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Automation controller switches to Real-time Linux

Nov 13, 2019 — by Eric Brown 2,054 views

WAGO has converted to Linux for its second-gen “PFC200” controller. The 1GHz Cortex-A8 device, which has an e!COCKPIT CODESYS V3 runtime in addition to Real-time Linux, offers dual 10/100 Ethernet, a serial port, and connections to the modular WAGO-I/O-System fieldbus modules.

WAGO has switched over to Linux for the second-gen version of its PFC200 Controller for Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) applications, although it continues to offer its e!COCKPIT CODESYS V3 runtime environment and development environment for traditional CODESYS programming. The system is designed to support its modular WAGO-I/O-System of I/O modules, which we were reporting on as early as 2007 back at the old LinuxDevices site in regard to its integration with Kontron’s ThinkIO-Duo computer. WAGO also announced that a similarly Real-time Linux based PFC200 BACnet/IP Controller will arrive in mid-2020.

Second-gen PFC200 (left) and similar WAGO controllers connected to the WAGO-I/O-System
(click images to enlarge)

With its unnamed 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor with 512MB RAM and 4GB flash, the PFC200 is “significantly more powerful and has a larger memory” than the first generation, says WAGO. The system runs Real-time Linux equipped with the RT-Preempt patch.

The switch to Linux enables more flexible development options, “allowing the controller’s base image to be extended or exchanged via open-source packages and the PLC runtime environment to be completely replaced by C/C++ programs,” says WAGO. The Linux stack is also said to enable the use of Docker containers and eases connections to cloud providers and MQTT brokers.

PFC-200 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The new PFC200 debuts the capability to integrate any EtherCAT Slave into a PFC200-based control system, offering the ability to “comprehensively configure the fieldbus,” says WAGO. The system supports communications including Modbus (TCP, UDP), Modbus RTU, RS-232, RS-485, EtherNet/IP adapter (slave), EtherCAT-Master, MQTT, and Ethernet protocols ranging from HTTP to DHCP.
The PFC200 supplies dual 10/100 Ethernet fieldbus ports with an Ethernet switch and a DB9-based RS-232/RS-485 port. There’s an SD slot in addition to the 4GB flash.


The PFC200 supports all digital, analog and specialty modules within the WAGO-I/O-System 750/753 Series. Connections to the fieldbus I/O modules are enabled via a 6x cage clamp interface and there’s also a 2x cage clamp connection for the system supply.

The 100 x 78.6 x 71.9mm system has a 24V DC input and DIN-rail mounting. The IP20-protected system can endure 0 to 55°C temperatures.

Further information

WAGO’s second-gen PFC200 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in the announcement in Infrastructure Magazine and on the updated PFC200 product page.

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One response to “Automation controller switches to Real-time Linux”

  1. Joanna says:

    Linux is everywhere … even in Windows OS.

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