Hi, and thanks for checking out CANtact Pro!
In the first update, we’re going to be looking at how to use the CANtact Pro on Linux with SocketCAN. This provides access to a wide range of open-source tools. We’ll get to Windows and macOS support in future updates.
Out of the box, CANtact Pro will appear as a SocketCAN device on Linux. Plug it in, and you’ll be greeted with two devices.
$ ip link show | grep can 20: can0: <NOARP,ECHO> mtu 16 qdisc noop state DOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 10 link/can 21: can1: <NOARP,ECHO> mtu 16 qdisc noop state DOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 10 link/can
Now that our devices are available, we’ll need to set them up. The most important setting is bitrate. The bitrate of all devices on a CAN network need to match. Commonly used bitrates are 1000000, 500000, 250000, and 125000, though others exist. These values are given in bits per second. We set the bitrate up with the
sudo ip link set dev can0 type can bitrate 500000
This command sets the bitrate of the
can0 device to
500000 bits/s. With that done, we’re ready to enable the device:
sudo ip link set can0 up
This enables the
can0 channel of the device. The corresponding LEDs on the device will light up once the channel is enabled.
Now we’re ready to use our device! There’s a wide variety of software that supports SocketCAN, and therefore CANtact Pro.
Lets start with the
can-utils commands. These will need to be installed on your system. On Debian and Ubuntu, they can be installed with
sudo apt install can-utils
Now we can send and receive frames! We will use
cangen to generate some traffic on
In another terminal, we use
candump, to display every received frame.
$ candump can0 can0 076  09 1D 36 34 can0 511  can0 2A7  1A E1 DC 6B 36 D8 10 38 can0 4A9  0E can0 170  B5 can0 0C7  69 12 0E 62 90 3D 6A 2F can0 50B  A8 14 8B 4D BD 2B D2 6C can0 32E  32 79 03 can0 428  E8 66 BE 58 39 51 F5 08 can0 3AC  D0 03 26 31 53 3E 47 3D can0 767  8A 16 58 75 10 1C E7 1B can0 00B  15 6E 5B 39 7B F9 EA 3A can0 3C9  54 F3 D1 05 90 0C D1 09 ...
cansend to send single frames. The format of the command argument is
D0 - D7 are data bytes. All values are given in hexadecimal. For example, to send a frame with ID
0x123 and data
AA BB CC:
cansend can0 123#AABBCC
cansniffer utility is very helpful for reverse engineering CAN networks. It shows CAN data and highlights which bytes are changing. A common technique for reverse engineering CAN networks is to watch which bytes change when an action is taken. For example, watching
cansniffer‘s output while manipulating the throttle will make it easy to see which bytes correspond to throttle position.
Wireshark is a popular tool for analyzing network traffic, and it contains support for CAN. To start capturing traffic, open Wireshark and select a SocketCAN interface.
The Wireshark trace window will start displaying CAN traffic. To demonstrate, we’ll generate random frames using
Wireshark also contains decoders for some common CAN protocols. To access these, right click on any CAN frame, then select "Decode As…". The decoder is selected under the "Current" column.
Now we’ll decode some OBD-II PIDs. We use
cansend to request an OBD-II PID, then view the result in Wireshark. Here, we’re requesting PIDs
20 using OBD-II Mode 1. Wireshark will decode the PIDs into real world values for us.
Have you ever had multiple CAN interfaces connected and been unsure which is which? CANtact Pro supports an "identify" feature that lets you find a channel easily. This can be enabled using
sudo ethtool --identify can0
This will blink the LEDs for the
can0 interface, making it easy to find.
There’s a ton of SocketCAN tools out there. Some other notable tools include: