uCAN: A protocol stack for microcontroller networking

in dev boards by DP | 3 comments


Nick Johnson over atĀ Arachnid Labs writes:

I’m working on an idea that I’ve been pondering over for a while: a simple, low cost option for networking low power microcontrollers for hobbyist projects, art installations, interactive exhibits, hackspaces, etc etc. There are a few options around, but nobody’s specified something to build an ecosystem around; radio is widely varied and problematic in many installations, and Ethernet is too expensive and high-overhead for small embedded projects.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, the plan is to use existing standards to specify a stack – physical, electrical, protocol and API – that multiple makers can produce compatible products for.

Via the forum.

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  1. Manuel Garbe says:

    What about using i2C. That has been my choice in other projects

    • SOI Sentinel says:

      The CAN protocol and hardware supports higher data rates, better collision avoidance (hence higher utilized bandwidth) , and longer data runs. He’s planning on using CANOpen as an intermediate layer, this is a highly standardized protocol (industrial) so it’ll be interoperable with commercial equipment, too. Now, for very local subnets, I2C is still a good choice and will still be useful for “smart sensor” connections on the same ground plane and power supply as the local uCAN node.

      I deal with the industrial side all the time, but haven’t looked much at this yet other than a brief overview. Now, one thing to consider is that many high speed industrial Ethernet protocols use the CANOpen PDO/SDO/Backchannel format for configuring the individual nodes in unassigned bandwidth on the networks.

  2. Michael Anderson says:

    This is an excellent idea. I’ve been looking into using CAN on my projects as I2C doesn’t seem to be as reliable as I need it to be. I’ll have to see if I can adapt this to my Pandaboard.

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