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How Do I Use the NI 9144 EtherCAT Slave Chassis with 3rd Party EtherCAT Master Tools?

Primary Software: Driver Software>>NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT
Primary Software Version: 2.4
Primary Software Fixed Version: N/A
Secondary Software: LabVIEW Modules>>LabVIEW Real-Time Module

Problem:
EtherCAT master software tools typically upload the configuration for connected slave devices by using the FoE (File over EtherCAT) protocol. How can I get the configuration for the slave, if my tool doesn't support FoE?

Solution:
It is possible to import the slave device XML configuration file, or copy the XML file manually to a specific location where the master Tool can read it. 
There are two possible ways for a master to work with EtherCAT Slave XML hardware description files.
1.     The NI XML creator tool shown below, allows to create an XML hardware description  file based on modules plugged into your chassis and whether or not you are using the chassis FPGA and User Defined Variables (UDV):
 
Note: Use always the XML Creator Tool installed by the latest version of the NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT driver available from ni.com/support.
 


To use the tool, follow these instructions:

1.     Select the modules you are using per slot.
2.     Check the modules used in FPGA mode. In our example this applies to module 3 and 4.
3.     Specify the path to your FPGA bit file (in case you are running FPGA code on your chassis). This will allow you to import the UDVs (User defined Variables) from the bit file. Leave this path blank if you do not run additional FPGA code.
4.     Press the Create XML File button and save the XML file to a location of your choice.
5.     Start over to create another XML file or press the Stop button to close the tool.
 
Note:  If your bit file uses UDVs, they will always be assigned to Slot 1of the chassis, so you can use only 7 modules in scan mode. That means Slot 1 must be either empty or the module in Slot 1 must be used in your FPGA code and the checkmark “Used with FPGA Mode” must be set.
 
 
2.     If the 3rd party Master supports “Modular Device Profile (MDP), you can easily discover the 9144 and all installed modules and all UDVs you might use. This procedure assumes that you have installed the latest NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT driver from ni.com/support
First Copy the DD folder content (NI-9144slots.xml and the Modules folder) from \\National Instruments\LabVIEW 201x\resource\Framework\Providers\indcomecat\DD to the third-party EtherCAT master's IO configuration folder. Find content attached to this KB.
 
After you successfully download a possible bit file to your FPGA target under the NI 9144, there should be a XML file generated next to the bit file. This XML file is the User-Defined Variables profile and it has the same filename as the FPGA bit file.
The generated FPGA XML file has to be copied into the Modules Folder.
Now open NI-9144slots.xml with Notepad, add the generated XML file path at the end of <InfoReference> section and save the changes. (e.g. <InfoReference>Modules\example_9144_FPGA.lvbitx.xml</InfoReference>)
Restart the third-party EtherCAT master system service.
Now you can use the third-party EtherCAT master to discover the NI 9144, all modules and  possible FPGA UDVs listed under the NI 9144 slave as an 'User Defined Variables Module'.
 


Related Links:
Product Manuals: NI 9144 User Guide and Specifications
Developer Zone Tutorial: NI 9144 Expansion Chassis Under the Hood
Developer Zone Tutorial: Benchmarks for the NI 9144 EtherCAT Slave Chassis



Attachments:


NI9144MDP.zipNI9144MDP.zip


Report Date: 01/15/2010
Last Updated: 06/11/2013
Document ID: 55EF17JL

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