I recently received a message from someone who had just purchased a used machine with a SLC-500 based control system on it.
Because most of his existing systems use simple relay controls, the new owner of the machine was reaching out to me about training on the SLC-500, as well as to ask several questions which all boiled down to, “Is the SLC-500 still viable?”
I believe the reason for that question was due in large part to the fact that when he tried to get support for the SLC-500, he felt the local rep was only interested in selling him an upgrade to ControlLogix.
So today's question is, “Is the SLC-500 still viable?”
To be frank, if you're building a new system today you should absolutely not be using the SLC-500. In fact, it's my opinion that any system you built in the last ten years should not have been built using a SLC-500.
While many of you may think that's an obvious statement, just a few years ago a company duped one of our local towns here in the Berkshires into buying a complete control system based on the ancient SLC-500 (ugh.)
For those who don't know, the SLC-500 product line came out nearly thirty years ago, and using it on new systems would be akin to using 286 PCs along with 5.25″ floppy disks.
That's not to say it's a bad product, or that you should worry about your installed base of SLC-500s, but you should be aware of a few things.
Second, you also need to be sure you know what and where your RSLogix 500 software licenses are, and consider getting a basic Rockwell support contract to cover your SLC-500 and RSLogix 500 if they're used on critical machines.
If you don't currently have SLC-500s in your plant, but you're looking to buy a used machine that has one on it, you'll want to take the following into consideration:
First, you need to be sure the machine runs!
No joke, I have seen more than one company buy a machine that does not run because the PLC no longer has the correct (or any) program loaded (i.e. the battery died, there's no EEPROM present or it was never updated, etc.)
Second, you need to make sure you're not locked out of the program because it has a password no one knows!
Third, while Rockwell has unfortunately doubled the price of RSLogix 500 over the last decade (it now costs nearly $2,900) if you're budgeting to buy a used machine that uses a SLC-500, also budget for a copy RSLogix 500 and a copy of my affordable PLC Basics course which will get you started with PLCs and RSLogix.
PS – I'm curious how many of you still have SLC-500's running in your facility?
If you do, please let me know by clicking on the comment link below!
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The Automation Blog's SLC-500 Library
- Article: The SLC-500: Six Controllers
- Article: The SLC-500: Controller Image Gallery
- Article: The Fixed Style SLC-500
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- Article: The SLC-500: Communicate and Download over Serial DF1 using RSLinx and RSLogix 500
- Video: A-B SLC-500 Serial Comm Setup & Download
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- Video: A-B SLC-500 DH-485 Comm Setup & Download
- Article: PLC-5 and SLC-500: Communicate and Download over Data Highway Plus using RSLinx and RSLogix
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- Article: What's new in RSLogix 500, Micro v11
- Article: RSLogix 5, 500, and Micro support for Windows XP / 7 / 8
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- Article: How to get a free copy of RSLogix Emulate 500
- Article: How to setup and use RS Emulate
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- Video: How to Message (MSG) data from a MicroLogix to a SLC-500 over Ethernet
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- Video: How to Message (MSG) data from a SLC-500 to a MicroLogix over Ethernet
- Article: Get A-B Programmable Controller data into Microsoft Excel using RSLinx
- Article: Connecting a PanelView Plus to a SLC-500 Channel 0 Serial Port
- Video: Flashback – FactoryTalk View Importing PLC-5 & SLC-500 Tags
- Article: How To Convert SLC-500 Programs to MicroLogix
- Video: Converting SLC-500 Programs to MicroLogix
- Article: Replace a Fixed SLC-500 (1747-Lxxx) with a MicroLogix
- Article: Converting your RSLogix 500 program to RSLogix 5000 using the Translate PLC-5 SLC 2.0...
- Article: Changes I would like to see made to Rockwell's Translate PLC-5 SLC 2.0 utility
- Article: Working around the Translate PLC-5 SLC 2.0 utility’s syntax error
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Learning and Discussion: