The python-can library provides Controller Area Network support for Python, providing common abstractions to different hardware devices, and a suite of utilities for sending and receiving messages on a CAN bus.

python-can runs any where Python runs; from high powered computers with commercial CAN to USB devices right down to low powered devices running linux such as a BeagleBone or RaspberryPi.

More concretely, some example uses of the library:

  • Passively logging what occurs on a CAN bus. For example monitoring a commercial vehicle using its OBD-II port.

  • Testing of hardware that interacts via CAN. Modules found in modern cars, motorcycles, boats, and even wheelchairs have had components tested from Python using this library.

  • Prototyping new hardware modules or software algorithms in-the-loop. Easily interact with an existing bus.

  • Creating virtual modules to prototype CAN bus communication.

Brief example of the library in action: connecting to a CAN bus, creating and sending a message:

 1#!/usr/bin/env python
 4This example shows how sending a single message works.
 7import can
10def send_one():
11    """Sends a single message."""
13    # this uses the default configuration (for example from the config file)
14    # see
15    with can.Bus() as bus:
16        # Using specific buses works similar:
17        # bus = can.Bus(interface='socketcan', channel='vcan0', bitrate=250000)
18        # bus = can.Bus(interface='pcan', channel='PCAN_USBBUS1', bitrate=250000)
19        # bus = can.Bus(interface='ixxat', channel=0, bitrate=250000)
20        # bus = can.Bus(interface='vector', app_name='CANalyzer', channel=0, bitrate=250000)
21        # ...
23        msg = can.Message(
24            arbitration_id=0xC0FFEE, data=[0, 25, 0, 1, 3, 1, 4, 1], is_extended_id=True
25        )
27        try:
28            bus.send(msg)
29            print(f"Message sent on {bus.channel_info}")
30        except can.CanError:
31            print("Message NOT sent")
34if __name__ == "__main__":
35    send_one()


Known Bugs#

See the project bug tracker on github. Patches and pull requests very welcome!

Documentation generated

Dec 12, 2023