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EtherCAT Alias Creation
#1
Hello,
I am using the CK3E controller and I have heard in passing that it is possible with PPMAC to create EtherCAT slave alias's. It would be my understanding that this would enable swapping failed components in the EtherCAT ring without recreating the Ecat_Config file? Or adding a new component in the middle of the ring without recreating the Ecat_Config? Is this possible? What do slave alias's actually mean or do? I can't find any information in the SRM on it. Any explanation would be greatly appreciated!

Also, would it be possible to "hot plug" periphery machinery into the EtherCAT ring and pro-grammatically load a different Ecat_Config allowing PPMAC to control the periphery machinery as well as the resident machine? Of course there would have to be motion programs created, motor tuning done etc but I would think this would be possible and if so could be quite powerful. Thanks in advance!!!!
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#2
Typically EtherCAT drives will have a rotary switch to determine the slave's alias. The value of this switch should show up in ECAT[i].Slave[j].Alias. If multiple slaves are at the same alias, they will be at different positions (ECAT[i].Slave[j].Position). It is typical to either have each slave at a different alias or all slaves at alias 0 with positions specifying which slave is which.

I'm not sure how far to take hot plugging ideas, if you try to change many of these EtherCAT settings you will have to stop and re-start the ethercat network. You should be able to set ECAT[i].Slave[j].Enable=0 for otherwise set up slaves that are not currently plugged in and your ethercat network will enable without expecting that slave to be present.
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#3
Thank you! I wondered if ECAT[i].Slave[j].Enable=0 would be sufficient to make PPMAC "ignore" a slave so that answers that question.

Previously with the Emerson/Control Techniques drives that I've used and even the Beckhoff I/O headers (EK1100) there have been no rotary switches. With Beckhoff I had to start ordering EK1101 headers to get the switches. This still didn't solve the drives not having any switches whatsoever.

Based on this I am contemplating switching to Omron I/O and Yaskawa drives for my future EtherCAT installs with the CK3E. What are your thoughts? Do you have any preferences and why?
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#4
We typically test all of our products with Omron I/O and Drives, so using the Omron I/O would work well and many customers do just that. We haven't tested as thoroughly with all of the Yaskawa products, but many customers do use them and we've set them up without issue from our CK3E, too. I can't say I'd know how they'd compare to the other devices you mentioned.
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