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As defined in the IEC 61158 standard, EtherCAT is a highly flexible real-time Ethernet protocol for industrial applications that stands out from other industrial Ethernet solutions by processing and exchanging data 'on-the-fly'. Instead of first receiving the standard Ethernet frame from the master then interpreting it and subsequently copying the process data on, the telegrams in EtherCAT pass through all the slave devices, each of which simply takes out the data that is intended for it. This means a frame does not have to be received in full before it can be processed, rather processing can begin as early as possible. As a result, delays are minimal and data on the master is incorporated into the telegram in a corresponding manner. This makes EtherCAT the perfect solution for Ethernet-based industrial control systems that feature a large number of decentralized I/Os and/or cycle times of less than 100 µs. With the EPPC-T10, esd electronics has now developed an embedded single board computer that is designed to be ideal for rapid control and regulation tasks in EtherCAT applications involving up to three independent networks.

The EPPC-T10 is based on an NXP PowerPC QorIQ T1014 CPU with 1.2 GHz, 64-bit architecture and a double-precision floating-point unit. It comes equipped with ECC-RAM, an RTC with battery backup, a microSD card slot, an internal PCI Express Mini Card slot for hardware extensions and four status LEDs. What’s more, it also features a connector for an RS232 interface, a USB 2.0 host port and three Gigabit Ethernet connectors. The EPPC-T10 can be installed using a DIN EN rail mounting (TS 35). The local voltage and temperature are monitored to ensure maximum reliability, and firmware is updated with Flash fallback. The software support includes Linux BSPs and the universal "Das U-Boot" boot loader. EtherCAT Master Stack and bespoke customer designs are available upon request.