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.)
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.
First, Rockwell makes very few new SLC-500s today, and they are expected to stop making all SLC-500 products in the coming years.
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
- Podcast: Programmable Controller Non-Volatile and Volatile Memory
Cables and Adapters
- Article: USB to Data Highway Plus using the ANC-120e, a lower cost alternative to the...
- Article: How to add Ethernet to a SLC-500
- Podcast: Adding DH-485 to your MicroLogix, SLC-5/04, SLC-5/05, and PanelView Plus 6 400 and 600.
- Article: The SLC-500: Communicate and Download over Serial DF1 using RSLinx and RSLogix 500
- Video: A-B SLC-500 Serial Comm Setup & Download
- Article: The SLC-500: Communicate and Download over DH-485 using RSLinx and RSLogix 500
- 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
- Article: Why the Allen-Bradley (A-B) 1747-PIC always had trouble working in Microsoft Windows
- Article: What's new in RSLogix 500, Micro v11
- Article: RSLogix 5, 500, and Micro support for Windows XP / 7 / 8
- Article: RSLogix 500 and Micro Get Windows 8 Release
- Article: How to get a free copy of RSLogix Emulate 500
- Article: How to setup and use RS Emulate
- Article: How to Message (MSG) data from a MicroLogix 1400 to a SLC-5/05 over Ethernet
- Video: How to Message (MSG) data from a MicroLogix to a SLC-500 over Ethernet
- Article: How to Message (MSG) data from a SLC-5/05 to a MicroLogix 1400 over Ethernet
- 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
- Article: Flashback Friday! RSLogix 500 "Providence Beer" Demo
- Article: Flashback Friday! RSLogix 500 Top Ten Sort
Learning and Discussion:
- Article: Is the SLC-500 still viable?
- Article: Insight's Inbox: I can't connect to my SLC-500
- Article: Flashback Friday! The SLC-500 Blue Demo Case
- Article: Getting Started With Programmable Controllers (PLC)
- I haven't built a SLC500 project lately (9/2018) but I have two or three customers that still have the SLC500 robot cells still running with SLC5/05 processors. Just looked and one of those I did 10 years ago. It took me a long time to get them to change to a CompactLogix a few years back for newer projects.Thanks for your post tspisak!
I think a lot of people did their final SLC-500 projects around 10 years ago - sometimes people stay with what they know until the price starts climbing.
That said, I'm impressed Rockwell can still make so many of these 28 year old parts!