LIN is a low-cost serial communications protocol that was primarily developed by automobile OEMs to support remote applications within a car's network. Since the first LIN bus specification was released in 1999, it has proliferated within vehicle sub-systems, especially those that are not critical to performance or safety. It is also widely used to connect a variety of actuators and sensors in vehicles. Since the maximum data rate for LIN is 20 Kbps, the LIN bus offers an inexpensive solution for applications where speed and bandwidth are not the primary drivers.
Unlike a CAN bus, which leverages 5V twisted pair wires, a LIN solution uses a 12V single wire bus. A LIN solution employs up to 16 nodes, which communicate with a single master node. The master initiates messages to nodes along the network. Often seen as a simpler alternative to more elaborate CAN-based approaches, a LIN master node can also interface with other networks within a vehicle.
While it is typically used for mechatronic nodes in automobiles, the LIN bus is also well suited for applications outside the automotive sector. Appliance and industrial markets are adopting LIN bus connectivity as a low-cost solution in feature-rich applications with multiple connected nodes. Emerging applications include: