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API for connecting to CAN and CAN FD busses

The PCAN-Basic API (application programming interface) allows easy development of powerful software with CAN and CAN FD support. It includes all of the functions that an application needs in order to communicate with PCAN PC hardware. The cross-operating-system design makes it possible to easily port software projects between platforms.

PCAN-Basic consists of the actual device driver and an interface DLL, which provides the API functions.

As the successor to PCAN-Light, PCAN-Basic offers increased functionality and extended language support. It provides various functions for developers under C++, C#, C++/CLR, Delphi, VB.NET, Java, and Python 3.x.


Beginning with version 4, PCAN-Basic for Windows® supports the new CAN FD standard (CAN with Flexible Data rate) which is primarily characterized by a higher bandwidth for data transfer.

Note: PCAN-Basic for Windows® CE does not support the new CAN FD standard.

PCAN-Basic for Windows® CE

PEAK-System provides the PCAN-Basic API to allow the development of your own CAN applications for Windows® CE 6.x. Programmers can use the languages C++, C#, and VB.NET.

PCAN-Basic for Linux

PEAK-System provides the PCAN-Basic API to allow the development of your own CAN applications for Linux. Programmers can use the languages C++, Java, and Python 3.x.

  • API for developing applications with CAN and CAN FD connections
  • Support for CAN specifications 2.0 A/B and FD
  • Supports the operating systems Windows® 10, 8.1 (32/64-bit), Windows® CE 6.x, and Linux (32/64-bit)
  • Multiple PEAK-System applications and your own can be operated on a physical channel at the same time
  • Use of a single DLL for all supported hardware types
  • Use of up to 16 channels for each hardware type (depending on the PEAK CAN interface used)
  • Simple switching between channels of a PCAN PC hardware
  • Access to the CAN channels of a PCAN-Gateway via the new PCAN-LAN hardware type
  • Driver-internal buffering of up to 32,768 CAN messages per CAN channel
  • Precision of time stamps on received messages up to 1 µs (depending on the PEAK CAN interface used)
  • Supports PEAK-System‘s trace formats version 1.1 and 2.0 (for CAN FD applications)
  • Access to specific hardware parameters, such as listen-only mode
  • Notification of the application through Windows® events when a message is received
  • Support of CAN error frames
  • Extended system for debugging operations
  • Multilingual debugging output
  • Output language depends on operating system
  • Debugging information can be defined individually
  • Thread-safe API

System requirements

  • Windows® 10, 8.1 (32/64-bit), Windows® CE 6.x, or Linux (32/64-bit)
  • At least 2 GB RAM and 1.5 GHz CPU
  • For the CAN bus connection: PC CAN interface from PEAK-System

    Note: Parallel port CAN interfaces are only supported on 32-bit systems.



  • Initialize: Initialize CAN hardware, set the bit rate, log on at the driver
  • InitializeFD: Initialize CAN FD hardware
  • Uninitialize: Log off from the driver


  • SetValue: Setup of hardware parameters such as debug log, listen-only, and auto-reset
  • FilterMessages: Register messages to be received


  • GetValue: Read out DLL and API information
  • GetStatus: Read out CAN bus status information
  • GetErrorText: Get an error code description

CAN communication:

  • Read: Read a CAN message or status incl. time stamp
  • ReadFD: Read a CAN FD message
  • Write: Transmit a CAN message (11/29-bit ID and RTR possible)
  • WriteFD: Transmit a CAN FD message
  • Reset: Clear the transmit and receive buffer
  • PCAN-Basic Interface DLLs (32/64-bit)
  • Examples and header files for all common programming languages
  • Documentation in PDF and HTML Help format


API for the development of applications with CAN and CAN FD connections for Windows® 10, 8.1 (32/64-bit).


PCAN-Basic API (Linux)

API for the development of applications with CAN connection for Linux.


PCAN-Basic-Downgrade of Visual Studio Projects


Additional information on other pages:

PCAN-Basic API version history
PCAN-Basic API (Linux) version history
A comparison of our APIs for the development of CAN FD and CAN applications
APIs for standardized protocols of the automotive sector
The new standard CAN FD: support and compatible products
PEAK-System Forum: Section for the PCAN-Basic API for questions and support