This year (2011) the Controller Area Network (CAN) reaches its 25th anniversary. According to the CAN in Automation group, “…the CAN protocol was presented the first time to the public at the SAE conference in Detroit. Bosch presented its serial bus system dedicated for embedded networking in passenger cars. One year later, Intel introduced the first CAN stand-alone controller followed by Philips Semiconductors in 1988.”
During the past 25 years, many companies have created devices that operate on a CAN bus and other companies have created hardware and software design-and-test tools. You can include EasySYNC Ltd. among the latter group. The company recentlyannounced two USB-to-CAN adapters–USB2-F-7001 and USB2-F-7101–that simplify the connection between a computer and a CAN bus. Both devices operate from USB power and the USB2-F-7101 provides digital isolation between the CAN bus and your PC. The packaged modules use a standard DE-9P connector that conforms to the CAN-in-Automation (CiA) DS102-2 pin-out.
EasySYNC provides USB device drivers so a module looks like a virtual serial port (COM port) to a computer and communications use ASCII characters. A CAN-command application programming interface (API) lets you write programs for specific bus-related tasks. At present, you can use the following languages to write programs: Visual Basic 6, Visual Basic 6 .NET, C#, and Visual C++. Unfortunately, there’s no software for Mac OS X, Linux, or Windows CE. You can learn more about the API in the programming guide: www.easysync-ltd.com/support/documentation/PG_USB2-F-7×01_API_Guide.pdf.
For information about the USB2-F-7001 ($US 110.11), visit: www.easysync-ltd.com/product/556/usb2-f-7001.html. You will find information about the USB2-F-7101 ($US 165) at: www.easysync-ltd.com/product/556/usb2-f-7001.html.
If you have created devices that operate on a CAN bus, what were your biggest design or get-it-up-and-running challenges? Maybe I can generate enough interest for a column. –Jon Titus