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[FAQ] When is isolating an RS-485 bus necessary?

When is isolating an RS-485 bus necessary?

  • Isolation prevents direct current (DC) and unwanted alternating current (AC) between two parts of a system, while still enabling signal and power transfer between those two parts. Isolation typically protects electrical components or humans from dangerous voltage and current surges; isolation for human safety is called reinforced isolation. Isolation prevents ground loops which are common between nodes communicating at long distances. Isolation also allows communication between nodes with ground potential difference much higher than what the RS-485 standard recommends.