Chapter 6

Optoisolators

6.1 Introduction

Since its introduction over 20 years ago, the classic optically coupled pair consisting of a photo emitter and a photo detector in one package has found its way into a multitude of applications. The ubiquitous “opto” provides galvanic isolation against kilovolts of input/output voltage differential and does so without the complexity and other problems of electromechanical or magnetic components.

Optocouplers are available in several possible output configurations, including LDRs (light-dependent resistors), various transistor types, logic elements, thyristors and their variations, and even photovoltaic output elements. This chapter presents the basic characteristics and applications of optos in practical circuits. ...

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