RSLogix 5000 Tutorial: Programmable Logic Controller Maintenance and Troubleshooting

A lot of automation companies are teaching professionals on how to do troubleshooting for Programmable Logic Controller. Most of the time they found out that if someone says they know or are using PLC or PAC software and asking how to do Programmable Logic Controller troubleshooting, what they meant is how to do troubleshooting for processes and equipment using PLC and PAC software, and not how to troubleshoot the Rockwell software or Allen Bradley software itself.

The Programmable Logic Controller is very dependable, and all the problems that they encountered only exist outside the automation system most of the time. In this article, we will focus on doing proper troubleshooting for equipment using RSLogix micro starter lite.

Although, RSL 5000 starter lite training books and software covers all the fundamentals when it comes to doing equipment troubleshooting using PAC or PLC software. A lot of companies, especially those who specialize in Programmable Logic Controller can deliver how to thoroughly troubleshoot equipment on their RSL 5000 training seminars as well during on-site Logic Controller training.

A lot of their instructors have years or even decades of experience working in plants, facing the same problems you might probably meet in the real world. The instructors can pass all the knowledge and prepare you with things you will likely run into.

Because the companies that are teaching people how to use RSL5000 have been specializing in Programmable Controller training for many years, their instructors can cover every problem that future software users might face by prioritizing the most critical issues that are likely to occur in the manufacturing plants.

You can get the valuable techniques and information out of their automation control training. They teach things that OEM does not even know. That is why the training sessions get a lot of college instructors; they also need real-world experience in automation troubleshooting, so they can also pass the knowledge they learned in these training to their students. Let us start with the main course.

Our advice to all people who use Programmable Logic Controller is to master it (RSLogix 500) before you begin learning PAC (RSLogix5000) because the difference between PAC and PLC is quite significant. Logic Controller is easier to use when troubleshooting equipment than PAC. First, Logic Controller is simpler.

Technicians are the one doing the troubleshooting, that is why they can relate to ladder logic. RSL 500 software also has different areas of troubleshooting tools that are “recycled” into RSL 5000. That is why troubleshooting RSL 5000 will be much easier since you already know almost all the essential tools.

(To know more about PAC, visit

Logix 5000 Troubleshooting and Maintenance In most troubleshooting seminars and on-site PAC – PLC training, most experts, teaches techniques that utilize the capability of Logix 500 software, where most machine problems can be fixed in 15 minutes, even if you did not master how to troubleshoot using PAC – PLC programs.

PAC or RSLogix 5000 troubleshooting and maintenance are more complicated than the Logix 500, especially if programmers use at least one of the four other programming language like C+ or Structured Text. Not only that, because PAC is very complex, there’s a big chance that you will encounter issues with PAC, program or software, as opposed to PLC maintenance and troubleshooting.

So, when you are troubleshooting the equipment using Logix 5000, you need to consider whether the error comes from the software itself, and not with the external components like the sensors. With logix 500, most troubleshooting can be done in about 4 to 5 minutes. You can trace back the issues through the software’s “Find All” tool. It can find sensors, devices, or limit switches that cause problems with the processes or machine.

For more complex troubleshooting like intermittent issues, Programmable Logic Controller or the RSLogix 500 has useful tools like Custom Data Monitors, Histogram, trend charts, or you can write your diagnostics using Latch Bit. Using PAC or Logix 5000, what matters most is the version you are using, if the software has that troubleshooting tool or not.

(Want to know more about C++ language? Click here.)

AN example of troubleshooting most experts teach that can’t be found in most software or books is how to use the “Compare Tool” of RSL 500 software. Most RSLoigix 5000 has this tool, but most PAC programs have separate “Compare Tool” software. If you are using PACs, there may have other tools just like “Compare Tools” that can control your machine.

For people who don’t have the experience or the years, maintaining PAC and PLC controlled plants, they may not be aware of other scenarios like night shift technicians changing the program without everyone knowing. If the people are doing the troubleshooting suspects there’s something wrong with the program; they can use the tool and compare.

It will take 4 to 5 minutes to find the problem. With RSL 5000, the machine can be down for hours or even days, and the technicians will not know somebody changed the program because PAC has so many complexities and possibilities than a Logic Controller system.

System Data Tables found in Programmable Logic Controller are useful troubleshooting tools, but not that good compared to RSLogix 5000. This is another factor that contributes to the use of PACs. It results in increased downtime and troubleshooting.

Most automation-based training teaches good controller programs so that people who attend these kinds of training sessions will know how to identify what applications they are using before they buy it for their new machine or systems that are controlled by Logic Controller system.

It is like a programmer compensating for missing table files in their tag naming conventions. Having a good program that was written using Logix 500 programming practices with the users in mind or people who will maintain machined for the next 10 to 20 years. It will reduce the troubleshooting time, at least by half.

(To know more about troubleshooting PLCs, visit

So, all in all, you need to master troubleshooting automated controller before you move to PACs. You also need to learn how to track back through a PAC or PLC program using Cross Reference or Find All tools. You also need to learn all the necessary tools provided in RSLogix 5000 and Logix 500.