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Interface board

Sensors and actuators

Using Synapticon’s Somanet hardware and software modules, electronic nervous systems can be built. They enable the creation of distributed real-time computing and control systems, in which code can be run locally at sensors and actuators.

The sensor node measures 35 mm (Photo: Synapticon)

A SOMANET-BASED SYSTEM IS MADE UP OF multiple nodes, each placed directly at the sensor or actuator it controls. For any local real-time control application, a custom node can be configured, consisting of three modules: processor, communication, and local interface board.

For each module type there is a variety of options available, supporting mechatronic applications from simple sensor data acquisition up to sophisticated multi-axis motion control. Depending on the configuration of modules, especially the selection of the interface module, a node can be used to perform many local tasks in a distributed control system.

CAN communication module
Communication modules let nodes speak with each other as well as any other devices connected to the local network or the Internet. Interfaces like CAN, Ethercat, or WiFi are available as well as the high-end proprietary real-time communication link Synapticon DX.

Communication interface modules (COMs) equip nodes with various types of network links. COM Serial provides serial industrial bus technologies such as EIA-485, CAN, and LIN, as an option for communication within a Somanet-based system. The module comprises transceivers, auxiliary power inputs, regulators, and isolation for each bus, while protocol stacks are provided as software components that work out of the box, but also can be customized to any extent.

Motion and motor control
The drive interface module series has a focus on driving brushless DC motors (BLDC) from 10 W to 4000 W permanent load, but can be also be used to drive brushed DC motors as well as stepper motors of the same size. With up to four phase current sensors, a hall sensor interface, an EIA-422 line receiver for quadrature encoders, digital GPIOs and analog inputs, a range of feedback sensors can be used.

The included open-source motor control software contains everything required to use the hardware resources of the IFM Drive. Sinusoidal and Field-oriented Control (FOC) commutation methods are available as a base for the included CiA 402-compliant position, speed, and torque/current control loops. Due to the programmability of the core modules and the software being open-source, customized motion control solutions can be developed.

Sensor data acquisition and processing
Using the GPIO interface module series, any type of sensor can be connected to a system. Isolated and non-isolated digital and analog inputs and digital outputs enable both direct interfacing of low-level sensor signals as well as using parallel or serial protocols like UART, SPI or I2C through open-source software modules. With a USB port, sensors of higher complexity can be directly interfaced. The parallel computing resources of the core modules can be used in conjunction with a local buffer memory to process sensor data locally at the sensor node. Low-power communication module options and advanced power management functions of the processors make Somanet an efficient platform for various applications, including the Internet of Things.

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