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SN65HVS882: Can the thermal pad this chip be connected to ground?

Part Number: SN65HVS882

Hi all,

Can the thermal pad on the SN65HVS882 be connected to ground?

The PowerPAD drawing says to connect to the appropriate copper plane shown in the electrical schematic for the device. However, the thermal pad isn't mentioned in the rest of the datasheet.

Kind regards,