What is RSLogix?

Discover the optimal RSLogix software for your Allen Bradley PLCs with our ultimate guide.
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Hello and welcome back to another article from RealPars, the world’s largest online platform for learning about industrial automation. In today’s article, I will answer the question, what is RSLogix?

RSLogix is a programming software that is used to program Allen-Bradley PLCs from Rockwell Automation.

There are two versions of the RSLogix software available and each version is used to program different Allen-Bradley PLCs. Those two versions are RSLogix 500 and RSLogix 5000.

In this article, I’ll explain the main features of both versions of RSLogix and the differences between them. I will also provide some tips on which piece of software is best to learn PLC programming with depending on your situation.

Let’s get started by talking about RSLogix 500.

RSLogix 500

RSLogix 500 is the programming software that is used to program older Allen-Bradley brand PLCs like SLC and MicroLogix. Although some of these PLCs are still available to buy, they are approaching end of life and should not be used for new projects.

RSLogix features all of the tools that you need to program and maintain PLC systems including programming with Ladder Diagram, online monitoring of running programs, and some troubleshooting tools.

Since RSLogix 500 is an older piece of software, it does not have many modern features like tag-based programming, the ability to program in a modular way using Add-On Instructions, or support for other IEC 61131-3 programming languages like Sequential Function Chart, Function Block Diagram, and Structured Text.

RSLogix 500 is mostly used to support older automation systems that are controlled by SLC or MicroLogix PLCs. Eventually, these automation systems will be updated to use newer Allen-Bradley PLCs, and RSLogix 500 will be discontinued.

Now that we know what RSLogix 500 is, let’s talk about its big brother, RSLogix 5000.

RSLogix 5000

RSLogix 5000 was Rockwell Automation’s next-generation programming environment for its next-generation PLCs.

RSLogix 5000 is used to program Allen-Bradley CompactLogix and ControlLogix PLCs up to firmware version 20. These are more powerful PLCs than SLC and MicroLogix PLCs that are used to control connected machines and large processes.

RSLogix 5000 is a more full-featured programming environment than RSLogix 500.

Unlike RSLogix 500, RSLogix 5000 lets users write code in any of the IEC 61131-3 programming languages, supports tag-based programming so that programmers don’t have to worry about memory allocation, and lets users leverage Add-On Instructions to develop applications in a modular way.

Although RSLogix 5000 is more modern than RSLogix 500, it is not the latest programming environment that is used to program CompactLogix and ControlLogix PLCs.

The latest programming environment is called Studio 5000 Logix Designer.

Studio 5000 Logix Designer

Studio 5000 Logix Designer is the programming environment that is used to program CompactLogix and ControlLogix PLCs running on firmware version 21 and higher.

Studio 5000 Logix Designer is very similar to RSLogix 5000 but has continued to be updated to include even more features to help PLC programmers work in a productive and efficient way.

Some features that have been added to Studio 5000 Logix Designer include the ability to download comments and tag descriptions to the PLC, the ability to define extended properties for tags and support for modern hardware like Flex5000 I/O for process control.

As a general rule, if you are starting a new project, you will use Studio 5000 Logix Designer to program the PLCs in the project and if you are maintaining an older system, you will use RSLogix 500 or RSLogix 5000, depending on the type of PLC that you are working with.

Now that you know the difference between RSLogix 500, RSLogix 5000, and Studio 5000 Logix Designer, you may be asking yourself - which one should I learn? Although I can’t answer that for you, I can give you some tips on why you would pick one over the other.

Which software should I learn?

With so many different types of programming software and Allen-Bradley PLCs available, it can be hard for beginners to understand what software they need to learn to launch their careers as automation professionals.

Although I can’t tell you exactly what you need to learn, I can offer this advice:

If you have the chance, learn PLC programming with Studio 5000 Logix Designer or RSLogix 5000.

PLC programming with Studio 5000 Logix Designer is an in-demand skill and more companies will require PLC programmers who know Studio 5000 Logix Designer as they upgrade the PLCs in their factories and plants.

The only problem is that the license for Studio 5000 Logix Designer is quite expensive.

If you don’t have access to a Studio 5000 Logix Designer license, then I recommend that you learn PLC programming with Connected Components Workbench.

Connected Components Workbench is another software from Rockwell Automation that is used to program Micro800 PLCs. Micro800 PLCs are a new generation of PLCs that will replace MicroLogix PLCs.

Unlike Studio 5000 Logix Designer, Connected Components Workbench is available to download for free and includes a built-in PLC simulator that can be used to test your projects without hardware.

Finally, I recommend learning PLC programming with RSLogix 500 if you have a specific reason to. For example, you may work at a plant that uses MicroLogix PLCs and you need to know how to program them with RSLogix 500 so that you can extend the existing PLC programs.

No matter what PLC software you decide to learn, RealPars has you covered.

If you want to learn PLC programming with Studio 5000 Logix Designer, then check out our learning path Learn Logix.

This is a series of courses designed to teach you everything you need to know about programming CompactLogix and ControlLogix PLCs with Studio 5000 Logix Designer.

If you don’t have access to Studio 5000 Logix Designer, then you can check out our alternative learning path, PLC Programming from Scratch. This series teaches you how to program Micro800 PLCs with Connected Components Workbench.

Finally, if you want to learn how to program PLCs using RSLogix 500, you can check out our course Introduction to Allen Bradley PLCs - RSLogix 500.

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