EtherCAT slave controller has integrated PHYs for industrial Ethernet

April 17, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
This controller chip provides system designers with an EtherCAT controller with multiple interfaces, offering flexibility in selecting a cost-effective microcontroller

Microchip Technology’s LAN9252 is a stand-alone EtherCAT slave controller with two 10/100 PHYs. This highly integrated device’s dual 10/100 Ethernet transceivers support both fibre and copper, along with cable diagnostics capabilities. The LAN9252 supports traditional Host Bus and SPI/SQI communication, along with standalone digital I/O interfaces, providing system designers with the flexibility to select from a wide range of microcontrollers when implementing the real-time EtherCAT communications standard. LAN9252 reduces system complexity and cost for developers using EtherCAT in factory-automation, process-control, motor/motion-control and Internet of Things (IoT) industrial-Ethernet applications.

With EtherCAT technology’s “on-the-fly” processing and use of standard Ethernet cabling, Microchip says the LAN9252 slave controller offers the high level of integration and cost optimisation required for current and future industrial applications.

Fully compliant with the EtherCAT standard and interoperable with all EtherCAT systems, the LAN9252 EtherCAT slave controller includes 4 kBytes of Dual-Port RAM (DPRAM) and three Fieldbus Memory Management Units (FMMUs). The LAN9252 also features cable diagnostics support that allows field service technicians to rapidly and effectively diagnose line faults and provides for fibre connectivity. This EtherCAT slave controller is available in commercial, industrial and extended industrial temperature ranges, in low pin count and small body size QFN and QFP-EP packages.

According to Mitch Obolsky, VP of Microchip’s USB and Networking Group. “Adding EtherCAT technology, with its expanding market share, is a significant addition to our industry-leading Ethernet portfolio. The LAN9252 provides our customers with ease-of-use and configuration flexibility, taking communication and connectivity in embedded industrial designs to the next level.”

To enable development with the LAN9252, Microchip has two evaluation boards supporting various system architectures. These hardware systems demonstrate how to interface to the LAN9252 through basic input/output connections, or to microcontrollers such as the 32-bit PIC32MX family via serial communications. A Software Development Kit (SDK) is also available, which enables developers to immediately start device evaluation and begin building solutions for their applications, allowing them to familiarise