Making a PC Serial Port (DB9) to Panasonic FP0/FP Sigma Programming Port cable
To use a Panasonic FP0 or FP Sigma PLC, you need a serial cable that goes from your PC (typically a DB9 connector) to the PLC's Programming Port (a 5-pin Mini-DIN connector).
You can buy the Panasonic AFC1520M-US9 cable for about $50 which will do the job, or you can build your own for about $5. The Panasonic cable has one big plus - the Mini-DIN-5 connector is right angle, which can be handy if the PLC is in a tight space. I have not been able to find a right angle Mini-DIN-5 connector.
If you are going to communicate with the PLC, I recommend buying a model with two serial ports - use the extra port for regular communications, and the Programming Port for debugging.
Panasonic helpfully provides a cable diagram or two, but I've found that a simpler method works better.
Wiring Diagram for Programming Port Cable to DB9F
PLC 5 Pin Mini-DIN
|2||Tx Transmit Data|
|3||Rx Receive Data|
|FG||Metal Connector Shell|
PC DB9 Female Connections to Mini-DIN
|Pin||Signal||Recommended||Panasonic AFC1520M-US9||Panasonic AFC8503|
|1||DCD||Not Connected||Not Connected||DB9 Pins 4,6|
|2||Rx Receive Data||MiniDIN Pin 2||MiniDIN Pin 2||MiniDIN Pin 2|
|3||Tx Send Data||MiniDIN Pin 3||MiniDIN Pin 3||MiniDIN Pin 3|
|4||DTR||Not Connected||DB9 Pin 6||DB9 Pins 1,6|
|5||Signal Ground||MiniDIN Pin 1||MiniDIN Pin 1||MiniDIN Pin 1|
|6||DSR||Not Connected||DB9 Pin 4||DB9 Pins 1,4|
|7||RTS||Not Connected||DB9 Pin 8||DB9 Pin 8|
|8||CTS||Not Connected||DB9 Pin 7||DB9 Pin 7|
|9||CI||Not Connected||Not Connected||Not Connected|
|FG||Metal Connector Shell||MiniDIN FG||MiniDIN FG||MiniDIN FG|
Bill Of Materials
- DB9F/F or DBF/M cable of the desired length, straight wired. I used a 6 foot DB9M/F cable, available at Fry's for about $4.
- A Mini-DIN 5 connector. I used a Kobiconn 171-2605, price about $1.
- You can also use some 6-pin Mini-DIN connector by pulling out the sixth pin. For example, Fry's often doesn't have any 5-pin Mini-DIN plugs.
- If you use different parts (I'm assuming a DB9M/F cable and a solder cup Mini-DIN connector like the Kobiconn), you may have to change the details a bit.
- Cut off the male end of the DB9M/F cable, leaving the Female connector and cable.
- Remove about 1" (maybe more) of insulation, strip the wires about 0.1", and meter the cable to find what color wires are connected to pins 2,3,5. Cut off the rest of the wires (for pins 1,4,6,7,8,9).
- My cable had 2-YLW, 3-ORG, 5-BRN, but RS-232 cable colors aren't standardized, so you have to check.
- Carefully remove pins 1,2,3 from the Mini-DIN connector (use pliers on the solder cup end).
- Carefully solder the pins to the wires (my soldering doesn't look great, but it works).
- Consider putting some heat shrink tubing over the wires (I didn't do this, but it could improve reliability). You might have to put the tubing on before soldering, then shrink it after soldering.
- Put the strain relief/outer cover onto the cable. My cable was kind of thick - I could only get into the strain relief part, which made final assembly more difficult.
- Solder the DB9 cable's braided shield to one of the Mini-DIN metal shells.
- Push the pins back into the Mini-DIN connector, being careful to put them into the correct location.
- Carefully assemble the connector (pin part, metal shells, plastic shells) into the strain relief. I was barely able to manage this because my cable was too thick for the strain relief. Do not push the strain relief down all the way yet (it's hard to remove once you've pressed it down all the way).
- Test the cable using a PLC, PC,and FPWinPro.
- Once it works, press the strain relief down all the way.
It's really much easier than it sounds, especially after the first time.