[etherlab-dev] ARM9 (NetX) EtherCAT-enhanced Network Driver

Thomas Elste thomas.elste at imms.de
Tue Jan 29 14:16:25 CET 2008


I've got some questions, additions and/or remarks concerning the
EtherCAT-Master. As there are serveral things I would like to
address, I think it is best to start several threads. So don't
be suprised at this bunch of mails of mine. Things, I always
forgot to post until now, just kept coming at me, while writing
the first mail, :).

So, lets start with some good news: I was able to port the master
to an ARM CPU ... the NetX 500 chip from Hilscher. This is
an Arm926ejs with some special abilities concerning realtime
ethernet. Don't get excited here ... as Hilscher likes to keep
their software closed, it's not possible to use these fancy
hardware stuff easily (or at all) in an open source environment.
The NetX board was just the nearest board in reach on my desk and
it comes shipped with a nice already preempt-patched Linux which
I thought would come in handy at some point.
The NetX EtherCAT network driver and the necessary autoconf/-make
changes are attached as a patch (aclocal/automake/autoconf-run is 
needed after applying).
I've tested this patch on 2 Boards, the NXDB500-SYS (the Mercedes
under the NetX-Eval Boards (as I was told by Hilscher, :))) and the
NXHX500. Performance seems to be ok for a 200 MHz Arm9. I was able
to run a little task (without heavy calculations, though) using 5
slaves at 5 KHz without any problems. As there is no RTAI available
for the NetX at the moment, I've been using high resolution timers
from the preempt patched Linux in the task, which worked out verly

I don't know, if there are plans on porting the master to another
arch then x86 (I remember reading something about PowerPC on the
list so far). Some changes in the masters code are needed, too
(see the next thread). So I hope this will be usefull to some one.

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