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Ixxat USB to CAN Compact V2 Cable Problems

We’ve used the original Ixxat USB to CAN compact interfaces for years without any problems.  The Ixxat is inside the machine, with its USB cable (a type A male) attached to a L-Com panel mount USB adapter (type A female to type B female), which is then connected to the external computer using a standard A to B USB cable.

Since the original USB to CAN compact is no longer available, we have switched to its replacement, the Ixxat USB to CAN compact V2  — only to discover the V2 wouldn’t work!

After extensive trouble shooting, we found that the V2’s worked fine when directly plugged into a PC, but most of the time did not work when inside the machine.

There might be other solutions, but the one we found was to add an USB active extension cable inside the machine between the USB panel mount adapter and the V2.

The V2 is quite similar to the original, but supports USB 2.0 high speed communications.  It also requires a very recent device driver.

February 27, 2015   2 Comments

Copley CMO and Ixxat VCI Drivers

As I’ve mentioned before, Copley’s CMO is a set of COM objects that provide a higher level interface (than the raw DS402 profile) to Copley’s CANOpen drives.  Right now, I am starting to use CMO since I need to get my Copley drives up and running quickly.

So I installed the latest Ixxat VCI drivers (V3) and then verified my Ixxat USB-to-CAN compact was working by sending and received CAN messages.  I installed CMO 2.5, fired up MS Visual Studio, ran the Copley example, and got this exception:  Access is denied.  (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED).  Hmmm.  I started VB6, ran the VB6 example, and received this error: Permission denied, which looks like another way of saying E_ACCESSDENIED.

I contacted Copley.  The answer: CMO V2.5 only supports Ixxat using the older (VCI V2) drivers.  In the future, CMO will support VCI V3, but not yet.

So then I try installing VCI V2 – and had problems communicating with the Ixxat (error 0x1F hardware error).  I contacted Ixxat, and went through their recommended procedure:

  1. Uninstall VCI V2 drivers, then reboot.
  2. Uninstall VCI V3 drivers, then reboot.
  3. Run Ixxat’s VCI Clean program to clean up any stuff left in the registry and on the computer, then reboot.
  4. Re-install VCI V2 drivers.

Even after that procedure, I still couldn’t get the VCI 2 drivers to work.  I suspect it might be a problem with Windows and my particular USB controllers, but it’s not worth troubleshooting since the Ixxat is working fine with the VCI V2 drivers on a nearby computer.

In the future, I’ll install the VCI V2 drivers first, then VCI V3 (normally you can switch between them).

November 7, 2008   No Comments

A Trio of CAN Interfaces

Ixxat, Acacetus, and Peak CAN Interfaces

Ixxat, Acacetus, and Peak CAN Interfaces

I now have three CAN interfaces.  I plan on doing tests on all three to measure their performance.

The Acacetus (also sold by Grid Connect as the CAN USB Light) is the least expensive ($100).  It communicates via a virtual COM port.  So far I’ve used HyperTerm to communicate with it, which doesn’t work well (binary data isn’t intelligible, etc).  Using a serial library should work better.

The CAN and virtual COM port settings are accessed by resetting the device, and then going through a series of menus.  The CAN baud rate isn’t set directly; instead you set the various detailed parameters; fortunately, I found a handy table, but I much prefer Ixxat’s approach (pick the baud rate, and then tweak if you want).

So far, it works, but doesn’t seem in the same class as the Peak or Ixxat – it doesn’t feel as well built, and is more limited (e.g. can’t set baud rate remotely).  It only comes with driver software.

The Peak is a parallel port dongle; I much prefer a USB connection, but I didn’t pay for the Peak.  It has a keyboard pass-through connector to provide enough power.  It is sold in the US by Grid Connect and Phytec for $249.  The Peak USB to CAN is $279, but is worth the extra money.

The Peak interfaces come with PCAN Light driver, and PCANView which is a simple program to send and receive CAN messages.  The extra cost, advanced driver has some nice features, such as sharing a CAN interface among multiple applications.

Right now, the Peak is handy because I have PCANOpen Magic Lite for it (it was included with the CANOpenIA-XA kit I have), which provides some basic CANOpen functionality.  It has many restrictions; for example, it only supports CANOpen address 0x40 to 0x4F, so I had to remap my Copley drives to this address range.

The Ixxat USB-to-CAN compact is the most expensive ($335 from CAN Connection).  It comes with drivers and some helper programs, including one similar to PCANView, but does not include any CANOpen specific software.  I talked about it in my previous post.

Comment 8/24/2011: I now have a lot more CAN interfaces, including models from Kvaser (PCI and USB), esd electronics (PCI), and Applicom (PCI).  I really like both the Ixxat USB to CAN compact and Kvaser Leaf Light. 

October 25, 2008   No Comments

My Ixxat CAN Interface is Here

Ixxat Box

Ixxat Box

I recently received an impressive blue ESD safe box.  Inside was the  Ixxat USB-to-CAN compact interface which I had ordered from the CAN Connection store.

So why spend the money on the Ixxat when I already have two CAN interfaces?  Software support.  I decided I needed a CAN interface which is supported by the manufacturer’s setup and tuning software.

I like USB to CAN interfaces – I do not having to open up my computer to plug cards in (although I do wish USB connectors could lock – it’s very easy for them to become disconnected if I have to move my computer around).  I’d like an Ethernet to CAN interface even better, but the only semi-affordable ones I know of are the Anagate CAN interfaces (about $300-$450), which are only supported by CANFestival (but not by AMC, Copley, Elmo, etc).

Only Kvaser and Ixxat CAN interfaces are supported by all of the CANOpen servo drives I own (AMC, Copley, Elmo), so I decided to buy either a Ixxat USB-to-CAN compact or a Kvaser Leaf Light.  I decided to buy the Ixxat because:

  1. I like the Ixxat physical arrangement better (only the USB cable is permanently attached).
  2. Kvaser currently does not have a CANFestival driver, which is very important since I plan on using CANFestival.
  3. Faulhaber and Maxon support Ixxat but not Kvaser.
Ixxat USB to CAN compact

Ixxat USB to CAN compact

My Ixxat does have a quality feel to it, and unlike many CAN interfaces, does pack substantial processing power (a 24MHz Infineon C161 with 128K SRAM and 512K flash).  It is available with either a single RJ45 or single DB9M connector.  I choose the DB9M version since my other CAN interfaces use DB9M connectors.

Right now I am using the Ixxat with the Copley CMO COM library.  One quirk – Copley supports Ixxat in their CMO and CML libraries, but not in CME2 (Copley’s setup and tuning application).  Copley supports Kvaser in all three.

CME2 is needed to setup the drives.  The CAN baud rate has to be set from CME2, as well as the amplifier settings such as Hall sensor settings.  However, it’s easy to connect using the Copley’s serial port and a properly wired RJ12 to DB9F cable.

October 25, 2008   8 Comments

CANOpen Annoyances – I

Updated 12/14/2007 with more vendors

More notes added 4/19/2011

It’s obvious I like CANOpen, but it does have its downside. Areas that could be much improved include:

  • Too many connector types. OK, I can see a need for more than one connector type. But 20 types? Powering isolated CANOpen transceivers is not consistent either – I am going to design and build some interface boards to make it easier (results are here). Just giving examples from my favorite vendors:
    • My CANOpen interfaces both from Ixxat, Kvaser, ESD, Peak, and Grid Connect have DB9M CAN connectors, but do not provide any power. (The PEAK dongle can be easily modified to provide +5VDC on pin 1 and/or pin 9).
    • The DB9M connector seems standard for CAN interfaces – Kvaser, Ixxat, Softing, Peak, and Gridconnect all use it. The Ixxat USB/CAN interface has RJ-45 connectors, with RJ45/DB9 adapter.
    • The AMC DX15 uses a DB9M connector, and requires 7.5-13VDC on pin 9.  Current AMC CANOpen drives use dual RJ45s.
    • The Wago 750-337 has a removable screw terminal connector, and its isolated CAN transceiver is powered internally. (The 750-338 has a DB9 connector).
    • Copley Accelnet Panel drives (ACP-xxx-xx) use RJ-45 CAN connectors, and look like they need +5VDC on pin 8.  Copley ACP and ADP drives have a built-in DC/DC converter.
    • Copley Accelnet Micro Panel drives (ACJ-xxx-xx) use Samtec 10-pin crimp and poke connectors, and need power on pins 1 and 6.
    • IMS CANOpen MDrives (stepper motor + drive) use either DB9 or 5-pin micro (M12F) connectors, and look like they require 7-30VDC on pin 9.
    • Elmo’s Cello and Harmonica drives use a RJ-45 connector, are isolated, but don’t require external power.
    • Kollmorgen S200 Series uses 5-pin removable terminal block.
    • Technosoft IDM680 uses DB9M, and needs +24V.
    • Technosoft IDM240 and IDM640 uses what looks like a RJ-11 connector.
    • Faulhaber MCDC3003C and MCDC3006C drives use DB9M with no power.
    • Maxon EPOS uses a 4-pin Molex Micro-Fit connector, no power, and a Molex to DB9M cable available.
  • Raw CANOpen is pretty primitive – certainly not a good basis for rapid development. This is a bit better than I thought.
    • Copley’s CMO (ActiveX) is free for use with their drives. CML has a license fee which is reasonable. Both are higher level interfaces, and would make working with a Copley and Wago only system easier. However, as far as I can tell, the libraries only work with Copley drives and Wago I/O modules, so if you need to mix and match, it won’t work.
    • Elmo’s Maestro Multi-Axis Supervisor and Composer software look interesting (might make CANOpen development much quicker), but I’m pretty sure they only work with Elmo’s drives.
  • Software needs much more standardization – what works with what is still too restricted. To give some examples:
    • IMS requires Peak CAN interfaces (resold as the MD-CC500) to download firmware updates.
    • Copley’s CMO and CML software only supports interfaces from Copley, Ixxat, Kvaser, NI, and Vector, and only supports Wago I/O.  Setup can be done over serial or over CAN (except for Ixxat).
    • Elmo’s Interlude software supports Ixxat, Softing, and Kvaser.
    • AMC’s Driveware configuration and setup software works with CAN interfaces from Advantech, Ixxat, Kvaser, Vector, Port, Ifak, and ESD.  Newer AMC drives use a serial port for setup.
    • Faulhaber’s Motion Manager software only supports Ixxat.
    • Maxon supports Ixxat, Vector, and NI.
    • Wago appears to supply no software, just the EDS files.
  • Most CAN interfaces do not include CANOpen software – it’s either not available or is yet another cost (Kvaser was the exception IIRC). Softing includes a free CANOpen API (LeanCANOpen).  Go here for my current list of CANOpen software.

So if you need to mix and match (one of CANOpen biggest advantages), you are going to have fun. Think about a system needing a high power AMC drive, some Copley Accelnet Micro Panel drives, and some IMS MDrives. You’d need a Peak CAN interface to update the MDrives, but a Ixxat, Kvaser, or Vector interface to setup the AMC and Copley drives. You’d have to use different GUI software to setup the AMC and Copley drives. And you could drive using Copley’s higher level CMO or CML libraries with AMC and IMS, but there’s no guarantee that they will work (and I’m pretty sure no support). You would have to deal with different connectors (DB-9, RJ45) and different, incompatible voltages to power the CAN bus.


September 12, 2007   5 Comments