FPGA firmware *.rbf

If an FPGA chip deals with the EtherCAT communication an update may be accomplished via an *.rbf file.

  • Controller firmware for processing I/O signals
  • FPGA firmware for EtherCAT communication (only for terminals with FPGA)

The firmware version number included in the terminal serial number contains both firmware components. If one of these firmware components is modified this version number is updated.

Determining the version via the System Manager

The TwinCAT System Manager indicates the FPGA firmware version. Click on the Ethernet card of your EtherCAT strand (Device 2 in the example) and select the Online tab.

The Reg:0002 column indicates the firmware version of the individual EtherCAT devices in hexadecimal and decimal representation.

FPGA firmware *.rbf 1:
FPGA firmware version definition

If the column Reg:0002 is not displayed, right-click the table header and select Properties in the context menu.

FPGA firmware *.rbf 2:
Context menu Properties

The Advanced Settings dialog appears where the columns to be displayed can be selected. Under Diagnosis/Online View select the '0002 ETxxxx Build' check box in order to activate the FPGA firmware version display.

FPGA firmware *.rbf 3:
Dialog Advanced Settings


For updating the FPGA firmware

  • of an EtherCAT coupler the coupler must have FPGA firmware version 11 or higher;
  • of an E-Bus Terminal the terminal must have FPGA firmware version 10 or higher.

Older firmware versions can only be updated by the manufacturer!

Updating an EtherCAT device

The following sequence order have to be met if no other specifications are given (e.g. by the Beckhoff support):

  • Switch TwinCAT system to ConfigMode/FreeRun with cycle time >= 1 ms (default in ConfigMode is 4 ms). A FW-Update during real time operation is not recommended.
  • In the TwinCAT System Manager select the terminal for which the FPGA firmware is to be updated (in the example: Terminal 5: EL5001) and
    click the Advanced Settings button in the EtherCAT tab:
    FPGA firmware *.rbf 4:
  • The Advanced Settings dialog appears. Under ESC Access/E²PROM/FPGA click on Write FPGA button:
    FPGA firmware *.rbf 5:
  • Select the file (*.rbf) with the new FPGA firmware, and transfer it to the EtherCAT device:
    FPGA firmware *.rbf 6:
  • Wait until download ends
  • Switch slave current less for a short time (don't pull under voltage!). In order to activate the new FPGA firmware a restart (switching the power supply off and on again) of the EtherCAT device is required.
  • Check the new FPGA status
Risk of damage to the device!

A download of firmware to an EtherCAT device must not be interrupted in any case! If you interrupt this process by switching off power supply or disconnecting the Ethernet link, the EtherCAT device can only be recommissioned by the manufacturer!