EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology) is an Ethernet-based fieldbus system, invented by Beckhoff Automation. The protocol is standardized in IEC 61158 and is suitable for both hard and soft real-time computing requirements in automation technology.
Comparing to Ethernet or other fieldbus protocols, there are many advantages to EtherCAT.
- It is more suitable for exchanging of small quantities of data.
- Better real-time performance.
- Lower interface cost.
- Flexible topology.
- Can integrates other fieldbus such as CANopen.
- And a lot more….
Adding EtherCAT HAT to enable Raspberry Pi to become a slave in EtherCAT network in an automation application is an interesting idea. As we have developed several Raspberry Pi 40-Pin compatible SBCs, such as the ODYSSEY – STM32MP157C, the ODYSSEY – X86J4105, the EtherCAT HAT can also be used on these SBCs.
It should have two Ethernet ports, some screw terminal IOs for using in the EtherCAT network, and an onboard RTC. Something like below: