Need to optimize your CANopen applications?
CANopen is used extensively: Industrial robots, production machinery, speciality vehicles, medical equipment and more.
In other words - understanding your CANopen data is business critical.
Below we explain how to log CANopen data and the top 4 benefits of doing so.
We also get super practical with a data example from the awesome Rakka 3000 - and detail what makes the CLX000 a great CANopen data logger.
How CANopen Data Logging Works
You might ask: Don't my CANopen nodes already log my data?
In some cases, yes.
However, most CANopen devices do not come with built-in logging or telematics functionality. Rather, the network simply produces/consumes data instantaneously with no "memory" built-in.
Further, even if the existing CANopen nodes do offer this functionality, it's often a prohibitively expensive upgrade.
Yet, with the rise of Industry 4.0, smart factories and Industrial IoT (IIoT), it's not an option to leave the data unharvested - even if you do not yet know how you'll use it going forward.
In fact, starting to collect your data today can be make-or-break in the years to come.
But how do you practically log your CANopen data?
It's actually really simple: Since CANopen is based on CAN bus (ISO 11898), you just need a CAN bus data logger.
Below we show how this works for the CLX000:
Recording CANopen Data
To get started, you’ll want to identify a DB9 (D-sub 9 pin) connector on your CANopen application. This will be present in most CANopen devices and the pin-outs should match the CLX000 as per the CiA 303-1 CANopen standard.
By connecting a CLX000 CAN logger to the DB9, you’ll automatically power the device and start recording raw CANopen data to the built-in SD card.
As explained in our intro to CANopen, the vast majority of this data will be PDOs (Process Data Objects) - i.e. messages that contain parameter data like torque, position, temperature, pressure etc.
However, you’ll also get data on e.g. NMT state changes (initializations, resets, …), EMCY error messages and SDOs (Service Data Objects) used for configuration changes.
This raw data will be available on the CLX000 SD card and can be extracted via USB (or WiFi/cellular hotspots for the CL3000).
However, before you can use the data it needs to be converted from raw to human-readable form.
Converting Raw CANopen Data
Once your data is extracted to your cloud server or PC, you’ll need to convert it to human-readable form. To do so, you’ll need a *.DBC file with the conversion rules (DBC is the standardized conversion rule format for CAN bus data).
In the CANopen context, you’ll typically have the relevant information in the form of an EDS (Electronic Data Sheet) *.INI file for your devices. This will tell you e.g. how the parameter values are “mapped” into each PDO incl. bit positions and lengths.
You can easily convert your EDS data to the DBC format - see our articles on the CAN DBC format and the J1939 DBC file. Once you have a DBC file with your conversion rules, the log file data can be converted with most CAN bus tools - incl. our free CANvas software.
With this, you’ll have all your data in human-readable form - ready for analysis!
Below we list some of the frequently asked questions on this topic:
In most CANopen devices, there will be a standardized DB9 connector matching the CLX000 connector as per the CiA standards. However, if this is not the case, you will typically be able to design your own custom adapter as per your needs. You can do this from scratch - or you can take outset in our 'generic adapter' to get started quickly.
Alternatively, you can use a CANcrocodile adapter to read your CAN data directly from the CAN L/H wiring harness - without cutting any wires. This method uses induction and is "listen-only" (i.e. you can't transmit data to the CAN bus with the CLX000 when using a CANcrocodile).
If in doubt whether your application is based on CANopen, we recommend checking with your supplier/technical staff.
Yes - CANopen has a lot of parameters/functionalities that are only available on-request. Here, the transmit feature of the CLX000 is useful as you can send up to 20 custom periodic/single-shot CAN messages - e.g. polling specific parameter values on regular intervals.
Yes. DeviceNet is another higher-layer protocol based on CAN bus - similar to CANopen. DeviceNet is used within many of the same applications as CANopen (e.g. industrial automation), though it's a closed standard managed by the ODVA.
Basically, like CANopen, you can just connect a CLX000 and record the raw data from any CAN based DeviceNet application - essentially using the CLX000 as a DeviceNet data logger.
A frequent scenario is that a CANopen device OEM (original equipment manufacturer) wants to log data from nodes installed at a client site. This is e.g. useful for capturing field data or setting up predictive maintenance services.
However, often the challenge will be to collect this data in a non-intrusive manner. Here, the CL3000 is an ideal solution as it is small, easy to install and low cost.
As an OEM, you can install this at a client site and connect the CL3000 to your client's WLAN WiFi router - or alternatively, you can install your own 3G/4G cellular router. The latter has the advantage that you won't have to bother with potential client firewalls, password changes etc. Setup can be done in a few minutes and you'll then be able to push your CANopen data to your own FTP cloud server e.g. in near real-time.
This of course scales, allowing you to effectively monitor entire fleets of CANopen devices in the field across multiple clients - providing unique insight into actual operational data.
For more on this, check out our CL3000 product page or the 'push mode' article.
CANopen is used across a vast number of applications - below we list some of the typical examples we encounter. Note that these applications may use CANopen, though many other protocols exist.
- Industrial Automation
- Production Machinery
- Packaging Machinery
- Conveyor Belts
- Mobile Cranes
- Garbage Trucks
- Mining Trucks
- Military Vehicles
- Building Automation
- Medical Equipment
- Coffee Machines
Top 4 CANopen Data Logger Benefits
Adding a CANopen data analyzer in e.g. your production machinery can yield massive benefits:
PREDICT BREAKDOWNS: By collecting data over time, you’ll increasingly be able to predict errors and failures - before they happen. By collecting near real-time CANopen data you’ll eventually be able to establish a full predictive maintenance system. With a CL3000 WiFi logger, you'll also be able to remotely troubleshoot issues, reducing down time and staff costs.
DIAGNOSE RARE MACHINE ERRORS: Imagine having a full, historical change log of every CANopen node. Any NMT state change, object dictionary update and error message sent - combined with all your PDO parameter data. With this, it’s easy to e.g. diagnose rare errors. With a CL2000 (32 GB) you can e.g. use cyclic logging to always have a log of the latest year of data for troubleshooting.
OPTIMIZE PERFORMANCE: With full insight into your data down to the millisecond, you’ll be able to truly maximize the performance of each node in your network - boosting productivity, reducing energy consumption or adding digital quality management. Further, with all your data in your cloud, adding KPI dashboard tracking is easy.
REDUCE TIME-TO-MARKET: For CANopen device OEMs, field test data can provide crucial insights for development teams. By adding a CANopen logger to device networks at client sites, the data can be sent via WLAN or 3G/4G hotspots to the OEM cloud for analysis. This allows for e.g. early bug discovery, customer co-creation and faster development cycles.
Example: Analyzing PDO Data from the Rakka 3000
Download the full CLX000 log file sample
Let’s look at a practical example of CANopen data logging:
Rakkatec in Finland manufacture autonomous unarmed ground vehicles (UGVs) - incl. the CANopen based Rakka 3000.
To diagnose and resolve a number of development challenges, Rakkatec have used the CL2000 in standalone mode to log data during operation.
Below is a sample of the raw CANopen data recorded. The data log contains both PDOs, SDOs and other CANopen communication protocol objects. For example, PDO 26A contains data for the frontal excavator module.
As evident, the raw data is unreadable - i.e. you won't be able to analyze or plot this data without first "scaling" it.
Here, the DBC file is the ideal format for storing the scaling/conversion rules. This CANopen DBC sample contains the basic PDO mapping (bit positions & length) of various parameters contained in message 26A - see also the picture.
Note: For simplicity, we’ve excluded information on the units/min/max of each parameter from this DBC - and we’ve assumed an offset of 0 and a scale factor of 1.
By loading the DBC and data in CANvas, we can convert the PDO data to human-readable form (in an Excel pivot-friendly format):
Check out the full output sample & pivot chart in Google Sheets
With the simple-to-use CSV format, it’s easy to create graphical plots - see e.g. the movement of the frontal excavator boom & scoop in the chart.
This type of plot can e.g. be used to identify the cause of sudden movement stops and other unexpected behaviour.
Since the CL2000 has a real-time clock, it’s possible to note down the date & time of rare issues and then post analyse this in the data from the SD card.
For other application examples, see our use case section.
Why use the CLX000 as your CANopen Analyzer?
The CLX000 is a powerful, simple-to-use and low cost CAN bus data logger.
Further, it’s a very popular CAN logger for CANopen applications - and below we list some of the primary reasons:
PLUG & PLAY
it's really simple: Unbox, configure, connect - and you're logging CANopen data in <5 min
log CAN data to 8-32GB SD card for months (with no pc needed) - ideal for e.g. rare issue diagnostics
easily stream raw & DBC converted CANopen data in Wireshark via USB - great for real-time network analysis
fits the palm of your hand (6.6 x 4.3 x 2.4 CM) & weighs <50g - making it non-intrusive in e.g. industrial setups
The CL3000 can connect to any WiFi hotspot - e.g. a 3G/4G hotspot or WLANs (perfect for factory settings)
the value/cost of the CLX000 is unbeatable according to our end users
Ready to start logging your own CANopen data?
Then learn more about our CLX000 CAN logger below!
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