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EtherCAT Master: any options?
#1
Hi. Is there any way I could implement a EtherCAT master with netPI RTE?

It is likely that using CodeSys container bound to Ethernet interface it will work, but this way I couldn't use Ethernet for all other services anymore.

What about using NetX embedded unit?

Thanks!
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#2
This is easy.

You can drive 2xRJ45 ports of netX as standard Ethernet ports. You have to modify your CODESYS container. After modification you can continue to drive CODESYS across "eth0" port as you do it today or alternatively across "cifX0" port of netX which is the name of netX ports in your container.

I would recommend to drive CODESYS EtherCAT Master across "eth0" and then you program CODESYS runtime across netX ports "cifx0" over your Windows system.

What you need is a combination of our CODESYS example container and this container here:https://hub.docker.com/r/hilschernetpi/netpi-netx-ethernet-lan/ which is creating a standard ethernet port from netX chip. So in any case you have to make your own container.

Armin
You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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#3
Great, thanks.

I will try to "Merge" such two containers Dockerfiles.
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#4
Others did already, so I know it works fine.
You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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#5
Hello,

I understand the following: You want to have access to Edge Gateway Manager and CODESYS via eth0 port, correct?

In this case you can start the container with the additional network option "host". In this case the container's TCP/IP stack is the same as on the host and shared. Then you can access CODESYS and EGM via eth0.

Thx
Armin

You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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#6
In this case, both EtherCAT and the Edge Gateway Manager would be held by eth0 (being CODESYS' ssh connection held by cifx0). I think that it is preferable that, for this use case, the Edge Gateway Manager could be accessed through cifx0 as eth0 could be not connected to the network. I understand that, for this to happen, we would need cifx0 working in the host. Is it possible to have such a base system for our netPIs?
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#7
Thanks for your fast answer, Armin.

I'm thinking in a deployment like this:

PLC ------ (eth0) netPI (cifx0) ----- Router ------ local network / internet / Development PC with CODESYS / ...

Here I'm using the eth0 interface only for the EtherCAT/EtherNetIP/... communication and the cifx0 interface for the rest of stuff. So, I want to have access to the Edge Gateway Manager and CODESYS via cifx0 port. With the current software in the netPI I think that I cannot do this because cifx0 only works inside a container. This is OK for CODESYS but not for the Edge Gateway Manager (and, more important, Portainer, that could need connection to the Internet).

Thanks again for your support.
Jorge
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#8
Hello Jorge,

now I got your point. Thanks for the explanation.

So what you understood about cifX0 is only available in a container is 100% correct. This interface needs just a user space driver in a container to access it while eth0 needs a kernel driver. So from that point of view we would need a kernel space driver for cifX0 for your application which we do not have since then the netX chip providing this interface is occupied by this driver ... and cannot be used any longer for its initial task providing Real-Time Ethernet support in a container.

The only idea I have - but this is only theoretical - is to generate a port forwarding from cifx0 to eth0 respectively localhost within a container. So whenever a web request to EGM comes in over port 80 and port 443 it needs to be forwarded to the eth0 interface and back. I have no experience on such a topic. Needs to be evaluated. This is the only solution I see.
You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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#9
Hi Armin,

Thank you again for your fast support (that I can see that is something widespread in this forum).

Your last post made an interesting point. If I have the opportunity I'll test it next week and give some feedback.

Anyway, have you on your roadmap that kernel driver for cifX0? I think that could be very used for other customers.

Regards,
Jorge
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#10
Well Jorge,

next to netPI we have also a device series we call "Edge Gateway".

One gateway of this series looks like netPI ... (https://www.hilscher.com/products/produc...-en-repns/?) and is indeed the same hardware, but loaded with a different type of firmware. It has no docker and all software on it are installed on linux plain like Node-RED, some special Hilscher nodes in Node-RED, a special OT network scan software, etc. Since there is no docker on it, we were forced to install the netX cifX0 driver native on the system.

Without Docker the device is no longer sold to customers as a plattform but as a read-to-use gateway for IT/OT network conversions instead. Since the device embeds pre-programmed software from Hilscher it is more expensive than netPI. We decided to include Docker into this device too but coming in Q3/2018. This is the only light at the end of the tunnel I see ... to get your requirement solved then. But definitively not with netPI.

Thx
Armin
You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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