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Isolating I?C interfaces

Posted: 27 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iCoupler application note? I2C bus? isolating interface?

The Inter-Integrated Circuit (I?C) bus is a two-wire bidirectional bus used for low speed, short-distance communication between ICs. Developed by Philips in the early 1980s for use among ICs on a single-board, I?C today is increasingly being used in multiboard applications as new bus extensions and control devices help overcome the original 400pF maximum allowable load capacitance. Often, in multicard applications such as blade servers or digitally controlled power converters, it is desired that each interface be isolated to allow for trouble-free card insertion/removal or for safety considerations. However, isolating I?C interfaces is complicated by the bidirectional nature of the I?C bus. This characteristic is not compatible with the unidirectional behavior of optocouplers. This application note by Ronn Kliger for Analog Devices provides a brief overview of the I?C bus (focusing on its PHY), discusses the challenges in isolating I?C interfaces, and describes iCoupler solutions for isolating I?C interfaces.

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