Drive Control via EtherCAT

Your SOMANET Servo Node is a controller for BLDC motors that is commanded via EtherCAT. EtherCAT is a common fieldbus system in robotics and supports a standardized set of commands to be used for motion control. This set of commands is known as CiA 402 and defined and the IEC standard IEC 61800-7-201 for adjustable speed electrical power drive systems.

An EtherCAT network consists of an EtherCAT master and one or more EtherCAT slaves. SOMANET Servo Node is an EtherCAT slave. To operate it, an EtherCAT master is required. For this reason Synapticon offers OBLAC Drives, which is a PC/Mac/Linux application turning your computer into an EtherCAT master which allows to setup, configure, tune and test your drives. However, any other EtherCAT master will work as well, including but not limited to

  • Beckhoff TwinCAT
  • IgH master
  • Speedgoat realtime-systems with EtherCAT master

Such masters will likely be used when putting together several drives, sensors and all other components to an overall robot. The application-oriented high-level control algorithms to realize such a system are to be implemented in a dedicated robot “brain” which in many cases also functions as an EtherCAT master. In order to allow robot developers to implement such high level control systems, we recommend the following resources:

  • IEC standard 61800-7-201 introducing the overall protocol and objects which your drive uses to operate and communicate
  • OBLAC EtherCAT object dictionary You will find a list here with all EtherCAT CoE object definitions.
  • SOMANET SDK for building your own applications based on your SOMANET Drive and pre-defined libraries for EtherCAT communication, motion control and others.

Please check out further functionality of OBLAC Drives:

  • Get to know the different Control Modes and Controller Types that are available additionally to the ones that you have just been using:

Control Modes and Controller Types

  • Learn more about automatic and manual approaches for Controller Tuning:

Controller Tuning

  • Increase the performance of your drive even more using Advanced Control Options:

Advanced Control Options