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EtherCAT Slave Interface

Connection to an EtherCAT communication bus

With the dSPACE EtherCAT slave interface you can connect a PHS dSPACE system to the Ethernet fieldbus EtherCAT as a slave. Typical use cases are applications in process automation or test benches. 

Application Areas 

The dSPACE EtherCAT slave interface connects a PHS dSPACE real-time system to the Ethernet fieldbus EtherCAT as a slave. Typical use cases for the EtherCAT slave interface are real-time applications in automation technology, such as process automation or test benches.  

Key Benefits

The dSPACE EtherCAT slave interface enables you to take advantage of the very high performance of an EtherCAT network, which supports 100 Mbit/s and cycle times down to 50 μs.


EtherCAT is an open, high-performance, Ethernet-based fieldbus system and is especially designed for automation applications which require short cycle times and low communication jitter. The EtherCAT slave device reads the data addressed to it and also inserts input data while the telegram passes through. The frames are only delayed by a fraction of a microsecond in each node, and many nodes can be addressed with just one frame. EtherCAT is an international standard (for more information, see  

Hardware and Software

The EtherCAT slave interface consists of the DS5202 FPGA Base Board with a piggyback module, which carries up to two Beckhoff EtherCAT modules FB1111-0140. The bracket features two RJ45 plug sockets for connection to the EtherCAT network. The EtherCAT blockset mainly consists of a base library and a template model generator. A model containing all the necessary blocks is generated from a configuration M-structure that has to be created by the user.

Parameter Specification
  • Direct connection to the field bus
  • Dual-port memory for data exchange with processor board
  • Two RJ45 connectors for connection to the network
  • Two slave modules
  • Object dictionary can be created according to CiA DS404
Cyclic communication
  • Up to 6 sync managers per module whose type (input/output) can be defined freely
  • Static PDO mapping and PDO assignment
  • 7 KB can be used for cyclic communication (3-buffer mode)
CAN application layer over EtherCAT communication
  • Input and output mailbox with 512 bytes each
Template model generation
  • Template model and device description file (DDF) are generated according to configuration script and base library
  • Ensures consistency between DDF and template model
  • Generation process contains consistency checks on user‘s configuration
Multirate modeling
  • Each sync manager block can be placed in its own task
  • EtherCAT interrupts (distributed clocks, sync manager interrupts) are available to synchronize the model to EtherCAT events
Supported standards
  • EtherCAT
Host interface
  • One 8- or 16-bit ISA slot (power supply only)
Physical characteristics Physical size
  • Full-length ISA board
  • 2 slots required (3 slots when using two connector adapters)
Power supply
  • +5 V ±5%



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