Hardware Diagnostics (Lost link, frame corruption, etc.)

The integration of hardware diagnostics in EC-Engineer aims to simplify fault diagnosis and provide easy troubleshooting tips, even for non-EtherCAT experts. This is crucial due to the presence of forward errors, which often make it challenging to locate the exact position of a fault within the network.
By incorporating hardware diagnostics into EC-Engineer, the diagnostic process becomes more straightforward. The intuitive tools offered within the software streamline fault identification, enabling quicker detection of potential issues, even in complex EtherCAT networks.

In the screenshot below, EC-Engineer displays the location of the error within the EtherCAT network. So in fact EC-Engineer interpreted the error counters which are often quite difficult to understand and highlights the ports of the slave where the problem can be found. By clicking on the question mark EC-Engineer will also give a hint about what to do:

Possible warnings and errors:

  • Disturbed Connection:

    • This warning indicates potential problems in the connection between two slaves or two ports. It appears when error counters exceed specific values (Invalid Frame: 0x300-0x306, RX Errors: 0x301-0x307, Lost Link: 0x308-0x30B). You can adjust the threshold for issuing a warning in the User.xml files located in C:\ProgramData\EC-Engineer.

  • Bad Connection:

    • Similar to the "Disturbed Connection" warning, but with higher error counters. You can set the threshold for issuing an error in the User.xml files located in C:\ProgramData\EC-Engineer.

  • Line break:

    • This error occurs when a line break is detected before a slave. It is identified by analyzing the network topology.

  • Link missing:

    • This error indicates a missing link on the input port of a slave. It is detected by examining the network topology.

  • Multiple warnings:

    • Multiple warnings are detected for this specific port.

  • Multiple errors:

    • Multiple errors are detected for this specific port.

  • Multiple warnings and errors:

    • Both warnings and errors are detected for this specific port.

  • State Machine:

    • The  error codes and their meaning are described in the documents ETG.1020 "Description of AL Status Codes" and ETG.1000.6.

These warning and error messages provide valuable insights into the status and health of the EtherCAT network, helping users identify and resolve potential issues.

To find the errors faster, they can be found also in tree and in the message view:

Export Process Data Image and Variables to Clipboard

With the new EC-Engineer, it is now possible to export the process data image to the clipboard.
This feature allows users to easily copy the process data image information from EC-Engineer and paste it into other applications or documents. The exported process data mapping includes details such as signal names, data types, and offsets.
By providing the ability to export the process data mapping to the clipboard, EC-Engineer enhances usability and facilitates efficient data sharing and analysis for users working with EtherCAT networks.

In addition to exporting the process data mapping, the new EC-Engineer also allows users to directly copy variable names to the clipboard.

This feature enables users to easily select and copy variable names from EC-Engineer, eliminating the need for manual typing or transcription. By copying variable names directly to the clipboard, users can seamlessly paste them into other applications, code editors, or documentation.

Multi-selection Support for FoE Downloads

The latest update to EC-Engineer introduces a new feature: multi-selection support for the mailbox protocol FoE (File access over EtherCAT) downloads. This functionality allows users to download the same file to multiple slaves in parallel.

Consider a scenario where an EtherCAT network consists of multiple identical slaves that require a firmware update. Normally, each slave would need to be individually updated, resulting in a time-consuming process.

With the added multi-selection support for FoE download in EC-Engineer, users can now streamline this update process. They can select all the identical slaves in one step and initiate the download.
To optimize the update procedure, EC-Engineer starts with the last slave in the selection. After downloading the firmware in the bootstrap state, the slave performs a reset and remains inaccessible for a certain period of time. By starting with the last slave, EC-Engineer can maximize the efficiency of the update process by allowing the reset and downtime to occur sequentially, minimizing the overall network downtime.