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Partner Demo Image - EC-Master


Article updated at 10 Nov 2020
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Acontis Technologies

Acontis technologies is a leading provider for EtherCAT Technology, Windows real-time software, and Real-Time Virtualization/Hypervisor Technology. Please refer to the Acontis Technologies article to learn more.

EtherCAT System Architecture

On the master hardware, we have a standard Linux operating system - optionally with Real-Time performance. The EtherCAT master library provides a C API to the application. To create the required network configuration it's required to use the EC-Engineer tool. Every EtherCAT slave comes with an EtherCAT Slave Information file – the so-called ESI file. The file describes all features and options of the slave. Based on the ESI the operator creates EtherCAT Network Information file required by the master. The optional TCP/IP connection enables the RAS-Client and Server to provide online features, like scanning the network with EC-Engineer.

  • EtherCAT System Architecture

    EtherCAT System Architecture

EC-Master Architecture

The acontis Real-time Driver replaces the standard Linux Ethernet driver for EtherCAT usage. The driver runs in userspace and handles the MAC directly for the high-performance cyclic operation. The kernel module atemsys grants access to the hardware by completely bypassing the Linux network stack.

  • EtherCAT Master Architecture on Linux

    EtherCAT Master Architecture on Linux

Supported Modules

The acontis Partner Demo Iamge for EtherCAT master is available for the following Computer on Modules:

Other modules are supported by the EC-Master, but the pre-built Partner Demo Image is not available. See the list of supported modules and how to get started on acontis Technologies.

How to Get Started

This section provides instructions for you to quickly get started with the acontis technologies EC-Master demo.

First, you have to load the Toradex Easy Installer on the target module and select acontis technologies EC-Master Linux Minimal Image (PREEMPT_RT), from the list of available images, to be installed:

  • Installing Acontis EC-Master image using Toradex Easy Installer

    Installing Acontis EC-Master image using Toradex Easy Installer

Quickstart with the EC-Master Demo

Connect the EtherCAT devices to the Ethernet port of your board and then you have two options:

  1. Access the debug UART, also known as serial terminal.
  2. Connect it through an additional Ethernet interface (like one USB-Ethernet adapter) using SSH.

  • Board with the EtherCAT devices connected in Ethernet interface and additional Ethernet Interface through USB-Ethernet adapter

    Board with the EtherCAT devices connected in Ethernet interface and additional Ethernet Interface through USB-Ethernet adapter

After setting up a connection to the board, navigate to /home/root:

# cd /home/root

This directory will have the following content:

  • Acontis root directory

    Acontis root directory

The image comes with a precompiled EcMasterDemo binary and non-real-time capable link-layer Please run the by typing the following command on the board's Linux console:

# ./

Evaluate EC-Master + EC-Engineer

Request an evaluation version of EC-Master for Linux and EC-Engineer on Acontis Eval Request page.

  • Support Eval Request

    Support Eval Request

The Acontis sales team will send you the download links to the requested packages. After requesting the required packages, please:

  1. Install the EC-Engineer on a Windows machine.
  2. Unpack the EC-Master-V3.x.y.zz-Linux-ARM_[32Bit|64Bit]-Eval file.

  • Unpacking the archive

    Unpacking the archive

Copy the optimized link layer from \Bin\Linux\aarch64 to /home/root of your board:

  • \Bin\Linux\aarch 64 directory

    \Bin\Linux\aarch 64 directory

Unbind the Ethernet interface from Linux and bind it to atemsys Kernel module by running the command below:

# ./

Check if the bind was successful with the following command:

# dmesg | tail

Expected Output:

  • dmesg expected output

    dmesg expected output

Run EcMasterDemo with an optimized link layer for FEC, see also

# ./EcMasterDemo -fslfec 1 1 custom imx8 rgmii 7 nopinmuxing nomacaddr -t 0 -sp

  • Running EcMasterDemo

    Running EcMasterDemo

Since no EtherCAT network configuration (ENI) is provided, the maximum EC-Master state is PreOperational.

Create an ENI with EC Engineer

After the installation of the EC Engineer, open it:

  • EC Engineer Homescreen

    EC Engineer Homescreen

Click on the Remote Configuration option and select EtherCat Master Unit:

  • Ethercat Master Unit

    Ethercat Master Unit

Enter the IP-Adress of your board and click on the Select button:

  • Remote system configuration

    Remote system configuration

EC-Engineer automatically connects to the running EcMasterDemo on the board and scans the bus:

  • EC Engineer Connecting and Scanning

    EC Engineer Connecting and Scanning

On the left side of the EC Engineer, you can see the Project Explorer showing all the slaves:

  • Project Explorer

    Project Explorer

Click on the Export ENI, save it as eni.xml, and copy it into the /home/root directory of your board. After that, run the EcMasterDemo with additional command-line parameters:

# ./EcMasterDemo -fslfec 1 1 custom imx8 rgmii 7 nopinmuxing nomacaddr -t 0 -sp -f eni.xml

The master now reaches an Operational state!

The EC-Engineer has also built-in diagnostic features. Click on the Diagnosis Mode to connect again to the running EcMasterDemo on the board:

  • Diagnosis Mode

    Diagnosis Mode

You can browse through the slaves and monitor/change the state of the variables:

  • Browsing through the slaves

    Browsing through the slaves

Next Steps

For more information about how to get this demonstration image supported and customized, get in contact with Acontis.


For more information about the Licensing, please get in contact with Acontis Technologies using their official support.