Arduino® PLC IDE Setup & Device License Activation

A brief user guide to show how to install the Arduino PLC IDE and activate the license for your compatible device.

Guide and Tutorial | Arduino® PLC IDE Setup & Device License Activation


The Arduino PLC IDE offers the possibility to use IEC IEC61131-3 programming languages (LD, SFC, FBD, ST, IL) with the Opta™. The PLC IDE offers a comprehensive set of standard features commonly used in industrial automation.

Arduino PLC IDE

This tutorial will show you how to connect the Opta™ to the Arduino PLC IDE, learning how to activate the software license and the basic setup to have your board up and running with the Arduino PLC IDE.


  • Set up the Arduino PLC IDE using the Arduino PLC IDE installer
  • Download the PLC IDE bootloader to the board
  • Establish a connection between your computer and the device using the PLC IDE
  • Activate the device license
  • Verify the connection between the devices

Hardware and Software Requirements

Hardware Requirements

Board compatible with the Arduino PLC IDE:

The following accessories are needed:

Software Requirements

To get the Arduino PLC IDE for your device, please visit the Software page. In case you are using a Portenta Machine Control, you need to acquire a PLC IDE License at the store page.


To get the Arduino PLC IDE software, go to the official software website of the Arduino PLC IDE and choose to download the PLC IDE installer file. The software is named Arduino PLC IDE Installer.

Arduino IDE Download page

The software requires Windows 10 or a newer operating system version for the x64 architecture.

The Arduino PLC IDE installer contains the IDE and all the required drivers, libraries, and cores. The continuing sections will help you install the Arduino PLC IDE software properly.

Before installing the Arduino PLC IDE 1.0.6, remove both the PLC IDE 1.0.3 and PLC IDE Tools 1.0.3 from Windows using the "Add or remove programs" tool. Also, remove the folder "T" found on the directory (C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\T).

1. Arduino PLC IDE Setup

When you download the Arduino PLC IDE installer, the file naming scheme is as follows:


If you have the correct IDE software, its name should include the version format X.X.X. For instance, a version example might look like 1.0.6. Thus, a complete installer name should resemble the following:


Run the Arduino PLC IDE installer after verifying that the installer naming scheme follows the above software nomenclature. It helps ensure the software package is legitimate and the latest version available.

To ensure a smooth and reliable installation, it is recommended to temporarily disable any antivirus software and run the installation with administrative privileges. During the installation, you may notice several terminal windows opening automatically. These are necessary for the installation process to load all required resources onto your computer successfully, so there is no need to be concerned.

The installation process starts with a window that prompts you to begin. Click Install to proceed:

PLC IDE - Beginning Installation

The installation will begin with the PLC IDE Tools. Click Next to continue:


Select a directory for installing the PLC IDE Tools and then click Next:

PLC IDE - PLC IDE Tools Directory

Click Install to install the PLC IDE Tools in the chosen directory:

PLC IDE - PLC IDE Tools Installation

Following the PLC IDE Tools installation, set up the PLC IDE software by choosing an installation directory and following the instructions:

PLC IDE - PLC IDE Directory

A confirmation window will indicate the completion of the PLC IDE software installation:

PLC IDE - PLC IDE Installation

Once the installation is finished, a message will appear confirming the successful setup. Click Close to exit the installer:

PLC IDE - Overall Installation

If you encounter any issues using the software after installation, restarting your computer can help ensure that all drivers, libraries, and dependencies are properly integrated and updated with the IDE installation. Should the issue persist, you may retry the installation process by temporarily disabling any antivirus software and running the installation with administrative privileges if you haven’t had a chance to do that yet.

Open the Arduino PLC IDE program, and the welcome screen will greet you.

Welcome screen

The following sections will guide you through creating a project, downloading the runtime, and properly interfacing the Opta™ with its dedicated license activation procedure.

2. Project Setup

Create a new project by clicking the middle New project ... button or File > New Project.

Create new project

After creating the project, there are some new windows on the screen; click on the left panel and switch it to the Resources tab inside the window on the tree structure. Now click on your board, it will open the Boards configuration page.

Board configuration page

3. Download the Runtime

The board needs to run a specific program (runtime) to interact with the PLC IDE. Go to the "Other" section below the "Device Info" block.

Plug your device to the computer, select your board's Serial Port, and click the Download button.

Board runtime upload

Download the runtime every time you update the PLC IDE from a previous version.

The device will display two Serial Ports: the default port, typically with the lowest number, and the secondary port, usually with the highest number. The default port is the usual Serial port and a virtual port for Modbus communication between the device and your computer. If the default port with the lowest number cannot establish a connection, please note the port number assigned to the secondary port, as it will be needed in a subsequent step.

If the following message appears during the download procedure, double-tap the reset button using the tip of a pen or a similar pointed object. The LED above the reset button for Opta™ or the Digital Outputs LEDs for Portenta Machine control will start blinking, indicating that the device is ready to be flashed with new firmware. Click the Download button to begin the process again.

Download error message

If you persistently experience issues during the download procedure or related processes, try launching the PLC IDE with administrative privileges. This can help resolve permission related problems that may prevent download procedures or device interactions.

4. Connect to the Device

After the runtime is up and running, set up the communication by going to On-line > Set up communication.

Set up communication

On the new popup window, open the properties of the Modbus protocol.

Properties of the communication

Ensure the Modbus protocol uses the default Serial port number as the initial option, the Modbus Virtual port you noted before. Use the secondary Serial port number number for additional devices or those with higher Serial number series if applicable. Press OK.

Setting up the Modbus protocol

Click OK to save the settings and press the connect button on On-line > Connect.

Connect to the board

5. License Activation with Product Key

If the communication is successful, the main panel will show the license section to be filled in and a status indicator.

Online Activation

To use your product license, paste the key in the blank next to Product Key and press the Activate button.

Connection success

After you click the Activate button, the IDE will bind the license to the hardware ID. A popup telling you to reboot the target (which is the device connected to the PLC IDE) will show up; press the reset button of your device to reboot.

Activation succeed

Once the product has been activated, getting the Hardware-ID of your device is recommended.

Offline Activation

To activate the product Offline, deselect the "Online" slider, and the scenario below will show up:

Offline Activation

Follow the instructions provided using our Contact form and generate the Activation Request File.

Once you receive the Activation file, drag and drop the file in the dashed rectangle or select it from the folder where it is stored to complete your Offline Activation.

6. License Activation with Pre-Licensed Products (Opta™)

When a product is Pre-licensed, the following scenario will be displayed:

Opta™ Activation No License

Make sure your device is already connected to the computer and click the Activate PLC Runtime button, the product activation will be completed, and the PLC Status will be set as OK:

Opta™ Activation Status OK

Now, the product is ready to be used with the PLC IDE.

7. Activation Recovery

In case the hardware is being reflashed and the key got lost, the license can be recovered just by clicking the "Forgot your Product Key?" button:

Online Activation with Forgotten Key

The IDE will then connect to a server, validate the hardware, and recover the activation, showing a confirmation popup when done:

Online Activation Forgotten Key Activated

8. Getting the Hardware-ID of Your Device

The hardware ID of your device is an important number to save in case you have problems with the divide or your PLC IDE license. To get the unique Hardware-ID of your device, follow the next steps:

  • Be sure that your device is disconnected from the Arduino PLC IDE
  • Open the Arduino IDE software
  • Go to Tools > Board > Arduino Mbed OS Portenta Boards > Arduino Portenta H7 (M7 Core)
  • Go to Tools > Port to select the proper port (the default one shown before in the PLC IDE inside the Arduino PMC Configuration > Other section)
  • Go to Tools > Serial Monitor and reset the board. Look at the end of the boot report to find the "Hardware-ID" and store it in a safe place.

9. Download a Program

Let's download and run the first program on your device. We are going to use the default program that is included in a project: a counter.

Double-click on the file main inside the Project to see the counter program. To download that program to your PLC, you must compile it and send it to the target device.

Send the program to the device (download)

10. Communication Test

Open the Watch window by clicking "View > Tool Windows > Watch". It will attach a new window on the right side called Watch. This window shows the real-time variables value.

To add a variable to be watched, click the Insert new item button inside the window. It will open a popup window; on the name label, insert "cnt" and click OK on the location "main". It will add the variable cnt from the main program on the table or drag and drop the cnt variable from the Project tree or from the Main program.

Select the Watch window and click on the Start/Stop watch button unless the variable's value is already getting updated.


In this tutorial, we went through how to set up the Opta™ with the Arduino IDE lab, learned how to connect the board to the program through Modbus, activate the hardware license of your product, and create a simple sketch with one variable that went compiled and downloaded inside the board. Finally, we learned how to see the values of the variables in real time using the Watch window.

You can create professional solutions now that your board is running with the Arduino PLC IDE.