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A couple of ideas

How isolation technology is catching up with the need for faster data transmission. By Graham Pitcher.

Isolation is a basic design technique. Whether used for galvanic isolation, breaking up ground loops, protecting delicate circuitry against unwanted high voltages or even good old personal safety, isolation is to be found in systems ranging from process control to serial communications. At best, failure to provide suitable isolation will introduce unwanted noise; at worst, lack of isolation could destroy your equipment.
In general, there are three forms of isolation to which the designer can turn: optoisolation; capacitive isolation; and transformer based isolation. Optoisolation remains a popular technique and has been applied where dc signal level is important. With an led on one side of an air gap and a photoreceiver on the other, optoisolation is a trusted technique. Transformer based solutions, meanwhile, are applied where the ac signal is important and are found, amongst other applications, in Ethernet systems.
Don Alfano is director of power products with Silicon Laboratories (SiLabs). He said that isolation can be applied to protect the user from lethal voltages. “And they’re used without being ‘seen or heard’ or costing a lot,” he noted.

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Vanessa Knivett

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