What Is a CAN Transceiver?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A controller automated network (CAN) transceiver is a component that allows communication between digital parts of a network. They are frequently used in mechanical devices where the harsh environment might be destructive to the proper functioning of a typical transceiver. One of the most common pieces of machinery to use a CAN transceiver is the standard automobile, for which CAN technology was invented.

Transceivers are electronic devices that combine both transmitters and receivers into single components. Consequently, a transceiver can send and receive data to and from other parts of a circuit. Many electronic devices feature a transceiver in one form or another. Due to the wide variety of needs that can be met using transceivers, there are many kinds currently on the market. The different kinds vary based on the kind of signal they send (analog or digital), whether or not they are designed to be portable, the amount of power they require, and other features.

The main features of a CAN transceiver are that it is high powered, portable within its device, and can be either digital or analog. It can operate within a large span of temperatures, and the amount of power it requires to operate varies between roughly 3 and 5 volts. The standard CAN transceiver is typically designed to function properly even when subjected to power surges and the loss of grounding. Most transceivers and other electronic devices are not able to run correctly under these conditions.


CAN transceivers work within a device through a series of nodes. These nodes communicate freely between one another and are not controlled by a centralized processor or other device. When the transceiver is active, one node will send a signal to all the other connected nodes. If the signal is appropriate to an individual node’s function, it will receive and process the signal. Nodes that are not designed to interpret that specific signal are not affected.

There are many options to choose from when purchasing a CAN transceiver. Specific types of CAN transceivers are available for purchase online from many websites. Buyers should first take into account the type of machine their CAN transceiver will be installed into. From there, they should consider the specific requirements of the machine and match them to the appropriate transceiver. Although most CAN transceivers are capable of withstanding a wide variety of environmental shocks and hazards, buyers should make sure that the transceiver they select is able to function within the environment in which it is needed.


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