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brianafischer

Supplies for the Common Controls Engineer?

69 posts in this topic

I find a Van De Graff generator to be far more useful. (especially at solving the problem mentioned by ECSI and beegee) Edited by Alaric

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It's interesting that none of you have have mentioned a "bike cable" and lock, for fastening your notebook to a building column or some other permanent structure. You must work in safer plants than I do! I've been places where, if you walk away from your notebook to use the bathroom, you should expect not to return to it

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I carry the usual assortment of cables for my PLC. I find that a leatherman and a swiss army knife will get me into most cabinets. I have a Fluke 189 meter. I bought this model a little over a year ago to replace my aging 87 series. This upgrade has been helpful in that I can datalog on it and upload to my laptop. I work in a plant and sometimes travel to other plants. Because of this I have developed habits when it comes to tools I may have to drop in a bag and carry or sit in roll around tool box at work. (yes I am to cheap to buy two sets of tools) I buy tools in sets. I like them to have their own case or bag. I now prefer Wahi screwdrivers to Klien. (pet peeve is a stripped screw) A 1/4" wratchet set with a tip set similar to the Harbor Freight listed above. A RPM /Tempature measuring tool. (just got this a few moths ago and I really like it) Several sets of channel locks (I think the proper name is adjustable pliers) Several sizes of cresent wrenches ( proper name I think is adjustble wrench) Wire strippers, crimpers and needle nose pliers. I have found over the years if you are traveling it is almost impossible to carry everything you will need. I have made tools in the field and it always bothers me to take a good tool and butcher it to get one job done (I think having to buy a replacement is what gets me).

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I hope that includes both metric and English! I carry only a few basic hand tools. If I can't get the job done with basic tools, it's a job that the plant's maintenance department should also be involved in. A lot of what I do involves serial communications. I have a set of short leads for DSub connectors, of the type you can insert/extract pins. Male to male, female to female and male to female along with 9 pin, 15 pin and 25 pin male and female shells. With them I can quickly make up a serial cable in any configuration I need. Edited by Steve Bailey

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Its the left hand right hand versions that get me.

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I see different brands of screwdrivers mentioned but not electric screwdrivers. Some of the people I work with have rejected the use of them until they tried it. They are especially useful for wiring or unwiring entire panels. We use Milwaukee brand though other manufacturers make the same style.

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Maybe we should split this topic in two topics: one for people who have to go on intervention by car/van/truck and one for the people like me who have to travell light (by plane, subjected to the security rules today) I'd like to take an electric screwdriver, complete screwdriver set, hammer, ethernet hub, 1( different connection cables, some RS232/422 converters, all kinds of loggers,... but weight and size prevent me from doing so. So we need a special subset of (typically expensive) light and small tools. regards

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Yet another reason I do not miss being the traveling repairman. I still have to travel some with the company I work for now but I usually know ahead of time what I am going to be getting into so I can pack accordingly. So staying under 50 lbs is usually easy. Things I always carry: Laptop with freshly burned backup CD USB drives for storing programs and transfering them to other computers. Leatherman and swiss army knife Flashlight Very basic wrench and screwdriver set. Kinda OT but, anybody ever have there tool box lost by the airline? Had mine lost once and the agent said " buy what you need at the local hardware store and we will remburse you." I did ask her which Hardware Store sold industrial tools and got a blank stare for my efforts. Best part: I had landed in San Degio and the job was in Tequana. Needless to say, that was a real fun trip

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I use re-usable cable ties for my cables. USB hub is essential. Bluetooth serial ports are also essential - cannot do without them. Have 4 now and go online to 4 PLCs - or more if networked - and walk around with the laptop over the arm - or go outside for a smoke and still online. No cables for bumble footed people to fall over either.

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I also take along a little toggle switch box I made myself. To flag inputs if needed.

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Please explain this topology for me. I'm not familiar with it. You are sending your serial (RS-232?) data to a bluetooth wireless 'modem', which would be what kind of device? brand, model? Do you use the same device on the PC end? What kind of range to you get? Do the bluetooth devices just forward whatever bit stream they receive, or do you have to somehow configure the bluetooth adapter for the serial setup - baud rate, # of bits, stop bits, Is the wireless link reliale enough to use for programming, or just monitoring? Dan

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It is a bluetooth to rs232 converter and back (Omron sells this in Europe but it is a rebrand)

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Yes. You can use any Bluetooth USB device - most appear to be re-badged Widcomm as is the one from Logitech for their Bluetooth mouse/keyboard combos. The one Omron sell is also a Widcomm. The Bluetooth serial ports are Promi. They are not re-badged just sold as they are. I bought the lot from Omron here in Ozz - easier than chasing all over the place for gear although cost a bit more. Explanation Dan, USB Bluetooth dongle in computer - see above. Promi Bluetooth serial port in RS232 port in PLC. You set the serial port up to "pair lock" with the USB dongle as, say, com 6. Then set up the PLC serial port for 8, 1, none - in the case of Omron I run at 115kbaud. I also use Omron's Toolbus protocol. This allows the connected PLC to act as a "gateway" to all other PLCs on the network, if there is one. The serial port requires to have 5 VDC on, I think, pin 9. However, there is a side plug supplied where you could power the device with a separate power supply. Your PLC software would also have to be set up to 8, 1, none. The 4 Promis I have are set to com 6, com 7, com 8 and com 9. Each USB dongle will support up to 7 Promi serial ports. The USB dongle grabs com 5 to make itself into a pseudo serial port. Range is up to 120 metres with the latest Bluetooth technology. However, that is in absolutely perfect conditions. I have been reliably running, connected to 4 PLCs, at a range of about 30 metres. Have not really tried any further. Yes, I do use the setup to online program the PLCs. By using the serial port on the Omron CJ1 processor to connect to an Omron NS series HMI one should be able to set up a serial card for the Promi and use the pass through function to also program the screen from far away by the same method. Have not tried this yet but may get to soon.

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I use ziplock bags. Keeps them from getting tangled

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Here's one that hasn't been mentioned yet, I don't think. for those of you that deal with A-B panelviews, you NEED a PCMCIA Flash ATA memory card. Yeah, there are other ways of transferring a file to a panelview, but by far, the memory card is the quickest and most reliable. Do it once and you won't ever want to fool with pass-through or a serial cable again. (BTW.. If you want to get one, make sure it says "ATA" on the card or it won't work. There are cards that look identical but follow a different standard (I think it's called "databook") and can't be used this way.)

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When doing work south of the US border or some over seas work. We do not bring any hand tools. We instead buy (and charge them to the job) the real inexpensive hand tools. We then send them with the job. When the job is done we give them away to the skilled trades that helped us on location. The next time you have to call on these locations you are king SH** with them and your work gets done quickly. Bud

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That sounds like a really good plan. Nothing beats the gratitude and support of local tradesmen. Here's another "travel essential", if you work with A-B stuff: an A126 key (for PLC-5, panelview "e", maybe others), a D018 key (for the 800T keyswitch.. 99% of them use the default D018) and a SLC key. I've also got a Robotron key on my keychain, even though I don't deal with welders that much anymore! Edited by gravitar

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Plenty of Mountain Dew for those long nights troubleshooting to make sure the plant is up and running on Monday morning. I keep my cables in file folders, the accordian type with sides that expand. I put the ones I need in my laptop bag when I leave the office, and when I get back it's back into the file cabinet. Good thing about file folders is you can label the folder, and you'll know when one of your cables has been 'borrowed'. I keep mine broken into folders based on manufacturer and device type. Like the 'Mitsubishi PLC' folder has an SC09, FX-USB-AW, and SC-Q, along with a standard USB cable with the square end for the PLC. The 'Mitsubishi HMI' folder includes a CAB5, CAB30, and FX-232CAB-1. Years ago at a previous company I bought a tripod laptop stand. I found a similar one at www.tabelz.com, but can't locate the more rugged one I had before. Looked almost like a surveyor's stand.

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With a little bit of practice this will get you into most cabinets. http://www.southord.com/images/fullsize/JPXS-6.jpg

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LOL I think you are looking for the Supplies for common burglar topic ?

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We use this from Phoenix Contact. It looks less conspicuous when we have to get into a cabinet.

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Yep, got that one too. Had one from Rittal which looks nice, but in fact is a piece of c r a p.

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No, believe it or not, these are legal to own by the average citizen, and quite easy to learn how to use to open most simple locks like you'd find in a PLC cabinet, filing cabinet and the like. What else are you going to do if no one has the key anymore? I have one of those in my bag as well as a much larger kit, remember, it's not the tools that makes the crime, it's the usage.

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Almost forgot.. This is what I use to get into enclosures. It is just a $1 craftsman keychain screwdriver with one side ground back so that it'll reach into the recessed slot of a disconnect handle. Lucky for me, 99% of the time I work with NEMA enclosures so I don't need that funky square-drive key for the euro-style boxes!

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this will be ideal tool

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