Recently, the development of automotive embedded networks with different communication protocols has drawn the attention of many researchers. Especially, the development of separate onboard add-on systems that communicate with the vehicle network for the aim of enhancing comfort, safety or performance. The current article presents a simplified method for the design of a mini Controller Area Network (CAN) that accomplishes a sample task. The simple network uses the commonly used standard CAN protocol although it’s easily reconfigurable to deal with the extended CAN protocol. The network functionality was chosen to be as simple as transferring data between three CAN nodes, each holding a signal containing a switch status. After stating the network system requirements, the network topology and components list were identified. The circuit design of each node as well as the network design are presented and simulated. The network is built and tested experimentally. The proposed design method enables the use of low cost components that are available in the market. The nodes control programs are reconfigurable to match the target research vehicle network configurations. The proposed design method provides a handy tool for researchers that require utilizing a CAN protocol communication circuit that gathers information from any vehicle platform.

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