ClearLink EtherNet/IP motion and I/O controller supports 4 axes of motion control

A few weeks ago, we wrote about ClearCore Arduino compatible industrial I/O and motion controller that can be programmed with the Arduino IDE or a C/C++ SDK.

Teknic has now announced ClearLink with basically the same hardware, but instead of being programmable in C++, the controller is managed over the EtherNet/IP protocol.

Clearlink EtherNet/IP ControllerClearLink key features and specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip SAME53 Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller clocked at up to 120 MHz, with 512 KB flash, 192 KB of SRAM
  • Storage – MicroSD card slot
  • Connectivity
    • 1x 10/100M Fast Ethernet RJ45 port compatible with EtherNet/IP
    • Support for Xbee modules for wireless communication (WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, DigiMesh, 802.15.4, etc.)
  • I/Os
    • 2x RJ45 serial ports for SPI or UART devices (5V output)
    • 13x 3-pin terminal blocks with software configurable I/O, power, and ground
      • Digital outputs can drive resistive or inductive loads up to 9 watts such as contactors, pneumatic or liquid valves, guard locks, brakes, LED lamps, etc… without the need for relays
      • 2x H-bridge outputs for DC motors, speaker, etc…
    • Up to 4 axes of stepper and/or servo motors (M-x connectors).
    • All I/O points are also available on a header connector
  • Programming – USB 2.0 device port
  • Misc – LEDs for I/O state and exception status for each terminal
  • Power Supply
    • 20-28V DC via 3-pin terminal block
    • Protected against overloads (voltage, current and thermal), ESD, inductive flyback, reversed power polarity, and most wiring errors.
  • Dimensions – 12.7 x 8.9 x 2.54 cm (polycarbonate and aluminum case)
  • Weight – 181 grams
ClearLink PLC-EtherNet-IP Connection Diagram
Typical ClearLink Connection Diagram

The connection diagram is very similar to the one for ClearCore, except that ClearLink would typically be connected to an EtherNet/IP compatible PLC such as CompactLogix, MicroLogix, or ControlLogix, itself connected to a touch screen.

While we have already written about EtherNet/IP enabled hardware like Emtrion emSBC-Argon SBC or Hilscher cifX M.2 and half-size mini PCIe cards,  it may still be good to shortly explain what EtherNet/IP (Industrial Protocol) as explained by ODVA, the organization that manages the protocol:

EtherNet/IP is a best-in-class Ethernet communication network that provides users with the tools to deploy standard Ethernet technology (IEEE 802.3 combined with the TCP/IP Suite) in industrial automation applications while enabling Internet and enterprise connectivity…data anytime, anywhere.

EtherNet/IP offers various network topology options including star or linear with standard Ethernet infrastructure devices, or device level ring (DLR) with specially enabled EtherNet/IP devices. QuickConnect functionality allows devices to be exchanged rapidly (e.g., a tool changer on a robot arm) while the network is running. Compliance with IEEE Ethernet standards provides users with a choice of network interface speeds — e.g., 10, 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps — and a flexible network architecture compatible with commercially available.


.Like all CIP Networks, EtherNet/IP utilizes the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) for its upper layers. CIP Networks follow the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, which defines a framework for implementing network protocols in seven layers: physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation and application.

Teknic sells ClearLink EtherNet/IP controller for $249 with a free, licensed, RSLogix/Studio5000-compatible EDS file with logical names and Add-On-Profiles which allows for easy mapping of I/O assemblies. More details can be found on the product page.

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1 Comment
3 years ago

We have recently gone through the design process for a similar in-house board. Our production and service engineers gave very strong feedback that from 5mm terminals are preferable. This would also make it easier to distinguish the LEDs when the unit is inside a control cabinet, especially for those of us over 40 whose eyesight isn’t as good as it once was.

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