WPILib’s documentation contains a list of manufacturers who have been approved to have manufacturer IDs set aside for use when addressing CAN devices in the FRC control system. I thought it might be interesting to do a breakdown of who these companies are, and what they’re using the bus for - or what they will use it for.
1 - NI
We start off with NI, the company that makes the roboRIO. It’s fairly obvious what they’re using it for, given that it’s been required on all FRC robots since 2015. Also of note is the Digilent DMC-60C, which I assume used this ID as they’re owned by NI… assuming they bothered to change it from 4.
2 - Luminary Micro
Two in and we already have a bit of an interesting one. In 2009, Luminary Micro released a motor controller called the Jaguar, which was the first CAN motor controller available in FRC. That same year, they would be bought by Texas Instruments. In 2012, IFI would acquire the Jaguar design, making Luminary Micro’s ID doubly obsolete. Despite this, it seems that the Jaguar remained on Manufacturer ID 2 until CAN support was discontinued for the 2018 season, as evidenced by no entries for TI or IFI/Vex on this list and the WPILib Jaguar code from 2016.
3 - DEKA
Dean Kamen’s company. As far as I know, this is unused, and I’m not sure when it would be used seeing as DEKA doesn’t, and hasn’t to my knowledge produced any FRC electronics. Perhaps it would be used if FIRST themselves had made a CAN device? Maybe DEKA had some CAN stuff lying around at some point that they thought would be useful to donate?
4 - CTR Electronics
CTRE is the company behind the Talon SRX, Victor SPX, and Talon FX motor controllers, as well as the outgoing Power Distribution Panel and Pneumatics Control Module, introduced in 2015. Their ID has seen plenty of use over the years, and while their PDP and PCM will mostly be replaced next year, there’s certainly more to come using this ID in the future.
5 - REV Robotics
REV is best known for their SPARK MAX motor controller, which was their entry to the CAN bus in the 2019 season. Their upcoming CAN products include the Power Distribution Hub and Pneumatic Hub, the incoming replacements for the aforementioned CTRE control system components.
6 - Grapple
I can’t find anything about this company. I’ve only been able to find one FRC-related thing related to an organization called “Grapple”, and it’s this GitHub page, containing a single repository for an outdated fork of Jaci’s Pathfinder, the precursor to PathWeaver. I don’t know if it’s the same Grapple that requested the ID, but I guess it’s theirs if the other Grapple won’t use it.
Edit: It’s now been confirmed that the Grapple listed in the CAN spec is Jaci’s Grapple. She had planned to make CAN stuff but plans unfortunately seemed to fall through.
7 - MindSensors
MindSensors made the SD540C motor controller, legalized for the 2017 season. Their manual is in Comic Sans. That should tell you everything you need to know about it.
8 - Team Use
This is, presumably, open to any team putting their own CAN device on the network.
9 - Kauai Labs
Kauai Labs is best known for their NavX line of IMUs. However, they don’t use CAN. What they do have that uses CAN, is their VMX-pi robot controller, which supports WPILib and CAN. They released it in 2017 as an alternative to the roboRIO, and while it likely doesn’t see much FRC use due to that, it has its own little ecosystem under Studica, and should be compatible with existing FRC hardware.
10 - Copperforge
Copperforge has, so far, released one FRC product, the Lasershark LiDAR sensor. Currently, they have no FRC-specific CAN products, however they did plan to at one point release a CAN version of the Lasershark and have a USB CAN interface board available called the VulCAN, however it does not seem to have any FRC-related software at the moment, ultimately leaving this ID unused. As far as I know, they are still an active company, so there could very well still be something in the works for a CAN device from Copperforge.
11 - Playing with Fusion
Playing with Fusion released the Venom motor with integrated controller for the 2020 season. It supports CAN, as does their time-of-flight sensor, released around the same time.
12 - Studica
Studica is probably best known in FRC circles as a redistributor of FRC parts for the Canadian market. However, they also have a non-FRC control system based around Kauai Labs’s VMX-Pi controller as mentioned above. Included in this is their own motor controller, the Titan Quad. While it’s not FRC legal, it does have a library available for WPILib, meaning their ID is used.
I hope this breakdown of the currently used CAN IDs was interesting. Hopefully, this can provide some idea of what’s available now, what there may have been plans for, and what will be available in the future. This is my first time making a post like this, so please let me know if there’s something I could improve on formatting-wise or if I got something wrong.