CANFDuino Makes Prototyped Car Electronics Look Ready to Go

This single-board, SAM C21-based Arduino development platform fits into a clean looking enclosure.

James Lewis
9 months agoAutomotive

UPDATE(2/11/2022): The CANFDuino is now available for order on Crowd Supply at a price of $125.

Original article continues below.

Interfacing with a vehicle, autonomous or otherwise, typically means communicating on its CAN bus. In the past, building electronics for a car might have required a mix of Arduino-style boards, CAN interface shields, and proto-boards. However, a new solution from Togglebit, or ~bit, offers a twist on open source CAN development. The CANFDuino combines Arduino, CAN FD, and prototyping into an enclosure that can make your project look like a finished product.

"It [CANFDuino] combines several essential features into one complete 'ready-to-modify' package for the real world, including dual CANFD bus ports, SD card slot, and a multitude of analog/digital IO." — Togglebit

One look at CANFDuino, and you can tell it is a different vehicle for prototyping. The black enclosure looks like a finished product by itself. However, sliding out the board shows its true nature. Hidden inside is a complete hardware development environment that you can quickly package up for use in a car.

Connectors adorn either side of the board. One end features two CAN FD ports in the form of DB9 connectors. A 12-pin screw terminal, a micro SD card slot, and a USB port for interfacing with a PC are on the other side. Between the edges, the slide-out board dedicates a significant area to prototyping. Pins from the microcontroller, including CAN FD signals, are broken out alongside a field of general-purpose pins. There are even breakout pads for a few surface-mount packages.

The onboard microcontroller is a Microchip SAM C21. These are 32-bit Arm Cortex-M0+ based MCUs with built-in CAN 2.0 and CAN FD 1.0 interfaces. Since they are similar to the SAM D21 found in many 32-bit compatible Arduino boards, CANFDuino works with the Arduino IDE.

CANFDuino leverages the SAM C21's vast IO options into a large number of pins. There are 24 general-purpose input/output, 10 analog in, and 14 pins available for PWM. In addition to CAN, UART, SPI, and I2C are all available to communicate with sensors or other hardware.

Togglebit plans to release the hardware files as open source in the future. Currently, there is a GitHub repo with files and instructions to start programming with the Arduino IDE. Sign up for updates on the CANFDuino Crowd Supply pre-launch page.

James Lewis
Fan of making things that blink, fly, or beep. Host on element14 Presents, baldengineer.com, AddOhms, and KN6FGY.
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