Frequently Asked Questions


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About our PLC/SCADA Online Courses

Do I get to practice with any PLC/SCADA programming software on the online PLC/SCADA Programming Courses?

Yes, with each online Courses, we supply you with access to a PLC or SCADA Programming Tool which allows you to run the software through your PC or Laptop. On selected courses such as our PLC Programming Series and our Allen Bradley Programming Series, you will also be given access to a Live PLC where you will be able to design, download and test your programs in real-time, this is to give you the practical experience in working with PLCs.


Once I've enrolled on an online PLC/SCADA Programming Course, how do I access my course?

Upon completion of purchase, you will be able to login to your personalised MyScantime account via the Email and Password that you chose during the purchase of the  course(s). From your MyScantime account you will also be able to access your course(s) from your Course Library, you will also be able to contact your personal Course Tutor and stay up to date with the Scantime News Feed provided free of charge.


Are there any time limits on the online PLC/SCADA Programming Courses?

Currently, the PLC Programming Series and the Siemens Programming Series both have 365-day time limits due to the eLP2 (eLearning Platform 2) however, this can be extended year on year to ensure that your skills are fully maintained to help secure your career in engineering. The Allen Bradley Programming Series and the SCADA Programming Series currently have no time limits. Once enrolled you will be given access to your course 24/7 so that you can study and practice programming online or offline whenever you wish, at a time and place that's entirely flexible to suit you.


Do I receive a certificate upon completion of my online PLC/SCADA Programming Course(s)?

As with all of our Scantime online Courses, upon completion of each Module, you will receive a certificate as proof of completion. Our certificates are recognised by major companies worldwide and in an increasingly competitive environment, this will assist in impressing your current/potential employers.


What do I need to enroll on an online PLC/SCADA Programming Course?

The materials needed to take part in a online PLC/SCADA Programming Course are shown below: 

  • A PC/Laptop (Microsoft, Apple, Linux), Tablet (iPad etc.) or Mobile Device (iPhone etc.) with a sufficient internet connection.
  • An e-mail account for Course Tutor contact and support.


Is there someone I can contact if I'm struggling to understand a topic?

Yes, once you are enrolled on an online PLC/SCADA Programming course, you will be assigned a Course Tutor, who will be available to help on any topic or assignment that you don’t understand completely. They will work with you throughout the training to make sure that you achieve the most from our courses. You can contact your Course Tutor through your MyScantime account or via e-mail which will be provided during the start of your course. Our Course Tutors have up to 45 years of experience in key industries worldwide and are directed by our Head Course Tutor, Dave, who is also working in our Automation Design Dept. that is currently working on projects in the Oil & Gas, Chemical, Aerospace and other industries.


About our Hands-on EAL PLC IMFFP Courses

How often do you run your Hands-on EAL PLC Industrial Maintenance & Fault Finding Professional courses?

Due to demand, we are currently running these courses weekly at our Training Centre, which is why we recommend booking training at least a month in advance to ensure you can get a seat on the course.


Do I recieve certification on a Hands-on EAL PLC Industrial Maintenance & Fault Finding Professional courses?

Yes, with each EAL PLC IMFFP training course, you will recieve 3 certificates. The first certificate will be an EAL Certificate of Achievement and the other two certificates will be a Scantime Certificate of Completion for each Module (1&2).


Are there any assessments on a Hands-on EAL PLC Industrial Maintenance & Fault Finding Professional course?

Yes, there is an assessment upon completion of each day, this assessment is to ensure that you have a full understanding of what has been taught. If you have any incorrect answers on the assessment, a Course Tutor will highlight these and work with you privately to help you understand your mistakes.


Can I attend for 4 days instead of a 5-day Hands-on EAL PLC Industrial Maintenance & Fault Finding Professional course?

Yes, if you attend the 4 days of training, you will be required to attend evening classes which run for approximately 1 hour each night, this is to ensure we cover all topics on the Friday session.


What do I get on a Hands-on EAL PLC Industrial Maintenance & Fault Finding Professional courses?

Every student is given their own Training Station to work on throughout the week, this Training Station is equipped with a Laptop, PLC Programming Software and a SCADA System. You will also be given a Logbook for each day which you will complete throughout the training course, this can then be taken home with yourself upon completion of the training course for future reference along with PDF copies of the course manuals.


Are meals provided on a Hands-on EAL PLC Industrial Maintenance & Fault Finding Professional courses?

Yes, at Scantime, we have an onsite Cafe that provides hot meals throughout the week which is free-of-charge to yourself, you will also be able to help yourself to soft-drinks, tea's and coffee's.


General PLC/SCADA/HMI Questions

What is a Programmable Logic Controller?

A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a specialised, robust Industrial Computer, used for Automation and Machine Processes. A PLC monitors Input and Output signals and then makes decisions based on Logic which has been developed and downloaded by the user (Programmer).


What is an HMI?

An HMI is Human Machine Interface. It is a graphical terminal which can also be touch screen, similar to a tablet. HMIs are connected to PLCs which control a manufacturing process. The HMI graphically displays the production process and allows the operators and engineers to interact/control the process.


Is it OK to control factory equipment using SET instructions in place of normal Output Coils as I find them easy to use?

They might be easy to use, but in a real industrial application you could design a very dangerous program. A few years ago an engineer nearly killed another engineer when his design ran out of control as he had littered his program with SET and RESET. I personally have been designing PLC control systems and working on PLCs since 1982 and never use SET to directly control equipment.

Real PLC programs controlling manufacturing processes are nothing like what you might create at home as a hobby or at college/university. These programs are fro basic, small applications and are usually less than 30-50 networks, a real industrial PLC controlled process can have several hundred networks and can even run into several thousand. We recently wecompleted a design of a process and its PLC program reached well over 14,000 Steps, if we used SET and RESET to control all of its Valves and Pumps we could end up losing control and resulting in a very dangerous design, also since we were working with pressures exceeding 40,000 PSI this can cause a lot of damage and you do not want to be responsible for that.

Remember professional PLC designers take many years to learn industrial program design, which is why they are paid a great deal. They know that if they design a program badly, the consequences can be disastrous and also threaten their livelihood.

It's OK for college and university small projects in a lab, but never in industry.


How do I connect an HMI to a PLC?

This is usually done via an RS232/RS485/Industrial Eithernet communications cable, there will be a port on the HMI for the communications cable to be plugged into, and we then connect the other end to the communications port of a PLC. You will also have to program the HMI to collect signals and data used in the PLC and graphically display the process signal states and values, such as; temperatures, pressures, speeds etc.


How do I program a Siemens LOGO! PLC?

A Siemens LOGO! PLC can be programmed in Ladder logic, however its main programming language is Logic Block programming, similar to FBD (Function Block Diagram) Programming. The Siemens LOGO! PLC is designed for basic automation control and programs tend to be small compared to that of a larger PLC.


Should I replace a Siemens S5 PLC?

Replacing a Siemens S5 PLC depends on if the machine/process that it is controlling is extremely important to your company and if you have limited to no spares available. If so, you should think about having the machine/process upgraded to a newer PLC as the Siemens S5 PLC has been obsolete for many years and spares are difficult to come by. We have a client who had a Siemens S5 PLC which was used on a front line production machine, there were no program backups and no spares, so it was decided to replace the Siemens S5 PLC with a newer PLC and to have a new program designed from scratch. The machine now works great.


Can I replace a 16-way Output Card with Dual Input/Output Card on our Siemens S7-300 PLC?

Yes you can. Siemens allocate 32 Bits to every IO slot on their S7-300 Series PLC, however you should first check the setup in your Hardware Configuration, look at the slot for your 16 way card to see what addressing is being used, if it is in Slot 4 for example, then the address of those inputs should show 0-1, which is I0.0 - I0.7 and I1.0 - I1.7.

Replacing this Input Card with a Dual I/O Card would mean that your Outputs would also be Q0.0 - Q0.7 and Q1.0 - Q1.7.

Check all of other Output Cards and ensure you are not using that address range, in which case you should be fine. Don't forget to also check that the Dual card is available in your Hardware Catalog, this can be found in the SM300 folder (DI/DO). Remember to backup your program before changing hardware, and remember that you will need to download the new Hardware Configuration changes to the PLC.


Do all Siemens S7-300 CPU's support Force?>

No, some of the S7-314IFM Series don't support Force while the S7-315, 312 and 313, 319 do, there maybe some others which we are unaware of, however checking the CPU manuals will more often than not tell you whether your CPU can or can't Force.


Can I use my PLC to directly monitor our machine Emergency Stop's and shutdown the machine when they are activated?>

No, this is unsafe, you should not use a normal PLC to control safety. Emergency Stop's have to be used alongside Safety Relays (Pilz, SICK etc.


How do I identify addressing on a Keyence PLC?

Good question, unlike other PLCs that use identifiers such as Siemens (I and Q), the Keyence address identifier for Inputs and Outputs are the same using the letter R. Inputs start at lower addressing area R000 while the Outputs start from R500.

You need to check the Hardware configuration in the software to identify each card address allocation. Each card is also identified with colours and then shows the address range for that card. Blue is for the Inputs and Green is for the Outputs. If the first card is a Dual Card (16 Inputs and 8 Outputs), then the 16 Inputs are addressed from R000 - R015 and the 8 Outputs are addressed from R500 - R507.

Note, if the hardware appears to look like a photo of the PLC you are in Bitmap mode, there is an icon on the left-top toolbar, click this and the hardware changes to the normal Colour Codes and Addressing.

Keyence is a Far-East PLC, and you can switch the program to XY Mode, when this is selected, all of the addressing changes to the Mitsubishi FX PLC, then you can easily identify Inputs (X) from Outputs (Y), however you do get used to using the R addressing after a while.