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CAN modules for prototyping, simulating, and testing

Last year, the US-company National Instruments (NI) introduced for its NI-XNET system CAN high-speed and CAN low-speed (fault-tolerant) interface modules. The NI 9862 respectively NI 9861 modules connect in-vehicle networks to the system, which is suitable for applications such as prototyping, simulating, and testing. The single-port interface module features integrated CAN database support for importing, editing and using signals from Fibex, .dbc and .ncd files.

THE CAN MODULES ARE CAPABLE of 100 percent busload communication up to 1 Mbit/s (NI 9862) respectively 125 kbit/s (NI 9861) without loosing CAN data or remote frames. Engineers can use the CAN modules with the same Labview or ANSI-C/C++ software code developed for other NI platforms, e.g. CompactDAQ, CompactRIO, PXI and PCI. Project reuse saves time as the same application software can be used, for example, in labs with PCI; in manufacturing end-of-line tests with PXI; in portable in-vehicle communication settings with NI CompactDAQ; and in headless in-vehicle logging with CompactRIO. The CAN modules can be synchronized with other I/O modules in the same XNET chassis.

With native support in VeriStand real-time test development software, the CAN modules are suitable for real-time automotive testing applications, including hardware-in-the-loop simulation and test cell applications. Both modules support synchronization and triggering with other CompactRIO and CompactDAQ modules.

The interface modules combine the performance and flexibility of low-level micro-controller interfaces with the speed and power of Windows and Labview real-time operating system development. Users can integrate them with desktop real-time PCs and real-time PXI systems.

The modules can be used to monitor and log data from CAN-based in-vehicle networks, to calibrate ECUs, and to validate ECUs by means of synchronized data acquisition. Of course, the products are not limited for use in the automotive industry. They are also applicable for CAN networks in rail vehicles, avionics, farm/forest machinery, medical devices, and industrial automation.

Application programmer interface (API)

The session-based API for the XNET modules allows configuration and selection of communication tasks. The user can also select the type of session to be used for a task. The figure shows the mask to select the type of communication. The software supports multiple sessions per CAN port. This means one port can be used for reading and writing CAN messages. The XNET driver allows for both raw frame or signal communication on the CAN network.
The user can choose an abstracted, or higher-level, view of the bus communication by selecting a CAN database file to reference when getting real-world values from CAN messages. Or the user can do more lower-level communication on the bus by just reading and writing “raw” CAN (data and remote) frames.

The XNET driver also includes preconfigured tools to help decrease development time and accomplish common and critical tasks for CAN communication. The Bus Monitor provides a real-time view of the bus traffic on a specific port. You can implement other common tasks like associating the traffic with a database, logging bus traffic, and filtering CAN-IDs. The XNET Database Editor gives the ability to configure and edit database files to use with CAN networks. Inside the editor, you can import, create, and configure Fibex, .dbc, and .ncd files. This tool provides an intuitive user interface for working with CAN databases.

All interfaceports in a chassis share a common time-base, allowing a correlation of data and traffic from the chassis. Also, you can route the Start Trigger in between multiple DAQmx and NI-XNET modules. For example, using the appropriate property nodes, the Start Trigger of an analog input module can be used as a CAN interface Start Trigger.

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