Hello World for OpenPLC and Modbus on Windows SoftPLC

01 Mar 2019 | Two-minute read

My explorations into PLC runtimes has taken me to discover OpenPLC. The goal of this post is to explain how I was able to deploy a “Hello World” project running on the Windows SoftPLC and connected to a Modbus client.

To get started, I followed the Creating You First Project and deployed to the SoftPLC running on my machine. However, when I created the project, I used a different mapping for the IO so that I would be able to control them from Python.

Name Location Alternative Location
PB1 %IX0.0 %QX0.1
PB2 %IX0.1 %QX0.2
LED %IX0.0 %QX0.0 (unchanged)

As above, this maps all items to coils that support both read and write.

The next step is to connect to it via Modbus. To do this, I write a simple Modbus client using pymodbus.

from pymodbus.client.sync import ModbusTcpClient as ModbusClient
import time

client = ModbusClient('localhost', port=502)


# Get the initial state
rr = client.read_coils(0, 1, unit=unit)
print("Initial LED output: " + str(rr.getBit(0)))

client.write_coil(1, True, unit=unit)
print("Pressed PB1 - turn on LED")

client.write_coil(1, False, unit=unit)
print("Unpressed PB1")

rr = client.read_coils(0, 1, unit=unit)
print("LED output after pressing PB1: " + str(rr.getBit(0)))

client.write_coil(2, True, unit=unit)
print("Pressed PB2 - reset")

client.write_coil(2, False, unit=unit)
print("Unpressed PB2")

rr = client.read_coils(0, 1, unit=unit)
print("LED output after pressing PB2 (reset): " + str(rr.getBit(0)))


Running that with Python produces the expected output:

python .\mobus-client.py
Initial LED output: False
Pressed PB1 - turn on LED
Unpressed PB1
LED output after pressing PB1: True
Pressed PB2 - reset
Unpressed PB2
LED output after pressing PB2 (reset): False