Absolute Encoder Position Data Evaluation


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I am looking to develop a platform that would allow me to read position data from an absolute encoder in real time. I am somewhat new to the field and have little experience with protocols beyond SSI. I have done quite a bit of research into decoding CANOpen signals but it looks that it is a huge headache without creating a program.

Does anyone know of a product that would run from a PC and allow me to read position data while initiating communication (acting as master/producer)? I would eventually like to be able to decode PROFIBUS, PROFINET and EtherCAT as well but would be alright with CANOpen as a starting point.

If you're looking for interface cards to get your PC on a CANopen network, there are lots of solutions out there and many of them come with software solutions as well. National Instruments has labview which would probably be the easiest thing I can think of, their forums are also very good there. Advantech is another good one that I know of, it looks like they also have drivers for their interface cards. I'm sure they also have solutions for many of the other fieldbus protocols as well.

However, in my experience you usually don't see motion applications using encoders over a fieldbus interface like that, I think that motion applications generally require a high bandwidth; you might get better performance with SSI or BiSS, which are also open protocols so you should be able to develop with a PC.

Just a couple of other things I found:

BiSS USB interface:

BiSS Protocol overview:
Thank you for your response...

I have found a couple of gateway type PCI cards but none of the associated software does any sort of decoding of position data. I am basically just trying find something that would allow me to make sure that the encoder is counting correctly after being programmed. Something where I could turn the shaft by hand and watch the position counter to ensure it rolls over when it reaches a full rotation.

I use the MB4U to evaluate our SSI encoders and it works great. I will do some more digging into a LabView application though.