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Single-board computer

CAN boards for the Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi’s popularity is unbroken, even though now there are faster alternatives available. Various CAN boards are available for the Pi at the moment. Here, we give you an overview.

The Canberry Pi board on a Raspberry Pi (Photo: Industrial Berry)

CANBERRY PI BY INDUSTRIAL BERRY (ITALY) is an extension board for the Raspberry Pi. It features an open hardware design and has two functions: a CAN module and an onboard real time clock powered by a 12-mm battery. The CAN module is based on Microchip’s MCP2515 SPI controller and an MCP2551 transceiver. All functionalities are fully integrated in the usual Linux kernel, so they can either be available on the fly, or the user can recompile the Linux kernel to add CAN network functionalities. Canberry Pi version 1.1 is a restyling of version 1.0. The recent version contains the same CAN controller and transceiver, but a different RTC. The RTC is the DS1307Z, which is supported by the Linux kernel.

Industrial Berry is an “Open Electronic Schematics” project for embedded systems. The group consists of engineers and PhD students from Italy who work with the Raspberry Pi board and other embedded electronics. They want to create a community to help people working in the embedded world. On their webpage, schematics can be downloaded for free.

The Canberry Pi board on a Raspberry Pi (Photo: Industrial Berry)

SK Pang Electronics’ (UK) PiCAN CAN-Bus Board for Raspberry Pi also provides CAN capability for the single-board computer. It also uses the MCP2515 CAN controller with an MCP2551 CAN transceiver. CAN connections are made via DB-9 connector or 3-way screw terminal. The board features a bit-rate of 1 Mbit/s, a 10-MHz SPI interface, standard and extended data and remote frames, an LED indicator, and two user push buttons. It can be used with an OBD-II cable.

The Canberry Pi board on a Raspberry Pi (Photo: Industrial Berry)

Beyond Kinetics (US) also offers a PiCAN (Raspberry Pi CAN) board of the same name. The board features three transmit buffers, two receive buffers with masks and identifiers, and a DB-9 connector.
Via a DB-9 to ODB-II cable and a socketCAN driver, the Raspberry Pi accesses a car's network. The vehicle also powers the Raspberry Pi and the PiCAN board: The board features a 2-Amp regulator for powering via CAN. This board also offers three built-in front edge buttons and four LEDs (blue, red, yellow, green), which are under the Pi’s software control.

The Canberry Pi board on a Raspberry Pi (Photo: Industrial Berry)

Another option is Embedded Projects’ (Germany) GnuPi adaptor board, which we already wrote about a year ago.
For real enthusiasts, there’s always the possibility to build their own board: The Raspberry CAN blog is a project which aims to develop an open source design for a Raspberry-Pi-CAN board. According to the website, the design is not finished yet and should still be treated like a draft. It also uses a MCP2515 controller, a MCP2551 transceiver, and NXP’s PCF8574 remote 8-bit I/O expander for I2C-bus.