Multi-protocol Industrial Ethernet expansion for STM32 MCU family

May 04, 2017 //By Graham Prophet
STMicroelectronics presents the I-NUCLEO-NETX expansion board as a means to build cost-efficient and compact industrial slave devices that can connect to any Real-Time Ethernet network, combining the STM32 ecosystem with the multi-protocol flexibility of Hilscher’s netX control ICs.

The I-NUCLEO-NETX expansion board can be used with any STM32 Nucleo-64 or STM32 Nucleo-144 development board, and the I-CUBE-NETX is an STM32Cube software expansion for combining Hilscher’s netX 52 network controllers with a host microcontroller (MCU) from ST’s STM32 family.

 

The I-NUCLEO-NETX contains a netX 52 network controller IC with integrated Real-Time Ethernet switch, and has two RJ45 ports for line and ring topologies. netX 52 supports all Real-Time Ethernet protocol specifications and evolutions, including EtherCAT, PROFINET, EtherNet, Ethernet/IP, POWERLINK, CC-Link IE, Modbus TCP, and SERCOS III. It can also support Fieldbus standards such as CANopen and emerging standards such as Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), as well as OPC-UA and MQTT for Cloud data exchanges, for use in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

 

The I-CUBE-NETX software package comes with a loadable pre-certified firmware for free evaluation of EtherCAT, PROFINET, and EtherNet/IP protocols. The package also includes the Hilscher cifX API and cifX Toolkit that allow all Real-Time Ethernet protocols to be used in the STM32 ecosystem and minimize software effort when porting from one protocol to another. Application examples help users get the I-NUCLEO-NETX expansion shield running and evaluate the free protocols.

 

Combining the strengths of netX with the STM32 family creates, ST says, a flexible, stable, and scalable platform for building products from simple I/O systems to complex, high-end drives and controls. Products for various worldwide markets can be based on common hardware, to cater efficiently for the popularity of different protocols, such as PROFINET in Europe, EtherNet/IP in the US, CC-Link IE in Japan, and EtherCAT in Europe and Asia.

 

The I-NUCLEO-NETX expansion board is available now from Amazon, priced $49.00. The I-CUBE-NETX expansion software including evaluation versions of the EtherCAT, PROFINET, and EtherNet/IP protocols can be downloaded free of charge from www.st.com/i-cube-netx

 

ST; www.st.com/i-nucleo-netx