USB2CAN Interface

The USB2CAN is a cheap CAN interface based on an ARM7 chip (STR750FV2). There is support for this device on Linux through the SocketCAN interface and for Windows using this usb2can interface.

Support though windows is achieved through a DLL very similar to the way the PCAN functions. The API is called CANAL (CAN Abstraction Layer) which is a separate project designed to be used with VSCP which is a socket like messaging system that is not only cross platform but also supports other types of devices.


  1. To install on Windows download the USB2CAN Windows driver. It is compatible with XP, Vista, Win7, Win8/8.1. (Written against driver version v1.0.2.1)

  2. Install the appropriate version of pywin32 (win32com)

  3. Download the USB2CAN CANAL DLL from the USB2CAN website. Place this in either the same directory you are running from or your DLL folder in your python install. Note that only a 32-bit version is currently available, so this only works in a 32-bit Python environment.


This interface originally written against CANAL DLL version v1.0.6.

Interface Layout


    This file is only a wrapper for the CANAL API that the interface expects. There are also a couple of constants here to try and make dealing with the bitwise operations for flag setting a little easier. Other than that this is only the CANAL API. If a programmer wanted to work with the API directly this is the file that allows you to do this. The CANAL project does not provide this wrapper and normally must be accessed with C.


    This file provides the translation to and from the python-can library to the CANAL API. This is where all the logic is and setup code is. Most issues if they are found will be either found here or within the DLL that is provided


    See the section below for the reason for adding this as it is a little odd. What program does is if a serial number is not provided to the usb2canInterface file this program does WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) calls to try and figure out what device to connect to. It then returns the serial number of the device. Currently it is not really smart enough to figure out what to do if there are multiple devices. This needs to be changed if people are using more than one interface.

Interface Specific Items

There are a few things that are kinda strange about this device and are not overly obvious about the code or things that are not done being implemented in the DLL.

  1. You need the Serial Number to connect to the device under Windows. This is part of the “setup string” that configures the device. There are a few options for how to get this.

    1. Use to find the serial number.

    2. Look on the device and enter it either through a prompt/barcode scanner/hardcode it. (Not recommended)

    3. Reprogram the device serial number to something and do that for all the devices you own. (Really Not Recommended, can no longer use multiple devices on one computer)

  2. In there is a structure called CanalMsg which has a unsigned byte array of size 8. In the usb2canInterface file it passes in an unsigned byte array of size 8 also which if you pass less than 8 bytes in it stuffs it with extra zeros. So if the data "01020304" is sent the message would look like "0102030400000000".

    There is also a part of this structure called sizeData which is the actual length of the data that was sent not the stuffed message (in this case would be 4). What then happens is although a message of size 8 is sent to the device only the first 4 bytes of information would be sent. This is done because the DLL expects a length of 8 and nothing else. So to make it compatible that has to be sent through the wrapper. If usb2canInterface sent an array of length 4 with sizeData of 4 as well the array would throw an incompatible data type error.

  3. The masking features have not been implemented currently in the CANAL interface in the version currently on the USB2CAN website.


Currently message filtering is not implemented. Contributions are most welcome!


class can.interfaces.usb2can.Usb2canBus(channel=None, dll='usb2can.dll', flags=8, *_, bitrate=500000, serial=None, **kwargs)[source]

Interface to a USB2CAN Bus.

This interface only works on Windows. Please use socketcan on Linux.

  • channel (str | None) – The device’s serial number. If not provided, Windows Management Instrumentation will be used to identify the first such device.

  • bitrate (int) – Bitrate of channel in bit/s. Values will be limited to a maximum of 1000 Kb/s. Default is 500 Kbs

  • flags (int) – Flags to directly pass to open function of the usb2can abstraction layer.

  • dll (str) – Path to the DLL with the CANAL API to load Defaults to ‘usb2can.dll’

  • serial (str | None) – Alias for channel that is provided for legacy reasons. If both serial and channel are set, serial will be used and channel will be ignored.

Construct and open a CAN bus instance of the specified type.

Subclasses should call though this method with all given parameters as it handles generic tasks like applying filters.

  • channel (str | None) – The can interface identifier. Expected type is backend dependent.

  • can_filters – See set_filters() for details.

  • kwargs (dict) – Any backend dependent configurations are passed in this dictionary

  • dll (str)

  • flags (int)

  • bitrate (int)

  • serial (str | None)



exception can.interfaces.usb2can.usb2canabstractionlayer.CanalError(value)[source]

An enumeration.


class can.interfaces.usb2can.Usb2CanAbstractionLayer(dll='usb2can.dll')[source]

A low level wrapper around the usb2can library.



dll (str | os.PathLike[str]) – the path to the usb2can DLL to load


CanInterfaceNotImplementedError – if the DLL could not be loaded

blocking_receive(handle, msg, timeout)[source]
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blocking_send(handle, msg, timeout)[source]
Return type:


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get_statistics(handle, statistics)[source]
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get_status(handle, status)[source]
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open(configuration, flags)[source]

Opens a CAN connection using CanalOpen().

  • configuration (str) – the configuration: “device_id; baudrate”

  • flags (int) – the flags to be set


Valid handle for CANAL API functions on success


CanInterfaceNotImplementedError – if any error occurred

receive(handle, msg)[source]
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send(handle, msg)[source]
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