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The canLoader application allows to flash the firmware of the dsp boards using the canbus interface.

It is also very useful to determine what boards are up and running.

The canLoader2.0 allows to either use plx canbus boards or esd canbus boards (actually any device implementing an ICanBus interface in YARP).


  • Determine the type of device you want to use. If you are on the pc104 this will probably be the pcan device (but see below).
  • Make sure you have compiled the appropriate canbus device (pcan) (read Compilation on the pc104).
  • Make sure the canLoader20 program has been compiled. In the main iCub project, this is done automatically if you have the gtk/gtkmm libraries and you enabled CREATE_GUIS_GTK
  • Run the canLoader20 program. If you ssh into the pc104 make sure you use the -X option to redirect the graphic output to your local machine.
  • Select the device you use (pcan) in the text box (for historical reason default is ecan).
  • Select the can network you want to probe (0 to 4), and hit connect.

You should see a list of boards that are available in the network you have selected, their id, the version of the firmware, the build number and a text description. If a card is listed here it means that it was able to reply to the broadcast message from the canLoader (a good start).


Device type

The device type is the software module that wraps the can bus device you are using. On the first version of iCub the pc104 has a plx can bus device, wrapped by the pcan software module.

On iCub 1.1 the pc104 also mounts two esd can bus devices, which are wrapped by the ecan software module.