Sercos-on-a-Stick: Experience Sercos in minutes

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With the Sercos®-on-a-Stick live demo system, Sercos International, in cooperation with Bosch Rexroth and TenAsys®, offers a particularly simple means to evaluate the Sercos SoftMaster. Within minutes, Sercos-on-a-Stick converts almost every x86 based PC to a Sercos Master Test System, making it possible to realize real-time communication without hardware extensions. Using a Time-Triggered-Send (TTS) enabled Ethernet controller (Intel i210 or Texas Instruments PRU-ICSS), even the requirements of demanding motion applications are met. The system uses the TenAsys INtime® multicore real-time operating system, which serves as the basis for future-proof control solutions.

For this purpose, the INtime Distributed RTOS has been configured to serve the Sercos Master as a powerful, royalty-free and time-limited test platform. The Sercos-on-a-Stick live system is designed such that no changes to the target platform are made and therefore a backup of the target system is not required. The live system runs on any machine that meets the following hardware requirements: x86 architecture, 2 free USB ports for the USB flash drive and a keyboard, an Intel®, Broadcom® or Realtek® Ethernet controller, a screen as a console and the bootability of USB. Apart from CPU, memory and the aforementioned components, no other hardware is used on the target platform. Its hard drive is guaranteed to remain untouched.

The live system is provided as an image, which is transferred to a sufficiently large USB flash drive using a freely available software tool.

The target platform is started via USB boot with this application. The boot loader first generates a RAM disk and then loads a system image consisting of INtime RTOS and the Sercos application into a RAM disk. When the INtime instance is started on the RAM disk, the Sercos-on-a-Stick application is started.

To work with as many target platforms as possible, the live system supports both traditional and newer Ethernet controllers (such as Intel i210) that support timed transmission of Ethernet telegrams according to the new Ethernet TSN standard.

About Sercos International

Sercos International is an association of users and manufacturers that provides technical development, standardization, certification and marketing for the Sercos automation bus. Conformance tests guarantee that Sercos implementations are standard-compliant, ensuring that devices from different manufacturers can be combined. Based in Germany, the organization presently has more than 90 member companies located around the world and has national liaison offices in North America and Asia.

About Sercos

The SErial Realtime COmmunication System, or Sercos, is one of the world’s leading digital interfaces for communication between controls, drives and decentralized peripheral devices. Sercos has been used in machine engineering for approximately 25 years and is implemented in over 5 million real-time nodes. With its open, manufacturer-independent Ethernet-based architecture, Sercos III is a universal bus for all automation solutions.