Seven things you need to know before using ControlLogix

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Rockwell Allen-Bradley's ControlLogixIt's easy to forget that not everyone has used Rockwell's ControlLogix. In fact, I was just reminded of this last week when I needed to review the below list of basics with a client:

1) Each new ControlLogix processor needs to have firmware downloaded to it.

Every time you open up a new ControlLogix, you'll find a processor with essentially no firmware. So your first step should be to fire up Rockwell's “Control Flash” tool to download firmware to your new controller.

Control Flash Banner

2) Each ControlLogix processor supports multiple firmware versions, but can only be flashed to one version at a time.

Just like most electronics and cell phones, each ControlLogix processor supports a range of different firmware revisions. However, no one processor supports all revisions. Note: The most popular and widely supported version used today is version 20.

Logix Firmware Banner

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3) To find the firmware your processor supports, open the release notes found in the RSLogix 5000 help menu.

There are many places where Rockwell lists hardware and firmware compatibility:, product manuals, tech notes, etc.

But I've found the easiest place to find a compatibility listing is inside RSLogix 5000, in the “release notes” which are found in the “help” menu.

RSLogix 5000 Release Notes Banner

4) RSLogix5000 Standard (or better) is required to program the ControlLogix

The lowest cost programming software Rockwell sells to program the ControlLogix is RSLogix 5000 Standard. You can also use RSLogix 5000 Full or Pro. You can not use RSLogix 5000 Mini or Lite.

RSLogix 5000 Versions Banner

5) You can only program your ControlLogix processor with the same major version of RSLogix 5000 software which matches your ControlLogix processor's firmware.

For examples, if you've decided to flash your ControlLogix processor to, you will need to install RSLogix 5000 on your PC in order to program your processor. This is often referred to as “lock step.”

RSLogix 5000 Banner

6) Previously, when you purchased RSLogix 5000 you received multiple versions. However, this is not currently the case.

UPDATE: A few weeks after this article had been written, and several months after the Previous Versions disc had been removed, Rockwell thankfully started including it once more. You can read the full article here:

Because ControlLogix processors support multiple versions, for years Rockwell shipped several of the latest RSLogix 5000 versions with newly purchased copies of RSLogix 5000.

However, at some point in 2013 Rockwell changed this practice and is now only shipping Studio 5000 version 21 (see updated info above) with new orders of the part number which previously represented RSLogix 5000 packages.

Here at “Insights In Automation” we really hope Rockwell changes this practice ASAP. Most clients we know are not using v21, so unfortunately they are forced to download past versions from

Rockwell AID 29461
Click on the above picture to read this tech note (you'll need a support contract to access it)

7) You can install multiple versions of RSLogix 5000 on the same PC.

The nice thing about RSLogix 5000 is, since version 10, you've been able to install multiple versions of RSLogix 5000 on the same PC.

This means you can actually have RSLogix 5000 versions 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 all installed “side by side.” You can also install Studio 5000 version 21 as well.

However, Rockwell does not officially support all those RSLogix 5000 versions on Windows 7, and you may run into issues with older versions.

Note: You can also install one pre-10 version as well, but just one at a time.

RSLogix 5000 Support for Operating Systems
Click on the above picture to see this support matrix at

I hope you've found these seven things you need to know before using ControlLogix helpful!

If you'd like to add your own tips to this list, just reply to this post using the “Leave a reply” form at the bottom of this page.


Shawn Tierney
Automation Blogger and Trainer

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