Automation Talk: Thoughts, Impressions, and Goings-on for March 6, 2019

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I'm very fortunate to be able to catch up with so many connections, blog readers, and forum posters each week.

Often our discussions go in some interesting directions, many of which I think our readers here would also enjoy hearing about.

So with that in mind, today I'm starting a semi-regular series to share some of our discussions as well as goings-on here at Insights In Automation.

Rockwell and Siemens Programmable Controllers

As I continue with plans to expand TheAutomationBlog.com‘s coverage to include additional vendors, I've been hearing from many of you about your experiences migrating to Siemens PLCs.

S7-1200 and Basic Panels (picture courtesy of Siemens)

The messages and conversations I've had with first time users have all indicated that the biggest challenges of moving from Rockwell to Siemens is learning a new programming environment.

Whether it's end users, integrators, or instructors, the common theme was that, while TIA Portal is powerful, it's not easy for the average RSLogix/Studio 5000 user to transition to.

TIA Portal (picture courtesy of Siemens)

In fact, some have compared it to trying to use CCW to program a Micro800 for the first time.

That's a comparison that I, as someone who has used RSLogix since version 1.0, can totally relate too!

So, as I begin my journey to learn more about Siemens programmable controllers, I hope I'll also be able to share some helpful “how to” content for first time users here on TheAutomationBlog.

In the meantime, if you have a Siemens story or tip you'd like to share with us, I invite you to comment on this article using the link at the bottom of the page.

Or if you prefer anonymity, you can drop me an email at News@TheAutomationBlog.com.

First Impressions Programming with 5069 I/O

Having been a fan of Rockwell's modular programming techniques for quite some time, I've always appreciated the value of aliasing “Module Tags” to actual I/O Module DINTs, and then aliasing individual “Device Tags” to sub-elements of “Module Tags.”

By doing this, if I ever needed to relocate a module or change controller platforms, all I needed to do was re-alias my “Module Tag” to the new I/O module, and all my “Device Tags” would continue to work as is.

This concept served me well until I started using a 5380 in my new “Compact Basics” CompactLogix training course.

What I found was, for some unpublished reason Rockwell changed the data format of 5069 I/O modules.

Below you can see an example of what I'm talking about. On the left you'll see my 5370 I/O module tags, and on the right you see the same project in a 5380 with the first three input tags expanded:

As you can see, this change results in the actual I/O points no longer being grouped together as member “BOOLS” of a Data “DINT”

Which in turn that meant that (for the first time in over a decade) I had to manually re-alias all of my individual “Device Tags” to these new I/O Module Tags.

This was not a good use of my time.

Around the same time I ran into this issue, I also started hearing from some of you that you're actually avoiding the 5069 I/O line.

In some cases it's due to the fact that the modules aren't readily available. For others, it's the lack of availability of third party modules.

And for one reader it's because 5069 I/O is apparently incompatible with third party DCS systems, which eliminated it from being used anywhere in his plant.

With all that said, if you'd like to share your thoughts on this topic I'd love to hear from you!

You can either comment publicly on this article using the link below, or drop me your anonymous comments via email at News@TheAutomationBlog.com.

Sincerely,

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


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Comments:
  1. Regarding the 5380 IO tags, when adding a new input card for exemple, you can change the input data format to "packed data":
    And then The IOs will show up like this:
    Good afternoon @yannick,
    Hey, thanks for sharing that!
    Unfortunately that does help in my scenario as the 16 inputs (or outputs) don't become part of a DINT like with the 5370, so all my Device Tags aliases to my Module Tags still don't work 🙁
    But thanks again for sharing that tip!
    Shawn Tierney,
    Instructor at The Automation School
    thanks for mentioning 5069 I-O module tag structure change,
    I not done lab or project with this series,
    but have lot of code similar to your mention of alias use for I-O tags.
    for comment on Siemens S7-1200 vs RA-M800s,
    since ladder programming is pretty much same,
    if need, you can have remote I-O on Ethernet with S7-1200.
    RA probably never do Ethernet I-O on M800 series.

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