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How to Diagnose a Controller Area Network (CAN)

Before CAN bus gained popularity, vehicle wiring harnesses could contain miles of copper wire which significantly added to the cost and weight of the vehicle. CAN bus was originally designed to minimize copper wiring in automobiles by multiplexing electrical signals over a simple two wire network. By using a high-speed twisted pair cable, the amount of wire necessary to allow sensors, actuators and controllers to communicate was greatly reduced.

CAN FD – The Next Big (Fast) Thing

The CAN protocol (ISO 11898) has remained relatively unchanged since it was introduced in 1993 as CAN 2.0 A/B. In the last few years, CAN FD (for Flexible Data rate or “Fast Data” as we like to call it) was introduced and is now defined as ISO 11898-1. The CAN FD protocol is backward compatible. Any CAN FD device can understand CAN 2.0 frames (now known as “Classic CAN”). However, the opposite is not true. If a Classic CAN node encounters a CAN FD frame, it will destroy the packet with an error frame.

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