CAN­touch vs. CAN-Bus Tes­ter 2, the decision

Again and again, we get the same ques­ti­on: which of the two devices is the bet­ter choice. Becau­se this is in fact not easy to ans­wer, you should real­ly think twice. The­re is alre­a­dy this tabu­lar compa­re of the devices, but I will go on a litt­le more detailed.

The CAN-Bus Tes­ter 2 (CBT2) is a fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of the CAN-Bus Tes­ter (CBT) and still a popu­lar mea­su­re­ment device. But time went on and so the CAN­touch was deve­lo­ped, based on the CAN-Bus Tes­ter 2. May­be the main inno­va­ti­on is the abso­lu­te-value-mea­su­re­ment of CAN­touch, while the CBT2 can mea­su­re only dif­fe­ren­ti­al vol­ta­ges. Only by using a DSO in addi­ti­on to the CBT2 it is pos­si­ble to show dif­fe­ren­ces of poten­ti­als bet­ween nodes. The oppor­tu­ni­ty of this mea­su­re­ment is still wide­ly uncon­scious to ope­ra­tors and main­ten­an­ce engi­neers and the CBT2 sim­ply don’t tell about it. The CAN­touch, on the other hand, is show­ing the mea­su­red values as well as norm boun­da­ries in a simp­le chart.

To do mea­su­re­ments with a CBT2, a lap­top is neces­sa­ry. Of cour­se, this is some­thing that every ser­vice­man alre­a­dy has. But to con­nect all the cables can be com­plex and it takes time befo­re you can start to mea­su­re. If it is a spa­ti­al­ly exten­ded plant, the same work has to be done again at least one time at the other end of the bus. Becau­se of this, it is com­mon to mea­su­re only at one end and the­r­e­fo­re do the work imperfectly.
If a cen­tral sup­port should have remo­te access, the CBT2 has its advan­ta­ges, becau­se it is easy to use Team­view­er or ano­ther remo­te con­trol soft­ware to do so. Also in a final test of new com­pon­ents with CAN bus, a CBT2 makes more sen­se, becau­se the data can be saved easi­ly and straight to a network.

If you want to mea­su­re quick and mobi­le, the CAN­touch is on the insi­de track. You only have to con­nect to the CAN bus and the mea­su­re­ment can start. No exter­nal power source, no lap­top, no USB cables are neces­sa­ry. Also, the DSO can stay at home becau­se of the abso­lu­te-value-mea­su­re­ment of the CANtouch.
The soft­ware of CAN­touch was desi­gned to be used tog­e­ther with the CBT2-soft­ware. Mea­su­re­ments and data traces of CAN­touch can be impor­ted easi­ly. Then you also can print a mea­su­re­ment pro­to­col, ana­ly­ze the data traf­fic and compa­re mea­su­re­ments after­ward. Direct remo­te con­trol is not pos­si­ble with CAN­touch; only remo­te access to a CBT2 soft­ware with impor­ted mea­su­re­ments from CAN­touch is possible.

If you occa­sio­nal­ly need an online moni­to­ring of the phy­si­cal lay­er, then the pen­dulum strikes more to the CBT2. The device has to be con­nec­ted with a com­pu­ter and has to be kept in ope­ra­ti­on as long as the mea­su­re­ment runs. If Win­dows cra­s­hes for some reason (yes, it some­ti­mes does), the data is lost.
The CAN­touch get this func­tion in August 2017 with the new firm­ware 2.1.
May­be it makes more sen­se to use for this sce­na­rio a CAN­ob­ser­ver (may­be only tem­po­r­a­ri­ly). It is easy to imple­ment, only 24V DC and CAN have to be con­nec­ted. The con­nec­tion to the web inter­face can be easi­ly estab­lished by using an Ether­net cable. The lap­top can be dis­con­nec­ted after the adjus­t­ments are done, the CAN­ob­ser­ver is working independently.

In sum­ma­ry, we con­sider dif­fe­rent appli­ca­ti­on scenarios:

Deve­lo­p­ment of CAN net­works: CBT2
  • che­cking cor­rect bus layout
  • com­pa­ring signal qua­li­ty bet­ween dif­fe­rent cables and cable runs
  • exten­si­ve pro­to­col moni­tor to ana­ly­ze data with sym­bo­lic deco­ding, CANopen- and J1939-deco­ding (also stan­da­lo­ne with CANvision)
  • poten­ti­al dif­fe­ren­ces are mea­su­red with a DSO – whe­re relevant
  • per­ma­nent moni­to­ring with Online Trigger
The final test of new CAN com­pon­ents: CBT2
  • the device can stay per­ma­nent­ly installed
  • direct saving of mea­su­re­ment data
  • poten­ti­al dif­fe­ren­ces are mea­su­red with a DSO – whe­re relevant
Final accep­tance of CAN net­work after set­ting up at cus­to­mers site: CANtouch
  • mobi­le mis­si­on wit­hout a laptop
  • con­trol of cor­rect bus setup
  • direct con­trol of poten­ti­al differences
  • saving of mea­su­re­ments and import to CBT2 software
  • con­trol of trans­fer­red data with a sym­bo­lic decoding
  • data can be recor­ded with trace func­tion­a­li­ty of pro­to­col monitor
Trou­ble­shoo­ting in work­shops (sce­na­rio 1): CBT2
  • the device can stay per­ma­nent­ly instal­led, for ins­tance on a test trolley
  • poten­ti­al dif­fe­ren­ces are not expec­ted becau­se of short cable lengths
  • pro­to­col moni­tor to check and record data
Trou­ble­shoo­ting in work­shops (sce­na­rio 2): CANtouch
  • the device can be used not only in the work­shop but also on the roadside
  • a quicker check of phy­si­cal para­me­ters of a bus
  • sym­bo­lic deco­ding makes an indi­vi­du­al dis­play of data possible
  • pos­si­bi­li­ty to save mea­su­re­ments in archives
Mobi­le trou­ble­shoo­ting: CANtouch
  • Quick­ly rea­dy for use at dif­fe­rent locations
  • poten­ti­al dif­fe­ren­ces are expec­ted, main­ly in net­works with hig­her cable lengths
  • deco­ding and recor­ding of data in pro­to­col monitor
  • pos­si­bi­li­ty to save mea­su­re­ments in archi­ves and do a later eva­lua­ti­on at a pc
per­ma­nent moni­to­ring: CAN­ob­ser­ver or CBT2
  • CAN­touch sup­port this mea­su­re­ment also, but with litt­le limitations
  • pos­si­ble with CBT2 but with the hass­le, only for tem­po­ra­ry use
  • CAN­ob­ser­ver with the same func­tion­a­li­ty (per­ma­nent moni­to­ring), tem­po­ra­ry or permanent

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Article last edited on Article first published on
2018/​11/​19 2017/​06/​20