We are currently working on a project where we want to use EtherCAT as a communication protocol between a central system (master) and several nodes (slaves). We want these slaves to have the following:

  • GPIO for sensors
  • Local processing (microprocessor ~200MHz+)
  • Programmable (e.g. through USB)
  • EtherCAT connection

We've looked a lot at off-the-shelf solutions and came to several EtherCAT modules which can handle the communication, such as the EasyCAT PRO, Anybus M40 and BECKHOFF F1111. We could connect these modules to an off-the-shelf microprocessor (e.g. Beaglebone)

However, we are also looking into an integrated, more powerful solution because we do not believe this can handle everything we want to do. The TI AM3359 ICE suits our purposes and we have bought and tested it. However we were wondering if there are smaller, off-the-shelf solutions, since this one has a lot of stuff that we do not need (e.g. screen and CAN connection) and it requires making our own PCB.

This is therefore my question. Do you guys know of any EtherCAT slave sensor node that can facilitate our needs and nothing more? We have been looking a lot but cannot find anything of this kind.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Robotics, Timmeh. As it stands, your question is a "shopping question" - you have a set of specifications and expect us to find a product for you that meets those specifications. Because your needs are specific to your situation, and because products are introduced to and pulled from the market, this question is unlikely to be of use to future visitors and is thus considered off-topic. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Nov 30 '16 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ That said, a Raspberry Pi has GPIO, local processing, is programmable, and has an Ethernet connection. If you had or could write the EtherCAT drivers then that solves all your needs. If there's something else you're looking for in the solution, or would like to talk more about your project, please join us in Robotics Chat! $\endgroup$ – Chuck Nov 30 '16 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ Search for modules based on the am335x. I found good 40x60mm options of the CPU with memory and power mgmt onboard mentorel.com/product/usomiq-am335x. You will still need to spin a board for the eth physical but that's less work than a full new design. @chuck an ethercat slave requires special hardware. $\endgroup$ – hauptmech Dec 2 '16 at 4:11