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In a plugfest, several CiA members connect their CANopen products and test them regarding the achieved level of interoperability and interchangeability. This includes testing of the physical layer behavior, especially to go to the limits in respect to network length and un-terminated stubs.

(Photo: CiA)

THE PLUGFEST NORMALLY STARTS with the checking of the provided electronic data sheets (EDS). They need to pass successfully the EDS checker tool tests. The next step is to prove the correct behavior of the network management (NMT) followed by the SDO compliancy between client and server. Last but not least, the PDO communication is tested including PDO linking functionality and PDO configuration (scheduling and mapping). Of course, the performed tests during a plugfest depend on the provided functionality. If possible, the participants will stress the devices by means of high busloads (more than 50%), in order to check the behavior under extreme conditions. Plugfests are in particular suitable for prototype devices, in order to detect interoperability problems before you ship them to customers.

First CANopen plugfest in Milan (Italy): The participating CiA members (Celmi, Gefran, Givimisure, Lika, and Walvoil) connected their CANopen devices (PLCs, sensors, and hydraulic actuators) to a network and proved the devices' interoperability. Besides minor inconsistencies in the electronic data sheets (EDS), the device providers learnt, what might be improved in the next product generation. “The positive feedback from all participating Italian companies and the unisono request to do it again, is a clear signal to organize additional CANopen plug fests in Italy,” said Holger Zeltwanger, CiA’s Managing Director. “We should give also the other Italian members a chance to benefit from such interoperability tests.”

Fourth CANopen-Lift plugfest in Nuremberg (Germany): In September seven CiA members tested their CANopen products compliant to CiA 417 (CANopen Lift application profile). The first time, new functions like energy saving modes and power measurements have been tested. In total, nine devices have been tested: Two main controllers (Böhnke + Partner, Weber), car drive unit (Ziehl-Abegg), several input/output units (Safeline), car positioning units (Schmersal, Wachendorf), and car door unit with light barrier (Wittur). Wittur participated for the first time with its door control units. The next CANopen-Lift plugfest is planned for March 2012.

CANopen plugfest for mobile machinery in Kressbronn (Germany): ifm Ecomatic hosted the CANopen plugfest, which was dedicated for devices used in off-road and off-highway vehicles. CANopen NMT slave devices were provided by Camozzi (Italy), Digisens (Germany), TR-Electronic (Germany), and Walvoil (Italy). The host provided the host-controller with NMT master functionality as well as several CANopen NMT slave devices. In the high bus-load stress-test (up to 75%), the connected devices behaved correctly. Vector supported the tester with its CANopen tools.