EtherCat Official Support?

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30 Dec 2017 02:20 #103839 by KR2Inc
Hello all, I am just getting into LinuxCNC but have been playing around within a virtual system. I am interested in starting to do some actual hardware testing. I have access to EtherCat Servos and was wondering if it has been "officially" implemented in LinuxCNC? I would be happy to help with any required development. Utilizing EtherCat removes the need for a motion controller, and a lot of wiring.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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30 Dec 2017 05:11 #103841 by cmorley
Replied by cmorley on topic EtherCat Official Support?
Ethercat is not implemented in 'official' releases.
I believe It's do to licensing issues.

Chris M

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30 Dec 2017 15:06 #103853 by KR2Inc
Replied by KR2Inc on topic EtherCat Official Support?
Thank you for the response Chris, I work in the industrial automation industry, and know many of the industrial network groups and the people that manage them. Ecat, Cc-Link, EtherNet/IP, etc. I am NOT part of the Ecat group though.
Ethercat is free to be a member of, and there is no licensing for Ecat Masters, in fact they offer source code that would probably benefit the implementation.

Anyway, as I said, if interested I can assist with this. Can you tell me what the best fork is currently that does unofficially support it? I am working on developing a system that will be sold and am using Linux due to it being a better OS for anything requiring stability.

Cheers

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30 Dec 2017 17:23 #103862 by cmorley
Replied by cmorley on topic EtherCat Official Support?
I found this on machinekit forum:

I've discussed this at some length with Sascha Ittner of Modusoft (wrote
the LinuxCNC interface to the IgH EtherCAT Master), Beckhoff's CEO Gerd
Hoppe, and others. There's a thread on the LinuxCNC dev mailing list
that is probably informative.

The issue comes down to IgH claiming to be GPL, but Beckhoff insisting
that an EtherCat master implementation needs a license that (while
free-as-in-beer) requires anyone who modifies and redistributes the
master implementation to obtain a license from Beckhoff. That
requirement is incompatible with GPL, which states that no extra
requirements may be added outside those in the GPL itself. Beckhoff's
CEO indicated that the EtherCat master license is not negotiable.

Given this situation, my thinking after many discussions with esp.
Sascha leans toward keeping EtherCat out of any official distribution,
but that *most likely* a 3rd party distributor of modules would not get
in too much trouble.

John
Sorry I have never used it and am not sure what the best way to go is.
Maybe someone else will chime in.

Chris M
The following user(s) said Thank You: KR2Inc

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30 Dec 2017 17:41 #103864 by KR2Inc
Replied by KR2Inc on topic EtherCat Official Support?
Beckhoff did develop EtherCat, just as Siemens developed Profibus/net and Rockwell developed EtherNET/IP and Mitsubishi Develeped CC-Link they have all moved to Open network platforms to "separate" themselves from being seen as preferred or competitors to others developing for their networks. According to ethercat.org it is free of royalties as long as you are a member which is free.

As usual its frustrating, i will look into the other forks. Im my opinion with the new technology why not leverage it. As stated before in addition to the wiring savings, setup and latency issues all but disappear as well. Let the servo's do what they do and close the speed torque and position loops themselves, just tell em where to go!

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