Need wireless solution for PC to AB SLC 5/04


Thread Starter


Hey folks! I have a stand alone application that's run by an Allen Bradly SLC 5/04. Once in a while we need to connect to the processor via PCMCIA KT card and AB's "PCMCIA to 9 pin" cable to do some troubleshooting with a laptop running RSLogix500 and RSLinx. The machine is mobile so we don't have a blue hose connection. Troubleshooting therefore requires the technician to move with the machine.

We would like to replace the physical connection with a wireless system so that troubleshooters can be stationary and remain safely away from the equipment. Distance is within 100 feet within the same building and possibly even line of site.

I'm specifically looking for suggestions on hardware. Any other advice would be appreciated as well.

Kevin Liston

Use the channel 0 serial port on the A-B processor to go to one side of an IR send/receiver pair. I've used Visalux (german?) and sick optics. On the PC end hook up the other IR device to your serial port on the PC (change drivers). These units use line of site but travel for several hundred meters.
Here's another option: Upgrade the machine to an SLC-5/05 and add a wireless network client. According to the manual, a Linksys WAP11 (US$99.99 at BestBuy) in Access Point Client mode will do this, so that non-wireless devices can connect to a regular access point. There's an added benefit if your notebook computer also has wireless networking because the technician won't be tied to a network cable either. (Disclaimer: I haven't done this, but that's what the diagrams show.)
Call your AB distributor and ask about solutions offered by AB Encompass partners. Not every distributor will be well versed about Encompass, especially conduit & wire houses, so be persistent. Several Encompass partners offer solutions, both stand alone and in-rack.
This is a bit expensive, $2200 or so for the processor upgrade. HOWEVER it works great. I haven't tried it with the SLC5/05, but we use the Linksys units with our ControlLogix PLCs and wireless networking on our laptops. There is the added advantage of not worrying about whether the program files are on the laptop or not, we just get them from the server.