Texas Instruments Model 510 PLC Programmer

Date of introduction:  February 1981 Display technology:  Fluorescent
New price:   Display size:  8 alphanumeric
Size:  6.2" x 3.4" x 1.1"
 157 x 86 x 29 mm3
Weight:  5.7 ounces, 163 grams Serial No:  10AP..00129
Batteries:    Date of manufacture:  
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

This page starts with a simple question: What is a PLC or Programmable Logic Controller ? The answer: A device used to automate monitoring and control of industrial plant. You could think about a computer without a keyboard or display unit running the same program day and night using sensors and actors like switches and relay's. An example could be found in the crossing lights in your town. 

During program changes or maintenance schedules the operator uses a so-called Programmer to communicate with the PLC. Texas Instruments is together with companies like Rockwell Automation and Omron one of the big players in the PLC market. In 1981 they introduced this pocket sized Model 510 Programmer.

TI510_1.jpg (114972 Byte)This Model 510 Programmer looks familiar to you ? Please compare it with the Mr. Challenger educational toy introduced in the year 1980. Some parts of the housing and the keyboard are really identical, a cost reduction found with the strange 5TI Programmer, too.

TI-510_PCB.jpg (83628 Byte)Inside the Programmer is totally different to a Mr. Challenger, instead of a cheap 4-bit microcontroller you'll find a huge printed circuit board. Main components are a customized 8-bit microcontroller manufactured by Signetics and a keyboard / display controller made by NEC.

Don't miss the TM 990/301 Microterminal based on a simple TI-30 housing !

If you have additions to the above article please email:

Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.