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Connected Intelligence Reference Design

Protecting Equipment with USB Isolators

B+B SmartWorx - Ottawa, United States

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When technician John Baker of Premier Resource Services connected his laptop to a customer’s piece of industrial machinery he got a nasty surprise. There was a quick puff of smoke, and John lost his hard drive, his USB port and the USB adapter that he’d connected to the machine. The problem, he soon discovered, was that while his laptop was plugged into the wall, the machine he was servicing was connected to the shop’s single-phase power supply and its leads had been reversed to keep it from tripping a GFI switch. As the laptop and the connected device now had different ground potentials, the USB cable became the path to a lower ground state. It was an expensive lesson.

Baker contacted B+B SmartWorx to find out how to keep this from happening again. We told him that because field technicians use their laptops in a wide variety of settings, power quality will always be inconsistent and a simple power line filter won’t necessarily catch the problems. So Baker acquired one of B+B’s UH401 compact USB-to-USB isolators and his laptop has been protected ever since.

USB isolators ref design imageOur products are designed, engineered and manufactured for industrial applications. Standard USB connectors available for the consumer market are not tough enough to handle the challenges field service technicians face every day. We understand how to connect you in the industrial world.

B+B SmartWorx products Used in this Reference Design

USB-to-USB Isolator
Link to UH401 data sheet
Picture of UH401