Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Setting up AB serial communications. In this first chapter you will configure the In-Gear32 driver for communicating with an Allen Bradley Micrologix 1000 Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). The In-Gear32 driver comes with example applications written in Visual Basic which you may use for reading and writing words or bits to the PLC.

Chapter 2 - Your first HMI. Here you will create your first Visual Basic application and become familiar with the development environment. You will create a Form that will turn on and off a lamp at the PLC trainer.

Chapter 3 - Reading/Writing data from the PLC. At this point you will read and write data to a Timer in the PLC. You will read the Accumulator value and write the Preset value. The use of Text Boxes, Command Buttons and Labels will be utilized. 

Chapter 4 - Using the Debugger. In this chapter you will use the debugger. Learn how to use the Immediate Window, Add Watch Window, and Calls Window. You will learn how to Step through your code and set Breakpoints in your code.

Chapter 5 - An oven application. Here you will create a Human Machine Interface (HMI) project representing the setting and monitoring of the bake time on an oven with the use of ActiveX controls. You will add a Menu bar to your application and write code to simulate rotating fan blades.

Chapter 6 - Alarming application. With the use of the Watchpoint method for the In-Gear32 ActiveX control or OCX you will monitor words and bits in the PLC for a change of state. With this change of state you can trigger an alarm indicator.

Chapter 7 - Error Handling. In this chapter you will be shown how to write code to handle errors such as loss of communication with the PLC, reading or writing to non-existent PLC addresses, or numerous other factors.

Chapter 8 - A tank process application. This is where you will learn to use additional ActiveX controls and graphics to display data read from the PLC. This application will also monitor selectable Watchpoints and these events will trigger alarm indicators.

Chapter 9 - A database application. This chapter shows you how to setup a database in a MS Access file format using the Visual Basic sample application VisData. You will create a simple form to display the data from the Access database and learn how to add and link forms with menus.

Chapter 10 - A boiler application. Here you will create a HMI project depicting a boiler application. Learn to use a Strip Chart control, trend the Setpoint and Process Variable versus Time. You will also setup a DDE link to a MS Excel spreadsheet to log Setpoint, Process Variable, and Fuel consumption values. Then create a chart with these values displayed.

Chapter 11 - Distributing your applications. This chapter will walk you through the steps on how to use the Visual Basic Setup Wizard, which will build distributable disks of one of your projects.

Chapter 12 - Creating Help files. Here you will be shown how to create word (.doc) files that will be converted to .rtf (rich text format) files that can be compiled as (.hlp) help files. You will then use the Microsoft Help Compiler to build your help files and install them into an application.

Chapter 13 - Finishing the HMI/SCADA application. Here you will put it all together to build a more complete Visual Basic HMI application. You will use the Application Wizard to create the project. The result will be an application that has an HMI similar to the Tank project with Database Forms for displaying logged events generated by the PLC, with a Help file.

Chapter 14 - Using the ActiveX Control Pad. In this chapter the student will create several Layout files with an alx extension and insert them into HTML web pages using the ActiveX Control Pad. The student will learn how to write VBScript to manipulate ActiveX controls at run time using the VBScript Wizard in a HTML page.

Appendix A - Settings for GE, Modicon, & Omron PLC's. 

Appendix B - Ladder Logic used in this book.

Appendix C - Shortcut keys and Function Keys.

248 illustrated pages that walk you through step by step procedures to creating Visual Basic applications that are practical and useful. By the time you get to Chapter 13 you will have an application with Splash screens, About screens, Help files and the main HMI that logs data to a database. You will be using the best instrumentation ActiveX controls by GlobalMajic Software, the most widely accepted industrial graphics by Reichard Software, and the industry standard communication drivers by Cimquest Inc.

About the author

Jeff Weigant has been teaching industrial skills for over 14 years. Jeff has taught Allen-Bradley and GE PLC programming in industry, trade schools and in his own business, IndustrialVB. Jeff has spent his whole career around industrial electronics in a variety of settings, from military, to naval/marine electronics, to industrial automated manufacturing systems.

Some of the languages Jeff has worked with and taught include: AB 6200 Series PLC5, AB APS 500, ICOM SLC500 & PLC5, RS500, Panel Builder 550 & 900, AB GML, GE Series 90-30/90-70 PLC, RSView32, and GE Fanuc Cimplicity.

Jeff has also written student workbooks for PLC's, Variable Frequency Drives (VFD's) , other Human Machine Interface (HMI) courses.