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CAN-Bus HAT for Raspberry Pi 4 offers RTC and wide-range power

Sep 18, 2019 — by Eric Brown 5,769 views

Copperhill’s third-gen, $65 “PiCAN3” HAT features Raspberry Pi 4 support and a SocketCAN-ready CAN-Bus 2.0B port. The HAT has an RTC and is powered by a 3A, 6-20V Switch Mode Power Supply that can also power the Pi.

Copperhill Technologies has launched a CAN-Bus HAT for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B designed for industrial and automotive applications. Like the PiCAN2. which we briefly covered last year as part of our report on Network Sorcery’s UCAN software for CAN-equipped Raspberry Pi boards, the HAT is equipped with a Microchip MCP2515 CAN controller and MCP2551 CAN transceiver.

PiCAN3 with (left) and without Raspberry Pi 4
(click images to enlarge)

The PiCAN3 adds an SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply) and an RTC and bumps up support from the Raspberry Pi 3 to the RPi 4. Like the $49 PiCAN2, which Network Sorcery recommended for its UCAN software, the PiCAN3 ships with a SocketCAN driver that supports programming via C or Python. The CAN interface is available via both a DB9 port and a screw terminal interface.

The PiCAN3 is equipped with NXP’s PCF8523 CMOS Real-Time Clock (RTC) and calendar chip optimized for low power consumption. Data is transferred serially via the I2C-bus at up to 1Kbps, and alarm and timer functions are accessible to enable wake-up signals linked to an interrupt pin. The PCF8523 has a backup battery switch-over circuit for detecting and switching to battery during power failures.



The new SMPS offers a 3-amp, 6-20 VDC input, which is enough to power the Raspberry Pi 4 and PiCAN3 at the same time, thereby freeing up your USB Type-C port (or micro-USB on the RPi 3). Other PiCAN3 features include an SPI interface, an LED, support for adding mini push-buttons, and OBDII cable compatibility. Schematics and other documentation files are available.

Last year, Network Sourcery sourced the PiCAN2 to Australian tech retailer TronixLabs, but also noted Copperhill. There’s no mention of TronixLabs on the Copperhill product page and TronixLabs’ website has no mention of the PiCAN3. However, it offers a variety of PiCAN2 models, including a model with a 5V/1A SMPS (but no RTC) and models with isolated CAN, dual CAN ports, and GPS and accelerometer. (Copperhill also sells these products.) The PICAN3 datasheet on the Copperhill site is sourced to SK Pang Electronics, which currently sells only the PiCAN2.

Further information

The PiCAN3 is available for $64.95 with free shipping in the U.S. at Copperhill Technologies. More information may be found in the remarkably hype-free announcement and the PiCAN3 product and shopping page.

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