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Impressions from the international CAN Conference iCC 2015

October 28th, 2015 Olaf No comments

The 15th international CAN Conference took place in Vienna on October 27th and 28th 2015. On two days, a total of 23 papers were presented. Topics included current application examples, security and IoT (Internet of Things)  issues and “everything” CAN FD (Flexible Data Rate) related. CAN FD with its increased data rate was the major topic of this conference, many papers were directly related to it.

As CAN FD is not backward compatible to CAN, one of the session topics was migration from CAN to CAN FD. Mixing CAN and CAN FD controllers is only possible if the CAN FD messages are hidden from the CAN controllers as they would generate error frames upon reception. One approach is using partial networking transceivers where traditional CAN controllers are put to sleep during CAN FD communication. After seeing a specific sleep message, transceivers for partial networking can keep the connected CAN controller in sleep mode until a specific wake up message is received – no other message on the network causes a wake-up.

NXP presented a paper about their “FD Shield” transceiver. This transceiver is used to connect legacy CAN controllers to a CAN FD network. The CAN FD traffic is somewhat “shielded” from the CAN controller, only regular CAN traffic passes through but CAN FD messages are blocked as soon as they can be detected. However, there is a side effect: Each CAN FD frame on the network causes a local, not propagated receive error at the CAN controller side. As a result the CAN controller may go error passive. However, as transmits works fine, it will not go bus off and can still be used. Although not perfect, this is a quick and easy solution during a migration phase from CAN to CAN FD.

Another way to quickly connect to CAN FD networks is using Microchips external CAN FD controller using an SPI connection to the host controller. Here designers need to carefully choose the clock rate used on the serial interface side; depending on the CAN FD data rate used the SPI clock might need to be 10 or even 16Mhz. If a CAN FD data rate of 8Mbps is used, then a 10Mhz clock rate on the SPI side is sufficient to handle 100% bus load. However, the host controller of course needs to be able to handle the 10Mhz SPI traffic, too.

Other papers showed how CAN FD can be used in Linux systems, AUTOSAR and J1939, In general, the physical layout for CAN FD networks is not as flexible as it is with regular CAN. With faster bit rates ringing and reflections become more of a problem as they used to be. As usual, if an application tries to get close to the physical limits that a technology provides, more care must be taken when determining the physical layout and terminations.

With more and more CAN networks also getting some “remote access” option or even a gateway/firewall to the Internet, security of CAN networks suddenly becomes more important. In the past, CAN networks could be regarded as “closed” (inside a machinery, no remote access) so no precautions were taken in regards to security. Once a CAN network goes “online”, even if it is by the means of some firewall and even if it is only part-time, the entire security concept needs to be re-evaluated. Recent car hacks have shown that once hackers are past the firewall, they can do “anything” because there is no security layer in the CAN network.

Papers from Robert Bosch GmbH and the CiA showed some possible options to add encryption also to CAN communication, however, that directly has an impact on debugging and testing. If communication between two ECUs is secure, how do we monitor or debug it? So the debugger/tester/logger needs to part of this equation, too. It will be interesting to see where this goes, will at some point security be added to all CAN communication or will it be limit to “relevant” transmissions like commands that actually do something to the system?

Once the papers are added to the CiA’s server system, they will be available for download.

Categories: CAN, CANopen Tags: , ,

Free CANopen Configuration and Test Utility

October 27th, 2015 Olaf 1 comment

At today’s 15th international CAN conference Olaf Pfeiffer of Embedded Systems Academy presented a paper about testing of highly dynamic CANopen systems. Such systems support plug-and-play and node ID assignment by LSS (Layer Setting Services, node ID gets assigned through the network). As a result, devices may change their node ID, making tests more challenging.

One of the test utilities introduced in this paper is now available as free download from ESAcademy’s web pages. It supports the extended concise DCF (Device Configuration File) as introduced in the paper. It allows you to easily write down configuration or test sequences in a table (save as .csv) and execute them using the free CANopen File Player.

The file format, the concise Default Configuration File is part of the basic CANopen definitions and has been in use for quite some time. The extension to it is simply a definition of a set of commands introducing the option to control things like addressing specific devices (identify by CANopen Identity record 1018h) and time delays / timeouts or user interactions.

In addition, the utility can re-play previously made CAN trace recordings, supporting a wide variety of formats from Vector, PEAK and others.

For more information on the format of the extended CDCF see the manual or download the free utility.

CANopen and J1939 co-processors, free eval kits at int. CAN Conference March 5th/6th

February 9th, 2012 Olaf No comments

On March 5th, ESAcademy will conduct the following classes at the iCC together with NXP Semiconductors:

08:30 to 09:30 Everything CAN and NXP CAN Controller Intro
A 30 year old technology, here to stay for another 30 years

An overview of the almost 30 year old CAN technology, where it came from and where it goes. CAN is used in many new electronic designs, also thanks to continuous advancements in CAN controller technology. Comparison of various CAN controller technologies.

09:45 to 10:30 CANopen Essence
New to CANopen? Learn the key features in just 45 Minutes

With its 4000+ pages the CANopen drafts and standards are overwhelming to newcomers. Join this class to get an overview of the common technical key features that make CANopen work.

11:30 to 13:00  Introduction to NXP CAN microcontrollers and Co-Processors
CAN controllers, CANopen Co-Processor, J1939 Co-Processor

Specialties of NXP CAN controllers and how an LPC11C24 can be used as a communication Co-Processor. Using the LPC11C24 with integrated CAN transceivers to implement a Co-Processor to implement and handle a higher-layer protocol, offloading this task from a host processor system. The host system communicates with the gateway via

Participants may qualify for a free NXP Evaluation Kit (must be present to qualify, 50 kits available).

For more information about the international CAN conference visit:

Categories: CAN, CANopen Tags: , ,