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Optocouplers boost isolation safety in electric cars

Posted: 31 Oct 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:isolation  optocoupler  electric vehicles  powertrain  inverters 

Avago Technologies unveils three new automotive isolation optocouplers in its R2Coupler family. The ACPL-34JT is an isolated gate drive with many smart functions and features incorporated to improve integration. The ACPL-C87AT/C87BT isolation amplifier provides instrumentation amplifier performance with integrated isolation. And the ACPL-K7xT provides single and dual channel to enhance configurability and manage space savings.


These automotive optocouplers are designed for safe isolation in electric and hybrid/electric vehicle apps. These apps include on-board charging systems and powertrain inverters in these vehicles while extending the working voltage range of existing R2Couplers optocouplers.

The devices are said to provide high integration of functions in modules, isolated smart gate drives, analogue sensing and digital communications. Powertrain inverters, on-board chargers and DC-DC converters draw on gate drives for driving power devices like MOSFETs and IGBTs. They need isolation amplifiers to sense high voltage bus levels and digital isolation to communicate status and feedback information from the high voltage side of the optocoupler to the microprocessor on the low voltage side.

High voltage and high current switching generate a noisy environment. Optocouplers offer immunity against high dV/dt transient noise and immunity against electro-magnetic coupling from the high current cables. By providing safe isolation for all isolation needs in EV and HEV applications there is an improvement in power efficiency and a reduction in system power loss.

Current automotive systems operate at approximately 400V with future systems moving towards 700V to 800V. The optocouplers are rated for continuous working voltages of 1,140V or higher, more than sufficient to meet future needs.

Avago optocouplers are proven in the automotive field and have established component safety regulatory standards (UL1577, CSA, IEC 60747-5-5). These standards certify high voltage lifetime and robustness to transients specifically for optocouplers. The new Avago R2Coupler products, along with the complete family are still the only optocouplers that are qualified to TS 16949 and AEC Q100, quality standards and guidelines reference by the automotive supply chain.

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