Data Logging Options For CompactLogix and ControlLogix

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Clients often ask me about available data logging options for the CompactLogix and ControlLogix. And as of version 21, the controller itself still has no native data logging feature (maybe in v22?)

While you can create trends in RSLogix5000 which you can later export to CSV file, this solution isn’t automated and not very fool proof. So what can you do? Below are some popular ways to automate data logging with your CompactLogix and ControlLogix:


RSLogix5000 CF Read WriteOption 1: Log to CompactFlash or SD Memory

In version 16 of RSLogix 5000 Rockwell added sample code demonstrating the ability to programmatically create a text file on the removable CompactFlash or SD card which many newer models support. To do this simply review the include sample code, “CF_Read_Write_Example” which can be found in your “RSLogix5000\Projects\Samples\ENU\Rockwell Automation\v16” directory, or the manual here.

UPDATE: There is a separate sample code download which does log to CSV file – for more information see this Blog Post HERE.


  • Free
  • Log in text file
  • Can format as CSV
  • Plenty of space for large logs


  • Text file saved in a binary format
  • Manual retrieval
  • Not a database solution
  • Possible noise issues with older CompactLogix processors (more info here)

Note: Versions of the above mentioned code prior to version 16 didn’t contain error checking code and are therefore not recommended.

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RSLinx SplashOption 2: Log internally to array, retrieve with MS Excel and RSLinx Classic

It’s a fairly easy task to write a routine to log data to an internal array. And it’s also quite easy to setup MS Excel and RSLinx Classic (Single Node for 1 PLC, OEM for many) to read that array (search RSLinx Classic help on EXCEL to find VBA sample code.)

However, trying to automate this process with VBA in MS Excel could be more work and effort than it’s worth.


  • Fairly simple coding in PLC
  • Extracting data to Excel via RSLinx Classic is fairly easy using sample code in RSLinx Classic help files.


  • Writing and testing code to automate could be time consuming
  • Reliability issues
  • Data not in a database.


FTViewME DataStoreOption 3: PanelView Plus CE or 6 (or ViewME Station) DataStore ActiveX

The PanelView Plus CE, PanelView Plus 6, and ViewME Station all have the ability to use a free Rockwell ActiveX called “DataStore.” What this object does is simply log tags you choose to a CSV file which you can later copy to your PC and open in MS Excel.


  • Automated data collection using your PVPlus 6 or CE at no extra charge


  • Manual retrieval
  • Not in a database


XLReporterOption 4: XLReporter from SyTech  

For over a decade I’ve been a fan of this simple yet elegant package which is basically a report generating add-on for MS Excel.

Before using this package, my automated RSView32 datalog reports were VBA queries of my RSView32 collected datalogs which I stored in MS Access. while this old method worked great, it was technically far beyond what most clients wanted to do to generate reports.

But with XLReporter, Ms Excel, and RSLinx Classic you can not only setup data collection into spreadsheets directly, but you also can generate some good looking reports automatically. For more information on XLReporter, check out their website at



  • Price starts around $1000 (without RSLinx or MS Excel)
  • Not a database (options to read databases can be purchased)


ViewStudio SplashOption 5: FactoryTalk View Site Edition  

ViewSE’s data logging features are fairly extensive. You can configure unlimited number of datalogs, and run up to 20 simultaneously. Each datalog can have up to 10,000 tags in it (ViewSE has no tag limit,) and they can be logged to either a compressed format (extractable with a free utility,) or better yet to any database which supports ODBC (MS SQL Server Express is included.)


  • Supports 20 datalogs simultaneously logging 10,000 tags each
  • Supports most databases via ODBC
  • Comes with RSLinx Classic and Enterprise (ViewSE versions)


  • Can’t easily view data directly in MS Excel
  • Cost of ViewStudio Development and ViewSE runtime (if not already owned)


FT Historian SE SlideOption 6: FactoryTalk Historian SE

For the most robust data collection I recommend FT Historian SE. This package is built to do one thing well – large volume time series data collection. Based on the world’s largest installed base of data collection software (OSI PI,) Rockwell has included easy to use hooks to setup logging of data from it’s PLC’s, and has also included it’s popular web based trending and reporting package, VantagePoint.


  • World class solution based on OSI PI with space saving data compression
  • Easy connectivity to PLC’s, especially using RSLinx Enterprise or OPC.
  • Excel plugin for easy viewing of collected data
  • Comes with full web based trending and reporting package (VantagePoint)


  • Requires Microsoft Server 2008 R2
  • Cost of lowest tag count roughly $4500


I hope you’ve found this article about my thoughts on how to datalog data from the ControlLogix and CompactLogix helpful. If you have a question or would like to offer your own data logging option please use the “Leave a reply” form below to comment on this article.


Shawn Tierney
Insights In Automation

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About Shawn Tierney

Shawn Tierney worked as an automation specialist for twenty five years helping controls engineers implement automation solutions using Allen-Bradley PLC's and HMI's, as well as Rockwell Software SCADA and MES products.


  1. Hi Shawn
    I have been waiting many years for a solution, I am using a compactlogix to collect production data on a production floor feed the data up to an SQL database, i pass data from around 260000 Dintegers pr. day
    At the moment i am running it true RSLinx with a little home made service running, it’s the weakest link in my network.
    I was thinking about shifting to controllogix and use on of these PC-modules, this way I will be able to send the customer a module as a spare-part, pre-loaded with the software to handle the data transfer into there database.
    But the best solution would be an integrate solution from AB, it on my Christmas wish list “again” this year.
    /Flemming Holm

    • Flemming,

      Thanks for your reply and for sharing about your application.

      I was hoping for either CompactLogix 5370 built-in datalogging or a stand alone FT Historian ME module to come out this year but it doesn’t look like either will be released soon :-(

      Thanks again,

      Shawn Tierney

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  2. I use KepServer with the DataLogging package. Costs about $2K and logs straight to SQL Express. It’s definitely worthwhile when you are logging from several PLCs. Offers a lot of trigger options and is less wasteful with PLC ethernet bandwidth than the excel route.

    • votecoffee,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I’m a big fan of KepServer, but I’ve never used their DataLogger, so it’s good to hear about this option :-)

      Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

      Shawn Tierney

      If you've found my response helpful, please consider buying me a cup of coffee to say thanks! Click HERE to learn more.

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