USB isolator using ADUM3160

I’ve had my concerns regarding connecting questionable home-made electronics to my PC through the USB port. How easy is it to kill the port ? I really don’t know. But it was one of the reasons why I wanted to isolate my prototypes from the PC. Another reason was to avoid noise problems while performing high precision measurements.

There might be other solutions out there but I quickly found a PCB created by Tom Keddie and available on Tindie. It’s a design based on ADUM3160. According to the datasheet “The ADuM3160 is a USB port isolator, based on Analog Devices, Inc., iCoupler® technology. Combining high speed CMOS and monolithic air core transformer technology, this isolation component provides outstanding performance characteristics and is easily integrated with low and full speed USB-compatible peripheral devices.“. It has an insulation rating of 2.5 kVrms and data speed rate of 1.5 Mbps to 12 Mbps.

I bought two PCB’s. Note that components are not included. The PCBs arrived quickly in a small envelope. A nice touch was to have it taped to a card saying “thanks”.

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The guys over at MySensors are creating a big library for connecting typical sensors together. They have collected information for a lot of sensors, controllers and gateways  added source code and instructions for them. For example Display and Time, Temperature and battery powering. They also compare prices between AliExpress and Ebay for typical sensors in the store. A lot of info to be found. Take a look.

It’s a bit tricky to understand what they’re aiming at first time you visit, but here are some quotes from their pages:

“Learn how to create your own low cost wireless sensors and connect them to the world.”

“We’ve combined the Arduino platform with a small radio transceiver into a fun, flexible world of low cost wireless sensors.”

“All the nitty-gritty details about the sensor communication has been packaged into a convenient software library so you don’t have to worry about them.”

2.4GHz scanner using RFToy

Working with 2.4GHz tranceivers can be frustrating because you must know that the sender actually is sending and that the receiver is actually receiving. After that, you must be sure that the protocols match. To help with the first part, verifying that the sender is actually sending, I’ve combined RFToy with poor mans 2.4GHz scanner. I now have a battery driven device that can be used to see if my sender is sending. In addition, it will indicate approximate channel being used. I basically only modified the “poor mans 2.4GHz scanner” to use RFToy pins and display. The picture shows a snapshot of the scanner while turning on a Sony PS3 wireless controller. Code is on github.

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Bridgeduino – Wireless Arduino HUB and shield

After examining RFToy, I came across this BridgeDuino prototype by Hazim Bitar. According to him it “is a Swiss army knife PCB for rapid networking of inexpensive wireless communication modules”. It currently supports:

IR Transmiter LED 940nm
IR Receive 38Khz
RF433Mhz Receiver
RF433Mhz FS1000A Transmitter
Bluetooth HC-06 & HC-05

Its  open hardware and open source. It can be used as an Arduino shield or separately with an Arduino Pro Mini in a socket.