0 Replies Latest reply on Apr 10, 2018 11:33 AM by rscasny

    Basic Electronics Question for Makers: What are Digital Isolators?

    rscasny

      While getting to know how to use electronic components in projects is an important step in making your project work, sometimes you just need to know how the individual components work. So, let's explore in this discussion digital isolators. What are they and why do you need to know about them?

       

      Let's first talk about isolation.

       

      Isolation is a means of preventing dc and unwanted ac currents between two parts of a system, while allowing signal and power transfer between those two parts.

       

      Electronic devices and semiconductor ICs used for isolation are called isolators. Some of the benefits of isolators are faster data transmission, higher magnetic immunity, and longer life expectancy. Used in combination with isolated power supplies, they can block high voltages, isolate grounds and prevent noise currents from entering the local ground and interfering with or damaging sensitive circuitry.

       

      In general, a digital isolator is made up of a high voltage isolation component or barrier and a transmitter (TX) to couple a signal into one side of the isolation component, and a receiver (RX) to convert the signal available on the other side of the isolation component into digital levels. Isolators can use SiO2 (silicon dioxide) based, high-voltage capacitors to serve as the isolation component.

       

       

       

      To learn more about isolators, I encourage you to sign up for the webinar: TI Webinar: Understanding Capacitive Isolation Technology for Industrial Applications