uCAN: A protocol stack for microcontroller networking

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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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3 Comments

    1. 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.

  1. 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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