What PanelView Do You Need? – Selection Guide

Graphic terminals are an essential part of most modern operating systems.  They provide solutions for human machine interface issues where access at the point of need by an operator, manager or technician is critical.  By providing access where needed, users can achieve visualization of the process they seek to manage and allows them to make changes quickly and accurately.

Today’s HMIs are also built for shock, vibration and other harsh conditions found in a manufacturing environment.  And they are built to work with modern communication protocols such as DeviceNet, ControlNet, EtherNet/IP, and others.  One superior family of solutions for automation and interface applications is the PanelView Family by Allen Bradley.  The PanelView family offers the above solutions and include all the hardware, software and communication needs built in.

But which PanelView is right for your application? And how do you choose the right model, or mix of models, for your automation system.  Here are some guidelines and features comparisons that will help you find the right PanelView system for your application.

Assessing Your System Needs

The type of PanelView you select will depend upon the type of configuration or topology needed for your automation system.  Linear (Bus), star, ring, and Device Level Ring (DLR) configurations are common and are built based on the level of complexity required. 

  • Linear (Bus) – Linear configurations are less expensive and easier to install.  They provide straightforward networking through drops along the run.  This option is often used in simple networks where machine monitoring or interaction requirements are not complex.  Since data is transferred over the main line, drops and distance are factors as well.
  • Star – Star configurations use a hub unit that communicates with all devices on the other end.  Device to device communication isn’t allowed.  Each device must communicate with others through the hub.  This helps make fault detection easier and requires less cabling.  It also means that devices need only have a single I/O port to connect to the hub.  HMIs such as PanelView models can be configured to meet a system with these needs affordably and reliably.
  • Ring – In a ring configuration, each device is connected to two others.  Each device also has a repeater to forward information to the correct unit.  Because there are only two devices, installation is easier, and scaling can be done more quickly. 
  • Device Level Ring (DLR) – A DLR uses several rings to add redundancy to a system and was designed to detect faults in a multi-ringed network.  The system allows for recovery from faults as well.  It is an EtherNet/IP system that is used in complex automation systems where accurate fault detection could affect safety, equipment damage and product quality.

Selecting a PanelView for Your System

After assessing the system type, you will now need to determine how many and what type of PanelView suits your application.  Systems may range from those requiring a single HMI to those that utilize many.  And for multiple HMI configurations, different PanelView models can be used depending on what will be required at a particular station.

PanelView Plus 7 Performance

The PanelView Plus 7 Performance is one of two offerings in the Plus 7 series.  This operator interface device offers a more affordable solution for small to mid-range applications.  The PanelView Plus 7 Performance model has connectivity with a broad range of controllers.  In addition to ControlLogix and CompactLogix, the Performance also allows connectivity to PLC-5 SLC controllers for EtherNet and Serial DF1 as well as for Micro800 and even third-party controllers.  This gives the Plus 7 Performance expanded flexibility for use within many systems. 

The series also has a Windows CE operating system and full desktop access for better configuration and for interaction with third party apps.  One of its best capabilities is that it is limited in screen count, controllers, or alarms only by system memory and the type of CPU in use.  This makes the unit flexible across complex systems.

The Plus 7 Performance also uses the FactoryTalk View software to help programmers create HMI applications.  It also allows HMI alarms and remote viewing through a web HMI server as well as VNC, FTP, VNC Client and Remote Desktop Client so the system can be accessed and interacted with from any authorized user remotely.  The system also has 1GB RAM and 512 MB storage capacity

The Performance 7 is flexible and can be used in standalone, star, ring and DLR systems.  Its flexibility in configuration and ease of use is further extended through its access to web browsers, file viewers, PDF readers and media players.

PanelView Plus 7 Standard

The PanelView Plus 7 Standard has most of the same functionality and capability of the Plus 7 Performance.  However, there are some differences.  The Plus 7 Standard has a single USB Type A as well as a single USB Type B whereas the Performance only has 2 USB Type As. 

Other differences make the Plus 7 Standard more limited by comparison to the Plus 7 Performance.  For example, the Standard is only available in DC power while the Performance is available both AC and DC.  The Performance viewer capability is limited only to PDFs compared to the Performance’s numerous viewer applications.

Screen count is also more limited on the Plus 7 Standard compared to the Plus 7 Performance.  The Standard can support a screen count of up to 50 with a single controller and up to 500 alarms as opposed to the Performance’s screen support which is based only on CPU and memory.  Like the Performance, the PanelView Plus 7 Standard supports FactoryTalk View.

The Plus 7 Standard does, however, have the same remote capability as the Performance.  This allows for greater remote access that can be combined with its Windows CE operating system for development and deployment of 3rd party applications and new remote configurations.  The system also has more limited RAM and storage capability with 512 MB of each.

PanelView Plus 6

As one of the oldest PanelView family series, the PanelView Plus 6 is a good choice for legacy equipment and legacy systems.  The Plus 7 Performance, the Plus 6 imposes no limits on screens, controllers and alarms save those limited by CPU and memory.  The Plus 6 also uses the FactoryTalk ME software for HMI application creation.

The PanelView 6 is like the features of the PanelView Plus 7 Performance.  However, the Plus 6 obtains this functionality through modular flexibility compared to the Plus 7 Performance.  The Plus 6 has Windows CE available for desktop access, but it is achieved through an optional Windows CE module.  The same can be said of its viewer capability with all but PDF format being optional. 

This modularity makes the PanelView Plus 6 more customizable and thus available as a good value choice for the right system needs.  This flexibility is further enhanced by the larger variation in screen size and resolution available on the PanelView Plus 6, making it a good fit for many automation projects.

The Plus 6 also has the same capabilities for connectivity as the Plus 7 Performance including ControlLogix, CompactLogix, Micro 800 and 3rd-party controllers, as well as PLC-5/SLC controllers for EtherNet and serial DF1.  However, the Plus 6 also has connectivity with PLC-5/SLC DH+ as well.  It has comparable storage to other members of the PanelView Family with 512 nonvolatile/256 or 512 MB RAM.

The Plus 6 also has a wide range of USB connection ports depending on size of unit.  The Plus 6 has 1 USB 2.0 Type A and 1 USB 2.0 Type B on its smaller 4” and 6” versions.  Larger versions such as the 10”, 12” and 15” versions offer two of Type A and 1 of Type B.

The Plus 6 is a good match for small to large systems.  It is also available both AC and DC power.  The plus 6 is especially diverse in its communication protocols such as EtherNet /IP and DF1.  But as variant sizes increase, further modular communication protocols can be accepted as well such as DH+, DH-485, RS-485, and ControlNet.  As a very flexible and value driven choice, the Plus 6 offers functionality to fit most budgets and system sizes.

PanelView Plus 6 Compact

For systems with smaller footprint that still need a HMI, the PanelView 6 Plus Compact offers similar functionality to the Plus 6 but with some reduced features and in smaller sizes.  Like the Plus 6, the Plus 6 Compact uses FactoryTalk View ME version 6 or later installed with each terminal. 

Geared toward mid-size solutions, the Plus 6 Compact boasts the same connectivity to Logix platforms as does the Plus 7 Performance.  It allows 25 displays with up to 200 alarms.  Screen sizes range from a small 3.5” greyscale up to 10.4” color so it is adaptable to most equipment.

The Plus 6 Compact is also available as both AC and DC power and uses Windows CE OS.  Because it can be deployed with such a small profile, it offers more port connections compared to other PanelView models.  The Plus 6 Compact 1 USB 2.0 Type A and 1 USB 2.0 Type B on its smaller 4” and 6” versions.  Larger versions such as the 10” version offers two each of Type A and B.

The PanelView Plus 6 Compact does not offer the same number of viewers because of its smaller size.  However, it does allow email reporting and does come with a basic PDF viewer.  And graphic capabilities include display import/export, faceplates, and animation.

PanelView 800

The PanelView 800 is designed to provide a solid HMI solution with value driven cost.  However, there are some tradeoffs.  The PanelView 800’s connectivity only extends to CompactLogix 5370, Micro800 controllers and to PLC-5/Controllers for EtherNet and PLCC-5/SLC MicroLogix Controllers.

The PanelView800 also has fewer graphics features compared to all other PanelView family members.  It comes in 4”, 7” and 10” options and only supports 25 screens and 200 alarms through a single terminal.

Remote access for the PanelView800 is limited to VNC server.  It also has only a single USB 2.0 Type A slot and has no desktop access and no OS.  The PanelView800 uses the Connected Components WorkBench software to allow configuring of HMI applications and does have good memory capacity for its size with 128 MB of RAM and 128 MB storage on the 4” and 256 MB RAM and 256 MB storage on the 7” and 10”.

The PanelView 800 uses both serial communication ports such as RS232(DF1), RS-485(DH-485) and RS-485.  It also uses EtherNet.  As a small, value choice, the PanelView 800 is a great choice for small to mid-range systems within less complex environments.

PanelView Plus 1500 and 1000

The PanelView Plus 1500 and PanelView 1000 are legacy models like the PanelView Plus 6.  The capabilities between the two are the same.  With a 15” screen on the plus 1500 and a 10” screen on the PanelView 1000, both come in two versions.  The first is the PanelView Plus 1500 and PanelView 1000.  The second is the PanelView Plus CE 1500 and PanelView CE 1000.  The distinction lies in the larger memory capability of the CE versions using logic modules with or without CompactFlash. 

The PanelView Plus 1500 and PanelView 1000 run FactoryTalk Viewpoint software but require at least 128 MB of RAM and was only available on series E models or later compared to the PanelView Plus 6 which utilized version 1.2 or later on all models within the Plus 6 series. Unlike the PanelView 550 and other earlier models, the PanelView Plus 1500 and PanelView 1000 uses an open architecture structure, a feature carried on by the Plus 6 and later series as well. 

The PanelView Plus 1500 carries an internal storage of 256 MB with 512 MB of RAM.  This puts the RAM memory at the same level as the later Plus 6 but internal storage for the Plus 1500 is only half that of later models. 

The PanelView 1500 has a single 10/100 Mbps EtherNet interface as well as a single D89 for RS-232 communication.  Like the PanelView 1000 and the later Plus 6 series, other communications interface capabilities such as ControlNet, DH+, DH-485, Remote I/O and DeviceNet are achieved through add on communication modules.  The Plus 1500 can support EtherNet or serial communication.

The Plus 1500 and PanelView 1000 has a single USB Type A port to allow connection to keyboards, mice, and printers.  The Plus 1500 is also color with touchpad interface, while the PanelView 1000 has both a greyscale and a color version.  Additional memory modules can be added to boost memory in the field. 

Both the PanelView Plus 1500 and PanelView 1000 uses Windows CE 4.1.  The system can be enhanced in the field through add-on modules and both the standard and CE versions utilize the same cutouts.  Both series can run with AC or DC power.

PanelView 550

The PanelView 550 has long been a workhorse for the Allen Bradley family of HMIs.  The 550 has a 5.5” screen, designed to fit most automation projects that require access to equipment in tight spaces.  The system can run with MicroLogix and ControlLogix platforms as well as the SLC 500 series.  The PanelView 550 can also run a variety of communication protocols including DeviceNet, ControlNet, DH+, Remote I/O, DF1, DH-485, Profibus, and Modbus. 

The 550 offers alarming functionality that both records and displays the alarm to allow operators to intervene if necessary.  Alarm banners describe the alarm, and the unit can store data on alarms for later analysis.  The system uses PanelBuilder 32 software and all alarming functionality is configurable to specific applications.

The PanelView 550 uses a PC memory card that can be used to transfer data to a PC through the modem port.  This allows for firmware updates and other configurable information to be transferred conveniently. 

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