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Controller Area Network interface module for Python

Project description

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The Controller Area Network is a bus standard designed to allow microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other. It has priority based bus arbitration and reliable deterministic communication. It is used in cars, trucks, boats, wheelchairs and more.

The can package provides controller area network support for Python developers; providing common abstractions to different hardware devices, and a suite of utilities for sending and receiving messages on a can bus.

The library currently supports CPython as well as PyPy and runs on Mac, Linux and Windows.

Library Version



2.6+, 3.4+


2.7+, 3.5+




  • common abstractions for CAN communication

  • support for many different backends (see the docs)

  • receiving, sending, and periodically sending messages

  • normal and extended arbitration IDs

  • CAN FD support

  • many different loggers and readers supporting playback: ASC (CANalyzer format), BLF (Binary Logging Format by Vector), MF4 (Measurement Data Format v4 by ASAM), TRC, CSV, SQLite, and Canutils log

  • efficient in-kernel or in-hardware filtering of messages on supported interfaces

  • bus configuration reading from a file or from environment variables

  • command line tools for working with CAN buses (see the docs)

  • more

Example usage

pip install python-can

# import the library
import can

# create a bus instance using 'with' statement,
# this will cause bus.shutdown() to be called on the block exit;
# many other interfaces are supported as well (see documentation)
with can.Bus(interface='socketcan',
              receive_own_messages=True) as bus:

   # send a message
   message = can.Message(arbitration_id=123, is_extended_id=True,
                         data=[0x11, 0x22, 0x33])
   bus.send(message, timeout=0.2)

   # iterate over received messages
   for msg in bus:
       print(f"{msg.arbitration_id:X}: {}")

   # or use an asynchronous notifier
   notifier = can.Notifier(bus, [can.Logger("recorded.log"), can.Printer()])

You can find more information in the documentation, online at


If you run into bugs, you can file them in our issue tracker on GitHub.

Stackoverflow has several questions and answers tagged with python+can.

Wherever we interact, we strive to follow the Python Community Code of Conduct.


See doc/development.rst for getting started.

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