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Has anyone decided to use USB Isolators on connections to 6x00?

Neal_K3NC
Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
edited July 2019 in FLEX-6000 Signature Series
I was looking on some 'Maker' sites and saw this, a USB galvanic isolator for 33 bucks. I have a history in my shack of static charges blowing chips out of anything connected via cable (firewire to my 5000/3000, ethernet ports to just about anything, etc.)

http://bit.ly/2rgPTMo


I was able to buy a firewire isolator off the internet last year (and knock on wood, so far so good) but wondered about my USB->Serial Port connections hanging off my 6700.

Has anyone used such a device? Any reason they are NOT a good idea?

73

Answers

  • Dick B
    Dick B Member
    edited May 2017
    A friend had the USB chip in his IC-7600 taken out, he presumed by a static charge, so he is using one with no reported issues.  

    I've had several USB-RS232 adapters and other USB adapters attached to my computers for decades with no issues - in Central Texas where we get frequent massive thunderstorms.  Don't use any such devices - no issues (knock on wood as a TS approaches).  
  • DH1RK
    DH1RK Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hello Elmer, I do not use an isolator yet. Immunize USB with common chokes and enhanced low loss ceramic condensators over the supply lines with good/great success. That's true for every digital connection... Hope this gives you a new indication of action to do.... 73 de Ruediger, DH1RK
  • Marc Lalonde
    Marc Lalonde Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    if you serial cable remain close to radio  it not need 

    i use one but on my StepIR  $*% to USB converter  since i have 80 feet of RS-485 cable that go to antenna  
  • James Del Principe
    James Del Principe Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    May I suggest some traditional solutions first before investing in those isolators. Make certain that every - and I mean every - piece of gear is tied to a central ground bus at the shack bench via short, heavy cable. Connect that to your ground system which should be multiple ground rods tied to each other and, of course, to the entrance ground as required by NEC.
    Next, whole house surge suppressors are a big help and local suppressors at the equipment also.
    Antennas should be disconnected when not in use and grounded.    Old wisdom?   Yes.   Effective?  You bet.      73, Jim
  • Paul - K6HR
    Paul - K6HR Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hello Neal, Thanks for this info. After adding USB cables to my 6300 and installing ferrites I am still getting enough RF to cause the radio to freeze up shortly after I unkey the radio if operating at full power (1kw). I'd never heard of a USB isolator before, so I'm wondering if this can be used to mitigate RF in the shack, or is it designed for some other purpose.
  • Jerry NY2KW
    Jerry NY2KW Member
    edited May 2017
    I checked the datasheet and found it a bit confusing:

    "USB target speed: It is important to notice that the unit protects and shield USB full-speed devices or devices that can enter USB full-speed mode. USB-ISO would not work with low-speed devices (like keyboards or mice). It would neither work with high-speed-only devices. You can use a USB analyzer program to determine the USB speed of your USB target."

    I don't know why speed plays an issue with properly selected optoisolators.

    jerry
  • Michael Coslo
    Michael Coslo Member
    edited May 2017
    Hi Paul - do you have ferrites on the Router cables? There are some routers that are exquistely sensitive to RF. I had a Linksys that would reboot if I transmitted anything over 30 watts. 
  • James Del Principe
    James Del Principe Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    RF in the shack is a function of the antenna system, especially with unbalanced (but not limited to) antennas.   RF often flows back on the OUTSIDE of your coax and can be solved with chokes on the coax or a counterpoise.
    Please tell us what your antenna system looks like.   Does the happen when using a dummy load?
    73, Jim
  • Neal_K3NC
    Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Guys, this is not for RF, its for static fields caused by lightning. I have no issues with rf, have everything grounded to a common point (my bulkhead). Tower is grounded, lightning protectors on rotor line as well as hardline to shack, etc, Just static field from lightning.

    Typical situation is that lightning hits a tree 100 feet from the house. Doesn't hit the tower but close enough to the house that static obviously 'blows' into the house. When it happens, anything with a cable has damage (last time it was my color laser printer that was connected to a PC via USB cable. PC was not destroyed, only USB port on both PC and Laser printer.

    73
  • James Del Principe
    James Del Principe Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    In that case, with reference to my previous comments; in the words of Emily Latella, "nevermind".      Jim
  • Mike W8MM
    Mike W8MM Member ✭✭
    edited July 2019
    I've been using this USB isolator for years with good success.  Began using it to decouple my IC-7600 from my computer so as not to have lightning-induced current loops between antenna coax outer conductor and AC power ground trying to travel through the USB port on the computer.
    https://www.iftools.com/isolator/isousbcable/index.en.php

  • Neal_K3NC
    Neal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Appreciate that you 'cared enough to write'!
  • k0eoo
    k0eoo Member ✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Since my lightning strike 3 years ago which wiped out my PC and all hubs and port adapters, I searched and found an industrial grade 4 port USB hub isolator from B&B Electronics, the UHR304, it has 4kv isolation and 15kv ESD protection and can be ordered with a medical grade PS, which I did.  Its isolating the communications to my LP-100A, RC2800PX rotor controller, SteppIR controller and REA modulation monitor PC interface.  Communications has been virtually solid for those 3 years....  Its full-speed 2.0 and backward compatible to 1.1 and 1.0.  Model UHR204 will handle high-speed, but I didn't need HS for those peripherals.  There is also a 7 port version.

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