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Farewell 90-30: What, Why, and What To Do Next

After almost 30 years of faithful service, GE has announced they will retire the entire 90-30 line. As of October 1st, GEIP has changed the commercial status of the Series 90-30 to MATURE. For the most part, this means that GE will continue to manufacture new units for the next 2 years but will then declare the units DISCONTINUED. When a GE module is declare DISCONTINUED, it means GEIP will still offer Repair & Return, but won’t be building new units.

Over the years, GE has declared many individual 90-30 modules MATURE and then DISCONTINUED: IC693CPU331-a popular backplane CPU, IC693PCM311 – programmable co-processor module, amongst others. However, this new announcement applies to the entire line.

If you have a new project or expansion, obviously we suggest you do not use the 90-30, but consider the Rx3i. The Rx3i line was designed as a form, fit, and function replacement for the 90-30. The line has been around for almost 10 years and has been proven in the field. If you have an existing 90-30 you may want to explore upgrading to the Rx3i. (Please see: Upgrading a GE Series 90-30 PLC system to PACsystems Rx3i for more details)

Long story short, after almost 30 years of reliable, faithful service, the 90-30 will retire in about 2 years. Its time to learn about the Rx3i, make plans to upgrade, or make sure you have spares. If you have specific questions or concerns, please reach out to Vlad or David at Gexpro. If you would like an audit of your install and recommendations, we can help with that too.

Copy of the official EOL Notice:2015_10_01_Series 90-30 EOL Letter_Final

Upgrading a GE Series 90-30 PLC system to PACSystems Rx3i

Upgrading a 90-30 system to an Rx3i is pretty straightforward. To convert a 90-30 system to the Rx3i, you simply replace the backplane, cpu, and power supply. The key to this easy upgrade is the Rx3i’s dual bus backplane. Most 90-30 IO modules can be integrated into an Rx3i rack.

RX3i BackPlane

PACSystems Rx3i Backplane

PACSystems Rx3i Backplane

When GE designed the PACSystems Rx3i, they took into account the 90-30 installed base that might want to upgrade. If you look at an Rx3i backplane, you will see that there are actually 2 different connectors for each slot. One connector accepts Rx3i modules and plugs into the PACSystems high speed PCI bus, and the other connector accepts 90-30 modules and plugs into a serial bus. If you took apart at an RX3i Backplane, you would see there are actually 2 backplanes in the unit running parallel -one that can accept “90-30 style” IO and another for Rx3i IO and smart modules.

90-30 module connector

90-30 module connector


Rx3i Power Supply Connector

PACSystems Rx3i Modules connector (this is Power Supply connector)

HARDWAREIf you need to upgrade a 90-30 system to an Rx3i, you would replace the Backplane, Power Supply, and CPU. However, most of your IO (usually 70% of a systems cost) can be reused. Not to mention the fact that you would not need to rewire your IO as well – a significant labor saving and headache avoidance.

LOGIC/SOFTWARE Also, you would need to convert your logic in Proficy Machine Edition. Luckily, this is usually as simple as changing your project target from a 90-30 to an Rx3i. If you have Proficy ME Professional Suite – this is very simple and straightforward.

Still running Windows XP? Really!?

Let’s start with some facts:

  • Windows XP was released in 2001 — last time I counted that was over a decade ago.
  • In 2007, Microsoft extended support for XP to April 8, 2014 — so, you had 7 years to move.
  • Since April 8, 2014 technical assistance for Windows XP is no longer available
  • Microsoft ended updates to anti-malware signautres on July 14, 2015. (that was last month)

And some scary stats:

  • an estimated 30% of the worlds PCs are still running XP
  • 95% of the world’s ATMs are powered by XP
  • 75% of Water/Wastewater utilities still use XP

Long story short, Microsoft is not supporting Windows XP, so it is getting harder and harder for industrial software companies to support and protect users on older operating systems. At the same time, we hear increasing reports of hackers targeting industrial organizations such as utilities and manufacturers.

If you are still running Windows XP in your plant, please let us know what we might do to help you upgrade.

In the meantime, if the cost of upgrading your GE software (Cimplicity, iFix, Machine Edition) is an issue, we can work with you on that. If you have a current GlobalCare support contract, the upgrade is free. If you do not, GE is running several programs to remove the cost barrier to upgrade. If interested, send an email for details to vladimir.garner{at}gexpro.com.