Overview of Node FPGA Images

All SynqNet nodes are shipped with a boot FPGA binary image. Some SynqNet node manufacturers may also load the FPGA runtime image in the node's flash memory. The boot image contains just enough logic for the SynqNet controller to identify and communicate with the node over the SynqNet network. This allows the host to communicate with the node after the network has been initialized for the first time. After network initialization, the runtime image should be downloaded to the node. The runtime image contains the logic for full operation.

Once the hardware has been connected and the system is powered up for the first time, the SynqNet controller will attempt to find all the nodes on the SynqNet network. The FPGA on the controller enables it to talk to the node(s) on the network that have a boot image. Since each node is shipped with a default boot image and possibly a default runtime image, the controller can immediately talk to the node and retrieve basic information.

The node FPGA boot image will enable the controller to do the following:

  • Identify all of the nodes on a SynqNet network
  • Determine if the node is operating from the boot image (not the runtime image)
  • Identify the boot image version
  • Download a runtime image to the node

If a controller is unable to find a node on the network, it may be a result of either a bad cable, improper wiring, or other hardware problem.

Once the controller has found all of the nodes on the network, you will need to download the runtime image to the nodes before you can move a motor. If the node manufacturer loaded the runtime image at the factory, a runtime image does not need to be downloaded. But, you should check the node FPGA version to make sure it is appropriate for your application. Please refer to the Node Binary Files: Product Table.

You can download a runtime image, by one of the following ways:

  • MPI
  • Utility (sqNodeFlash.exe)
  • Motion Console

The Node FPGA runtime image contains the following:

  • Interface code for SynqNet (SQMAC)
  • Interface code for digital and analog I/O
  • Interface code for Drive Modules

Once the runtime image has been downloaded, the boot image is no longer needed and the runtime image is used for normal operation. See diagram below.


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