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  1. #1

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    Question Ethercat with Mach 4

    In his recent video, This Old Tony demonstrated using EtherCAT servos with Mach 4. He shows how the servo drives are daisy chained and claims that the cable coming to the first drive is plugged to his computer.
    Does it really work that way? I've researched the topic and have not found an option like that. I've only found Mach 4 compatible motion controllers which can control servo drives over EtherCAT. There is no information about connecting the drives directly to the computer.

    Any information about the topic?

    Here's the video:
    https://youtu.be/otOVJv_FA8k

  2. #2
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    Based on 5 minutes of searching, looks like you need either an ethercat motion controller, or an additional software solution to handle the ethercat.
    Based on this kit:
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ma-23-cnc-kit/
    Gerry

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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  3. #3
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    Hi,

    Based on 5 minutes of searching, looks like you need either an ethercat motion controller, or an additional software solution to handle the ethercat.
    No, that is not correct, or at least is no longer the only solution to Ethercat with Mach.

    It certainly used to be the case, for instance Gallil and Vital Systems had an Ethercat controller. The scheme went regular (non-realtime) PC to a Ethercat controller which has reatime
    Ethernet comms to the daisy-chained drives.

    In recent times, within the last year, a company called Interval Zero have collaborated with Kingstar and NewFangled Solutions to add a genuine realtime scheduler core to a regular PC.
    Thus the PC can now do realtime Ethernet comms direct to the daisy-chained drives.

    In fact if you go to the NewFangled Website the video banner is of a Matsurra VMC running a job.....nothing earth shattering right?: Well in fact the machine is running on Ethercat
    with the new realtime core and Ethercat plugin by Kingstar and Interval Zero. Note that this setup does not require a motion controller, each Ethercat drive is its own motion controller
    and the complete system is called 'distributed motion control'. The PC is the realtime communication master only....it needs no motion control capability.

    My understanding is that it was developed for use by OEM's and is not priced or really intended for hobbyist use at this time. Interesting none-the-less.

    Craig

  4. #4
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    In recent times, within the last year, a company called Interval Zero have collaborated with Kingstar and NewFangled Solutions to add a genuine realtime scheduler core to a regular PC.
    Thus the PC can now do realtime Ethernet comms direct to the daisy-chained drives.
    That would be the additional software I was referring to. I'm assuming it's not a free solution.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
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    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  5. #5
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    @17:00 he says "a kit like this is one around $2000" (not the exact quote but close enough)
    If he's not referring to the hardware on his bench he should make that clear. If the toys he received aren't available to average consumers he should also mention that.
    I like TOT but he dropped the ball here.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  6. #6
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    I must have misunderstood what Craig was saying, the hardware in the video looks to be this:
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ma-23-cnc-kit/
    I should have known TOT wouldn't mislead us.

    Edit/ the kit in that link has stepper motors. I quit while I'm behind...need more coffee.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclestart View Post
    I must have misunderstood what Craig was saying, the hardware in the video looks to be this:
    https://www.automationtechnologiesin...ma-23-cnc-kit/
    I should have known TOT wouldn't mislead us.

    Edit/ the kit in that link has stepper motors. I quit while I'm behind...need more coffee.
    Yes he is using a Ac servo system same basic setup though as with using a stepper system the drives only need to be designed to accept the RJ45 connectors DMM have had this for some time now also on there servo drives

    I have been using EtherCat for around 15 Plus years the first system that did not need any Hardware and is just a PC and software , Softservo where the first in the world to do this using the RTX real time extension for windows

    Most manufactures offer EtherCat / Canopen /Modbus / RS232 / RS485 to control servo drives for at least 20 years so this is nothing that is new

    It may be now that SoftServo's Patent's may have run out of time, that others now can use this for CNC Controls or they may be buying a license to use there technology

    Here is some basic information about the RTX and EtherCat
    Mactec54

  8. #8
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    I think he had these drives, which are new.
    Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  9. #9
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    I think he had these drives, which are new.
    Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
    Yes that is the Servo Drives he is using
    Mactec54

  10. #10
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    Re: Ethercat with Mach 4

    Quote Originally Posted by mactec54 View Post
    Yes that is the Servo Drives he is using
    Yes and I'm skeptical of a $2000 all-in price but he didn't say it was the price for that exact set-up.
    Beyond my budget in any case.
    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.

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