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Is the cycle being refered to here the period of the SYNC message, sent by the canopen master?

This depends on your config. If you set-uo synchronous PDOs it will be at SYNC rate, otherwise at PDO rate.

Note: The target specification is absolute and thus independent of how often it was sent per cycle.

Since you have to command the ramp, this does not hold. Have you considered using the PP mode?

On the ROS side, how often do i publish to <joint_name>/command, if the joint node is registered in cyclic synchronous position mode? Do i publish at a rate that is at least greater than the cycle period?

I would not use forward controllers with the synchronous modes. ROS topic are not real-time safe, neither is the ros_canopen implementation.