App note: Replacing traditional optocouplers with Si87xx digital isolators

an_silabs_an729

Digital isolator from Silicon Labs app note shows pin compatible plus high performance replacment of incumbent optoisolators, link here (PDF)

Opto-couplers are a decades-old technology widely used for signal isolation, typically providing safety isolation, signal level shifting, and ground loop mitigation. They are commonly used in a wide range of end applications, including data communication circuits, switch mode power systems, measurement and test systems, and isolated data acquisition systems. Optocouplers have several weaknesses, including parametric instability with temperature and device aging, significant internal parasitic couplings, long propagation delay times, narrow operating temperature ranges, and relatively low reliability.

Today’s advanced CMOS signal isolation products offer better timing performance, higher reliability, and lower power consumption compared to optocouplers and are capturing sockets traditionally held by optocouplers. However, converting to CMOS isolation devices has, most often, required circuit changes and PCB modifications that cost money and create design risks, until now.

App note: Understanding the safety certification of digital isolators

Understanding the safety certification of digital isolators

This application note summarizes the international safety standards and certifications that apply to digital isolators. Link here

Digital isolators provide signal isolation and the level shifting required for the correct operation of many circuits. Equally important, they insulate the user from electric shock. With basic human safety considerations so pertinent here, these isolators must undergo extensive testing and certification to ensure user safety. This article briefly summarizes the international safety standards and certifications that apply to digital isolators. An example exercise using the MAX1493x family shows how an IC designer must use a data sheet and the standard’s specification tables to determine which digital isolator will be optimal for an application.