Tips for Working with Legacy Technology On Site

Resource Type: Blog |

Here’s the situation: you are on site, working on a project. You have encountered equipment that is nearly as old as you are and you’re not sure how to program it. None of your colleagues is familiar with it, and no one on site knows this hardware. They may have known this information at one point but have since forgotten. What can you do?

Call the Manufacturer

See if you can find who the manufacturer of this device is, and try to call their technical support line. There is usually someone who has been in technical support for a long time, who could give you some pointers in the right direction. They also can often send you some documentation that you wouldn’t have been able to find with a generic Google search. However, what if they don’t support the product anymore? Or you’re still stuck?

Check the Electrical Panel

Other than prints, you may find an electrical panel has some documentation on the devices in the panel itself. It may be a big, crusty book, but sometimes reading through that manual or guide is the key to solving the problem that you are stuck on.

Compare to Other Stations

This hardware is most likely working somewhere else in the facility at a different station. Try and look into the hardware config or the I/O of where that device should be working on those stations and compare the similarities and differences of the non-working and working stations to get an idea of where you should make your changes.

I hope these tips enable someone reading to get past a problem they are currently working on. Personally, I used all three of these ideas on a project when I came across a 30-year-old RFID reader.

Related categories: Blog Control Systems Integration

John Shipley's Bio

Director of Operations, Indiana

John Shipley has been with Patti Engineering since 2016 and is the Senior Electrical Engineer and Director of Indiana Operations. With over 25 years of experience in controls and industrial automation in the Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Machine Tool, Material Handling, and Steel industries, he is an expert in his craft.