EtherCAT conformance test tool released
Version 2.3 of the EtherCAT Conformance Test Tool is available to all EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) members via the organization’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB).
Conformance to a protocol standard is the foundation for problem-free interaction of devices from different manufacturers in the same network. This interoperability is essential for the success of a communication technology. The EtherCAT Technology Group attaches great importance to the conformance of EtherCAT devices: All ETG member companies commit to testing their devices with the EtherCAT Conformance Test Tool (CTT) before market release.
Familiar to EtherCAT device manufacturers, the CTT represents the official reference for specification-compliant implementations of EtherCAT technology in EtherCAT field devices. The first version of the CTT was released in 2008, and so far, all updates have proven to be functional extensions and not functional changes. Version 2.3 carries on all functionalities and tests of the first version and underlines the stability of the EtherCAT technology itself, which has only been extended and never changed. This full backward compatibility has proven to be a great advantage for all suppliers and users of EtherCAT solutions.
The CTT extensions, whether in tool functionalities or test coverage, are based on practical requirements as well as feedback from device manufacturers. Over the years, the tool has evolved from a pure test tool that checks conformance after development is completed to a very helpful “development accompanying” software tool that can be used to configure EtherCAT devices, put them into the desired state and specifically stimulate them to behave in certain ways. This continues in the new functionalities. For example, additional user interfaces have been added for controlling and testing specific EtherCAT protocol properties as well as at the lower layers of the ISO/OSI models. The CTT now allows read and write access to the PHY registers, which is rarely supported by other tools. This is a valuable feature especially during initial hardware prototype startup.
All CTT functionalities are accessible for script-based control, and they allow automated test sequences that can be integrated into the overall device acceptance test. Besides the many functionalities supporting the EtherCAT implementation itself, the core of the CTT has also been extended: the test coverage. Many semiconductor device profiles have been added to the standard test set. The coverage for the Servo-Drive-Profile according to IEC 61800-7-2 (the equivalent to CiA DS402) has been significantly increased in scope as well.
A special ETG working group, the Conformance Technical Working Group, defines and releases the test logic and the tests. The CTT software itself, which executes the logic defined in the tests and evaluates the behavior of the EtherCAT devices based on this logic, is developed and maintained by Beckhoff. This ensures continuous further development of the test tool. This includes new functionality with a built-in configurator as well as support for all current Windows operating systems.
– Edited from a EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG) press release by CFE Media and Technology. ETG is a CFE Media and Technology content partner.