Trinamic: complete EtherCAT slave controllers optimized for real-time

TRINAMIC Motion Control extends its portfolio of dedicated EtherCAT slave controller ICs with integrated motor control peripherals. The TMC8461 and TMC8462 are the world’s first EtherCAT slave controllers with high voltage I/Os capable of 24V and two integrated switching regulators. The TMC8462 additionally has two integrated Ethernet PHYs for minimized board space. Both ICs eliminate latency by incorporating PWM and Step/Dir I/O peripherals that make routing through the firmware of an application processor redundant, making it ideal for Industrial IoT, automation and other applications requiring real-time response.

Extending the feature set of EtherCAT’s core technology, the slave controllers come with a broad array of peripherals and features: an integrated smart-peripherals block accessible from an MCU or EtherCAT master and, in addition to the PWM unit and Step/Dir interface, an SPI master and encoder interface that can be directly mapped to the PDO (Process Data Object) by the memory manager. This unique SPI interface enables latency-free read from an ADC or encoder or write to a DAC.

The ICs include a standalone mode that enables direct mapping of integrated peripherals to bus registers, while in parallel an external MCU can perform higher layer protocol operations. To ensure wide interoperability, the TMC8461 and TMC8462 communication hardware has been verified as 100% compatible with the existing Beckhoff EtherCAT slave controller through extensive interoperability testing. 

Like all devices by Trinamic, the ICs benefit from the company’s comprehensive development eco-system called “Landungsbrücke”. This includes evaluation boards, reference designs and, for this new device, sample EtherCAT software stacks for Cortex MCUs. All configuration and parameterization tools are incorporated into Trinamic’s Integrated Development Environment. The device can be used with any MCU that comes with an SPI interface, or standalone in SPI emulation mode.

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