Scopes add symbolic triggering to accelerate CAN bus test and debug

September 03, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Agilent Technologies has introduced CAN-dbc symbolic decoding and triggering in its InfiniiVision 4000 X-Series and all Infiniium Series oscilloscopes, along with two differential active probes designed for automotive measurement applications, including Controller Area Network serial buses.

While oscilloscopes are already widely used to debug and verify the signal integrity of the CAN bus physical layer, the CAN-dbc symbolic decoding and triggering capability in Agilent's oscilloscopes gives engineers now the ability to trigger and view messages and signals symbolically by importing an industry-standard .dbc file that defines their specific networks. The InfiniiVision 4000 X-Series scope can display a particular CAN message symbolically, along with the associated waveform. This enables them to display the physical-layer waveform, time-correlated with the symbolically decoded message. The feature is particularly useful for debugging on noisy CAN buses or nodes, Agilent says.

CAN is based on differential signaling, and the new probes offer differential support for physical-layer signals on this bus. The N2818A 200-MHz bandwidth differential active probe with Agilent’s AutoProbe interface has a high-input impedance of 1 MΩ and low-capacitive loading of 3.5 pF, which is appropriate for CAN bus measurement applications. The N2819A differential active probe provides 800-MHz bandwidth for higher-bandwidth measurement applications in automotive ECUs.

Additional information about the CAN symbolic support option for InfiniiVision 4000 Series oscilloscopes is available at and