While directly clicking modules to a base unit allows an imc CRONOSflex system to be built-to-order by the user, this is not the only option when connecting modules to the base unit. A special feature of imc CRONOSflex is the ability to distribute modules remotely, creating a spatially distributed system.
Synchronous connection of the satellite module(s) is easily accomplished using standard Ethernet cables (RJ45, CAT5) and connecting them in a change topology. The remote modules may be individual, or clicked together in satellite blocks, with the support of any number of satellite blocks. This allows the imc CRONOSflex Modules to be placed close the sensor, significantly reducing cabling and electromagnetic signal interference.
With up to 100 m between any two imc CRONOSflex Modules, distributed and hybrid centralized/distributed system topologies really open up the possibilities for in-vehicle test and measurement, test bench testing, and any other space or distance challenged testing environment. And thanks to Power over EtherCAT, single distributed modules can be powered directly by the base system, for the unparalleled convenience of single cable connectivity.
For even more distribution possibilities, an external GPS time synchronization allows decentralized system setups to be created with two or more synchronized base units—even if they are separated by hundreds of miles.
Alternative Use in EtherCAT Networks
The flex-modules can also be used without an imc CRONOSflex base unit in an existing EtherCAT bus system. In this case, the modules are treated as slave nodes and controlled by the bus master (EtherCAT master). All modules are connected and controllable via CoE (CANopen-over-EtherCAT) and FoE (File Access-over-Ethernet). Thus, a universal application is guaranteed. With the ability to store multiple configurations, the operational protocol effort is reduced considerably.
Networking and power supply
Both the base unit, and each flex module, have their own power supply input for 10-50 V DC, as well as two RJ45 network connectors (IN/OUT) for wiring of the EtherCAT bus system. In addition, all components are equipped with a rugged connector that provides a direct mechanical coupling of modules (imc click-mechanism) to take over the supply and bus links. Thus, several modules can be directly clicked together and powered by a single DC source.
Power over EtherCAT
In distributed system setups, remotely installed imc CRONOSflex modules can be powered via the EtherCAT network cable (CAT5) that is used to connect the system bus. With this "Power-over EtherCAT" operation an additional power supply cable or separate power connection for individual modules is not required. This is especially useful for measuring modules that are inaccessible or remotely mounted. Depending on module type, even multiple modules can be conveniently operated with remote power—up to the usual power limits of Power-over-EtherCAT.