I was looking for a ready made timer for a hydroponic system I'm tinkering with and came across some el-cheapo PLCs on Amazon, and figured this would work lots better than a timer that would need a lot of additional circuitry to adapt.
The catch is that they mention a programming software that is from Mitsubishi and costs $500+ . After looking around I found some cheaper alternatives but with more expensive hardware, Further searching led to an open-source software, but I'm ignorant of all the standards and protocols they are mentioning.
Is there a newbie group for this sort of thing? I see a lot of "home automation," but they want cell-phone control plug-in stuff and it is still costly.
I'm used to BASIC software for control applications, and most of the PLCs use relay logic and I've used the "Automate" PLC in the 70's when they were huge beasts - but easy to program with relay logic. For the hydro, I only need relay or OC outputs and switch inputs, nothing fancy. Initially I'm only controlling lights, hi/lo temperature switch, hi/low nutrient switches, and switching a pump on and off.