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Alicat EtherCAT Protocol FAQ: Technical Update for EtherCAT on Alicat

What is EtherCAT?

EtherCAT is a high-performance Industrial Ethernet technology with a flexible topology. It was introduced in 2003 by Beckhoff Automation.

How is EtherCAT Different from Other Industrial Protocols?

They key functional principle of EtherCAT is how its nodes process Ethernet frames. Each singular node reads data that is addressed to it and writes the data back to the frame all while the frame is moving downstream. This improves bandwidth utilisation and eliminates the need for switches and hubs.

Which Products can have EtherCAT Installed?

Most Alicat Scientific mass flow and pressure devices will have EtherCAT available on them:

  • Mass flow controllers and meters (MC and M series)
  • Pressure controllers and gages (PC and P series)
  • Whisper low drop products
  • Liquid meters and controllers

Which Products do not Include EtherCAT as an Option?

  • BASIS and EPC OEM instruments
  • Class 1 Div. 2 area instruments
  • Portable instruments

Communications and power

Mass flow meter or mass flow controller with EtherCAT

Digital Outputs

EtherCAT (sent to EtherCAT master)

Analog Outputs


Electrical Connections

Barrel jack for power + Dual RJ-45 to allow EtherCAT Cable redundancy  + ERR and RUN LEDs

Supply Voltage

7 to 30 Vdc

Supply Current

Adds up to 60 mA current at 24 V to standard specification, which is about 40 mA on mass flow meters. Mass flow controllers draw more current to drive the valves and this will vary based on configuration.

Do I still have a Choice of Gases and Gas Mixed on EtherCAT Equipped Devices?

Alicat gas instruments with EtherCAT can possess the full Gas Select list of gas calibrations along with the COMPOSER firmware. This will create custom high-precision gas mixes of 2-5 gases and stores up to 20 customised gas mix compositions.

How Fast are Communications with an Alicat Instrument Equipped with EtherCAT?

Alicat devices supports data transmission rates up to 100 mbps.

What are the ERR and RUN LEDs and how do I Interpret Them?

The ERR and RUN LEDs come handy when debugging/ troubleshooting your EtherCAT network.

EtherCAT Protocol

Can I Update my Existing Instruments to Possess EtherCAT?

The electronic hardware and firmware requirements needed to install EtherCAT mean that it must be ordered on new instruments and cannot be retrofitted to existing Alicat products.

Want to know more about the EtherCAT Protocol?

If you wish to know more about the EtherCAT Protocol, contact a member of our sales team today and they will be happy to help!

To Find Out More

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