Allen-Bradley Message Displays: DataLiner, MessageView, InView

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Industrial Message Displays are similar to what you see in many store windows .

But these text displays are designed to be mounted in an industrial environment.

Typically they are connected to a Programmable Controller by way of an industrial network, however some models are hard wired directly to PLC I/O.

DataLiner:

Allen-Bradley DatalinersAllen-Bradley's first line of message displays was known as the “DataLiner” series.

Over time this series grew to included the DL-5, DL-10, DL-20, DL-30, DL-40 and DL-50.

Each model differed in display size, number of text lines, memory size (number of messages that could be stored,) and communications interface (how the messages were triggered.)

Most models, including the DL-5, DL-20, DL-30, and DL-40 could be programmed with PC based software or dumb terminal.

The models that could not, the DL-10 and DL50, were “slave displays” with no internal memory.

MessageView:

Allen-Bradley's second line of message display products, the MessageView, programmed with software which I honestly found easy to use and very similar to PanelBuilder 32.

Unfortunately, to get this software today you'll need a Tech Connect to access a Rockwell Knowledgebase document with links to download it (search the Knowledgebase on MessageView software, or MessageBuilder.)

InView:

Allen-Bradley InViewAllen-Bradley's third (and final) line of message displays was the InView.

Of the three product lines, you may find setting up any communications (other than serial) very frustrating.

The rumor was that Rockwell just took the existing communication modules from the PanelView line of HMIs and loaded them with “network to serial” translate firmware.

Which seemed to make sense as the comm setup for those modules was totally unlike the InView software, and the communication modules came in off the shelf black box enclosures.

Personally, I had to write my own tech note to get them to work semi-reliably.

Fast forward to January 2012, and Rockwell decides to get out of the message display business, passing on the sales and marketing of the InView product line to its long time encompass partner Spectrum Controls.

Well aware of the programming difficulties people were having with the InView add-on comm modules, Spectrum announced it was releasing its own networking modules in 2014.


Where to find Allen-Bradley DataLiner and InView Message Display Software:

The following downloads are completely and legitimately free as they have been made available by Rockwell Automation itself:

UPDATE 07/28/16: Over the last couple of years all the below links have stopped working.


Free Software Downloads From Rockwell Software Download ListingFree Dataliner 5 (DL-5) Programming Software, 2706-NP5, is available on the Rockwell Software downloads website using the below link:

Note: This model can also be programmed using a “dumb terminal” (like Rockwell's 1770-Tx series) or a “terminal emulator” like Window's “HyperTemrinal”


Allen-Bradley Dataliner 2706-B23J16Free Dataliner 20 (DL-20) Programming Software, 2706-NP3, is available on the Rockwell Automation Knowledgebase using the below link (free website login required:)

Note: This model can also be programmed with either (1) a special keyboard (2711-NK1 or 2) or (2) using a “dumb terminal” (like Rockwell's 1770-Tx series) or a “terminal emulator” like Window's “HyperTemrinal”


Allen-Bradley Dataliner DL30Free Dataliner 30 (DL-30) Programming Software, 2706-NP1 or NP2, is available on the Rockwell Software downloads website using the below link:

Note: This model can also be programmed with either (1) a special keyboard (2711-NK1 or 2) or (2) using a “dumb terminal” (like Rockwell's 1770-Tx series) or a “terminal emulator” like Window's “HyperTemrinal”


Allen-Bradley Dataliner Free Dataliner 40 (DL-40) Programming Software, 2706-ND1, is available on the Rockwell Software downloads website using the below link:

Note: This model can also be programmed using a “dumb terminal” (like Rockwell's 1770-Tx series) or a “terminal emulator” like Window's “HyperTemrinal”


Allen-Bradley InViewFree InView Programming Software, 2706-PSW1, is available on the Rockwell Software downloads website using the below link:


I hope you've found the above article about Allen-Bradley Message Displays helpful.

If you have any questions, comments, or corrections please don't hesitate to leave them with us by filling out the “post a comment or question” for at the bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Shawn Tierney
Automation Instructor and Blogger
If you enjoyed my article, you may like my courses at TheAutomationSchool.com




Comments:

Old Comment:

  1. Big help thanks!, but i have one question, i can´t open the messaging software, but the other utilities ok, don´t you know why? i have windows 7

  2. Dany,

    I’m not sure the old InView Messaging software is Windows 7 64 bit compatible – I just installed it myself and also get an error trying to launch it.

    Have you tried Windows XP mode or an XP VM?

    Thanks,

    Shawn Tierney

    If you enjoyed reading my article you may also like my affordable training courses at TheAutomationSchool.com

  3. I am looking for DL50 firmware update. I want to go from 1.01 to 2.01 on a unit that has some bug with my current system. Outdated technology and difficult to find…

  4. Good morning Ron,

    I checked too and can’t find it. It appears to have been available via “diskette” back in the day.

    Because you need it to fix an issue you may wish to call Tech Support, or ask your local distributor to call to see if they have it in their archives and could email you a copy.

    Shawn Tierney

    If you enjoyed reading my article you may also like my affordable training courses at TheAutomationSchool.com

  5. Hello Mr Shawn Tierney, I found your Website very helpful for starters like me. I have a few questions about Allen Bradley’s Displays.I am working on a project in which SLC 500 PLCs are used, DL-40 is used to display the error messages now we want to upgrade to some newer version of Display e.g Panel View 600, but the problem is can I do this without any major change in the the original Ladder program?

  6. Good morning Ubaidullah Babar,

    When replacing a DataLiner with a PanelView you typically don’t have to make any PLC programming changes.

    Often you just replicate the messages in the PanelView using the same PLC trigger.

    To be sure, you’ll want the model number of the DL40, the DL40 configuration program, and the PLC code.

    Sincerely,

    Shawn Tierney

    If you enjoyed reading my article you may also like my affordable training courses at TheAutomationSchool.com

  7. Good Afternoon Mr Shawn Tierney, The problem is that I have found the Display is DL20 not DL40, CAT#2706-B43J16. So I ask again the same question if it is possible to upgrade this display to Panel View 600 without any changes in the Ladder ??
    Best Regards
    Ubaidullah Babar

  8. Good morning Ubaidullah,

    As the DL20 is a display only device, you can definitely replace it with another display only device without making any PLC programming changes.

    However, how your PLC program interfaces with and triggers the DL20 will determine how easy it is to program the replacement.

    For instance, if your PLC code only triggers one message at a time using the parallel inputs, then creating an HMI program to emulate the DL20 would be fairly straight forward.

    If you’d like to hire us to consult on the details, please feel free to use the below link to contact us.

    http://www.insightsinautomation.com/consulting/

    Note: We would require the PLC program, the DL20 program, and a diagram of how the two are connected along with an hour of consulting time to provide detailed recommendations.

    For more information about the DL20, check out the manual below:

    http://literature.rockwellautomation.com/idc/groups/literature/documents/um/2706-um010_-en-p.pdf

    Hope this helps,

    Shawn Tierney

    If you enjoyed reading my article you may also like my affordable training courses at TheAutomationSchool.com

  9. Good Morning Shawn,
    Thanks for your helpful reply.
    Yes,PLC code is using parallel inputs of DL20 for Message triggering.
    I have been trying to read the memory of DL20 by using the DL20.exe software from Rockwell but so far have no luck , although the communication between the DL20 and my Laptop has been established, I have verified this by Terminal Mode option from the main Menu.
    Now the problem is that if we don’t have the complete set of Messages stored in DL20 how could we download these to the new upgraded display?
    Pls: What would be your charges if we hire you for this specific task i.e Interfacing a Panel View Display with our existing PLC programme.

    Best Regards

    Ubaidullah Babar

  10. Good morning Ubaidullah,

    It would be easier if you could get the DL20 offline software to work, but you should still be able to go online with the DL20 via RS232 and terminal emulation (aka Windows hyper-terminal) to review the unit’s config:

    “You configure and enter messages into the DL20 by attaching an optional keyboard, RS-232 CRT, or dumb terminal. The DL20 display prompts you with easy to follow questions and instructions simplifying setup and configuration.” – DL20 Manual

    While this may require stepping through and writing down all the settings and messages to completely document the program, done thoroughly it would leave no doubts as to the configuration in the unit.

    Note: This can also be done with the 2706-NK1 or -NK2 keyboard if you happen to have one.

    With the PLC program, DL20 configuration, and a connection diagram, we could provide a detailed recommendation with an hour of consulting. After which, it’s very likely we could provide a complete and tested PanelView / PVPlus project to replace the DL20 for an additional three hours of consulting, however that depends on how many messages are in the DL20 as it may take longer if it has 1000 messages versus 100.

    For more information about our current (2015) consulting and programming rates, please feel free to contact me using the below form:

    http://www.insightsinautomation.com/consulting/

    Sincerely,

    Shawn Tierney

    If you enjoyed reading my article you may also like my affordable training courses at TheAutomationSchool.com

  11. Hello Shawn,
    any update of InView programming software links (2706-PSW1)?
    I can not download software – file not found.
    Thanks in advance.
    Best wishes,
    Almir

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