Configure NI Ethernet Interface Device as an EtherCAT Master

Updated Oct 23, 2020



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


  • LabVIEW


  • NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT

  • 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

For more details, please refer to Setting Up EtherCAT on NI Programmable Automation Controllers