A Beginner’s Tutorial to Rockwell Automation’s Studio 5000 Logix Designer

By Stephen Gates, Owner, myPLCtraining.com

When it comes to industrial automation, Studio 5000 is one of the most widely used software packages in the world. Studio 5000 Logix Designer (formerly known as RSlogix 5000) is used to program the most powerful Allen-Bradley PLCs (technically PACs), including the ControlLogix and CompactLogix controllers.

In my career, I specialize in helping people become confident PLC programmers so they can advance their career or just get better at their job.

In this tutorial, I’m going to walk you through setting up your first project inside Studio 5000 Logix Designer. This is a key software that you need to learn to become a confident PLC programmer, so let’s jump right in.

This is what we will cover:

  1. Create a new project

  2. Adding I/O to the project

  3. Creating Ladder Logic


Create a New Project in Studio 5000 Logix Designer

If you have Studio 5000  installed on your PC, you should be able to find it in your applications under the folder called “Rockwell Software”

The icon will look like the following…

Once you open it up, you’ll be brought to a startup menu, that allows you to create a new project, open an existing project or get help on the software.

We are going to create a new project from scratch so we will choose “New Project” under the “Create” heading. From there we have a few options for project types, but we want to choose Logix in this case since we are going to be creating a Logix Designer PLC program.

Once, we have selected the type of project we want to create, it’s now time to choose the type of controller we want to use for the project. In this tutorial, we will use the Studio 500 Logix Emulate Controller. This controller emulates a physical controller by utilizing a portion of memory on your PC to act like a PLC controller.

We could choose any of the controller options but I’ll the next article in this series  will cover the Studio 5000 Logix Emulate software, so using the Emulate controller in this example  this will set us up for the next tutorial.

Ok, let’s give the controller a name. Let’s call it Pump_Control_Station. Then hit “Next”

At this point we can choose the revision number of the firmware we will use in the controller. I have Logix Designer version 30 on this computer so we will stick with the default revision, 30.

You also choose the type of chassis the controller will be in. (Note, that this is only true for ControlLogix, GuardLogix and Logix Emulate controllers since CompactLogix systems don’t use a chassis). We will leave at the default 4-slot chassis and leave the controller in the default slot position, slot 0.

Now click “Finish” to get your first project created!

Alright, now we have successfully created a new Logix Designer project. This what you should see when you first get into the software.


Adding I/O Modules to the Project

Ok, now that we have our project create let’s add some I/O modules to our configuration. Logix Designer makes this really easy to do.

On the left, inside the “Controller Organizer”, find the “I/O Configuration” item right-click the 1756-Backplane.

This is where we add input and output modules that will be controlled by our controller.

So, we choose New Module

Let’s add an analog input module and a discrete output module. Since we have a Logix Emulate controller it is going to restrict our options to ControlLogix I/O modules only. We can use filters to narrow our options even further. So we will choose analog.

Let’s just grab the first one available which is the 1756-IF16. A 16 channel voltage/current analog input module.

We don’t need to give it a name so we will just skip that and hit ”Ok” when the “New Module” dialog pops up.

Alright, now let’s add a discrete (or digital) output module. So change the filter from Analog to Digital. And let’s choose a 32 point output module for 24VDC, which will be the 1756-OB32.


And again, no need to name the module so we will just hit “Ok” on the “New Module” dialog box that pops up.

Here’s what you should see…

Alright, now we are making progress! We have Logix Designer project created with two I/O modules added.

Now let’s create some logic.


Creating Ladder Logic

This tutorial does not go into the details of how to use Ladder Logic, so if you’re new to Ladder Logic then you might want to check out this post.

For now we are just going to create one simple rung. The purpose this rung will be to turn on a pump when the tank level we are reading goes above 50%.

We are going to keep this as simple as possible.

First, open up the default ladder logic routine that is created when you create a new project. MainTask > MainProgram > Main Routine.

Next we will use the instructions tab above the logic area to choose to Ladder Logic instructions.We will need “greater than” comparison instruction to create our logic.

We can find that in the “Compare” tab and the instruction is labeled “GRT”. Just click and drag the GRT onto the first rung of the Ladder Logic routine.

Alright now, remember we want this logic to turn on a pump when the level of the tank gets above 50%. Our pump is getting controlled by the discrete output module: the 1756-OB32 module.

So we will use an output energize instruction which works much like a basic on/off relay coil. The output energize instruction, or OTE. The OTE should on the “Favorites” tab and the “Bit” tab

Ok, now we need to address our instructions to our I/O modules so we can read the correct data in and write to the correct points.

For GRT instruction, remember we are going to be comparing the analog input to 50%. And will use channel 5 from the analog input module. Now the syntax is a little different depending on the module type you’re using but you can always browse through the available tags and addresses from a module by going into the controller tags or just by clicking in the tag field of any instruction and then clicking the drop-down menu.

Since our analog input module is in slot 1, we will use Local:1:I and expand that. One thing that is pretty consistent with the addressing syntax I/O modules in Logix Designer is that your I/O point or channel data will almost always have the word “

data” in it.

Since we want channel 5 we scroll down until we see something with Ch5 and “Data” in it. So the correct address, in this case, ends up being Local:1:I.Ch5Data

And we want to compare that analog input value to 50. So, in source B of the GRT instruction we will put the number 50.

Next, we will address the OTE instruction. Remember the discrete output module is in slot 2, so we will be browsing for Local:2. And since it’s an output module it should have an O in the address. Which becomes Local:2:O.Data


And then we need to choose which output point will be used from the 32 point module. Let’s use point 19. So that becomes Local:2:O.Data.19.


And that completes our ladder logic example. Now, we will do one more thing to make sure our program runs like we want it and that is to make sure the analog input is scaled properly. As we earlier we want the analog input to giving us a percentage of the tank fullness level. So we want the Ch5 address to give us a value between 0-100%.

To set up the scaling let’s go into the module properties for the 1756-IF16. Just double-click the module in the I/O tree to open the properties.

And that should bring up the properties…once we are in the properties we want to do the following:

  1. Navigate to Ch05

  2. Change the input type from Current (A) to Voltage (V)

  3. Change the input range from 0-10V (in this example, we imagine that the tank level sensor puts out a 0-10V signal)

  4. Make sure the signal is scaled from 0 to 10 V

  5. Change the engineering units to %

This configuration ensures that when we get an analog voltage signal of 10V into channel 5, that it’s scaled to 100% and if the sensor is giving us a 5V signal it gets scaled to 50% and so on.


Wrapping Up

Now you should be able to create Studio 5000 Logix Designer project from scratch, add the necessary I/O modules and even create some ladder logic, using addresses from your I/O modules. 

In the next article, we will explore how to use Logix Designer with Logix Emulate so you can test your logic, simulate your machines and just have some fun experimenting with PLC programming. So stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, if you have more questions about the topics we touched on in this article, here are some options to learn more:

Look forward to helping you become a confident PLC 

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