EtherCAT SDK User Manual: EtherCAT SDK Introduction
EtherCAT SDK Introduction

EtherCAT SDK is a complete toolset for developing and maintaining EtherCAT slaves. It includes the following components:

  • EtherCAT Slave Editor: This component is used to specify the properties of EtherCAT slaves and to generate C source code for them.
  • EtherCAT Explorer: This component is used to connect to running EtherCAT slaves, to do network exploration, logging and diagnostics.

Together with SOES EtherCAT Slave Stack the developer has an all-in-one tool for developing EtherCAT slaves in an efficient way, which makes it easy to support and maintain them throughout their life cycle.

EtherCAT SDK is available in the following two different packages:

  • EtherCAT SDK Eclipse plug-in
  • EtherCAT SDK stand-alone application

Requirements and Dependencies

Operating Systems

The EtherCAT SDK works on GNU/Linux operating systems with GTK and on Microsoft Windows operating systems. Only 64-bit JVMs are supported.

Software Dependencies

To use EtherCAT Explorer on Windows, the WinPcap library must be installed. It can be downloaded from the WinPcap web page.

WinPcap is installed as part of the Wireshark application, so if Wireshark is installed then WinPcap is already available on the computer.

EtherCAT Explorer requires CAP_NET_RAW capability on Linux. This capability lets the JVM send and receive EtherCAT packets. This capability must be set on the java executable, and the accompanying must be added to the trusted path.

The standalone EtherCAT SDK root folder contains a script that configures the system accordingly:

$ sudo

You should inspect and run this script before starting EtherCAT SDK, or restart after running the script.

If you are using an existing Eclipse application you will have to configure the system manually. EtherCAT Explorer will warn if it was not able to open the network adapter with the required capability. The console will specify which java executable needs to be updated:

Failed to open adapter eth0
This failure happens on Linux if the executable does not have CAP_NET_RAW capabilities.
The current executable is:
See the reference manual for information on how to set the required capability.
Network stopped

You would then run the following:

$ sudo setcap cap_net_raw+ep /path/to/jre/bin/java
$ echo /path/to/jre/lib/jli | sudo tee /etc/

Finally restart the Eclipse application.

Download and Installation

EtherCAT SDK Eclipse Plug-in

To use EtherCAT SDK as a plug-in in an existing Eclipse installation, download and install it like an ordinary Eclipse plug-in.

Open Help > Install new Software..., enter the rt-labs download site hosting the plug-in:

Enter Help > Install new software...

A license is required for the application to work. See section EtherCAT SDK License for instructions on how to obtain and install the license.

EtherCAT SDK Stand-Alone Application

Download the stand-alone EtherCAT SDK application from rt-labs download site in one of the following versions:

Save the downloaded EtherCAT SDK zip file in a folder, unzip it and run the executable file (for example ethercat-sdk.exe) to start the application.

A license is required for the application to work. See section EtherCAT SDK License for instructions on how to obtain and install the license.

EtherCAT SDK License

A license is required to be able to generate slave code from EtherCAT Slave Editor and to connect to an EtherCAT network with EtherCAT Explorer. A time limited evaluation license can be obtained freely. A commercial license can be purchased from rt-labs.

A license file must be acquired and imported into the application license store. Use the Licenses preferences page to request a license file for an existing license, or to request a new evaluation license. This page is found at Windows > Preferences > Licenses.

There are two actions that can be performed on this page:

  1. Use Request to have a license file sent to a given e-mail address.
    • If an existing license is available for the given e-mail address (commercial or evaluation), then that license is sent.
    • If no license is available for the given e-mail address, then an evaluation license is sent.
  2. Use Add License... to import an existing license file into the license store, so that it is available to the application.
The Licenses preference page is available at Windows > Preferences > Licenses.

Release Notes

Release 1.3.3

  • Fix string record members type and length
  • Set default length of unmanaged non-scalar objects (e.g Hardware/Software Version)
  • Fix failing on Ubuntu 18.04
  • Add preference for Trace View update frequency
  • Set Explorer outputs to 0 when attaching to network
  • Fix Slave Editor loosing focus when index/subindex changes

Release 1.3.2

  • Explicit Device ID support
  • Fix invalid characters in object names
  • Fix trailing underscore bug
  • Fix SSC array import

Release 1.3.1

  • A Java Runtime Environment is now included in the standalone product.

Release 1.3.0

  • Add EtherCAT Explorer keybindings
  • Fix for unremovable master when init fails
  • Always stop logging when master stops.

Release 1.2.1

  • Fix failure to add master on Windows

Release 1.2.0

  • Linux support for EtherCAT Explorer
  • EtherCAT Slave Editor now sets CompleteAccess by default. This requires SOES v3.1.0.
  • Fix MAX_TXPDO_SIZE / MAX_RXPDO_SIZE calculation
  • Standalone SDK supports Java 8 or newer

Release 1.1.1

  • Use SM default size to set MAX_RXPDO_SIZE / MAX_TXPDO_SIZE
  • Fix programming of blank EEPROM
  • Let application override serial number
  • Linux support for EtherCAT Explorer

Release 1.1.0

  • Add support to import and export SSC excel spreadsheet
  • Add support for SOES v3.0 and manual PDO mapping

Release 1.0.3

  • The license component has been updated to support and check licenses that are specific for one computer.

Release 1.0.2

  • The broken URL of the Nebula XYGraph dependency is updated. The Nebula XYGraph dependency has its version number set to a specific value.

Release 1.0.1

This release contains minor adjustments of the software.

  1. Add the EtherCAT Explorer component to the stand-alone application. #186
  2. Remove validation of item indices from the Application tab in the slave editor. #185
  3. Compute the generated Profile number and Add info from Device type #187
  4. Remove start modes that are only relevant for EAP networks. #188

Release 1.0.0

This is the first official release of the software.