NRMKEtherCAT Configuration Tool

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NRMKEcatTool Overview

The NRMKEcat Tool GUI shown in the following figure contains six area for specific purposes.

  1. SlaveBox contains all slave types which are imported from manufacturers’ XML files. User chooses appropriate slaves in SlaveBox and adds to workspace.
  2. Workspace is where all working slaves are located. The configuration of all slaves in workspace will be generated in C system interface files.
  3. Slave Setting Box is where user can set slaves’ icon and name. Moreover, slaves’ alias and position can also be modified here.
  4. PDO Configuration Box is where user can enable or disable a PDO. Consequently, only enabled PDOs are generated in configuration files in C.
  5. Entry Configuration Box shows all entries of a PDO. From here, user chooses some entries to add to each domain. Note that only entries of enabled PDO are able to be added to domains.
  6. Domain Box lists all domains in system. Each domain contains a list of entries added by users which will be used to transfer data in real.
NRMKEcat Tool Overview

NRMKEcat Tool Overview

Configuration Process

Retrieving EtherCAT System from NRMKEcatService

  • NRMKEcatService is integrated into STEP devices to assist user in constructing EtherCAT topology for further configuration process.
  • While running, it scans for all EtherCAT slaves appear in network and sends information to NRMK EtherCAT Config Tool (NRMKEcatTool). Then, according to received information about the current system, NRMKEcatTool automatically constructs its workspace where user can interact with and do configuration on individual slave.
  • User should operate NRMKEcatService according to below routine:
  1. On STEP device (STEP-PC or STEP-iMX), after logging in as root account, go to /home/user/
    cd /home/user
  2. Run the following command:
    ./NRMKEcatService
  3. In the user interface of NRMKEcatTool, go to Online Mode -> Searching System Information. Then, in the floating window, specify the IP address of STEP device and click Connect button.
  4. If the STEP's IP address is correct, NRMKEcatTool will successfully connect to NRMKEcatService and acquire for EtherCAT system information.


Creating EtherCAT System manually

Import XML files from manufacturers

  • Click Menu File -> Import XML File -> Locate to an appropriate file -> click Open.
  • All slave types from XML file will be listed in EtherCAT Device tab in SlaveBox.
  • When user clicks on any slave type, the detailed information will be show in Device Info tab in SlaveBox.
Step1: Import XML File

Step1: Import XML File

Add Slaves to Workspace

  • In order to add any slave type into Workspace, user makes a right click on the slave type and choose Add Device in the context menu.
  • The slaves in Workspace should be matched with all slaves working in real.
  • The information of working EtherCAT slaves can be retrieved by ethercattool in EtherCAT Master
./ethercattool slaves
  • For those slaves that share the same PDO configuration, user just add the first slave and duplicate to many by right click on it and chose Duplicate on context menu.
Step 2: Add Slaved to Workspace

Step 2: Add Slaved to Workspace

Slave Setting

  • User can make some setting on slaves such as slave name, icon, and position from Slave Setting Box.
  • All duplicated slaves share the same PDO and entries list, slave name, color, and icon as well. Only alias and position are used independently between individual slaves.
Step 3: Slave Setting

Step 3: Slave Setting

PDO Setting

  • User chooses which PDO will be activated by sticking the checkbox on the leftmost of each PDO in PDO Configuration Box.
  • Some PDO cannot be activated in the same configuration (denoted by the exclude list). Thus, if user active a PDO, all others that are in its exclude list will not be able to be activated any longer.
Step 4: PDO Setting

Step 4: PDO Setting

Create Domain

  • By clicking on Create Domain button, a new domain will be created with the name set by user at first.
  • Later, user can Rename, Clear, or Remove any domain by right clicking on each domain and choosing an appropriate option in context menu.
  • Note that the Domain Box shows domains one by one. This helps user to avoid confusing while adding entries to each domain.
Step 5: Create Domain

Step 5: Create Domain

Add Entries to Domain

  • In PDO Configuration Box, when user clicks on any PDO, the entries belong to it will be shown in Entry Configuration Box.
  • From that list of entries, user can re-arrange the entries and select which will be added to the domain currently shown in Domain Box.
  • Note that each entry of a PDO will be duplicated according to amount of duplicated slaves that share that PDO.


Step 6: Add Entries to Domain

Step 6: Add Entries to Domain

Generate System Interface

  • The final step is to generate System Interface code in C language.
  • In NRMKEcat Tool, this step can be done by clicking Export PDO Configuration button on the bottom right of the tool. Then, a dialog will appear and ask you to set the name for system interface.
  • Note that you can decide whether the system interface operates in Distributed Clock or CoE mode by clicking on suitable radio button on top of Export PDO Configuration button.
    • However, in Distributed Clock operation, only one working domain is allowed.
Step 7: Generate System Interface - Set Interface Name

Step 7: Generate System Interface - Set Interface Name

  • Consequently, a new window shows all generated code for user to review before saving to C source and header files.
Step 7: Export PDO Configuration - Review Code

Step 7: Export PDO Configuration - Review Code

  • If user decides to export Interface code to files, he has to specify the directory where the files will be located.
  • The name of Interface file is also the name of System Interface specified at the beginning of this step.
Step 7: Export PDO Configuration - Set Export Directory

Step 7: Export PDO Configuration - Set Export Directory

Configuration Demonstration

Example of EtherCAT ELMO Gold DC Whistle with Beckhoff Digital I/O