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16680 W. Cleveland Avenue
New Berlin, WI 53151

1-800-227-9473

16680 W. Cleveland Avenue
New Berlin, WI 53151

Capital Electric Predicts Growth in CAN Bus Market

A controller area network (CAN bus) is a vehicle bus standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices (sensors/actuators) to communicate with each other in applications without a host computer.

As you may know, we’re using more and more sensors and control actuators on every automobile made in recent years. You’ve seen the commercials for cars that can park themselves, right? Well that’s possible because of sensors and actuators.

Today, those same systems are deployed on all types of vehicles: agricultural tractors, large earth moving equipment, even turf care machinery. In fact, CAN bus is also used as the network media layer by other network protocols like DeviceNet, EnergyBus and many others.

Originally developed in 1983 by Robert Bosch GmbH, CAN bus was officially released in 1986 at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) conference in Detroit, Michigan. And now that its largest application is in the automotive industry, CAN bus has become the standard according to SAE International.

The Society, a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries, defines SAE J1939 as five layers in the seven-layer OSI network model. This includes the controller area network (CAN) ISO 11898 specification (using only the 29-bit/”extended” identifier) for the physical and data-link layers. Under J1939/11 and J1939/15, the data rate is specified as 250 kbit/s.

Keep in mind that SAE is technically a self-declared approval, which means it is the manufacturer’s job to ensure that all tolerances are met per specification.

Two Main Use Cases:

1. J1939/11 (most common in the industry)

  • Intended for light- and heavy-duty vehicles on- or off-road as well as appropriate stationary applications which use vehicle derived components (e.g. generator sets).
  • Also for vehicles of interest include but are not limited to: on- and off-highway trucks and their trailers, construction equipment, and agricultural equipment and implements.
  • This is a shielded version that is construction specific. It comes in 20 AWG 2 Conductor and 18 AWG 2 Conductor. Application engineers define minimum and maximum tolerances and electrical parameters that need to be met.

2. J1939/15 (not as common in the industry)

  • Describes a physical layer utilizing unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable.
  • Intended for light- and heavy-duty vehicles on- or off-road as well as appropriate stationary applications which use vehicle derived components (e.g. generator sets).
  • Also for vehicles of interest include but are not limited to: on- and off-highway trucks and their trailers, construction equipment, and agricultural equipment and implements.
  • This is an unshielded version that is construction specific. It comes in 20 AWG 2 Conductor and 18 AWG 2 Conductor. Application engineers define minimum and maximum tolerances and electrical parameters that need to be met.

It’s important to note that there are variations of CAN bus cables. Some want different color conductors, insulated grounds, and sometimes but very rarely, different color jackets; some applications call for extra conductors that may be used in more powering or controlling methods in addition to the CAN bus.

These cables are specifically designed to withstand the extreme conditions today’s equipment is subject to – such as oil, fluids, equipment vibration, and EMI/RFI interference; its performance has exceptional impedance consistency over the entire cable length.

CAN bus cables meet the 120 Ohm requirement, and are usually produced with a TPE/TPR type jacket to meet the oil and fluid applications. Lake Cable has a version with a polyurethane jacket that has outstanding performances (for use in harsh environments). And although comparable to Hytrel, it is 30-40% less expensive.

CAN bus cables are not a one size fits all situation. If you need a customized construction, it can be accomplished. We predict substantial growth in simple network cables like CAN bus, and would be thrilled to help you find a solution that works for your business!

— Mike

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