Programmable Controllers (PLC)

I.     Course Prefix/Number: MFG 240

       Course Name: Programmable Controllers (PLC)

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 3 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Knowledge of basic electricity is required.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

This course teaches the fundamentals of programmable controllers (PLC) systems. Content include: Control system power distribution wiring, sensors and air valve interfaces, discrete I/O interface circuits, flow charting and state diagrams of machine sequences, ladder logic programming, machine diagnostic programming and HMI display programming. Labs are taught using the Allen Bradley SLC-500 controllers. All programs are written using RSLogix 500 software.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Students will learn I/O interfacing between the PLC controller and devices such as switches, proximity switches, limit switches, lamps, solenoids, valves, and other control devices. Once the hardware design is complete and understood, students will be instructed in how to write ladder logic programs to control the machine in a safe and efficient manner. In addition the student will be instructed in writing diagnostic programs to monitor the machine and control program to find faults and prompt the operator as to what went wrong.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Class #1:
Introduction to control system wiring and ladder logic wiring diagrams, binary mathematics and number systems, I/O (input and output) types, modules and wiring concepts.

Class #2:
Introduction to ladder rung logic statements, processor I/O scan sequences, processor memory and file layout, power wiring to the processor.

Class #3:
Introduction to flow charting and creating state diagrams for mechanism sequences, converting these to ladder logic programs, a simple machine program, the use of latched and unlatched output instructions to keep track of a mechanisms progress during a program.  Introduction to RSLogix 500 software and the students first Lab Project.

Class #4:
Introduction to timer functions and their use in ladder programs. Example programs using timers instructions for pulse generation, delaying functions, extending pulse size, anti-tie down protection in machine operation.  Lab projects.

Class #5:
Introduction to counter instructions and their use in ladder programs. Example programs using counters to extend long time accumulations, counting to a set value, changing count values as part of the program function. Lab projects.

Class #6:
First test and lab projects.

Class #7:
Introduction to manually activated machine control programming. Example programs for controlling single cycle operation, ant-tie down requirements to meet OSHA requirements. Lab projects. First Group project assigned.

Class #8:
Introduction to continuously running machines or processes. Start up and shut down safety sequences to meet OSHA requirements, introduction to the 3 state machine concept and ladder subroutines. Lab Projects.

Class #9:
Data control and handling in process control programs. Introduction to bit shift and FIFO instructions. Example program using a word shift register to accumulate data as a product moves down an assembly line and using that accumulated data to make sorting decisions at the end of the line. Lab Projects.

Class #10:
Introduction to math instructions, data move instructions for down loading menus or recipes. Introduction to sequencer instructions. Example programs using a sequencer instruction to control a machine in manual or setup mode.  Lab Project. Second Group project assigned.

Class #11:
Second Test, lab projects.

Class #12:
Introduction to Diagnostic programming techniques. Designing ladder rungs to monitor  processes, prompt operators for problems and warnings, setting up the man / machine interface, introduction to display devices. Lab Projects.

Class #13:
Introduction to Panel View Terminal programming concepts, display setup for man / machine interface, introduction to tag lists and the panel builder software.

Class #14:
Lab projects

Class #15:
Lab projects

Class #16:
Final test and all lab projects are due.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classroom discussions, handout materials, lab projects.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Will be determined by instructor
Attendance required for success
Handouts: Sample programs and Student Lab Manuals.
Lab projects.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  • Programmable Controllers using the Allen Bradley SLC 500 Family
  • ISBN: 0-13-096208-2

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Instruction will be in a lecture/lab format with time in class to work on projects and homework assignments. Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course any late submissions will incur a 10% late fee.
A 90%
B 80%
C 70%
D 60%
F Below 60%

Attendance 10%

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.