(VID-BRX-0007) - Take a tour of all the options available with the BRX PLC so you can make an informed decision. By the end of this video you will have a good feel for which model has which features and what this Micro PLC controller is capable of.
This affordable PLC can do it all, from a Budget PLC all the way to a large scale installation. This new family gives the best low-cost PLC, without having to settle for less.
Software Version used in this video: Do-more Designer 2.0.0
The BRX PLC platform from AutomationDirect is a family of versatile, modular controllers designed specifically as an automation foundation you can build on using the proven Do-more DM1 technology. You can use it as a simple PLC with no I/O for data logging and communications, a small PLC with built in I/O or you can add additional expansion modules to build on that foundation and get even more I/O. When you need more I/O than that, then you can move up to units with 18 or 36 built-in I/O. These units have the same Do-more DM1 CPU technology that you have come to trust, they just have more built-in I/O for larger applications. Which means the BRX PLC Platform can take you from zero to 164 local I/O points so you can build your own custom PLC system that precisely fits your application. And if you need even more I/O than that? Each BRX PLC has an Ethernet port which can support up to 16 remote I/O slaves! Which is why we call it your automation foundation. What kind of I/O points can you add? Well … The input expansion modules have 9 to 30 Vdc in 8, 12 and 16 points, 9 to 30 VAC in 8, 12 and 16 points 85 to 264 VAC in all three sizes and even a 2-6Vdc expansion module so you can bring in logic levels. Output expansion modules have 5 to 36 volt dc sinking in 8, 12 and 16 points; the same thing with sourcing pins, Single pole single throw Relay modules in all three sizes PLUS a 5 point single pole double throw relay module. AC modules are available for 8 and 12 I/O points. And there are even combo expansion modules with four or eight DC inputs and four or eight sinking outputs, sourcing outputs and a four point 2 A relay output module. Keep in mind this is what is available at the time this video was made. More options will appear over time so keep an eye out for new expansion module announcements. The cool thing about all of these I/O modules is there aren’t any cumbersome latching or locking mechanisms to fool with and to make sure they are properly secured. The modules just snap into place to instantly form a sturdy rugged PLC Platform that doesn’t need DIN rail or a backplane or support brackets to hold it together. To release the modules, just pull here. Easy. All of the CPUs and I/O modules ship with out terminal strips – that way you don’t pay for connectors you don’t need. And you can specify the TYPE of terminal block you want: 90 degree screw clamp, 180 degree screw clamp, or 90 degree spring clamp or there is a ZIPLink pre-wired cable solution. The spring clamps are really nice – you just open the clamp, insert the wire or ferrule, and release the jaw. You now know that wire is secure and won’t loosen up over time. The terminal blocks are available individually, and in sets that provide everything you need for each PLC style. And this is cool - notice that the connectors are setup so that each functional group is broken out. For example, on this 18 point CPU, this 5 pin terminal block is the power pins, these two 5 pin blocks are for the 4 pin plus common groupings, the 6 pin connectors are for the 5 pin plus common groups and the three pin is for the analog group of pins. That way you can pull one complete group including common with out messing with the other signals. That makes wiring and troubleshooting so much easier … I really like that feature. I also really like that all of the terminal blocks on the larger PLCs and the 8 and 12 point expansion modules use the wider 5mm spacing. That gives me plenty of room for those larger MTW wires. Here’s an example of 12 gauge MTW – you can see how nice and neat it fits - try doing that with a typical PLC terminal block! Beware though, because it has such a small footprint, this guy does use a smaller 3.8mm terminal blocks, so think about your wiring requirements before you decide which BRX PLC you need. If you are wiring a lot of BRX systems, then skip all of this Terminal block stuff and use the Ziplink cables instead. You’ll save an enormous amount of time and money because this replaces all of the intermediate wiring and labeling. You just plug one end of the cable in to the PLC, and the other end into the mating terminal block. Done. Think about how long it would have have taken you to manually wire and label all of that. Yeah, that’s why the Zip Link cables are so popular. Let’s take a quick spin through this chart so you can get a feel for what options are available for the base CPU Units. These are the two options for the no I/O version, this block is the built in 10 discrete I/O version, this is the built in 18 I/O version and this is the built in 36 point I/O version. ALL of these PLCs come with a serial port standard and they can be configured for RS-323 or RS-485 in software – that’s right … no hardware jumpers to mess with. They also all come with a Micro SD memory card slot for data logging and file management. The new instructions in Do-more Designer 2.0 make all of that super easy. With these two you can build your own custom PLC with up to 8 additional expansion modules or you can just use them as a data logger using the SD card or the built in 1 megabyte ram drive or use them as a simple communications box. Both come with an Ethernet port standard and one is AC powered and the other is DC powered. If we take that version and add 10 built in I/O points we get this version which comes in 8 different flavors. You can get it with or without Ethernet, you have a choice between digital or ac in, and sinking, sourcing, or relay outputs. The models with the Ethernet port also have built-in analog I/O. Notice that there is NOT an AC version of this model. It’s simply too small to accommodate an AC power supply. And it only supports two expansion modules again, because the box wasn’t large enough to get all the power converters in there. The 18 built in I/O point versions have the exact same feature set, but they have both and AC and DC powered versions, more of each type of I/O and can handle either 4 or 8 additional expansion modules. The units with 36 built in I/O points are identical to the units with 18 I/Os, except they have even more I/O’s. And look at this … all units with built-in I/O also have High Speed I/O for motion. That’s right – you don’t pay extra for motion with the BRX PLC platform! It’s built in. Of course, only modules that have digital inputs can have high speed digital inputs and only modules with digital outputs can have high speed digital outputs. The pricing over here is subject to change of course, but at least it gives you a feel for the relative cost of each unit. I’ll put a link to this chart in the video’s description. One of my favorite features of this PLC is the CPU plug-in option modules. You can pop this blank face plate out and replace it with different kinds of serial ports, a USB port or even an Ethernet port. The The Ethernet module is intended to give you and extra port for programming the BRX PLC or talking to other low data rate items like an HMI for example. It works just fine on your existing 10 or 100 mbps Ethernet network, but the throughput of the module is just limited to 1mb per second. The nice thing about that is it frees up your primary Ethernet port to use in your application. You don’t have to unplug it every time you want to update the ladder code. I love that the front label on the larger units can be removed and replaced on the larger units with your own custom logo. And since the engine that drives the BRX PLC Platform is the popular time-tested Do-more DM1 Technology, you know its rock solid. Of course, Version 2.0 of Do more Designer supports all of the new capabilities that the BRX PLC platform brings to the table and a whole lot more: Data Logging, File Management, Hardware interrupts, true subroutines, PWM outputs, easy E-mail which can include attachments, and a whole bunch of new Motion control capabilities that you’re gonna love. How cool is that? There’s a whole other video that walks through all the new features of the new Do-more Designer two point oh. So be sure to check that out too. And since it’s the same Do-more DM1 Technology you are used to - given the same I/O count and expansion module functionality - you can just drop the old code into the new BRX PLC and go. The new BRX Platform is fully compatible with your old Do-more Designer code. If you need any help with the BRX series PLC platform, please contact AutomationDirect’s free award winning support team during regular business hours. They will be happy to help. And don’t forget the forums. There are lots of automation professionals there that love to share their years of experience. Just don’t post any questions directed at AutomationDirect’s support staff there, they don’t monitor the forums on a regular basis. Spend Less … Do More With the BRX Automation Foundation From Automation Direct.