Episode #34: Can I Mix And Match Drives And Controllers From Different Manufacturers?

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The Motion Control Show

Continuing on with our conversation about product compatibility, we're now talking about the compatibility issues between drives and controllers.  Again, remember that we as distributors are used to mixing and matching products together, and manufacturers aren't as much, so we distributors can really help you as your source and making sure you get the right solution.  Again, as always, what's more important, your time or money?  Because sometimes this can be a real big factor in deciding on that right solution.

The compatibility between drives and controllers is all about the signal compatibility.  In the old days, but still happens these days, it could be +/-10 volts, as typically for servos, but the question there is, is it single or differential?  Is it transistors or is it line drivers?  And then there's the step, or pulse, and direction as typically for steppers.  Is it single-ended or differential again?  Line drivers or transistors?  The big thing here is whether it's a 5-volt level or 24-volt level.  Typically, the 5-volt TTL is for the line drivers and 24 volts is single ended using transistors with PLC's, but there are those two different kinds. 

More often these days, there's the fieldbuses.  In the past we've had decades worth of Profibus, DeviceNet, Sercos, and others.  These days we talk a lot more about EtherCAT.  But, even though two products may use the same fieldbus, can you make them work together?  Have they been tested?  All too often we will get two manufacturers together and we can't quite figure out how to make the mapping work together and can't give them to quite work together even though they both are using a standard communication protocol.

These are some things to consider.  I’m Corey Foster at Valin Corporation.  We're happy to help.  Reach out to us at this email address here and we'll see what we can do to help you out.

If you have any questions or are just looking for some help, we're happy to discuss your application with you.  Reach out to us at (855) 737-4716 or fill out our online form.