ADI Makes USB Electrical Isolation Simple

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Worried about using USB connected devices because they lack electrical isolation? Worry no more. Your life is about to get incredibly simpler. Analog Devices has answered your prayers with their new iCoupler ADuM4160 single chip USB isolation solution. Combine it with the ADuM5000 and isolate the power as well.

The ADuM4160 is the industry’s first single-IC USB isolator that meets medical and industrial standards while replacing complex board level solutions. The ADuM4160 offers 5kV rms medical-grade isolation as well as upstream short-circuit protection.

The following circuit demonstrates how simple it is to create an isolated USB cable using the iCoupler solution. You could easily build this on your lab bench.

Building a USB isolator couldn’t be much easier.

Current isolation methods incorporate ethernet, wireless, fiber optics and traditional optical isolators. These are good solutions, but they tend to be expensive if all you need is isolation. Ethernet, wireless and fiber optics are better suited for applications that require alternate or extended USB connections.

Analog Devices’ budgetary pricing for the ADuM4160 is only $4.89 and a complete design requires just a few supporting cheap popcorn parts. Even if you want to add isolated power, the ADuM5000 only adds another $3.16. Analog Devices expects parts to be available August 14th. By this time next year, there will be a slew of low cost isolated cables and hubs on the market that use this technology.

This innovation will provide a significant boost to USB’s continued growth into medical,  scientific and industrial applications.

Here are a few links to additional details.