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I have been a commercial electrician for about 11 years doing new construction and maintenance. My question is I am looking into getting into more industrial type of work and was wondering if I can get some advice on programmable logic controllers, I am ok at troubleshooting control circuits and installing them but not to good with computers. Every job opening I look into industrial work ask for some c experience, so is it hard to learn?
 

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Ladder logic is not at all hard to learn for an electrician. It's almost exactly like reading prints (or making new prints, in the case of programming). Most PLC's are programmed via ladder logic. There are some routines written in structured text, that is a lot like C, but it's something you may never run into. Function block would be another type of routine that's not ladder logic. For the most part, though, once you figure out how to navigate around in whatever software the particular controller uses, you should be right at home with ladder logic if you're strong with prints. Probably ought to look around for some local community colleges and tech schools to see if they have a PLC class you can take. If this is what's keeping you from the next step in your career, it sorta looks like you should take a class. Fake it 'till you make it, after that.
 

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MDShunk said:
Ladder logic is not at all hard to learn for an electrician. It's almost exactly like reading prints (or making new prints, in the case of programming). Most PLC's are programmed via ladder logic. There are some routines written in structured text, that is a lot like C, but it's something you may never run into. Function block would be another type of routine that's not ladder logic. For the most part, though, once you figure out how to navigate around in whatever software the particular controller uses, you should be right at home with ladder logic if you're strong with prints. Probably ought to look around for some local community colleges and tech schools to see if they have a PLC class you can take. If this is what's keeping you from the next step in your career, it sorta looks like you should take a class. Fake it 'till you make it, after that.
I am good at reading wiring diagrams, modifying and designing my own in some cases. It's the computer part that scares me lol I am so use to hands on and getting dirty, i do not use a computer a whole lot other than using email etc.
 

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I am good at reading wiring diagrams, modifying and designing my own in some cases. It's the computer part that scares me lol I am so use to hands on and getting dirty, i do not use a computer a whole lot other than using email etc.
Well, then you're not alone, but at a disadvantage. Take a class. Learn to navigate around in RSLogix or Proficy or whatever and get a job. FIgure out the rest on the job.
 

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I agree with MDShunk. Ladder logic is not all that different than ladder diagrams. Take a class; check with your local community college.

We use primarily GE Proficy at our company; we also have some Siemens too, but I think Allen Bradley RSLogix is more common. If you have a particular employer in mind, you should find out what they use. A class will be much more beneficial if it's the same software, although you may not really have much choice and any class is better than none.

If you then choose to follow the "fake it 'till you make it" advice, I just wouldn't tell a prospective employer that you can write programs, but saying you can use the computer to troubleshoot and make minor changes wouldn't be that far of a stretch. However, your apprehension of computers in general is a little unsettling but getting some experience is the only way to learn and become more comfortable.
 
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