EtherCAT Technology Group announces vendor-independent diagnosis interface | Automation.com

EtherCAT Technology Group announces vendor-independent diagnosis interface

EtherCAT Technology Group announces vendor-independent diagnosis interface

December 5, 2018 –The EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) has specified a vendor-independent diagnosis interface, which allows third-party tools to access diagnostic information from EtherCAT networks. The software-based interface can be implemented in controllers offered by any device manufacturer, which makes it an interesting feature to vendors of both master devices and diagnostic tools.

Diagnosis is one of the most important functions of a modern fieldbus system. EtherCAT provides extensive diagnostic information both at the hardware and software levels. An EtherCAT feature is the ability to not only detect errors but also to locate them. This includes bit errors as well as issues generated by loose connectors. The corresponding error counters are supported by all network slave devices.. Furthermore, diagnostic routines test the quality of the communication and help easily detect internal errors in slaves, wrong cabling order, damaged cables or EMC interference.

ETG has specified this vendor-independent diagnosis interface so that third-party diagnostic tools can work with any master implementation. No hardware changes are necessary, since an EtherCAT master is software-based, as is the interface.

The standardized interface allows access to EtherCAT network diagnostic information for both hardware and software. Through the information provided by this interface, diagnostic tools or HMIs can retrieve the EtherCAT network topology information, compare it with the expected configuration and detect communication interruptions and disturbances, as well as unexpected state changes.

The specification ETG.1510 “Profile for Master Diagnosis Interface” enhances the “EtherCAT Master Classes” specification and extends the EtherCAT Master Object Dictionary already defined in the “Modular Device Profile” specification. Likewise, the access mechanism makes use of the already specified Mailbox Gateway functionality.

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