Hardware Comparison: Processor Families – MicroLogix 1500 vs. CompactLogix 5380

MicroLogix 1500 / CompactLogix 5380-L320 controllers overview

The MicroLogix 1500 controller family from Allen Bradley is a PLC platform equipped with high level features and performance. This controller and compatible modules are DIN Rail mounted and of a modular type that takes up minimal space during installation.

Generally designed for small and medium applications, the controller supports remote I/O function by combining with 1769 compact I/O modules.

The controller comes with a RS232 Serial communication interface that supports the AB proprietary DF1 protocol (Full and Half Duplex) which can be used to communicate with HMI, SCADA and programming units.

The CompactLogix 5380 controllers are part of the Logix5000 family of controllers. Similar to MicroLogix 1500 family, controllers under this platform supports DIN rail mounting and component modularity contributes to minimum panel space installation requirement. Small to Mid-size smart machines and equipment for manufacturing are the specialty of this controller family. The CompactLogix 5380 supports implementation of Remote I/O systems by combining with other Allen Bradley or 3rd party communications adapter.
The built-in Ethernet communication port provides quick connectivity to existing enterprise network including Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

MicroLogix 1500 CompactLogix 5380
Installation DIN Rail / Screw DIN Rail
Expansion modules 1769 Compact I/O 5069 Compact I/O
No. Expansion modules 16 Compact I/O modules Depending on the ethernet adapter used
Built-in communication port RS232 Ethernet; USB
No. of I/Os; embedded 16 Inputs / 12 Outputs, max. 496 I/O, max.
Local I/O modules 8 modules 31 modules
No. Expansion modules 16 Compact I/O modules Depending ethernet adapter used
No. Expansion rack 1 bank Depending ethernet adapter used
Programming Languages Ladder Diagram Ladder Diagram Structured Text Function Block Diagram Sequential Function Chart
Product Maturity Discontinued Active

MicroLogix 1500 and CompactLogix L320 Controllers

The MicroLogix 1500 controllers features Two (2) processor options as shown below:

MicroLogix 1500 Family 1764-LSP 1764-LRP
User Memory 7K Series B; 12K (8K Program; 4K Data)

Series C: 14K (10K Program; 4K Data)
Compatible base unit 1764-24AWA; 1764-24BWA; 1764-28BXB; 1764-24AWA; 1764-24BWA; 1764-28BXB;
Built-in communication port 1; RS232 2; RS232
Supported communication protocol (built-in port) Channel 0: DF1, DH485, Modbus, ASCII

Use to connect with PanelView 800 using the 1761-CBL-PM02 cable
Channel 0: DF1, DH485, Modbus, ASCII Channel 1: DF1, DH485, Modbus, ASCII Use to connect with PanelView 800 using the 1761-CBL-PM02 cable
RS232 topology Point to point; Point to point;

Each processor can be used with any of the base units as shown below. The base units determine the built-in features of the controller:

MicroLogix 1500 Family 1764-24AWA 1764-24BWA 1764-28BXB
Power Input 120/240Vac 120/240Vac 24Vdc
Inputs (12) 120Vac (8) Standard 24Vdc (4) Fast 24Vdc (8) Standard 24V dc (8) Fast 24V dc
Outputs (12) Relay, 2 isolated relays per unit (12) Relay, 2 isolated relays per unit (6) Relay, 2 isolated relays per unit (4) Standard 24V dc FET (2) Fast 24V dc FET
High Speed I/O n/a (4) 20 kHz input (8) 20 kHz input (2) 20 kHz output

Aside from built-in standard inputs and outputs, the 1764-24BWA and 1764-28BXB features on-board High-Speed I/O which enables the controller’s use in simple motion control and totalizing functions.

The CompactLogix 5380-L320 controllers boasts a wider variety of processors for use with both standard systems and those that require integrated safety.

Standard CompactLogix 5380 – L320 Processors 5069-L320ER 5069-L320ERM
Power Input External; 24Vdc External; 24Vdc
Inputs via 5069 Compact I/O via 5069 Compact I/O
Outputs via 5069 Compact I/O via 5380 Compact I/O
High Speed I/O via 5069 Compact I/O via 5069 Compact I/O
Supported communication protocol (built-in port) CIP over Ethernet CIP over Ethernet
No. of Ethernet nodes 40 40
Ethernet Topology: Linear; Device Level Ring (DLR); Star Linear; Device Level Ring (DLR); Star
Integrated Motion N/A 8 Axes
Integrated safety via GuardLogix via GuardLogix
Integrated Safety Compact GuardLogix 5380 – L320(S) Processors 5069-L320ERS2 5069-L320ERS2K 5069-L320ERMS2 5069-L320ERMS2K
Power Input External; 24Vdc External; 24Vdc External; 24Vdc External; 24Vdc
Inputs via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O
Outputs via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O via 5380 Compact I/O / 5380 Guard I/O
High Speed I/O via 5380 Compact I/O via 5380 Compact I/O via 5380 Compact I/O via 5380 Compact I/O
Supported communication protocol (built-in port) CIP over Ethernet CIP over Ethernet CIP over Ethernet CIP over Ethernet
No. of ethernet nodes 40 40 40 40
Ethernet Topology: Linear; Device Level Ring (DLR); Star Linear; Device Level Ring (DLR); Star Linear; Device Level Ring (DLR); Star Linear; Device Level Ring (DLR); Star
Integrated safety Yes; SIL2 Yes; SIL2 Yes; SIL2 Yes; SIL2

M in the catalog number (e.g. 5069-L320ERM) refers that the controller supports integrated motion axes.

Memory, Battery and Processing speed

The MicroLogix 1500 memory size ranges from 7K – 14K user memory using the 1764-LSP or 1764-LRP module. User memory is retained using 1747-BA Lithium battery. Controller processing speed is 1 milisecond per 1K of user program.

The CompactLogix 5380-L320 has 2MB memory size. It implements a battery-less energy storage solution that eliminates maintenance, transportation and environmental issues associated with lithium batteries by providing power to the CPU on power down allowing the controller to write a customer’s application and tag data to on-board flash memory. The battery-less Energy Storage Solution eliminates the need for a backup battery.

The Compact GuardLogix system 5380-L320(S) holds the same 2MB memory size with an additional 1MB safety memory.


The MicroLogix 1500 has a built-in RS232 communication port that can be configured as DF1 Full and Half Duplex for communication with computers, programming devices, HMI and SCADA systems. This controller family also supports other communication protocols such as DH-485, Ethernet and Devicenet by using external Allen-Bradley interface converters.

T he CompactLogix 5380 – L320 has a built-in Ethernet communication port that supports 10/100/1GB ethernet networks. Communication adapters for remote I/O systems, Motion systems and messaging function can be implemented without the need of external interface converters.

Communication Peripherals and practicality

The built-in RS232 port of MicroLogix 1500 can be configured as Allen Bradley’s proprietary DF1 Full / Half Duplex protocol. However, most applications nowadays require the capability to exchange data up to the Supervisory level. With this network requirement in mind, DF1 protocol via RS232 port may not satisfy the user. To connect to Supervisory level, one may need to use the Allen Bradley Interface converters to enable networking of devices.

The 1747-NET-AIC allows MicroLogix and SLC devices to connect to RS485 capable devices or Allen Bradley DH-485 protocol.

The 1761-NET-ENI and 1761-NET-ENIW provide EtherNet/IP connectivity for all MicroLogix controllers, CompactLogix controllers, and other DF1 full-duplex devices.

When utilizing Advanced Interface converters, a variety of Allen Bradley Pre-fabricated cables may be needed to satisfy the communication conversion. This is true when using RS232 communication as it may require some electronic circuitry to perform conversions.

With CompactLogix 5380-L320, the built-in Ethernet port enables the device to be readily available for Enterprise connectivity, eliminating communication converters and multiple peripherals and increasing data transfer rate. An ethernet connection requires a minimum of ethernet cables and Ethernet Switch to connect to Supervisory Level and can be further connected all the way through the Plant Enterprise Level. With this controller, communication is made simpler and scalable.

Implementation of Remote Input and Output (R I/O) systems

Remote Input and Output is more popularly called R I/O or Distributed I/O.

Normally, a plant is consisted of multiple areas. These individual areas may be served by installing individual controller rack each. This solution will definitely work and may present advantages but, may contribute to higher cost and increased points of failure.

Remote I/O systems is technically a rack without a controller. It only has a communication adapter to fetch data to a central controller. This solution has been available a long time and has proven to be a practical and ideal solution for plant requirements.

Depending on the protocol used, a Remote I/O system can be implemented in distances ranging from 10m – 10km.

The MicroLogix 1500 controllers supports installation of 8 Local I/O modules. The platform supports basic level of I/O expansion, up to 1 bank (rack) where a maximum of 16 I/O modules can be installed. Expansion bank can be installed One (1) to Three (3) meters away from the main rack.

Alternatively, Remote I/O can be implemented by adding communication converters in the network, as described in the Programming Peripherals section.

T he CompactLogix 5380-L320 allows installation of 31 local I/O modules. It supports a higher level of expansion through the built-in ethernet communication port where I/O expansion capability depends on the partner remote I/O adapter installed. I/O adapter options include Point I/O, Flex I/O, SLC I/O, ArmorBlock, ArmorPoint and ControlLogix I/O systems.

MicroLogix 1500 CompactLogix 5380-L320
No. of Local I/O modules, max 8 31
No. of Remote I/O modules, max 16 Depending on Remote I/O adapter
I/O density of Local I/O module, max 16 16
I/O density of Remote I/O module, max 16 Depending on Remote I/O adapter
No. of I/O points, max. 384 Depending on Remote I/O adapter
Remote I/O adapter support N/A Yes
Remote IO adapter communication Through interface converters Built-in ethernet port
Remote I/O adapter Options N/A Point I/O, Flex I/O, SLC I/O, ControlLogix, ArmorBlock, ArmorPoint

Motion Control applications

The MicroLogix 1500 may be implemented for simple high-speed applications such as packaging or printing. This may be accomplished with the integration of encoders through the embedded high-speed inputs or by using 1769-HSC High Speed Counter module. Advanced modules for more complex motion control applications can be purchased through Allen Bradley Encompass Partners.

The MicroLogix 5380-L320 has a built-in Ethernet communication port that supports motion control over ethernet. Catalog numbers that has an “M” as its suffix ( 5069-L320ERM, 5069-L320ERMS2, 5069-L320ERMS2K) indicates that the device support integrated motion. This feature is compatible to implement with Allen-Bradley Kinetix drives and other compatible devices. Up to 8 axes can be controlled by an L320 controller, perfect for machines installed in manufacturing and assembly industries. Traditional motion control approach may still be implemented through high-speed input channels.

Integrated Safety

CompactLogix 5380 modules can be mixed with Compact GuardLogix 5380 controllers to control machines and processes with integrated safety to adhere to the latest global safety standards.

Networked safety applications with Compact GuardLogix may be implemented with motion and the following drives: Kinetix® 5700 servo drives ERS4, PowerFlex® 755 drives v14 and PowerFlex® 755T v2 drives.

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