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Panasonic FP0-R PLC Surprises

Recently, I used my first Panasonic FP0-R PLC in a machine (as a drop in replacement for a FP0). Even though I’ve read the FP0-R specifications, I did have a couple surprises along my journey to a working machine.

The not so good surprises:

  • You need the FPWin Pro V6.0 or newer development software to initially download to the FP0-R.  Pretty frustrating, since I only had FPWinPro V5.3.
  • OK, Panasonic also offers FPWinGR, but I’ll never consider it, because FPWinPro implements the IEC-61131 programming standard (yeah, structured text! ) and when I first tried FPWinGR, about a decade ago, it was, to put it nicely, a putrid steaming pile of crap (OK, I’ve seen worse, but it wasn’t very good then).
  • Of course, getting a new, full versions of these (FPWinPro or FPWinGR) costs money.
  • The free program loader program I was using, PLC UpDown V2.55, doesn’t work with the FP0-R, and I can’t find a newer version.  FP UpDown let me upload the memory of the PLC into a NSU file and then download that NSU file into another PLC.
  • Panasonic does have a free loader program, FPLoader, that does work with the FP0-R, but it only downaloads FPWinGR programs (not FPWinPro), and can’t upload.

But I was pleasantly surprised, because:

  • Panasonic has a free FPWinPro version, FPWinPro 6.2 basic, that is only limited by the maximum program size, which varies depending on the PLC model; it’s 2.7K/300 steps for the FP0/FP0-R and 12K/500 steps for the FP Sigma.  My current programs are all smaller than that, so thank you, Panasonic!
  • The FP0-R has compatibility modes that let it mimic FP0 PLCs such as the FP0-C32 and FP0-T32.  When the FP0-R is in compatibility mode, you can use FPWinPro 5 (or FP UpDown).  I found trying to switch between native and compatibility modes a little unpredictable.
  • So you can still download a large FP0 program without upgrading to FPWinPro V6 by first using V6.2 basic to set compatibility mode, and then using the older software to download the big program.
  • The second serial port is now much faster, with a maximum speed of 115200 bps, while the FP0’s topped out at 19200 bps.
  • The USB tool port worked smoothly.

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