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PLECS Blockset: How to Get Started with Electrical Circuit Simulation in MATLAB and Simulink


How to Download and Install PLECS Blockset License File




PLECS Blockset is a powerful tool for modeling and simulating electrical circuits and systems in MATLAB and Simulink. It allows you to create complex models using graphical components and run fast and accurate simulations using various solvers. In this article, you will learn what PLECS Blockset is, how to download and install it on your computer, and how to license it or use it in demo mode.




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What is PLECS Blockset?




PLECS stands for Piecewise Linear Electrical Circuit Simulation. It is a software developed by Plexim, a company that specializes in simulation software for power electronics and electrical engineering. PLECS Blockset is one of the products offered by Plexim, along with PLECS Standalone, PLECS Coder, PLECS PIL, and RT Box.


PLECS Blockset is an extension for MATLAB and Simulink that enables you to model and simulate electrical circuits and systems using graphical blocks. You can use PLECS blocks to create circuit diagrams, control systems, state machines, thermal models, magnetic models, and more. You can also use PLECS blocks together with Simulink blocks to integrate electrical models with other domains such as mechanical, hydraulic, or thermal.


PLECS Blockset offers several features that make it a powerful and versatile tool for electrical engineering. Some of these features are:


PLECS Blockset Features




  • A large library of electrical components, such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, switches, diodes, transistors, transformers, converters, motors, generators, sensors, etc.



  • A flexible solver engine that supports different types of solvers (fixed-step, variable-step, implicit, explicit) and different levels of accuracy (ideal, piecewise linear, nonlinear).



  • A user-friendly interface that allows you to build models using drag-and-drop operations, edit parameters using dialogs or scripts, view simulation results using scopes or plots, and debug models using breakpoints or probes.



  • A seamless integration with MATLAB and Simulink that allows you to use MATLAB functions and variables in your models, access Simulink features such as scopes or data logging, and generate code for embedded systems using Simulink Coder.



  • A compatibility with other Plexim products that allows you to use PLECS Coder to generate standalone C code from your models, use PLECS PIL to run hardware-in-the-loop simulations with real-time targets such as RT Box or TI C2000 microcontrollers, and use PLECS Standalone to run simulations without MATLAB or Simulink.



PLECS Blockset Requirements




To use PLECS Blockset, you need to have MATLAB and Simulink installed on your computer. The minimum MATLAB version required is R2016a (9.0), but newer versions are recommended for better performance and compatibility. The minimum Simulink version required is 8.6. You also need a license file (*.lic) for PLECS Blockset that determines which products and features will be enabled. You can obtain a license file from Plexim or request a trial or student license.


How to Download PLECS Blockset Package File




To install PLECS Block set Package File


To install PLECS Blockset, you need to download the appropriate package file for your platform and MATLAB version from the Plexim website. The package file contains all the files for the following PLECS products: PLECS Blockset, PLECS Coder, PLECS PIL. Your license file determines which products will be enabled. The table below shows the platforms and MATLAB versions currently supported by PLECS Blockset.


Platform MATLAB version File name --- --- --- Microsoft Windows 64-bit 9.2 .. 9.14 plecs-blockset-4-7-3_win64.exe Mac / Intel 64-bit 9.2 .. 9.14 plecs-blockset-4-7-3_maci64.dmg Linux / Intel 64-bit 9.2 .. 9.14 plecs-blockset-4-7-3_linux64.tar.gz After you download the package file, follow the install instructions for your operating system below.


How to Install PLECS Blockset on Different Operating Systems




The installation process of PLECS Blockset varies depending on your operating system. In general, you need to run the installer executable or application, copy or choose a license file, and review the MATLAB search path. The following sections provide more details for each operating system.


Installing PLECS Blockset on Windows




If you already have a license file (*.lic) for PLECS, copy it to your hard disk. Run the installer executable by double-clicking it. PLECS can be installed for the current user or for all users of a computer. To install PLECS for all users, the installer must be executed with administrator privileges.


After the installer has finished, it will automatically start the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard. If you need to start the wizard manually at a later time, you will find a shortcut in the "PLECS Blockset" folder in the Windows Start menu.


On the License File page, you can choose to keep an existing license file, copy a new license file from your hard disk, or request a trial or student license. Review the MATLAB Search Path page and click Continue.


Start MATLAB and enter plecslib or choose the entry PLECS in the Simulink Library Browser to open the PLECS Library.


See a video on how to install PLECS Blockset on a Windows operating system here.


Installing PLECS Blockset on Mac OS X




If you already have a license file (*.lic) for PLECS, copy it to your hard disk. Open the downloaded disk image by double-clicking it and copy the folder PLECS Blockset (x.y) to the Application folder or to another location of your choice.


Run the application PLECS.app inside the folder PLECS Blockset (x.y) by double-clicking it. This will start the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard.


On the License File page, you can choose to keep an existing license file, copy a new license file from your hard disk, or request a trial or student license. Review the MATLAB Search Path page and click Continue.


Start MATLAB and enter plecslib or choose the entry PLECS in the Simulink Library Browser to open the PLECS Library.


See a video on how to install PLECS Blockset on a Mac operating system here.


Installing PLECS Blockset on Linux




If you already have a license file (*.lic) for PLECS, copy it to your hard disk. Open a terminal and expand the package file plecs-x-y-z_linux64.tar.gz by entering the command tar -xvf plecs-x-y-z_linux64.tar.gz in a directory of your choice.


Still within the terminal, execute the program PLECS.setup inside the folder plecs/bin/glnxa64. This will start the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard.


On the License File page, you can choose to keep an existing license file, copy a new license file from your hard disk, or request a trial or student license. Review the MATLAB Search Path page and click Continue.


Start MATLAB and enter plecslib or choose the entry PLECS in the Simulink Library Browser to open the PLECS Library.


How to License PLECS Blockset and Use Demo Mode




To use PLECS Blockset, you need a valid license file (*.lic) that matches your computer name and the PLECS products you want to use. You can obtain a license file from Plexim or request a trial or student license. You can also use PLECS in demo mode without a license file, but with some limitations. The following sections explain how to choose or copy a license file, how to request a trial or student license, and how to start PLECS in demo mode.


How to Choose or Copy a License File




If you already have a license file for PLECS, you can choose it or copy it during the installation process, as described in the previous sections. You can also choose or copy a license file after the installation, by running the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard again. You can find a shortcut to the wizard in the "PLECS Blockset" folder in the Windows Start menu, in the folder PLECS Blockset (x.y) on Mac OS X, or in the folder plecs/bin/glnxa64 on Linux.


On the License File page, you can browse your hard disk for an existing license file, or copy a new license file from another location. The wizard will check if the license file is valid and matches your computer name. If the license file is invalid or does not match your computer name, you will see an error message and you will not be able to continue.


If you do not have a license file for PLECS, you can request a trial or student license, or use PLECS in demo mode.


How to Request a Trial or Student License




If you want to try PLECS Blockset for a limited period of time, or if you are a student who wants to use PLECS Blockset for educational purposes, you can request a trial or student license from Plexim. To do so, you need to run the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard and select the option "Request Trial License" or "Request Student License" on the License File page.


You will need to provide some information about yourself and your computer, such as your name, email address, institution, computer name, and host ID. The wizard will generate an email with this information and open your default email client. You can then send the email to Plexim at sales@plexim.com (for trial licenses) or support@plexim.com (for student licenses).


Plexim will review your request and send you back a license file (*.lic) by email. You can then copy this license file to your hard disk and choose it or copy it using the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard.


How to Start PLECS in Demo Mode




If you do not have a license file for PLECS, you can still use PLECS in demo mode without requesting a trial or student license. However, demo mode has some limitations that restrict the functionality of PLECS. Some of these limitations are:


  • You cannot save models or simulation results.



  • You cannot generate code using PLECS Coder.



  • You cannot run hardware-in-the-loop simulations using PLECS PIL.



  • You cannot use models that contain more than 30 electrical nodes or 1000 blocks.



  • You cannot use models that contain certain components such as converters, motors, generators, etc.



To start PLECS in demo mode, you need to run the PLECS Blockset Installation Wizard and select the option "Start PLECS in Demo Mode" on the License File page. This will launch MATLAB and Simulink with PLECS enabled in demo mode. You can then open the PLECS Library and create models using PLECS blocks.


Conclusion




In this article, you learned how to download and install PLECS Blockset on your computer, how to license it or use it in demo mode, and what features it offers for modeling and simulating electrical circuits and systems in MATLAB and Simulink. You also learned about other Plexim products that are compatible with PLECS Blockset and can enhance its functionality.


PLECS Blockset is a powerful tool for electrical engineering that allows you to create complex models using graphical components and run fast and accurate simulations using various solvers. It is also integrated with MATLAB and Simulink, which gives you access to many features and tools for data analysis, code generation, hardware-in-the-loop testing, and more.


If you want to learn more about PLECS Blockset, you can visit the Plexim website, where you can find documentation, tutorials, examples, videos, webinars, forums, and support[^ 4^].


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about PLECS Blockset and their answers:


  • Q: How can I update PLECS Blockset to a newer version?



  • A: You can download the latest version of PLECS Blockset from the Plexim website and run the installer. The installer will automatically detect your existing installation and update it. You do not need to uninstall the previous version or change your license file.



  • Q: How can I check which PLECS products and features are enabled by my license file?



  • A: You can use the command plecs('about') in MATLAB to open a dialog that shows the information about your license file, such as the expiration date, the computer name, and the enabled products and features.



  • Q: How can I contact Plexim for technical support or feedback?



  • A: You can use the command plecs('support') in MATLAB to open a dialog that allows you to send an email to Plexim with your question or comment. You can also attach your model file and simulation log file to help Plexim troubleshoot your issue.



  • Q: How can I learn more about PLECS Blockset and its usage?



  • A: You can access the PLECS User Manual and other documentation from the Help menu in MATLAB or Simulink. You can also find tutorials, examples, videos, webinars, forums, and other resources on the Plexim website.



  • Q: How can I share my PLECS models with others who do not have PLECS Blockset installed?



  • A: You can use the command plecs('export') in MATLAB to export your model as a standalone executable that can run on any computer without MATLAB or Simulink. You can also use the command plecs('publish') in MATLAB to generate a PDF report that contains your model diagram, parameters, and simulation results.



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