This year has been The Automation Blog’s biggest year yet going all the way back to when I launched the site back in 2013.

Part of our success is that we not only cover new products, but also answer questions on popular legacy hardware that’s still installed in thousands of facilities around the world.

So as we head into the final days of 2021, I wanted to take a moment to share with you our Top Ten most popular articles published between 2013 to 2020.

Top Ten Overall Articles of 2021:

10) Enable and Use VNC on the PanelView Plus 7

NOTE: While this procedure works for older models as well, to see the a procedure written for the original PanelView Plus CE / VersaView CE click here.

So you have a PanelView Plus 7 and want to Enable and Use VNC to remotely view and or control it?

Well in today’s article I’ll show you step-by-step how to use the PanelView Plus Configuration Menu to do just that.

9) How To Activate TIA Portal Step 7 Using A USB License

If your copy of TIA Portal Step 7 came with USB Memory Stick Floating License, you’ll need to move that license to your hard drive before you’ll be able to use Step 7.

If you don’t, even with the USB stick installed you’ll get the following error when trying to open an existing project, or add a device to a new one…

8) How to connect to a CompactLogix using USB

In today’s article I walk you through how to configure RSLinx to communicate to a CompactLogix processor using USB.

Step 1) Locate your CompactLogix’s USB port
If you have one of Rockwell’s 5370 CompactLogix processors, you find an orange USB port on the front of the unit as shown below…

7) DataStore Plus “step by step” setup in FactoryTalk ViewStudio

Today we walk you through the steps you need to take to add it to a FactoryTalk ViewStudio Machine Edition project.

Basic steps to setup the DataStore Plus ActiveX in ViewStudio:

Create and configure a new “on top” display to host the DataStore Plus ActiveX..

6) Why Doesn’t ControlFlash Find My Firmware Files?

As I was filming new lessons for my CompactLogix course yesterday, I ran into an issue with version 15.01 of ControlFlash that I’m sure many other programmers have or will run into as well.

Note: If you’ve never used ControlFlash but need to, I’ve previously published step-by-step guides to flashing A-B Programmable Controllers over Ethernet (here) and USB (here.) I also have a guide on how to download Allen-Bradley Firmware here.

5) Transferring Runtime Files (.mer) To PV Plus Using USB Flash Drive

The ability to transfer Rockwell Software’s FactoryTalk View Machine Edition runtime files (.mer) to the PanelView Plus and PanelView Plus 6 using standard USB Memory Stick (aka USB flash drive, USB thumb drive) is a handy feature, if you know how to do it.

In most cases, you’d typically download the runtime file (.mer) directly to the PVPlus via Ethernet, however there are some occasions when this won’t be practical…

4) Fatal Application Error Encountered in Studio 5000

As I was prepping to film additional lessons for my CompactLogix course yesterday, I ran into a completely new Studio 5000 Logix Designer “Fatal Error” that I hadn’t run into before.

After I duplicated the issue on two different PCs, each running two different Windows 10 VMs, I was convinced something was wrong with the software and not just my installation.

3) How to install EDS files in RSLinx

It’s not uncommon for new products to show up in RSLinx’s RSWho as “yellow question marks.”

And in most cases to connect to the device in question you’ll need to install the appropriate EDS file.

With that in mind, in today’s article I’ll cover how to install EDS Files to enable communications and eliminate “yellow question marks” in RSLinx.

2) How do I access the PanelView Plus Configuration Menu?

PanelView Plus Configuration ModeSo you need to update your PanelView Plus time, date, screensaver, IP address, or other setting but can’t figure out how to access it’s configuration menu?

Well don’t feel too bad as Rockwell hasn’t always made this an easy task.

1) How to edit a PanelView Plus (ViewME) MER Runtime file

Recently a client asked how he would go about editing a PanelView Plus .MER file his customer had sent him.

Unfortunately there’ no simple answer to this question, so in today’s article we’ll cover the basic steps you need to take to extract ViewStudio projects from ME runtime files.

Thanks again for making 2021 our best year to date!

Now as we plan for the new year, I’d love to get your thoughts on the vendors and products we should cover in 2022.

To leave your feedback, just fill in the comment section below my signature (or use the News link at the top of the page to send it into us privately.)

Wising you all very happy, safe, and healthy Holiday Week and New Year!

Until next time, Peace ✌️ 

Shawn M Tierney
Technology Enthusiast & Content Creator

Have a question? Join my community of automation professionals and take part in the discussion! You'll also find my PLC, HMI, and SCADA courses at

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