SparkFun AST-CAN485 Dev Board

The SparkFun AST-CAN485 Dev Board is a miniature Arduino in the compact form factor of the Pro Mini. In addition to all the usual features that a mini Arduino has, it possesses an onboard CAN (Control Area Network) and RS485 ports, enabling quick and easy interfacing to a multitude of industrial devices. The CAN485 Dev Board bridges the gap between the maker and industrial spaces!

The CAN485 builds on the massively popular Arduino platform and is pin-compatible with the Arduino Pro Mini, giving it a small form factor ideal for embedding in projects. It supports the Arduino IDE and Arduino core libraries and is installed using the Arduino boards manager. Libraries are provided to support the CAN and RS485 ports, making it easy to get started and interface with. Thanks to the onboard CAN and RS485 transceivers, this development board allows for out-of-the-box interfacing to either network.

The SparkFun AST-CAN485 Dev Board is based on the Atmel AT90CAN128 processor. The processor runs at 16MHz, has 128kB or Flash, 4kB of SRAM and features a hardware CAN controller. The CAN485 breaks out commonly used communications ports and pin functions including: I2C, SPI, UARTs, eight analog inputs and six interrupt-enabled pins. Additionally, the AST-CAN485 is equipped with an onboard regulator, allowing for an unregulated input voltage to be supplied on the VIN pin to make the allowable input voltage range 7–16V. Please keep in mind, however, that 7–12V is recommended.

CAN and RS485 form the backbone of many communications protocols with applications in automation, industrial systems, building management, automotive systems, OBDII and many more. With all of these features combined, you have an economical, handy board with a wide array of functions in the palm of your hand!

Get Started With the SparkFun AST-CAN485 Guide

  • Uses the AT90CAN microcontroller
  • 16MHz Clock
  • 8 analog inputs
  • 2 UARTs
  • 16 Digital I/Os
  • DC Input: 5–16V (150mA Current Max)
  • RS485 Transceiver
  • CAN Transceiver
  • Pro Mini form factor
  • Works with Arduino
  • Onboard power and D13 LEDs

SparkFun AST-CAN485 Dev Board Product Help and Resources

AST-CAN485 Hookup Guide

March 1, 2018

The AST CAN485 is a miniature Arduino in the compact form factor of the ProMini. In addition to all the usual features it has on-board CAN and RS485 ports enabling quick and easy interfacing to a multitude of industrial devices.

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

1 Soldering

Skill Level: Noob - Some basic soldering is required, but it is limited to a just a few pins, basic through-hole soldering, and couple (if any) polarized components. A basic soldering iron is all you should need.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Customer Comments

  • I can’t make external interrupts work. None of pins are responding. Same sketch works on Uno (on pin 2). Any ideas?

    EDIT: It looks like Arduino functions manipulate wrong bits in wrong registers in attachInterrupt(). Directly setting EICRA and EIMSK registers works and it does support CHANGE interrupts.

  • I was intending to use this for interfacing with a high speed RS485 bus (2Mbps) but it looks like the board can’t handle that. The output waveform on the RS485 chip is al wonky. Apart from that, this is a great board!

  • Is it possible to use this board and have it wake on CAN activity? I’m looking for something that can be left connected to a vehicle battery feed, wake up when there is CAN activity and run some code / transmit some CAN messages, then sleep when the vehicle CAN bus goes dormant again.

    • I’m not sure if there’s a CAN bus interrupt to wake the micro, but you can always use the OBD-II port (if your car is newer than 1996) and use the accessory 12V power (which is only on when the car is on) and regulate the voltage down to 5V.

      • Yes, an accy circuit would be ideal but where I have to package and connect this thing there are only CAN lines and B+/ground. So unless there is a wake on CAN I would not be able to put this in low power mode, hence risking battery drain.

  • This is ALMOST exactly what I need except I REALLY need a micro-usb port for programming? Is there a way to attach a usb port to this? I need the RS485 for its long distance ability.

  • link to github is this https://github.com/Atlantis-Specialist-Technologies/CAN485

    and not the one with admin in it

    • Sorry about that, we had to work with AST to turn on certain repositories. It is live now. =)

  • Link to the AT90CAN128 datasheet is broken.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5

Based on 3 ratings:

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nice and small but the reference is missing

I still try to get this board to read my CAN signals but it seams hard to find a proper reference for the CAN library.

Great, small CAN board

This small board has all I need to complete my “Hack my car” Project. In addition to the CAN Interface it also has a large number of GPIOs and the I2C support I need for interfacing a bluetooh module and a DAB radio. The CAN library is also good, as it supports a number of CAN bus speeds.

Bought for use in RS485 filtering of a signal

I have a digital signal that is transmitted via RS485. I needed to transfer this signal over another RS485 channel, but that channel would transmit the RS485 signal then return to floating a short time after the signal was transmitted. So I purchased 2 AST-CAN485 boards and a couple of RS485 transceiver breakout boards. I programmed the AST-CAN485s to receive/send the digital signal via the additional transceivers. I set each board identity via EEPROM. I then wrote a program that would send a byte from one board to another via RS485 and USART at 1megabaud. When all was said and done I created a digital signal transport over RS485 that added 30 microseconds latency. I was shooting for 50 microseconds.

This board has done everything I asked of it without complaint. It just works and works well. If I ever need another RS485 device or CAN device this will be a board I reach for to fill that need.

Thanks for making it available!