APIs, concepts, guides, and more
EtherCAT node support

Integrating a new EtherCAT Node (SubDevice or Slave) into the RMP.

🔹 Explore Our Supported EtherCAT Nodes

For a comprehensive and filterable list of EtherCAT nodes currently supported by us, please visit our website: roboticsys.com/supported-ethercat-nodes. This list is regularly updated to reflect our latest offerings.

🔹 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Guide

It's easy! You can integrate your own EtherCAT node into the RMP. Here's how:

  1. Identifying the Node:
  • Initially an Unsupported node will show up as 'Unknown' in RapidSetup upon discovering network nodes.

    UnknownNode

  • To identify it, click on the 'Unknown' node. You'll see information like 'Vendor' and 'Product'. Example: 0x6A and 0x414B44.

    NodeInfoDetails

2. Editing CustomNodeInfo.xml:

  • CustomNodeInfo.xml, included in all our releases, contains examples for customizing nodes.
  • Add a new entry in the <Vendors> block like this:

    <Vendor Id="0x6A">
    <VendorName>Example Vendor</VendorName>
    <Product Code="0x414b44">
    <ProductName>Example Product</ProductName>
    <ShortName>Our Node Name</ShortName>
    <ItemSubType>Box</ItemSubType>
    <!-- Add AxisCount only if appropriate, otherwise Delete it. -->
    <AxisCount>1</AxisCount>
    </Product>
    </Vendor>
Note
The 6A and 414b44 were pulled from the Node Info above. You can use any description string for <VendorName>, <ProductName>, and <ShortName>. ShortName is what you will see in RapidSetup replacing Unknown. The <ItemSubType> can be Box, Term, or Drive with no change in behavior. Its a description that is added to each PDO entry.

This is all you need to get started.

3. DS402 Auto Implementation (RapidCode Version 10.5+):

  • For DS402 Drives, RMP auto-detects and configures common parameters like ControlWord, StatusWord, Position Actual, Position Demand, Velocity Actual, Velocity Demand, Torque Actual, Target Torque, and Position Error (in node).
  • You can customize further in CustomNodeInfo.xml, but it's not required.
  • Any CustomNodeInfo.xml entry will override automatically detected entries.
Note
There are detailed examples of each entry in our CustomNodeInfo.xml example. The provided RSI FakeNode implements every aspect NodeIntegration you can customize on your own.

🔹 Official RSI Support

The RMP motion controller provides a more streamlined and unified way to interact with the various types of EtherCAT devices with the RapidCode API. From a software perspective, all RapidCode Axis objects behave the same regardless of manufacturer. This minimizes the amount of changes to your software application that would be required if you have to swap drive manufacturers.

However, because EtherCAT is an open standard, drive manufacturers may differ significantly on what PDO's are offered and how best to communicate with a drive. For this reason, some drives may require additional integration steps before they can be used with our motion controller.

We can add support for any EtherCAT device however some complex nodes may require additional time or a purchase order before they can be integrated. Simple drives with ESI files that adhere well to the DS402 standard can often be integrated easily. Advanced RMP users may be able to integrate some nodes that do not require changes to compiled code changes on their own.

If there is an un-integrated node on your network it will appear as Unknown in the tree view of RapidSetup. If emailing us about potentially adding support for the node adding the following information can help speed up the process:

  • Attaching a copy of the *.esi file
  • A link to the manufacturer's drive page and/or drive documentation
  • If you have the drive discovered in your EtherCAT network the Vendor, Product Code, and Revision Number as reported over EtherCAT by the drive.

    Where to find vendor, product, and revision information after a network discover. Where to find vendor, product, and revision information after a network discover.

To integrate a drive the file NodeInfo.xml will need to be edited so our controller knows how to talk communicate with the drive over EtherCAT. Varying amounts of PDO data can be mapped here more mappings can provide additional features but also increase EtherCAT network traffic.

After RMP 10.3.10, the new CustomNodeInfo.xml file feature allows users to create an integration specific to their needs that will take precedence over any implementation in NodeInfo.xml. This allows for easier upgrading between versions as well as you can simply copy the CustomNodeInfo.xml to the new install directory and have the benefits of any compatibility with newly integrated rives without having to open NodeInfo.xml and edit it.

Example of a CustomNodeInfo.xml file Example of a CustomNodeInfo.xml file

In order to achieve a basic integration of an EtherCAT drive the *.esi file will need to be added to your C:\RSI\X.X.X\ESI\ folder and drive-specific PDO mappings will need to be defined in either NodeInfo.xml or CustomNodeInfo.xml.

In order to have full integration including support for drive-specific error messages a new compiled release of the RMP controller will be required. Reach out to tech@roboticsys.com if this is needed.