Rockwell Automation has a reputation of charging for their PLC programming software, and that’s true for most of the packages that program their Programmable Controllers.
However, RA does make several software packages available free of charge, and I’ll detail those over the next two days.
We’ll start at the Rockwell Software Downloads page’s “Free Downloads” link, where several packages are available.
Below I’ll highlight those which I believe are the most useful:
1) Connected Components Workbench (CCW) free programming software for the Micro800, PowerFlex, and PanelView Component:
First and foremost, this is the software package you use to program Rockwell’s Micro800 family of programmable controllers.
But it also contains the Allen-Bradley PanelView Component programming software, as well as a new editor to configure Rockwell Automation drives, including the new PowerFlex 525.
Version 4 has so many new features that I would highly recommend upgrading to it if you have a previous version.
As CCW requires a fairly current version of RSLinx and ControlFlash, both are included in this large download.
You can also obtain this software on DVD via an online form here, or from most Rockwell Automation and RA Authorized Distributor offices.
2) ViewME Transfer Utility 6.1 (under free downloads) free upload / download transfer tool for the PanelView Plus.
This utility allows you to upload and download runtime files (.mer) to and from PanelView Plus terminals.
While it comes with all versions of FactoryTalk ViewStudio, is it also freely available here in the downloads section.
Please note, while this utility does require RSLinx Enterprise and FactoryTalk Applications Platform, both are included in this download.
The latest version of RA’s communication driver used with most of it’s products is now easier to download than ever before.
Why would you need to update RSLinx Classic Lite?
Updates are often required when new versions of existing products, or completely new products, are released.
4) RSLogix Emulate 500 (Update: Now search on RSLogix Emulate 500) free PLC emulation for the SLC-500 and MicroLogix families
The processor emulation software for SLC-500 and MicroLogix is now free!
This package allows you to select an .RSS program and run it in emulation mode.
It also supports online monitoring of the running code with RSLogix 500 or RSLogix Micro.
Note: To get this package to work on Windows 7 64 Bit you may need to reference this post on the PLCTalk forums.
Next we move on to the MicroLogix Downloads Page for the following packages:
The free RSLogix Micro Starter Lite programming software, which replaces the older RSLogix 500 Starter 10 point MicroLogix edition, programs a much wider range of MicroLogix products.
Whereas the old free software only programmed the 10 Point MicroLogix 1000, this new free package now programs all MicroLogix 1000’s and MicroLogix 1100’s.
Here again you can download the processor emulation for SLC-500 and MicroLogix for free.
Just remember that to get this package to work on Windows 7 64 Bit you may need to review this post on the PLCTalk forums.
This utility allows you to download an existing program to a MicroLogix witou the need for any version of RSLogix.
However, you will need RSLinx Classic Lite installed prior to installing this package.
Full Version Of Drive Explorer Software Free From The Drive Explorer page at AB.com
Update: Rockwell has removed the Drive Explorer full edition download but the lite version can still be downloaded HERE.
From the A-B Drives Explorer page here you can download a free copy of Drive Explorer Full, used for programming most of RA’s VFD’s prior to the PowerFlex 525. In the past, Rockwell only offered Drive Explorer Lite for free, but with the release of CCW Rockwell has ended support for Drive Explorer and has posted the full version as freeware on it’s website.
Free Software Available To The Public In The Rockwell Knowledgebase:
Update: Rockwell has now locked this answer so only those with a Tech Connect can view it and download the software.
These old PLC’s are surprisingly durable, and Rockwell has made this old 386 and DOS based programming software available free to the public here. Note: You will need to log into the RA Knowledgebase to access this download, but you can setup an account for free.
Note: While there are other packages available for free in the knowledgebase, they require a paid support contract and therefore I won’t be listing them here as they are not free for the public to download.
That’s it for part one of this article, but please check back tomorrow for part two (click here to view) in which I’ll list several more free software packages from Allen-Bradley, Rockwell Software, and Rockwell Automation.
In the mean time, if you’ve used any of the above packages, or are just happy to have found where to get them for free, please don’t hesitate to use the “Leave a reply” form below to let us know!