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Comparison of CANopen Development Solutions

When developing a CANopen node, engineering can choose between several options on how to get CANopen functionality into their system. The software handling the CANopen protocol could be developed from scratch or using a commercial source code package. Other options include the integration of CANopen hardware, such as the CANopenIA chips or modules. Another solution is using a CANopen binary that implements one or multiple CANopen device profiles for a specific microcontroller.

The following table compares the methods of developing the software from scratch with using CANopenIA solutions.

Development and Design Criteria Do It Yourself Development Use CANopenIA Solutions
one-time purchases high (tools and possibly code) low or none
learning curve in-depth knowledge required only basic CANopen knowledge required
hardware development in-depth knowledge required minimal
software development in-depth knowledge required minimal or none
CANopen features high flexibility and customizability configurable, customization through ESAcademy
future change of physical layer use of CAN-FD or Ethernet requires new HW design possibly by exchange of chip or module
real-time behaviour must be ensured by custom application software ensured by CANopenIA implementation
security must be ensured by custom application software increased due to separation of CANopen software and application

In summary a CANopen development using CANopen own or purchased source code should only be considered for high-volume applications where the large number of systems sold justifies the high start-up costs and long development cycles. In all other cases, CANopenIA offers drastically shortened development cycles and reduced one-time purchases.