, which makes it easy to understand. You can place multiple rungs on a rail. A single click on a rung opens a list of Ladder Logic instructions, from where you can easily select an instruction to draw a Ladder diagram. Configuring timer and counter is also very easy in this PLC simulation software. For example, if you want to define 5 counts, then simply select a counter and enter the number of counts, that is 5. That’s all.
Simulate: This feature lets you examine a designed Ladder diagram in real time. It doesn’t matter whether you have a PLC or not. It lets you run a PLC program without connecting it with PLC. It also lets you change the state of a contact (NO or NC) in simulation mode. It executes your program in simulator mode just like a real PLC scans, i.e. from left to right and from top to bottom.
Advantages of i-TriLOGI:
- Simple user-interface.
- Addressing I/Os is simple.
- It lets you add comments to each I/O.
- You can take a printout of your program.
Limitations of this free PLC Simulator:
- Only On-Delay timer is provided in the software. I did not find On-Delay Retentive and Off-Delay timers.
- Only digital I/Os are available in the software. It lacks Analog I/Os.
- I did not find any comparators in the software.
- Other necessary instructions like move, convert, PID, etc. are also missing in this free PLC Simulator.
- This free version of i-Triologi doesn’t let you connect a PLC to your system.
NOTE: You have to create a free account on its official website in order to download it.
WPLSoft is a free PLC programming software from Delta electronics. This PLC software is good for students as well as working professionals. You can carry out all industrial automation processes with this free Ladder Logic software. You can use this free PLC software only for Delta PLCs. Draw a Ladder diagram in this freeware and download it in Delta PLC. Don’t worry if you do not own a delta PLC; it comes with a built-in PLC simulator, which lets you examine your program in real-time. You can go online and view what is happening with your designed PLC program.
Talking about the interface, it is kept simple, so that you can easily use it. You will find all the instructions needed to write a simple or complex PLC programs. All bit logic such as NO, NC, Positive Edge, Negative Edge, Coil, Set Coil, Reset Coil, etc. can be found here. Other than bit logic, Math functions, Comparators, Timers, Counters, High-Speed Counters, etc. are also available in this software.
Advantages of this free PLC Software:
- Simple user-interface.
- You can easily configure PLC-Drive communication.
- Defining Address is simple.
- You can also define a tag name in this software, like START, STOP, MOTOR ON, MOTOR OFF, etc.
- Use its simulation mode to view your program in real-time.
- Program comparison feature is available.
- It supports three PLC programming languages: Ladder Logic, STL (Sequential Text Language), and SFC Diagram.
You can use this software in Servo Motion control applications. It lets you control Servo Motor at particular axes.
Micro LADDER is another free PLC software in this list. This PLC freeware is designed for Sirea PLCs. This means, you can only use this free PLC software with Sirea Programmable Logic Controllers. As it comes with a free license, you can use it for developing a Ladder Logic program.
Features offered by this free PLC software:
- Data: You will find all types of data (instructions) in this software. Digital inputs, digital outputs, analog inputs, analog outputs, PWM outputs, system bits, system words, etc. are provided in this free PLC software.
- Programming languages: This free PLC software comes with two programming languages: Ladder Logic and C. Unlike popular PLC software, like TIA (SIEMENS), RSLogix (Rockwell), etc., it lacks other PLC programming languages, such as Sequential Text Language, Functional Block Diagrams, etc.
- Page: It lets you create a page and call it in your main block of PLC program, just like Functions and Functional Blocks can be called in main Organization Block in SIEMENS PLC software.
Communication: It uses MODBUS communication. You can establish a Master and Slave MODBUS communication using this free PLC software.
Addressing: Defining address to instructions is very easy in this free PLC software. Use I for digital inputs, Q for digital outputs, IW for analog inputs, and QW for analog outputs. For example, I3.0 means first bit of 3rd byte. If you type QW10, then it covers 9th and 10th bytes of PLC memory.
LCD Screen: Some of the Sirea PLCs come with built-in LCD screen on which you can display messages by writing some text. You can configure that text only in C language by writing instructions. Besides this, you can also display date and time on LCD screen.
Some general features of this free PLC software:
- It lets you save and load a program.
- You can import and export firmware into and from the software.
- Import and Export GUI features are also available in Micro LADDER.
NOTE: There is no PLC simulator in this PLC software.
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