Firmware Update EL/ES/EM/ELM/EPxxxx

This section describes the device update for Beckhoff EtherCAT slaves from the EL/ES, ELM, EM, EK and EP series. A firmware update should only be carried out after consultation with Beckhoff support.


Only use TwinCAT 3 software!

A firmware update of Beckhoff IO devices must only be performed with a TwinCAT 3 installation. It is recommended to build as up-to-date as possible, available for free download on the Beckhoff website

To update the firmware, TwinCAT can be operated in the so-called FreeRun mode, a paid license is not required.

The device to be updated can usually remain in the installation location, but TwinCAT has to be operated in the FreeRun. Please make sure that EtherCAT communication is trouble-free (no LostFrames etc.).

Other EtherCAT master software, such as the EtherCAT Configurator, should not be used, as they may not support the complexities of updating firmware, EEPROM and other device components.

Storage locations

An EtherCAT slave stores operating data in up to three locations:

Customers can access the data via the EtherCAT fieldbus and its communication mechanisms. Acyclic mailbox communication or register access to the ESC is used for updating or reading of these data.

The TwinCAT System Manager offers mechanisms for programming all three parts with new data, if the slave is set up for this purpose. Generally the slave does not check whether the new data are suitable, i.e. it may no longer be able to operate if the data are unsuitable.

Simplified update by bundle firmware

The update using so-called bundle firmware is more convenient: in this case the controller firmware and the ESI description are combined in a *.efw file; during the update both the firmware and the ESI are changed in the terminal. For this to happen it is necessary

Following the update, its success should be verified


Risk of damage to the device!

  • Note the following when downloading new device files
  1. Firmware downloads to an EtherCAT device must not be interrupted
  2. Flawless EtherCAT communication must be ensured. CRC errors or LostFrames must be avoided.
  3. The power supply must adequately dimensioned. The signal level must meet the specification.
  • In the event of malfunctions during the update process the EtherCAT device may become unusable and require re-commissioning by the manufacturer.