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Synapticon SOMANET Firmware 5.0

What is new in version 5.0?

We packed a bunch of new stuff into a gigantic release. This time, we’ve focused on features which can help you build more complex systems.

Before you upgrade, please refer to our migration guide from v4 to v5. We’ve changed some fundamentals between these two versions to be more standards compliant and introduce new capabilities that needed some API changes, including a more robust encoder configuration.

Digital IO and homing

Configuration options for the digital IO were extended considerably. You can now configure a GPIO pin in lots of new ways, including setting the default voltage for hardware that supports it.

For digital inputs, the configuration options include:

  • General purpose, readable via EtherCAT (PDO, CoE)
  • Home switch (active high or low)
  • Limit switch (positive or negative, active high or low)
  • Interlock (disable operation or a fault is thrown) – can be used to prevent operation when a door is open or laser is blocked
  • Fault reset – will clear a fault on rising edge
  • Timestamped on rising edge

Similarly, digital outputs can be configured as

  • General purpose, settable via EtherCAT (PDO, CoE)
  • Mimic the value of several bits of the Statusword
  • Triggered output at a defined time in the future
  • Position triggered output (pulse when a configured position is reached)

Home and limit switches are fully supported in the firmware as well. This means all defined homing modes from 1 to 37 are now supported!We hope most of these are self-explanatory, but our documentation can help guide you through their configuration and use cases.

Control performance

Auto-tuning has found its way to the torque controller! This time, we’ve built it directly into the drive itself. Settling time and damping ratio can be set to configure the performance of the current controller.

Encoder oversampling  (up to 32kHz) and improved low-pass filtering on the encoder signal provide a cleaner position and velocity feedback signal. This can improve control performance, so you may be able to achieve sharper motion control tuning.


The external scaled measurement feature can now throw an error when it exceeds some defined limits, and a warning when it gets close (95%). We’ve added a filter to provide a way to clean up the signal. As this is often used in conjunction with a motor temperature sensor, this can help prevent overheating. We’ve added similar errors and warnings to the Drive and Core temperature values.

Mechanical power limit

If you need to push your servo drive or power supply to their rated power limits, you may have struggled to prevent protection mechanisms from kicking in and shutting everything down. Running at high velocity and high torque at the same time can be tricky without exceeding these limits. So we introduced the feature Power Limit and the object Max power (0x200B) to give you the ability to surf the limits and get the most power out of your motor.

Commutation offset detection

We’ve added three distinct methods to cover many more situations where you want a valid offset:

  1. (default) Similar in behavior to the one in v4.4, it rotates the motor at a constant speed to search for the offset within 1.5 pole pairs (usually less), and measures the angle to find the offset. It is the most accurate of the methods, and works out-of-the-box, without tuning.
  2. This method moves the field very quickly to the current position and measures the offset. This method can be very quick and accurate and requires a trivial amount of motion, but a controller needs to be tuned for excellent performance. Good for execution during production of a machine where these tuning parameters are known.
  3. Allows the motor to be completely blocked by a brake; no motion is required. This method will send a special signal through the motor windings and measure the response to estimate the offset. It’s less accurate than others, and accuracy depends on the construction of the motor, but can be very handy for hanging loads where the brake can’t be released.

Single turn offset

If a single-turn, absolute encoder is mounted to an axis that physically cannot rotate a full revolution, it can be helpful to ensure that the single-turn position value doesn’t overflow within its range of motion. But knowing where this encoder overflow will happen during assembly is tricky. For this reason, object `0x21FF` can be used to offset this single-turn overflow location. The position will be adjusted internally and the physical mounting of your encoder won’t need to be adjusted.

Jump in and update your Firmware

There are other things we could mention, such as the snazzy new logo in our ESI file. But as this is already getting long, visit the OBLAC Drives firmware update feature, and jump in! Our documentation should guide you along, and you can always contact our support team if you need some help.

We’re excited to see what you build!

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