I'm confused by the field_collection API. I created a Field Collection and attached it to a node (in the GUI) but I can't figure out how to code an update/addition to the field collection. This is my scenario:

I have a node (request) that has product information and quantities. When users go to a product page they see a link to "Add to Request". This link should add the product (nid) to the node request. The difficulty lies in the fact that I need quantity information as well, hence the Field Collection. I added a quantities field and grouped it with the product field.

Node Type: request
Request ID: $requestid
Product ID: $productid
Field Collection = field_request_collection (Unlimited values)
Field Collection Field = field_products (Entity Reference, Max 1)
Field Collection Field = field_product_quantities (Integer, Max 1, Default 1)

My function looks like this (the values for $requestid and $productid are passed in the URL of the link: /my_request/5/12):

function _my_module_request_update($requestid,$productid) {
$nload = node_load($requestid);
$field_collection_item_value = $nload->field_request_collection[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['value'];
$field_collection_item = entity_load('field_collection_item', array($field_collection_item_value));
$field_collection_item->field_products[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['value'] = intval($productid);

The error I'm getting with the above code is:

PHP Fatal error: Call to a member function save() on a non-object

Keep in mind that I'm attempting to ADD Field Collection values NOT replace them. Please help, thanks!

  • Looks like your entity_load() is failing. What do you get for the $field_collection_item object when you inspect it?
    – Clive
    Jun 7, 2013 at 14:49
  • I'm trying to the pull the field collection entity so I can set the value of a field in that collection.
    – Ken J
    Jun 7, 2013 at 16:14
  • This works fine to load all field_collections: entity_load('field_collection_item') but when I try to grab this one: entity_load('field_collection_item', array('field_request_collection')); it gives me an empty array.
    – Ken J
    Jun 7, 2013 at 16:35
  • So I had to use the entity id which in this case is 1(I only have a single field collection as of now). So: entity_load('field_collection_item', array('1'));
    – Ken J
    Jun 7, 2013 at 16:46
  • So I figured out how to REPLACE the value of an existing field. This is on drupal.org/node/1842304. However, I want to ADD a new value as this is a multi-value field.
    – Ken J
    Jun 7, 2013 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Something like this ought to do the trick:

$nload = node_load($requestid);
$field_collection_item = entity_create('field_collection_item', array('field_name' => 'field_request_collection'));
$field_collection_item->setHostEntity('node', $nload);
$field_collection_item->field_products[LANGUAGE_NONE][0]['target_id'] = intval($productid);

$nload->field_request_collection[LANGUAGE_NONE][]['value'] = $field_collection_item->item_id;
  • I was working on the same code but I'm getting caught up with this: PDOException: SQLSTATE[23000]: Integrity constraint violation: 1048 Column 'field_products_target_id' cannot be null:
    – Ken J
    Jun 7, 2013 at 17:43
  • Ah ok, field_products is an entity reference. I'll update the answer
    – Clive
    Jun 7, 2013 at 17:43
  • Tip: After $field_collection_item->save(); the Field collection entity is already attached to the Host entity.
    – Greg
    Jun 26, 2015 at 15:43

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