Configure NI Ethernet Interface Device as an EtherCAT Master

Updated Mar 8, 2019

Reported In


  • PCIe-8231
  • PCI-8232
  • PCIe-8233
  • PCIe-8235


  • LabVIEW


  • NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT

Issue Details

  • I am using an NI PCIe or PCI device that I would like to configure as an EtherCAT master. How do I set this up? 
  • How do I use a desktop PC as an EtherCAT master? 


  1. Hardware Requirements 

NI Hardware 
The four NI Ethernet interfaces that are supported by the NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT are the following: 
  • NI PCIe-8231
  • NI PCI-8232
  • NI PCIe-8233
  • NI PCIe-8235 
Third Party Hardware 
  1. Software Requirements

Development PC
You will need to install the following software requirements for the development computer: 
SoftwareVersion for LabVIEW Real-Time OnlyVersion for LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA
LabVIEW8.6 or later2009 for later
LabVIEW Real-Time Module8.6 or later2009 or later
LabVIEW FPGA Module-2009 or later
NI-RIO Driver3.0.1 or later3.2 or later
NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT1.0 or later1.1 or later

Make sure the software is also compatible with your development PC OS by checking the relevant software's readme. 

Real-Time Desktop PC
You will need to install NI LabVIEW Real-Time Deployment License for Desktop PCs for every PC target for which you want to install a real-time operating system: 

  1. Adding and Configuring the EtherCAT Master in LabVIEW

    1. Create a desktop real-time system
    2. Add the desktop real-time system as a new target in the LabVIEW Project
      1. Right click Project >> New >> Targets and Devices

  1. In the Add Targets and Devices dialog window, select Existing target or device and expand Real-Time Desktop under the Targets and Devices list. Expand the EtherCAT Master Device category to autodiscover the EtherCAT port. 
  1. Select the available EtherCAT master port and click OK