Adding Third-Party EtherCAT® Slaves in LabVIEW

Updated Apr 18, 2024



  • LabVIEW


  • NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT


Copley Controller 

What is the process for using third-party EtherCAT slaves in LabVIEW?

  1. Set up your EtherCAT controller by following the Configuring the Master Controller section of Getting Started With EtherCAT on NI Programmable Automation Controllers.
  1. Locate the EtherCAT XML Device Description File(s) for your third-party slave. These files must follow the format specified in the EtherCAT standard, and are usually provided by the slave vendor.
  1. Import the device profile by right-clicking the EtherCAT Master»Utilities»Import»Device Profiles. This will display the Import Device Profile dialog box.
  1. Click Browse and select the device profiles in either of the following ways:
a. Select a file and click Open to import a device profile.
b. Open a folder and click Current Folder to import all device profiles under the folder.

Note: If your slave device profile uses a Modular Device Profile (MDP), you must place both the parent XML file and modules file in the same folder, and import the entire folder via this method. If you are unsure whether your device has an MDP, please contact your slave device vendor.
  1. You can now see the import results. The file is imported successfully if Import Result reads Succeed. Otherwise, the file is not imported due to an invalid format or other reason.
  1. (Optional) Repeat starting at step 2 to import other device profiles.
  1. Close to exit the dialog.
  1. Ensure your XML file was correctly imported to the appropriate directory.
a. If you do not see your XML file, manually add it to the appropriate folder.
  1. Now that your slave profiles have been imported, you can add the slaves to your LabVIEW project ​by right-clicking the EtherCAT Master item and selecting New»Targets and Devices.
  1. Auto-discover existing slaves or add new slaves in an offline mode.

Note: If your device uses an MDP, you may need to right-click the newly added slave device, select New»Targets and Devices, and add the appropriate slave module.

Additional Information

In LabVIEW, you can control third-party EtherCAT slaves from a Real-Time host. Any Real-Time target with multiple Ethernet adapters can typically be used as an EtherCAT master capable of communicating with EtherCAT slaves. For a complete list of supported EtherCAT masters from National Instruments (as of EtherCAT driver 18.0), please refer to the NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT® Readme.