A programmable controller has a high density I/O module for interfacing eight analog input devices to a main processor module. The high density I/O module has a microcomputer for reading, storing and updating eight words of input data. The microcomputer also communicates with the main processor of the main processor module to transfer the eight words of input status data to a main memory. The main processor is programmed to communicate with the microcomputer in two alternate modes. In one mode the main processor is directed by an applications control program to individually couple words of the status data; in the other mode the main processor is directed by firmware instructions to alter the input/output scan and couple a block of input data.