New & Current Projects Owner's Blog

In Production: Dual CAN Bus Interface For Arduino Due With Extended Power Supply Range

Arduino Due - Dual CAN Bus Shield
Arduino Due – Dual CAN Bus Shield – PCB Design

This project, i.e. the development of the jCOM.CAN.DUE – Dual CAN Bus Interface, is based on the Arduino Due, the first Arduino board with an ARM M3 processor. The Arduino organization has marked the product as “currently retired,” but the board is still available in the marketplace in range somewhere between $17 and $35, while the succeeding model, the Arduino ZERO, goes for $50+. (Note: The Arduino ZERO has no direct CAN Bus support).

The business aspect behind this project is the current experience with our Raspberry PiCAN2 interface. I was surprised to learn how many high-tech companies, including some reputable names in the automobile industry, order the board for prototyping purposes. I talked to some customers and they all appear to be afraid of embedded solutions that go beyond the Arduino’s/Raspberry Pi’s abilities (due to the higher learning curve). They are pleased to get the extended power range of the PiCAN2 With SMPS but are also willing to work around the lack of an extended temperature range.

My take is that the Arduino Due provides the ARM processor performance with a popular programming environment. It has the same industrial-strength issues as the Raspberry Pi (extended power and temperature range), but is definitely better when it comes to program startup times (roughly milliseconds vs. minutes).

The Due has all the interfaces as provided by the ARM processor but minus the Ethernet port, which the designer(s) simply ignored (probably out of cost reasons).

The Due is larger in size than the regular Arduino Uno but the same size as the Mega 2560. The (mere physical) problem here is that it is a pain in the neck to insert a board in the size of the Due, meaning there are a total of 86 connection pins spread over three board edges.

As an example see:

The Due is backwards compatible with a number of regular, smaller-sized Arduino shields as long as they run on 3.3 VDC.

I believe that the extended size of the Due was also its downfall and the successor model (Arduino ZERO) has the same form factor as the Uno. Nevertheless, the M3 processor on the Due provides two CAN interfaces, three serial ports (UARTS), and I2C.

Arduino Due ShieldThe idea behind the new jCOM.CAN.DUE interface is to use only the extended area (see image to the left, i.e. the board’s right side) that contains the signals for three serial ports, two CAN ports, I2C plus the 5VDC power supply.

The CAN Bus termination resistors will be activated per jumper.

For the future, I am also looking into extending the product by RS232, RS485/RS422, Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth, while keeping the CAN ports. That may involve extending the board into the regular shield area.

Another feature is the extended power range of 7 VDC to 36 VDC (optional) to better suit prototyping for industrial and automotive applications.

Technical Features

  • 2 CAN Bus ports using the Texas Instruments SN65HVD230 transceiver
  • 1 Power LED
  • 2 LEDs indicating data traffic at the corresponding CAN port
  • Extended power input range from 7 VDC to 36 VDC (optional)
  • Driver software for easy access of both CAN Bus ports

Application Library

  • CAN to USB Gateway
  • CAN to RS232/422/485 Gateway
  • CAN to Ethernet, Bluetooth, WiFi Gateway
  • CAN Bridge

At the time of this writing, the board is in production and should be available for sales through our web store by early September 2016. The pricing will be $29.95 for the Dual CAN Shield and $39.95 for the Dual CAN Shield With Extended Power Supply Range. For more information, please feel free to contact us at any time.