8 Slot EtherCAT based I/O Cube
The DNA-ECAT series of I/O chassis is based on UEI’s popular DNA-series Cubes, but includes a new CPU module specifically designed to run as an EtherCAT slave. The DNA-ECAT offers all the I/O flexibility of the DNA Cubes, including compatibility with over 60 different I/O boards and also provides full EtherCAT compliance. EtherCAT developers can now harness the power and flexibility of the Cube. The EtherCAT Cube is ideally suited for a wide variety of industrial, aerospace and lab data acquisition and control applications.
In general, the Ethernet is not ideal for real-time monitoring and control response though there are a number of ways to make it real-time. The EtherCAT is a special implementation of Ethernet designed to support real-time applications. (Note: UEI’s standard DNx-series Cubes and RACKs also support real-time I/O systems using our powerful DMAP/VMAP control protocols.)
The CPU Module occupies the top portion of the Cube and provides the CPU, Ethernet Network Interface Controller (NIC), indicator lights, timing/trigger interface, configuration ports and internal power supply. It’s the brains of the Cube and controls the unit’s operations, including the interface with the host Controller (and other Cubes), as well as supervising the activity of the I/O boards. The CPU module also includes rotary switches that set the Cube’s EtherCAT device address. If the switch is set to address 0, the unit’s address is programmed by any EtherCAT master. In addition to connecting to other Cubes, the DNA-ECAT series can be installed in any chain with ETG conforming devices.
The remainder of the Cube is dedicated to I/O slots or layers. These slots are populated with the I/O modules that are selected to match your process or test application. With over 60 different I/O boards available we’re sure to have just what your application requires. We currently offer: A/D boards to measure voltage, current, strain gages, thermocouples and more, D/A boards with outputs to ±40V or ±50 mA, Digital I/O interfaces for logic and “real-world” signal levels, counters and timers, quadrature encoder inputs, RVDT/LVDT, and Communications interfaces for RS-232, RS-422/485.
The EtherCAT master/host communicates with the cube over standard CAT5e/6/7 series cables. One of the selling points of EtherCAT is that it does not require Ethernet switches/routers for multichassis connectivity. The EtherCAT network is daisy-chain style, where an input cable comes from the host/master and then an output cable goes to another EtherCAT device. EtherCAT requires sub microsecond propagation for data parsing through a device so system throughput and synchronization is preserved. Other key EtherCAT specifications include: built-in watchdog timers, safe state default conditions, and cable redundancy. The DNA-ECAT Cubes offer a wide variety of mounting options. A flange kit is available that allows the Cubes to be mounted to a wall or other flat surface. Rack kits and DIN Rail kits are available to allow mounting in 19″ racks or on DIN rails respectively.