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Regency Generators Knowledge Base

What is a CAN bus connection? What is it used for on my generator? Why is it useful?

What is a CAN bus connection?

A CAN bus connection, often seen written as CANBUS and called "CAN", is short for "Controller Area Network". It is a type of Vehicle Bus that ensures the delivery of messages between different parts of the system.

What is a CAN bus connection used for on a generator?

In a diesel generating set, the CAN bus connection is found most often between the engines ECU and the generators control module. While different protocols are available for communication over the CAN bus, in diesel generators SAE J1939 is the most common.

Why is a CAN bus connection useful?

J1939 messages can be sent and received monitoring and controlling the engine. Typically for example, the engines oil pressure level will be read from the CAN and displayed on the control module for the operator to read. In a generator synchronising system, messages may be sent to control fine speed adjustment in order to control the generators load.

To avoid interference, Belden 9841 or equivalent cable is recommended. This special cable is a 24 AWG low capacitance cable with a high level of screening and therefore provides interference free, high speed data transmission and is suitable suitable for RS485 applications as well.

Over short distances, other high quality cables may also work, but as the distance increases, this becomes more difficult to achieve without problems and therefore using the correct cable is strongly recommended.