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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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CAN System Engineering: From Theory to Practice.
Wolfhard Lawrenz
0 387 94939 9
Chris Hills
internals and hardware; embedded systems
Appeared in:
This book is one of the standard books on CAN. It contains accurate information on the complete CAN story from physical layer to application layer. The book also covers the full software development life cycle including testing. There is a full description of the theory of CAN. This is important as CAN contains a number of variables that are effected by the physical aspects of the network. Particularly bit rates and bus length. Due to the way CAN works there are usually several different correct answers depending on other usage parameters. This book will help you understand which answer is more correct.

Usefully there are several case studies from the major areas of CAN usage. This may surprise some readers who thought CAN was an exclusively automotive system. These are not in-depth studies but explain the selection of the major CAN parameters, which is all that is needed. The in-depth explanation of the parameters, from first principles, is covered in the rest of the book.

The text covers the various application layer interfaces such as CAL, CANopen, SDS and Device Net. Contact addresses are given where required for US and European sources of information. At the other end all the maths are explained from first principles for the lower levels making this book suitable for students and engineers. The full analysis of development and testing strategies and techniques will be of use to designers, engineers and project managers. Like a house of cards CAN is basically simple but almost every parameter has a knock on effect on the others.

I did not find this book easy to dip into and read. It always seemed to be hard work to find the information I needed. That said the information was always there. The author has provided a URL for his web site with additional information and CAN links. Up to this point, I would have wholeheartedly recommended this book for anyone using or thinking of using CAN from student to project manager.

There is one problem with this book that means I could not recommend it under any circumstances. It is the license on the last page for the software on disc. Apart from the usual disclaimer for software, that the software may not work at all it reads 'Springer-Verlag or, its designee, has the right to audit your computer and electronic component usage to determine whether any unauthorised copies of this package have been made.' This is unacceptable and it means I have not been able to look at the software, apparently a CAN simulator that accompanies the book.

The technical content of this book is very good and it could be the standard reference for CAN but the software licence negates any usefulness the book has in a company environment. Therefore: Without the software license highly recommended. With the software license definitely NOT recommended.