CAN bus wiring test

The wiring test sequence rai­ses ques­ti­ons from time to time. Here we exp­lain why the sequence is as it is. The­re are also a few tips.

For the mea­su­re­ment the tes­ter must be ope­ra­ted with 24V.

The sequence is as fol­lows :

Pre­pa­ra­ti­on for step 1 :

  • switch off the sys­tem (the bus to be mea­su­red must be vol­ta­ge-free)
  • The nodes must be dis­con­nec­ted from the bus (the input capa­ci­ties could lead to errors).
  • The ter­mi­na­ti­ons must be remo­ved (they are mea­su­red later).
  • Attach the tes­ter at the begin­ning of the sys­tem.

Mea­su­re­ment 1 : short cir­cuit test

The resis­tors of the wiring are mea­su­red. They should be infi­ni­te high becau­se no wire is sup­po­sed to be con­nec­ted to ano­t­her in any way. For instance, the­re will be an error if you for­got to dis­con­nect one of the ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tors.
Short cir­cuits and trans­fer resis­tance bet­ween wires some­ti­mes occur in bad­ly moun­ted plugs.

Pre­pa­ra­ti­on for step 2 :

  • Con­nect a short cir­cuit plug to the end of the bus. (In a short cir­cuit plug, all pins are con­nec­ted to each other.)

Mea­su­re­ment 2 : line-break test

The shor­ting plug con­nects all wires of the bus at the end of the cable. The loop impe­dance and the cable length are deter­mi­ned. Values can dif­fer, then you should look for breaks and bad con­nec­tions. If you did not dis­con­nect some nodes, the deter­mi­ned length can vary. To mea­su­re short cables is not easy. The cal­cu­la­ted length is more exact at lon­ger cables.

Pre­pa­ra­ti­on for step 3 :

  • dis­con­nect the shor­ting plug
  • con­nect the ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tor at the end of the bus

Mea­su­re­ment 3 : ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tor at the end of the bus

Con­si­de­ring the for­mer mea­su­red loop resis­tance, the ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tor at the end is mea­su­red.

Pre­pa­ra­ti­on for step 4 :

  • con­nect the ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tor at the begin­ning of the bus

Mea­su­re­ment 4 : ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tor at the begin­ning of the bus

In the last step, the ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tor at the begin­ning of the bus is mea­su­red by con­si­de­ring the for­mer mea­su­re­ments of loop resis­tance and ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tors at the end of the bus.


  • Under some cir­cum­s­tan­ces, the nodes can stay con­nec­ted to the bus. The cal­cu­la­ti­on of the bus length will be influ­en­ced. It is pos­si­ble that you get errors, for instance when you also mea­su­re power sup­ply wires and have a low impe­dance power sup­ply con­nec­ted.
  • It might hap­pen that you smooth away faults when you move many con­nec­tors. If you assu­me that you have loo­se con­nec­tions, it can be bet­ter to mea­su­re with con­nec­ted nodes first.
  • Star­ting mea­su­re­ment 1 without doing the pre­pa­ra­ti­ons will cal­cu­la­te a resis­tor of about 60 Ohm bet­ween CAN_​H and CAN_​L. This is of cour­se rated as an error becau­se in mea­su­re­ment 1 very high resis­tors are expec­ted. But to quick­ly check the 2 ter­mi­na­ti­on resis­tors this pro­ce­du­re is good – even if the device rate this as an error.
    It will be not so easy at long trunk lines with hig­her loop resis­tance. Here you should com­pa­re to for­mer mea­su­re­ments.
  • The CAN-Bus Tes­ter 2 could be dama­ged if you igno­re the warnings of the soft­ware and start the mea­su­re­ment pro­cess with a vol­ta­ge app­lied. The CAN­touch refu­ses the mea­su­re­ment as long as the­re is vol­ta­ge on the sup­ply lines.
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