The easiest way to think about RSLinx Classic is something like a “Communication Central” type of software package. Despite the cute spelling, the basic idea is that this software “links” your computer to the PLC.
The hard truth of the matter is that unless RSLinx is set up and configured correctly, then you will not be able to connect to the PLC to monitor its operation – or to do any online troubleshooting.
As shown in the graphic on the left, there are a lot of “bells and whistles” available, but we’ll teach you how to interpret those. In most day-to-day situations, you’ll just make sure that the appropriate “driver” has been configured correctly in RSLinx, and then use the RSLogix-5000 software to access that driver and go “online” with the correct PLC processor.
The trickiest (and the most dangerous) part for many technicians is tracking down the correct PLC processor on the RSLinx navigation screen.
The ControlLogix and the CompactLogix platforms have a powerful feature that allows you to connect your computer through a communications cable – then “drill down” to the chassis backplane – and then access any processor connected to the system by a network cable.
The flexibility of this type of operation can be a major advantage – but it can also be extremely dangerous. One potential scenario would be to accidentally connect to the wrong processor, and then to start forcing its I/O signals – or making modifications to its program code.
Our Boot Camp classes include several hands-on exercises in properly and safely configuring RSLinx Classic for the most commonly-used types of networks. Let us know if your systems use additional network types.