Anyone that’s been in the world of Industrial Automation for some time will be familiar with the term “PLC-5”. The Allen-Bradley® PLC-5® Control System was introduced in 1986 and for 30+ years it was proven to be an extremely robust and durable controller. You may have seen the announcements that the PLC-5 is entering the End of Life phase. It’s true. The PLC-5 Control System is discontinued and no longer available for sale and the purpose of this blog post is to help you understand your options.
You have an aging PLC-5 system that Rockwell Automation has recently announced discontinuation. Meaning, maintaining the system may involve exchange and repair through Rockwell if available. As spare inventory is depleted, it will become increasingly hard to find new or at least functioning spares. As needs become dire, scouring eBay will become a last resort facing high prices of old equipment with no guarantees to function upon arrival. There is good news! You will want to avoid all of these concerns by actively creating a migration plan. Horizon Solutions and Rockwell will work with you to create a unique solution to get your equipment up to date. The following tools and products are pieces of the puzzle to shape your migration path.
The Solutions: Overview, Six Possible Options
- I/O Wiring Conversion System (1492)
- Integrated Architecture Builder (IAB) with PLC-5 Migration Wizard
- RSLogix Project Migrator Tool
- 1756-RIO, 1756-DHRIO PROSOFT AN-X2-AB-DHRIO
- Phased Migration
- Systems Integrators and Rockwell Services
Let’s look a bit more into each of those options, shall we?
(1) I/O Wiring Conversion System (1492)
Your system has a functioning PLC-5 system that has been working great for years. The wiring is in great condition and you are really dreading rewiring all that validated I/O to a new PLC platform. Fortunately, Rockwell Automation has an elegant solution to avoid numerous commissioning hours just validating I/O terminations. This is accomplished by reusing the existing PLC-5 swing arms and replacing the PLC-5 cards with a “dummy” wiring module and cable. Selection of the correct conversion modules re-wires the exiting terminations to an equivalent ControlLogix Module.
Want to learn more about the specifics of reusing the existing PLC-5 swing arms? Need to know HOW TO replace the PLC-5 cards with a dummy wiring module and cable? Check out the 1492 Wiring Conversion Selection Guide, PDF file (6MB, 132 pages). This guide document is provided courtesy of Rockwell Automation.
(2) Integrated Architecture Builder (IAB) PLC-5 Migration Wizard
Integrated Architecture Builder (IAB) is a free tool that contains a utility to assist in selecting the proper wiring modules and cables to convert your existing PLC-5 chassis. Your local Horizon specialist can build this BOM for you. If interested in learning more IAB is one of the valuable and frequently very useful tools downloadable under the Product Selection Toolbox.
(3) RSLogix Project Migrator Tool
This is a free utility that attempts to convert a majority of PLC-5 and SLC code base to the modern tag-based memory of the latest Logix family of controllers. Not everything will convert. Getting you most of the way there is a great assist!
Interested in the RSLogix Project Migrator Tool? It is available as a free download. Follow these step by step instructions:
- Go to the Product Compatibility and Download Center (PCDC)
- Click the hyperlinked text “Find Downloads”
- In the search bar, search for “Studio 5000 Tools”
- It will return a hit, click that row, click the download/save button
(If you are a new user, you may be required to create an account to access this download)
Studio 5000 Tools 3.01.00. Free downloads include: Task Monitor, Logix Designer Compare, Clock Update, Clock Sync Service, Translate PLC5-SLC500, & others (Free Software/ControlLogix).
The Product Compatibility and Download Center (PCDC) can help you find product-related downloads including firmware, release notes, associated software, drivers, tools and utilities.
(4) 1756-RIO, 1756-DHRIO Prosoft AN-X2-AB-DHRIO
Using one or a combination of the RIO and DH+ cards available from Rockwell Automation and other suppliers from the Encompass Partner network, a phased migration approach is possible. As depicted in the image above, the 1756-RIO card can be integrated in the existing RIO network. Monitor Mode is a great tool to monitor data on the RIO network before transferring control to the new Logix controller.
The image above also calls out a AN-X2-AB-DHRIO. This is a remote gateway from ProSoft. You can learn more about that device here. The AN-X2-AB-DHRIO Gateway is designed to help customers initiate a phased migration approach to replacing or upgrading legacy Remote I/O PLCs, HMI’s, Drives or Flex I/O Adapters.
(5) Phased Migration
Considering a phased migration? This could be a whole post in and of itself. There is an overview document, available: PLC-5 and 1771 I/O Migrations Made Easy. It is a PowerPoint document (5MB, 27 pages) and it provided courtesy of Rockwell Automation.
(6) Systems Integrators and Rockwell Services
Local integrators and Rockwell Services are available to design and commission your migration to a modern PLC network.
The six options we reviewed are a great start for you and your team to learn more about PLC-5 migration tools. Keep in mind, you’re not alone. Horizon Solutions has a team of Specialists that are very well versed in PLC-5 and ControlLogix. We are here to help you, contact us today.
Are you still using PLC-5 controllers in the field? Do you have machines with PLC-5 controllers embedded? Have you started phasing out or replacing any PLC-5 controllers yet? Let us know in the comments section below.