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KCD format describes CAN communication

The KCD format is an open source CAN database format. It is used by several projects.

The Kayak open source CAN analyzer can be installed on a Raspberry Pi 2 (Photo: SK Pang)

The Kayak CAN analyzer project introduced the XML-based format KCD (Kayak CAN definition) schema. In the meantime, several open source projects are using this format: can4pythonCAN Matrix Convert Libray and Tool, CAN Babel, and openCanSuite. The files that are describing the format are published under the Lesser GPL license. The KCD format is copyrighted by Jan-Niklas Meier and Jens Krueger. According to the authors this does not imply any licensing restrictions on software libraries implementing the KCD file format, or on software using those libraries.

Kayak is an application for CAN diagnosis and monitoring. Its main objective is a simple interface and platform independence. It is implemented in Java and it is based on Socket CAN and TCP/IP. Therefore the bus access is network transparent and can be shared with multiple users. The open source tool uses the KCD format. Existing DBC-files can be converted by means of the CAN Babel software. Afterwards Kayak is able to decode CAN frames and to display and interpret the messages and signals. The open source tool provides also project and log-file management. It is possible to create and replay log-files. The user can send messages in single-shot or periodically. CAN FD is not supported yet. SK Pang has installed the tool on its Raspberry Pi 2, which is described in detail in a blog.

Another open source CAN analyzer is the Busmaster. Originally designed by Bosch, it is currently a joint project of RBEI and ETAS, a Bosch daughter company. The analyzer is based on the CAN Vas software tool. It provides import filters for DBC database files and CAPL programs. Other functions include creation and editing of CAN databases, message filtering, logging and replay of CAN messages as well as creation of programmable nodes by use of an ANSI C function editor. The KCD format is not supported. The tool already can interpret CAN FD messages.


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SK Pang