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How to Better Maintain Allen Bradley SLC-500 System

Published on : 14 April 2022
How to Better Maintain Allen Bradley SLC-500 System

Machine users and automation experts have, for decades, relied on the versatility and reliability of the Allen Bradley SLC 500. However, with the parent company deciding to phase out this series of controllers, current users are in a dilemma over the operational bottlenecks in store for the future.

SLC 500: Product Outline

Allen Bradley SLC 500 is one of the highly-trusted control platforms utilized by automation experts and high-tech consultants. Unfortunately, the holding company signed off from the series of controllers, leaving the existing users, who were familiar with operating it for decades, in a dilemma.


IndAXOnline, the biggest online portal facilitating new, used, refurbished, and unutilized automation assets, plays a strategic role in connecting with such users, addresses their concerns related to the availability of spares and services, and ensures your SLC 500 units are operational and ramping up for a long time.


Why choose SLC 500?

SLC 500 from Allen Bradley is highly flexible. A tried and tested workhorse from Rockwell Automation has set benchmarks in the small, chassis-based, modular category of programmable controllers and I/O. The Allen Bradley SLC 500 comes with a sleek, modular design, encouraging the system integrators to not opt for small and mid-sized traditional controllers, thereby saving costs.


Over the years, the Allen Bradley SLC 500 family has been the default choice for automation engineers looking for more power, safe, reliable, and customizable systems at affordable prices. The idea is to cater to the small and mid-sized automation requirements with the best quality system. The best part of having an Allen Bradley SLC 500 is that customers do not need to pay for the unused capacity and features of a full-size PLC unit.


Customers can configure the stand-alone or scalable distributed system for durable and reliable control of a machine operation or process application. The SLC 500 chassis-based platform offers rugged build quality and excellent features.


Indeed, SLC 500 is globally in demand across a broad spectrum of applications in the automation & control segment. After all, it’s hard to find a product that ticks all the right boxes of reliability, operational flexibility, features, and affordability.


SLC 500 Technical Structure

The Allen Bradley SLC 500 comes with ladder-logic and structured-text programming. Its advanced instruction set includes file handling, sequencer, diagnostic, shift register, immediate I/O, and program control instructions. Additionally, it gets a built-in RS-232/422/423, DH+, and Ethernet communication port. The SLC 500 system facilitates extension on Remote IO, DeviceNet, and ControlNet I/O. Further, it is possible to configure one or more onboard ports for either Data Highway Plus (DH+) or Universal Remote I/O.


It is simple to configure the Universal Remote I/O ports as an I/O scanner port or an I/O adapter port. Ethernet PLC-5 controllers and the Ethernet interface module (1785-ENET) ensure built-in web services. The SLC 500 Backup Communication module (1747-BSN) provides the required backup options for increased fault tolerance.


Allen Bradley SLC 500: Battery Replacement

Allen Bradley SLC 5/03, SLC 5/04, or SLC 5/05 processor provides backup power for RAM by a replaceable lithium PLC battery that ensures backup for around two years. 


Users get a BATT LED feature that warns them when the PLC battery voltage drops below the stipulated levels. The adoption of prudent battery maintenance practices ensures the SLC 500 performs optimally. The addon is that PLC batteries can backup data in RAM for at least 30 minutes. 


Here are some simple steps to be precisely followed to restore the power supply to SLC 500

  1. Disconnect the power from the SLC 500 power supply to replace the lithium PLC battery and remove the processor. 
  2. Hold the retainer clips at both the top and bottom of the module and slide the processor. 
  3. Unplug the PLC battery connector and remove it from the retaining clips. 
  4. At this point, a new PLC battery can be inserted into the PLC battery retaining clips. 
  5. Plug the PLC battery connector into the socket and reinsert the module into the SLC 500 chassis.  


Current Market Status of the SLC 500

Rockwell Automation has announced that some SLC 500 Bulletin numbers are discontinued and no longer available for sale. In 2010, the company decided to phase out SLC 500, and SLC 5/01 and SLC 5/02 controllers were obsolete in January 2017. Also, the Bulletin 1747 SLC 5/01 and 5/02 series controllers were discontinued and are no longer available for sale. The Bulletin 1746 SLC 5/03 8K series controllers faced the axe in August 2018.


Today, the company recommends the CompactLogix 5370 or 5380 controller platforms as a suitable replacement which do not hamper the production process but provides the requisite quality and results. The aim is to help users minimize downtime, reduce manufacturing costs, and improve operating efficiency, which the SLC's installed base used to provide.


Current Challenges for SLC 500 Installations

The SLC 500 has been a workhorse for three decades of its existence. However, this series and many of its products are in the “matured” state, slated to achieve “end of life” status soon. Thus, to run the machines installed with SLC 500 units at their previous operational efficiency, users will need to upgrade these SLC 500 systems at the earliest.


Here is where the issue lies. Allen Bradley has steadily and substantially increased the cost of SLC 500 spares over the past few years. While this might immediately warrant a change to a more advanced programmable controller, it is easier said than done.


Installing a fresh controller and efficiently running these new systems would require users to undertake heavy re-engineering of their existing machinery or process. The systemization of a new controller mandates the entire production process to shut down or machines to halt. The procedure consequently involves a loss of production efficiency and labour-extensive hours, adversely impacting the budget arranged for the new system.


Users calibrate and customize the machines as per their project requirements. One of the reasons why the SLC 500 programmable controllers have been successful is their ease of usage, flexibility, and speed. A re-engineering to have a new system installed will also pose a challenge to the shop floor personnel because they will have to undergo intense training to understand and operate the latest machinery.


Another option that end-users might try is to buy SLC 500 spares from the free market (online sites like eBay and many others). However, this poses a high-quality risk for users, as they are prone to end up with spurious parts. Also, online sellers do not offer any warranty or ownership of the spares they deliver.


Extend the Life of SLC 500 

Are you worried about the life of your SLC 500? No need to fret and fume anymore! IndAXOnline services have you covered for all your spares and services for your trusted SLC 500 controllers. We assist our customers with automation spares and services for three or five years, depending upon the SLC 500 model you operate. Trust us to provide this warranty for all the hardware spare parts you have purchased with a comprehensive repair support.


Let our experts come to you for effective software debugging and faster system troubleshooting. IndAXOnline understands your challenges in an ever-dynamic and changing operational environment. That’s why we assist you with our efficient expansion and re-engineering solutions, which mitigate the risks and uncertainty associated with a product’s obsolescence. 


We only offer OEM components with the original specifications. If you fear that your SLC 500 might become obsolete soon, we supply spares which are not available in the market for five years. To sweeten the deal, we promise the shortest possible delivery times to ensure your production does not suffer.


To address the service and spare parts availability concerns regarding the SLC 500, IndAXonline has just the right solutions on offer. We are India’s largest online marketplace, and aim to assist you in keeping your SLC 500 units up and running for a long time.


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