What software do I need to program CompactLogix or ControlLogix?

The Automation School – PAC Basics – Article Banner Top

To program a CompactLogix or ControlLogix processor you're going to need a copy of Studio 5000 or RSLogix 5000.

If you don't have a copy, you can purchase it from your local Rockwell representative, and in most cases you'll received a link to download the software within a day (see this article for more information.)

You can also request a thirty day “temporary activation” if you're just trying the software out, or if waiting on a purchase order to be issued (more information about that in this article.)

When you do purchase a copy of Studio 5000, you not only get the lastest shipping version of Studio 5000, but you also get several previous versions of both Studio 5000 and RSLogix 5000 (details here)


Why you may need both packages

5000-VersionsFirst, you'll need to use Studio 5000 to go online or program Logix processors with firmware revisions of 21 or higher.

But you'll also need to use RSLogix 5000 to go online or program Logix processors with firmware revisions of 20 and lower.

Note: To find out which versions your processor supports, check out this article.

Why you may need multiple versions of each

Select-RSLogix-5000-Versions-to-installWhen you go to install the software, you'll need to install all the MAJOR versions of RSLogix 5000 and Studio 5000 that match the firmware versions of “Logix” controllers you're going to need to connect to.

Note: The MINOR versions of the Software and Firmware do not need to match because the software and firmware minor versions increment at different intervals when software or firmware issues are found and corrected, and therefore they are not related or dependent on each other.

For example, if you have one ControlLogix processor loaded with firmware version 16, and another with 21, and a CompactLogix loaded with firmware version 24, you would want to install RSLogix 5000 version 16, as well as Studio 5000 version 21 and 24.


Note: The requirement of the major software version matching the controller's major firmware version is often referred to as “lock step” compatibility, so you'll want to be sure it gets installed as well.

What else you'll need

It should also be noted that when you install either RSLogix or Studio 5000, RSLinx Classic Lite will also be installed.

This is the communication software required for RSLogix or Studio 5000 to communicate to your Logix processors.

Which package or bundle to buy

RSLogix and Studio 5000 licenses come in several different bundles or packages, each supporting a different range of products and features.

For those who will only be using the lower cost CompactLogix, they can purchase the lower cost Studio 5000 Mini or Lite edition.


But for those who also need to program the more expensive ControlLogix processors, they will need the more expensive Standard, Full, or Pro version of the software which supports all of the CompactLogix and ControlLogix processors.


Note: I don't often recommend the “Pro” version as it is bundled with software most users will never need. For more information see this article.

Well that's it for today's article about the software used to program CompactLogix and ControlLogix processors.

If you'd like to learn more about the CompactLogix and ControlLogix, check out my new free PAC Getting Started course at TheAutomationSchool.com

And if you have any comments or questions about this article please feel free to share them with us by using the “Leave a reply” form at the bottom of this page.


Shawn Tierney
Automation Blogger and Trainer

If you enjoy reading my articles please consider helping me take The Automation Blog "Ad Free" with a small monthly pledge at Patreon.com/Automation

The Automation School – PAC Basics – Article Banner Top

Check Also

ControlLogix Training Video and Detailed Lessons

What should you learn if you're going to start programming or maintaining Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Programmable …

What’s New in Studio 5000 Logix Designer v30

Version 30 of Studio 5000 Logix Designer programming software has been release for Rockwell's 5370 and …