Free Tools for quick Set Up and Operation of CAN Networks

Since the 1980s, the CAN bus has simplified transmission paths to and from analog and digital devices. Today, CAN bus networks can be found in many industries: from automotive applications to automation technology, medical engineering and aircraft technology. In order to set up, configure and manage CAN networks in a time-saving way, esd electronics offers free software tools for all CAN components.

The CAN bus (Controller Area Network) is a classic fieldbus and is based on serial data transmission. The automotive industry played a leading role in the development of this technology with the aim of saving material – cables in the first place. In the late 1980s, CAN was internationally standardized in ISO 11898-1 (Definition Layer 2 in the ISO/OSI reference model).

Since the early days of CAN, esd electronics has successfully concentrated on the development of CAN components. The product portfolio ranges from CAN interfaces, gateways and bridges, I/O modules, plug-in card systems as well as CPU boards. To support users with an easy set up and operation of CAN networks based on these components, the company from Hanover in Germany offers free software tools.

Comprehensive Software Tools included

First and foremost, the CAN Software Development Kit (CAN SDK) for the NTCAN API deserves mentioning. It offers comprehensive support in software development and includes the CAN diagnostic tools CANreal, CANplot, CANrepro, CANscript and COBview. The system requirement for using these tools is a current Windows operating system as 32-bit or 64-bit version. In addition to the five CAN tools, the CAN SDK includes header files, libraries, sample applications and documentation. Another tool is the esdACC Error Injection GUI tool, which can be used to simulate CAN errors.

The CAN SDK allows developing, debugging and testing of applications based on CAN hardware. All tools as well as the programming API share the multi-process NTCAN architecture. It supports CAN FD and Timestamped Rx+Tx including CAN inter process communication. A virtual CAN driver for developing and testing applications completes the extensive toolbox.

The libraries and samples included in the CAN SDK are available for many programming languages and environments. These include C/C++ (Visual, Borland, MinGW), Visual Basic 6, Delphi, PureBasic and Python. In addition, the CAN SDK also includes NTCAN.NET class libraries for the Microsoft.NET Framework for easy implementation of applications in C# or VB.NET. In addition, the CAN SDK offers function blocks for API functions as well as the function blocks of the CANopen Tiny Manager for easy use of CAN and CANopen in Labview.

Third-party software can be used directly with the CAN hardware from esd through suitable libraries. For example, esd offers a DLL for the CANopen® Conformance Test (CCT) from CAN in Automation (CiA) and a corresponding version for the DeviceNet Protocol Conformance Test, a software of the Open DeviceNet™ Vendors Association (ODVA).

Monitoring and Testing with CANreal

Displaying CAN Data graphically with CANplot

With the help of free tools included in the CAN Software Development Kit (SDK) and the GUI tool CAN networks can easily be configured and managed.

Further Information for Download as PDF Document

CAN Error Injection

CAN is also being used with increasing frequency in safety-critical areas such as medical technology or aerospace. This results in increased safety requirements and the need for verification, simulation and testing. CAN fault injection can help with this.

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Reproducing CAN Frames with CANrepro

Creating Python Programs with CANscript

Setting up CANopen Nodes with COBview

Simulating CAN Errors with the esdACC Error Injection GUI Tool


Thanks to software support provided in the form of harmonically constructed tools on the one hand a quick and easy setup of CAN networks becomes possible. On the other hand, they offer many possibilities for analysis, diagnosis and optimization. Simulations for testing purposes and monitoring, for example in troubleshooting, should not be neglected, either. The described software tools offer added value that allows the optimal and efficient use of esd CAN components.

esd Advanced CAN Controller (esdACC)

Most CAN controllers available today are connected to the host system via eight or sixteen bit wide buses. The write access and especially the read access to these controllers is very slow compared to the cycle time of modern CPUs.

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Our CAN Tools

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