PLC System Firmware Maintenance

PLC System Firmware Maintenance

When I.T. departments roll out new equipment – and new operating systems – it’s on you to ensure that the new laptop is compatible with your PLC’s CPU.

Many facilities rarely update their PLCs, which means they’re using older versions of the programming software, which in turn often means running an older operating system.

As time goes on, this becomes more and more untenable as fewer IT staff have the expertise to keep DOS applications running on modern computers.

If your firmware is out of date, you might have to upgrade it before using newer versions of the software. The software help file, usually included as a text document with the software, should tell you the minimum firmware requirements.

For example, with the GE 90-70 line of controllers there are three software programs that might be in use

  • LogicMaster, which is DOS-based, is supported through Windows 2000
  • VersaPRO is supported from Windows 95 through Windows XP
  • Windows 7 or 8 machines (which are the only versions still supported by Microsoft) require PROFICY version 7 or higher

To learn how to check your firmware, watch this video.

Upgrade Your Firmware

Depending on the controller you have, there are two possible ways to upgrade the firmware.

Newer processors (all current controls and some GE 90-70 processors) can be upgraded by flashing the PROM, much like you might upgrade the BIOS on a computer. Please make sure you have a current backup before proceeding with this activity.

Older CPUs require you to replace a chip. This is an advanced maintenance activity and one we recommend you outsource to us unless you are very comfortable with this kind of operation.

You can speak to one of our Support Engineers at 1 (800) 784-9385 if you need help or would like to schedule this maintenance.

Before replacing a chip you must ensure you have proper backups and always use proper static discharge protection.

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