I'm pretty new to CAN bus stuff and I'm a bit confused about how should I start the development.

There are a lot of different USB-CAN interfaces, but are there "easy" ways to generate test traffic etc without actually building your own devices and connecting them to the bus? I'd just like to read some CAN messages on a Linux host PC.

I can buy a USB-CAN interface, but what then? :) In Ebay there's nothing, Farnell sells some Microchip CAN demonstration boards for their chips, but I guess they use a proprietary USB interface and Windows software etc.


closed as off-topic by Lundin, Dmitry Grigoryev, Voltage Spike, PeterJ, MCG Jul 2 '18 at 12:45

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    \$\begingroup\$ You must absolutely have some manner of CAN listener software. When buying a USB-to-CAN adapter, you typically get a functional listener for free, at least for MS Windows. For serious development you might want to invest in a more advanced tool that can generate traffic, decode messages, apply message filters etc. However, please note that shopping recommendation questions are off-topic here. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Jun 28 '18 at 8:06

I think it will be easiest to start with a Raspberry Pi and a CAN hat, so you can use Socket CAT and Wireshark (either on the Pi itself, or pipe via TCP to a normal PC).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you think so? :) \$\endgroup\$ – Richard the Spacecat Jun 27 '18 at 9:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds needlessly complicated. Why would anyone want pipes, TCP and sockets when all they need is CAN? This rather sounds like inbound tool-chain troubleshooting. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Jun 28 '18 at 8:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can have all your high-level tools running on a PC and treat the Pi as a simple protocol converter. Speed of Wireshark on a PC will be better than when running directly on the Pi. You can also develop CAN applications in higher level languages. There are many tutorials how to start using CAN on the Pi, so it seems to me like the path of least resistance to get started with CAN. And it is cheap. \$\endgroup\$ – filo Jun 28 '18 at 8:41

I'd suggest you install the Kvaser driver and use their virtual CAN channels.
Then when you're ready, you buy one of their real interfaces, and use it in your application.

(you always need at least two active CAN nodes)


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