PanelView vs VersaView

VersaView and PanelView are Allen-Bradley operator interfaces from Rockwell Automation, with similar functionalities as Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs). These graphic operator terminals combine HMI software and hardware to allow users to interact with a controller and the system being controlled. An HMI terminal can vary from a physical control panel with indicator lights and keypad buttons to an industrial PC (IPC) with color graphic displays and which runs a dedicated HMI software.

The Allen-Bradley PanelView and VersaView are both popular operator terminals in a variety of industrial control applications requiring the display of information graphically, real-time monitoring, and control of various industrial processes. They enable operators to understand the status of a controller fast enough, so as to make informed control decisions regarding the machine or process being controlled.

Allen-Bradley PanelView Terminal

Overview of PanelView Terminals 

Allen-Bradley PanelView terminals provide rugged, graphical interface solutions in an extensive range of display screen sizes, memory options, operator input methods, and system configurations. These robust devices include a complete package of software, hardware, and communications, which is fully tested for Human-Machine Interface (HMI) operation.

They support a variety of communication protocols including EtherNet/IP™, ControlNet™, and DeviceNet™. They are also designed and built to operate reliably in industrial environments characterized by extreme temperatures, excess humidity, high mechanical shock, and vibration.

Overview of VersaView Terminals 

The Allen-Bradley VersaView operator terminals are designed and built for centralized server access and system flexibility to power visualization control applications. They are distinctly different from the PanelView graphic terminals and other micro/component-level HMIs provided by Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley. The reason is, that the VersaView product line combines monitors, non-display industrial PCs, integrated displays, and various HMI software like thin clients that work in an open integrated architecture platform.

Allen-Bradley VersaView Terminal

This ability to combine different components allows system designers and integrators to use VersaView terminals to configure an optimal control system in a cost-effective way. The VersaView terminals are also fanless and they require fewer connectors, which reduces their commissioning time and setup costs.

Note: The available VersaView terminals offer compact non-display models and integrated all-glass, edge-to-edge color displays.

The entire VersaView visualization experience is greatly enhanced by the combination of non-display industrial PCs and monitors with HMI programming software and thin client software. Specifically, the use of thin client software provides cost-effective control solutions for both complex and standalone VersaView visualization systems throughout a given operation.

Also, these terminals access stored applications via server connections which eliminate the need for local hard drives. This centralized approach also ensures better system security than distributed hard drives, which are highly susceptible to a security breach.

Comparison between Allen-Bradley VersaView CE and PanelView Plus 

Since Rockwell Automation provides a wide variety of VersaView and PanelView terminals, in this article we’ll narrow down our comparison of the two product lines to PanelView Plus versus VersaView CE terminals. The distinguishing features and functionalities between the two are as follows:

A) Hardware Features 

There are four main versions of VersaView CE terminals including VersaView CE 1500H, 1250H, 1000H, and 700H. These VersaView CE terminals are both operating and display electronic devices which run software in an open Windows CE.NET development environment. They are characterized by the following hardware features: 

  • Graphical color display modules include a Touch screen-only, Keypad-only, or Touch screen & Keypad input support. This touch screen is analog and resistive in nature. 
  • A 650 MHz (MegaHertz) Celeron processor  
  • Field-replaceable bezel units 
  • Modular communications with easy add-on capabilities 
  • Expansion memory modules of up to 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of Compact Flash memory are required for field upgrades. The Compact Flash card slot is only capable of supporting Type I Compact Flash memory cards 
  • Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports which provide connections for printers/keyboard/mouse 
  • Serial and Ethernet communications ports 
  • Panel cutouts that are similar to those of PanelView Standard and Enhanced terminals. 

On the other hand, there are several versions of PanelView Plus graphic terminals including Compact PanelView™ Plus 6 (Bulletin 2711PC), Standard PanelView™ Plus 6 terminals (Bulletin 2711P), as well as PanelView™ Plus 7- Standard and Performance terminals (Bulletin 2711P). These PanelView™ Plus terminals include the following hardware features: 

  • High-performance processors for faster response times and operating speeds. For example, the processor speed of Compact PanelView™ Plus 6- 1000, 600, and 400 graphic terminals, and Standard PanelView™ Plus 6 terminals increased from 350 MHz to 1 GHz, with a screen transition rate of up to 70% faster.   
  • A high memory capacity of up to 4 GB (Gigabytes) RAM, and approximately 3 GB of free user memory. For instance, Compact PanelView™ Plus 6- 400, 600, and 1000 graphic terminals offer 256 MB (Megabytes) RAM and about 73 MB of user memory (512 MB of non-volatile memory). Standard PanelView™ Plus 6 – 600 and 400 graphic terminals offer 256 MB RAM and 512 MB non-volatile memory (approx. 73 MB of free user memory).  

Whereas, Standard PanelView™ Plus 6– 1500, 1250, 1000, and 700 graphic terminals provide 512 MB RAM and 512 MB non-volatile memory (approximately 79 MB of free user memory). PanelView™ Plus 7- Standard terminals offer 512 MB (Megabytes) RAM and 512 MB for non-volatile memory (approx. 80 MB free memory for user storage applications). PanelView™ Plus 7- Performance terminals provide 4 GB RAM, and 19.87 GB of non-volatile memory (approximately 3 GB free memory for user storage applications). 

  • High-speed USB ports and/or SD card slots, which support the use of USB drives or SD cards for faster copying and restoration of application programs. 
  • Two Ethernet ports that support Device Level Ring (DLR) network topologies or a Single Ethernet port for star or linear network connections. 
  • RS-232 serial communication ports. 
  • LED backlight displays with increased illumination  
  • Color TFT (Thin Film Transistor) Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs), with 18-bit color graphics. 
  • More screen size options and widescreen displays. With PanelView™ Plus 7- Standard terminals providing 4-inch, 6-inch, 7-inch, 9-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and 15-inch display size options. The 4-inch (4′′), 9-inch (9′′), and 12-inch (12′′), Plus 7 Standard terminals have widescreens. PanelView™ Plus 7 –Performance graphic terminals also provide multiple display sizes ranging from 7-inch to 19-inch, with touch-screen/keypad inputs, and widescreen display options. 
  • A built-in PDF viewer for accessing PDF files stored on the terminals and for context-sensitive operator support. 

 B) Modular Components

VersaView CE and PanelView Plus terminals offer component modularity with value-added options for flexible installation, system configuration, and upgrades. Therefore, engineering and maintenance teams can choose the HMI terminals that best fit their space requirements, operating environmental conditions, and budgets. 7″ to 15″ VersaView CE terminals and PanelView Plus graphic terminals are equipped with the following modular components:

  • Display/Input Modules  
  • Common Logic Modules (DC Power Input, USB ports, Ethernet port(s), Compact Flash Card Slot, and Serial Port)  
  • Internal Compact Flash card containing Operating System (OS) or Firmware, RAM, and Flash Memory  
  • Communication Modules (for distinct communication protocols)  

The aforementioned modules can be factory assembled as per your configuration requirements or ordered as separate components for field installation. When ordered separately, ensure that you attach the Communication Module and Logic Module to the Display Module before proceeding with panel installation. 

Note: The VersaView® CE operator terminals are shipped with the RAM and Compact Flash memory pre-installed in the Logic Module. But with the PanelView Plus, the Compact Flash and RAM memory are not pre-installed in the Logic Module. You’ll therefore need to install that memory in the Logic Module, before attaching it to the Display Module. 

C) Configured Base Unit

The configured base unit of the VersaView CE terminals (700H, 1000H, 1250H, and 1500H) and PanelView Plus terminals consists of the Display Module with Keypad-only, Touch screen-only, or Keypad & Touch-screen input options, and the Logic Module. The VersaView® CE Logic Module includes:  

  • 24V DC Input Power (18… 32V DC) 
  • Various sizes of Flash memory and SDRAM  
  • A 650 MHz Celeron processor 
  • 10 or 100 Mbps BaseT Ethernet port 
  • RS-232 Serial port for logic controller communications, file transfers, and printing 
  • Real-time, battery-backed clock 
  • Two high-speed USB ports for attaching printers, keyboards or mouse 
  • A compact flash card slot, which can only be used with Type I compact flash memory cards 

On the other hand, the smaller versions of Standard PanelView™ Plus 6 terminals- 600 and 400 terminals combine the Display, Logic, Power, and Memory modules into one configured base unit. While Compact PanelView™ Plus 6 terminals include only fixed hardware configurations without any addition or replacement of the existing modular components. But the Standard PanelView™ Plus 6– 700, 1000, 1250, and 1500 graphic terminals allow flexible system configuration with a variety of optional communication modules for multiple network communications. 

D) Communication Modules

You can install a communication module with a compatible network interface to the configured base unit of the PanelView or VersaView terminal, for the purpose of increasing your system’s communication capabilities. This communication module should attach easily on top of the logic module from the back of the unit. 

VersaView CE and PanelView Plus terminals communicate to all compatible Rockwell Automation devices over the following communication networks: 

  • EtherNet/IP™ 
  • ControlNet™ 
  • DeviceNet™ 
  • DH+ 
  • DH-485 
  • Remote I/O 
  • RS-232 Serial protocols (DH-485, DF1, and about 25 multi-vendor drivers) 

The two Allen-Bradley operator terminal series(VersaView® CE and PanelView™) also provide network connectivity to many other third-party logic controllers including Siemens, GE, Omron, Mitsubishi, AutomationDirect, Square D, and Modbus Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). 

E) Display Modules

VersaView CE operator terminals offer a wide range of TFT (Thin-Film-Transistor) color graphics displays with either Keypad-only, Touch screen-only, or Keypad & Touch-screen input support. PanelView Plus terminals also provide a variety of color TFT graphic displays but Standard PanelView™ Plus 7 terminals provide a single input type, Touch screen-only. While PanelView™ Plus 7- Performance terminals provide two different input types, namely: (i) Touch screen-only; (ii) Touch screen/ Keypad input. 

As previously mentioned, PanelView™ Plus terminals offer multiple display size options and the same applies to VersaView® CE terminals, which provide the following display sizes: 

  • 6.5-inch VersaView CE 700H terminal 
  • 10.4-inch VersaView CE 1000H terminal 
  • 12.1-inch VersaView CE 1250H terminal 
  • 12.1-inch High-Bright touch-screen VersaView CE 1250H terminal 
  • 15-inch VersaView CE 1500H terminal 

All the VersaView CE display modules have common firmware and hardware which allow easy migration into a larger display. They are also available with Field-replaceable bezel units. 

On the other hand, the Standard PanelView™ Plus 6 – 1500, 1250, 1000, and 700 graphic terminals provide color display modules that range from 6.5-inch to 15-inch in size, with either Keypad-only, or Touch screen-only, or a combination of Touch-screen & Keypad input options. The 400 PanelView™ Plus 6 terminal model offers a 3.5-inch color graphic display module, with Keypad-only or Keypad & Touch screen input options, or a grayscale display module with Keypad-only input.  

In addition, the 600 PanelView™ Plus 6 terminal model has a 5.7-inch color or grayscale graphic display module with Keypad-only, Touch screen-only, or a combination Keypad & Touch-screen input options. Compact PanelView™ Plus 6 graphic terminals are available in 4-inch, 6-inch, and 10-inch color graphic display sizes.  

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