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●How it works
●Case applications:
○ Nissan Leaf
○ Volvo S80
Group 4:
• Adam J
• Suranraj
• Samsudin
• Harvey N

Subject: DAT 2603

Batch: 1602
Tutor: Mr Roland
1) Introduction to CAN-bus systems.............................................................3
2) Multiplexing….…………………………………….......................................5
3) Cabling………….…..………………………………………………….……...7
4) Network Topology……..…………………………………….........................9
5) Communication Protocol and Arbitration……..…....................................10
6) General Design Application……….…………...........................................15
7) Case Applications: Nissan Leaf, Volvo S80.............................................16

CANbus Introduction
• A reliable bus network standard
specified in ISO-11898 for Control
Units (i.e. microcontrollers and
devices) to communicate with
each other in applications without
a host computer.
• Originally designed for
multiplexed electrical wiring within
automobiles to save on copper
• First introduced by Bosch in 1986,
CAN’s reliability derives from its 2-
wire bus signalling method, where
voltage swings on both buses are
compared, and common-mode
interference signals rejected by
line controllers (transceivers):

• For critical, fast signalling
systems like ABS, engine
systems and transmission Dominant line voltage is read as a logic 0, and
systems. recessive line voltage is read as a logic 1. This rule
• Clock speed goes up to 1Mbps applies for both high and low speed CAN systems.
• Approx. 40m cable length limit.
• Also known as CAN-C, and High-speed CAN has ungrounded termination resistors
CAN-D for diagnostic buses. connected across each end of the CAN-h (CAN+) and
• There is also a more recent CAN CAN-l (CAN-) line. This makes high-speed CAN non-
standard released by Bosch in fault tolerant, i.e. a short or open in one line makes the
2012 called CAN FD (Flexible signal unreadable by Control Unit transceivers.
Datarate), which is compatible
with highspeed CAN-C and goes
up to 15Mbps with even shorter
cabling constraints.

Note the highspeed CANbus voltage ranges are

between 2.5-3.5V for CAN-h (CAN+) and 1.5-2.5V for
CAN-l (CAN-). 4
• Also known as CAN-B
• Baud rate is up to 125kbps,
and voltage swing
specifications are also wider,
e.g. 1V - 4V

• Fault-tolerant due to
isolated termination resistors
for both buses. Even is one
bus is shorted to power to
ground, transceivers can still
make a voltage comparison
of dominant and recessive
voltages to read digital ones
and zeros.

CANbus Control Unit
Each Control Unit (Control Node) plugged into a CAN-bus
1) A microprocessor (microcontroller), which decides
what the received messages mean and what
messages it wants to transmit. Sensors, actuators
and control devices can be connected to the host
2) A CAN controller; often an integral part of the
microcontroller which:
• Stores received serial bits until an entire message is
available, which can then be fetched by the
microprocessor (usually by the CAN controller
triggering an interrupt); and
• Sends the transmit message(s) to a CAN transceiver
(line controller), which transmits the bits serially onto
the bus when the bus is free.
3) A transceiver (line controller), which converts the Note: the CAN controller is part of
data stream from CANbus levels to levels that the the datalink layer, i.e. is part of the
CAN controller uses. It usually has protective circuitry data filtering function, which is
to protect the CAN controller. During outgoing explained in the next section on
transmission, it converts the data stream from the multiplexing.
CAN controller to CANbus levels.
A multiplexer or mux is digital logic circuitry that transmits
a length of bits serially onto a bus. In CANbus, multiplexer
functions are executed at the transceiver and CAN
controller level.

A CANbus-readable series of bits are batched into a set of

bits called a frame. A frame consists of several fields of
bits, and in CANbus, one of which is called the identifier

A demultiplexer or demux operates analogously to a mux

but in reverse: it reads the series of bits and reconstructs
them to feed the CAN controller parallelly. This operation
of feeding a set of bits in series onto a bus and
reconstructing them into the original set of bits to feed in
parallel to a processor is called multiplexing.

All CUs in CANbus have multiplexing capability in

transmitter circuitry, and demultiplexing capability in
receiving circuitry. Gateways are also multiplexer-
demultiplexer CUs. Multiplexing in CANbus and internet
TCP-IP is considered time-division multiplexing.

Unlike an internet TCP/IP mux/demux which has a

dynamic address port (S0 – S2 above), the line interface
transceiver mux will not have an address port, i.e. will
mux/demux all data given based on CANbus arbitration
rules to deal with bus traffic. Mux filtering occurs at the
CAN controller receiving level. Analogous to an address
port, a CAN controller will have a permanent or
programmable identifier port to allow only applicable data
frames to reach its microprocessor.
Cabling for networks such as
CANbus include coaxial cable (top),
fibreoptic cable (centre), and twisted
pair (bottom). The most common
type seen in today’s vehicles are
twisted pair due to better flexibility
i.e. smaller bending radius, and
lower cost relative to optical fibre
and coaxial cable.

Pricier optical fibre and coax, due to

better shielding and being less
prone to interference/noise, are
used for higher frequency
applications, for example high speed
internet and intranet computer

Network topology
Network topology is the arrangement of
the various elements (links, nodes,
etc.) of a communication network.

For general automotive applications,

the study of network topology is usually
only physical, and recognizes the
following basic topologies: ring, star,
daisy-chain and bus. These can be
combined to form a hybrid network.

Daisy-chain topologies are less popular

in modern vehicles: one break
upstream breaks all communication
downstream. 9
Communication Protocol & Arbitration
Bit Frames, Bit Fields and Arbitration

A bit frame is a CU-readable block of bits in a CANbus system. A frame is divided into several bit fields.

CAN has four frame types:

1) Data frame: Contains CU data for transmission

2) Remote Transmission Request (RTR) frame: Requests transmission of a specific CU identifier
3) Error frame: Transmitted by any CU detecting an error
4) Overload frame: Injected as a delay between data or remote frame

The above base frame format applies to data and RTR frames. All bit frames begin with a start-of-frame (SOF) bit
that denotes the start of the frame transmission.

The control field informs how many data bytes to expect before the Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) field starts.

Communication Protocol
Bit Frames, Bit Fields and Arbitration

After the SOF bit, the Identifier field (Arbitration field) follows. Since any CU having dominant transmission voltages
affects the whole bus, transmitted frames having Arbitration fields with the earliest and longest continuous
lengths of logical 0s (dominant voltages) naturally dominate the bus and will have communication priority.
Thus, highest priority messages will be sent first until at least one receiving CU has confirmed receipt via a dominant
voltage (logical 0) placed on the bus in the Ack slot bit.

Logical 0
CAN h voltage
Logical 1

Error and Overload Frames
Error frame format
The error frame consists of two fields:
• Error Flag: 6–12 dominant or recessive bits contributed from different stations.
• Error Delimiter: 8 recessive bits.
There are two types of error flags:
• Active Error Flag: six dominant bits – Transmitted by CU detecting an error while in error state "error active".
• Passive Error Flag: six recessive bits – Transmitted by CU detecting an error while in error state "error passive".

Overload frame format

The overload frame contains two fields:
• Overload Flag: six dominant bits. The overall form corresponds to that of the active error flag. The overload flag’s form
destroys the fixed form of the intermission field. Consequently, all other stations also detect an overload condition and on their
part start transmission of an overload flag.
• Overload Delimiter field: eight recessive bits. The overload delimiter is of the same form as the error delimiter.

There are two kinds of overload conditions that trigger an overload flag:
1) A CU state of processing requires a delay of the next data frame or remote frame. In this case, an overload frame is only
allowed to be started at the first bit time of an expected intermission
2) Detection of a single dominant bit during Intermission (i.e. Interframe Spacing or IFS). In this case, an overload frame due to
Case 2 starts one bit after detecting the dominant bit. Exception: when the dominant bit is detected during the third bit of the
IFS. In this case, the receivers will interpret this as a SOF. This reaction from each CU is an analogous response to a “ping”
command sent to internet servers.

Bit patterns triggered by either a CRC or bit-stuffing error, followed by one or more overload frames to allow time for
resetting/resyncing of CUs are depicted below:

Superposition of error
Fields/protocols supporting data integrity
All frame formats also have the following field and bit pattern mechanisms to ensure data transmission integrity:

1) Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) field: where each sending and receiving CU will count the amount dominant (0) data
frame or remote frame bits preceding the CRC field and insert the count in the CRC field. Any CU that detects an incorrect
CRC field bitcount on the bus will hard-trigger an Error Frame transmission resulting in a message retransmit.

2) Acknowledge bit (ACK): When at least one CU reads the data frame or remote frame and CRCs the CRC field correctly,
the transmitting CU will not interrupt with an Error frame, and allows the receiving CU to place a dominant (0) bit in the Ack
slot to confirm accurate data receipt

3) Bit-stuffing: To ensure enough transitions to maintain synchronization, a bit of opposite polarity is inserted after five
consecutive bits of the same polarity. This practice is called bit stuffing, and is necessary due to the non-return to zero
(NRZ1) coding used with CAN. The stuffed data frames are destuffed by the receiver

All fields in the frame are bit-stuffed except for the CRC delimiter, ACK field and end of frame, error and overload frames
which are a fixed size and are not stuffed. In the fields where bit stuffing is used, six consecutive bits of the same type
(111111 or 000000) are considered an error. An active error flag can be transmitted by a node when an error has been
detected. The active error flag consists of six consecutive dominant bits and violates the rule of bit stuffing.

Note: 1 In telecommunication, a non-return-to-zero

(NRZ) line code is a binary code in which ones are
represented by one significant condition, usually a
positive voltage, while zeros are represented by
some other significant condition, usually a negative
voltage, with no other neutral or rest condition. The
pulses in NRZ have more energy than a return-to-
zero (RZ) code, which also has an additional rest
state beside the conditions for ones and zeros. NRZ
is not inherently a self-clocking signal, so some
additional synchronization technique must be used
for avoiding bit slips

Fields/protocols supporting data integrity
4) Interframe spacing (IFS, or Intermission field): Data frames and remote frames are separated from preceding frames
by a bit field called interframe space. Interframe space consists of at least three consecutive recessive (1) bits. Following
that, if a dominant bit is detected, it will be regarded as the "Start of frame" bit of the next frame. Overload frames and
error frames are not preceded by an interframe space.

Typical CANbus applications involve
communication between the following
1) Engine Control Module (ECM)
2) Transmission Control Module (TCM)
3) Throttle Control Unit (TCU)
5) Door CUs
6) Boot CUs
7) Gateway CUs connecting highspeed
(CAN-C, CAN-D) and lowspeed
(CAN-B) networks

Case Application: Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is an Electric Vehicle. The 2014 model’s workshop manual is readily available
on the internet for free. CAN system abbreviations used for Nissan Leaf CANbus system are
as follows:

Nissan Leafspy phone app

monitoring battery charging

Case Application: Nissan Leaf
Control Unit (CU) locations on the Nissan Leaf are as follows:

Screenshot of Nissan Leafspy app

monitoring battery cell SOC

Scanning the Nissan Leaf EVSE

(Electric Vehicle Supply
Equipment), i.e. battery charger 17
Typical Nissan Leaf CAN signals

Typical Nissan Leaf CAN signals

Nissan CAN comm. control circuit
Nissan’s CAN communication control circuit is incorporated into the control unit and
transmits/receives CAN communication signals:
Nissan CAN diagnostic flowchart
In general, a CANbus related
diagnosis begins with an
interview of the customer who
noticed and fault patterns, and
verification of the fault.

The technician then uses a

diagnostic scan tool to try capture
the fault code as a reference point
where to start troubleshooting. If
the scan tool is unable to return a
DTC, the technician refers to
cross-referenced diagnostic tables
in the workshop CAN manual to
isolate which CAN type
(subsystem) to test and
troubleshoot. The workshop
manual also has sections on
testing each CU connected to each
CAN type (subsystem), which
includes steps for checking wire
harnesses, and steps to isolate
fault codes for device repair.

Physical location of repairs are

then checked using vehicle EWDs
as reference.
Nissan CAN technician procedures
Customer Interviews PPE:

Interview with the customer is important to detect

the root cause of CAN communication system
errors and to understand vehicle condition and
symptoms for proper trouble diagnosis.

Points to capture during interview:

1) What: Parts name, system name
2) When: Date, Frequency
3) Where: Road condition, Place
4) In what condition: Driving
5) Result: Symptom

Fault Verification

• Check normal units as well as error symptoms.

Example: Circuit between ECM and the
combination meter is judged normal if
the customer indicates tachometer
functions normally.
• When a CAN communication system error is
present, multiple control units may malfunction or
go into failsafe mode.
• Do not turn the ignition switch OFF or disconnect
the 12V battery cable while reproducing the
error. The error may temporarily correct itself,
making it difficult to determine the root cause.
Sample Nissan trouble
analysis/isolation guides
Trouble analysis & isolation using rules of thumb Trouble analysis & isolation using cross
problems: referenced tables/charts:
CAN technician safety practice
• Parts with strong magnet used in this vehicle. Cautions:
• Technicians using a medical electric device such as • Never bring the vehicle into the READY status with the
pacemaker must never perform operation on the service plug removed unless otherwise instructed in the
vehicle, as magnetic field can affect the device function Service Manual. A malfunction may occur if this is not
by approaching to such parts. If a technician uses observed.
implantable cardiac pacemaker or implantable • All the high voltage harnesses and connectors are
cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), avoid the device orange. The Li-ion battery and other high voltage
implanted part from approaching within approximately devices include an orange high voltage label. Never
220 mm (8.66 in) from interior/exterior antenna. The touch these harnesses and high voltage parts.
possible effects on the devices must be checked with • Immediately insulate disconnected high voltage
the device manufacturer before connectors and terminals with insulating tape.
• Be sure to remove the service plug to disconnect the • Prohibited items: Hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles
high voltage circuits before performing inspection or contain parts with high voltage and intense magnetic
maintenance of high voltage system harnesses and force. Never carry metal products and magnetic
parts. recording media (e.g. cash card, prepaid card) to
• The removed service plug must always be carried in a repair/inspect high voltage parts. If this is not observed,
pocket of the responsible worker or placed in the tool the metal products may create a risk of short circuit and
box during the procedure to prevent the plug from the magnetic recording media may lose their magnetic
being connected by mistake recording.
• Be sure to wear insulated protective equipment before • POSTING A SIGN OF “DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE
beginning work on the high voltage system. AREA. KEEP OUT”
• Never allow workers other than the responsible person • Place sign stating "HIGH VOLTAGE. DO NOT TOUCH"
to touch the vehicle containing high voltage parts. To on the vehicle under repair/inspection to call attention to
keep others from touching the high voltage parts, these other Workers
parts must be covered with an insulating sheet except
when using them.
CAN technician safety practice
SRS caution: Precautions for Removing Battery Terminal:
• Do not use electrical test equipment on any circuit • When removing the 12V battery terminal, turn OFF the power
related to the SRS unless instructed to in this Service switch and wait at least 5 minutes
Manual. SRS wiring harnesses can be identified by
yellow and/or orange harnesses or harness connectors. NOTE: ECU may be active for several minutes after the power
• When working near the Airbag Diagnosis Sensor Unit or switch is turned OFF. If the battery terminal is removed before
other Airbag System sensors with the Ignition ON or ECU stops, then a DTC detection error or ECU data corruption
engine running, DO NOT use air or electric power tools may occur.
or strike near the sensor(s) with a hammer. Heavy • Always disconnect the battery terminal within 60 minutes after
vibration could activate the sensor(s) and deploy the air turning OFF the power switch. Even when the power switch is
bag(s), possibly causing serious injury. OFF, the 12V battery automatic charge control may
• When using air or electric power tools or hammers, automatically start after a lapse of 60 minutes from power
always switch the Ignition OFF, disconnect the battery switch OFF.
and wait at least three minutes before performing any • Disconnect 12V battery terminal according to the following
service. steps.

Point to Be Checked Before Starting Maintenance Battery removal procedure:

Work: 1. Check that EVSE1 is not connected.
• The high voltage system may start automatically. It is NOTE: If EVSE is connected, the air conditioning system
required to check that the timer air conditioner and timer may be automatically activated by the timer A/C function.
charge (during EVSE connection) are not set before 2. Turn the power switch OFF → ON → OFF. Get out of the
starting maintenance work. vehicle. Close all doors (including back door).
NOTE: If the timer air conditioner or timer charge 3. Check that the charge status indicator lamp does not blink
(during EVSE connection) is set, the high voltage and wait for 5 minutes or more.
system starts automatically even when the power switch NOTE: If the battery is removed within 5 minutes after the
is in OFF state. power switch is turned OFF, plural DTCs may be detected.
4. Remove 12V battery terminal within 60 minutes after turning
the power switch OFF → ON → OFF.
CAUTION: After all doors (including back door) are closed, if
a door (including back door) is opened before battery
terminals are disconnected, start over from Step 1.
Precautions for CAN cabling repair
Case Application: Volvo S80
The Volvo S80 workshop manual is also readily available on the internet for free. CAN system
abbreviations used for its CANbus system are as follows:

Case Application: Volvo S80
The Volvo S80 has 2 separate CAN buses: Hi-speed (connecting modules responsible for
engine, breaks, transmission etc) is on OBDII connector pins 6 & 14, and low-speed (climate
control, audio, window & sunroof control etc) on pins 3 & 11.

CANbus signals only connect to the above pins when 2 relays in the ECM switch on during
diagnostic requests via the “K Line”, i.e. pin 7 above.

CAN diagnostic flowchart
Volvo CAN technicians would follow
a similar practice to other OEM
technicians such as Nissan, i.e.
customer interview, problem
verification, apply a diagnostic scan
tool to try capture the fault code as a
reference point where to start
troubleshooting. If the scan tool is
unable to return a DTC, the
technician may refer to cross-
referenced diagnostic tables in the
workshop CAN manual to isolate
which CAN type (subsystem) to test
and troubleshoot. The workshop
manual should also have sections on
testing each CU connected to each
CAN type (subsystem), which
includes steps to isolate fault codes
for device repair, and steps for
checking wire harnesses.

Physical location of repairs are

checked using vehicle EWDs as
reference. Some examples for the
Volvo S80 are in the following slides.
Volvo S80 CANbus related EWDs

Volvo S80 CANbus related EWDs

Volvo S80 CANbus related EWDs

Volvo S80 CANbus related EWDs