You have taken classes on electricity and electronics and you can explain the basics of that subject to a colleague; if not, then you are not in this category. If you can discuss basic electricity and electronics with accuracy, then you can skip step one below and start with step two.
1. Basic Electricity and Magnetism These lectures, free to the public on our YouTube channel, will provide a basic understanding of electricity. You can access these lectures under the Classrooms tab in RM 101. You need this knowledge as the foundation to comprehend the concepts of programmable logic controllers. If you have no interest in the subjects discussed in this set of lectures, controls engineering/maintenance is probably something that you do not want to pursue.
2. Introduction To PLC Lectures This set of lectures requires a fundamental understanding of electricity and magnetism. You can access these lectures under the Classrooms tab in RM 102.These lectures are free to the public on our YouTube channel. At some point in your progression, you will realize whether or not you have an affinity for this subject. At that juncture, take the next step below and continue watching the lectures in sequence. A hard copy of these lectures and some additional lectures not on YouTube can be purchased.
3. Purchase the Complete PLCLearn Series lab project manual.
4. Choose one of the three possibilities for a lab setup to complete the lab project manual that you just purchased.
a. Use the free version of 500 Emulate which facilitates a virtual Micrologix1000 in your computer's memory. The upside is that it is available free; the downside is that you will have to find it on the Rockwell Automation website and you will have to sort out any challenges that occur with your laptop and operating system.
c. The third choice is to build your own lab station and buy the cable mentioned above.
5. Start at the beginning of the lab project manual, follow the instructions and watch the appropriate lab discussion lectures after most of the projects. You can access these lectures under the Classrooms tab in RM 103, RM 104 and RM 106. You can also purchase a hard copy of these discussions.
6. Watch the lectures in the other classrooms as you will, such as RM 103 on hardware and software. Once you have completed this entire series, then you are ready to consider RSLogix5000 for which there is no free software and the hardware is much more expensive. For this reason...expense, RS500 is the perfect starting place.