Today most major automation vendors have a Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) line, and Rockwell Automation is no exception with its CompactLogix and ControlLogix products.
In fact, Rockwell's “Logix” line of Programmable Automation Controllers are the most popular line of PACs used in North America today.
Early on, Rockwell's “Logix” controllers consisted of five different offerings:
Note: The Allen-Bradley “MicroLogix” is not considered a PAC nor a member of Rockwell's “Logix” platform. It's actually based on their SLC-500 line of PLCs, and in my opinion it would have been less confusing if they had called it the Micro500 instead.
Since then, the ControlLogix and CompactLogix have become the dominate products in the line, with the FlexLogix going out of production back in 2009, and the SoftLogix and DriveLogix finding small niche markets a fraction of the size of the CompactLogix and ControlLogix.
While both the CompactLogix and ControlLogix program with the same software, the ControlLogix supports more demanding applications with higher I/O counts, while the CompactLogix is most often used in smaller systems or on OEM equipment.
The ControlLogix was the original Logix platform, and was first released back in 1999.
Over the years the chassis and power supplies haven't changed all that much, but several generations of processors and network communication modules have been released.
The original processor released in 1999 was the 1756-L1, also know as the 5550 processor, and supported firmware versions 1 all the way up to
Following the L55 was the L6x, or 556x. It's notable for coming in two major versions, with the series B version having greatly improved battery life due to a redesign of the memory circuit.
The L6x was also the first ControlLogix processor to support CompactFlash for non-volatile memory, with features similar to the EEPROM functionality of older PLCs.
In more recent times we've seen the release of the L7x, or 5570, which replaced the DB9 serial port found on all previous ControlLogix processors with a USB port.
The L7x also replaced the L6x's CF card slot with an SD slot, and even comes with a 1GB industrial SD card for use as non-volatile memory.
The L7 also improved on all previous ControlLogix processor designs by replacing the need for a battery with the inclusion of a removable super capacitor charging module.
Although similar to the L7 line in many ways (USB port, SD Card Slot, Super Cap,) the L8 also comes with huge performance improvements (i.e. 5 to 20 times faster program scans) as well as an embedded 1GB Ethernet port.
The CompactLogix line comes in two styles: The all-in-one packaged controller, and the modular chassis-less system
Examples of the CompactLogix packaged controller include the last generation's L23 controller, as well as the current generation's L1xER and L2xER processors.
While the packaged controllers are ready to go out of the bock, all of the modular L3 models do require at a minimum a Power Supply as well as a Right End Cap, and most often will be paired with local Compact I/O.
It should also be noted that the current generation of L1, L2, and L3 CompactLogix processors are also know as the 5370 line, with the “70” indicating they share many of the improvements found in the ControlLogix L7 or 5570 processor, including:
- Embedded USB port in place of legacy DB9
- SD card slot for use as nonvolatile memory
- 1GB Industrial SD memory card included
- New embedded super cap eliminates the need for a battery
Learning more about CompactLogix and ControlLogix
In it, I show you how to setup communications, flash firmware, download programs, and even how to use a timer and sequencer to automate your projects, as well as how to message data over Ethernet.
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