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Precision Analog Optocoupler

Todd P. Meyrath1
Atom Optics Laboratory Center for Nonlinear Dynamics University of Texas at Austin
c 2004 July 2002 revised February 14, 2005

In this note, we give a simple design for a precision analog optocoupler which may be useful for ground loop removal or voltage isolation. The circuit here is intended for precision low frequency (under 10 kHz) applications and uses a HCNR201 as the primary optocoupling device. It is based on that shown in Figure 17 of HCNR201 datasheet but includes a few extra options. The circuit given in Fig 17 has a voltage range from 1 mV to over 10 V and has high accuracy and stability. For many applications this is sucient. However, there is a drawback in that the circuit can not actually pass a 0 V signal, the 1 mV actually is a limit since the photodiode always must be slightly reverse biased. Even a slowly rising signal below 1 mV produces a non-adiabatic spike in the output (which the author found out the hard way on a critical application). The various versions of bipolar drivers given on the data sheet suer from cross-over transition problems when using two optocouplers. Here we use a simple solution so the circuit can be made bipolar and can have 0 V signals without cross-over problems. This is to shift the input-output range down by adding to the input voltage before the optocoupler and then subtracting it back o at the output. This allows one to shift the range by anything between 0 V and 5 V. To have 0 V to 10 V one need only add and subtract a few millivolts, or for 5 V to 5 V add and subtract 5 V. Naturally this does not increase the voltage range of the device which is still 10 V. As drawn on the schematic, the given voltage dividers give a voltage adjustment range between 0 V and 1.5 V, the voltage dividers may be adjusted for desired range of operation. For the full 0 V to 5 V range, one must only replace R5 and R8 by 0 shorts. The board layout includes several options which may be disabled when not desired. The table here gives the options and components to be omitted when options are not used. R22 and R23 are optional gain resistors which will generally not be used. Option to remove Input Adder Output Subtracter Output Line Driver

Add Jumper W1 W2 W3

Omit parts D1, C19, R5-R7, R11, U1, R23 D2, C18, R8-R10, R12, U4, R22 R13, U5, U6, R20, C13-C17, R21

Please send comments, questions, corrections, insults to meyrath@physics.utexas.edu

The optional output line driver can supply currents of up to 1/4 A. This can be used when the output is supplied to common 50 loads. It includes an output integrator involving R21 and C15, which may be disabled by omitting C15 and replacing R21 by a 0 short. The output integrator can improve output stability when driving some loads, especially reactive loads. The device provides a linear response with a transfer slope near unity which is partially limited by the matching of R1 and R2+R3. It is advisable to use high quality resistors. If trimming is not desired, one may omit R3 and short the pads with a 0 resistor and use a precision pair for R1 and R2. Layout available at http://george.ph.utexas.edu/~ meyrath/papers Revisions: Version 2.1 Added protection diodes D4 to D8. Version 2.0 Added sum and subtraction options, output line driver option.

Figure 1: Photo of completed PCB. This implementation includes all of the options. Only the required heatsink on the BUF chip is missing.

Parts Qu. Label Part # Manufacturer/Description 1 R1 200 k 1260 pkg resistor. 1 R2 196 k 1260 pkg resistor. 2 R4,R20 1 k 1260 pkg resistor. 2 R5,R8 23.2 k 1260 pkg resistor. 3 R3,R6,R9 Bourns / 3214W series 10 k trimpot. 2 R7,R10 0 1260 pkg resistor. 1 R13,R21 100 1260 pkg resistor. 3 R11,R12,R16 2 k 1260 pkg resistor. 1 R17 7.5 k 1260 pkg resistor. 1 R18 300 1260 pkg resistor. 1 R19 33 k 1260 pkg resistor. 0-3 W1-W3 0 (jumper) 1260 pkg resistor. 1 C1 68 pF cap, 1206 chip pkg. 1 C2 33 pF cap, 1206 chip pkg. 13 C3-C15 100 nF cap, 1206 chip pkg. 12 C16-C27 T491A106M016AS Kermet / 10 F solid tantalum surface mnt. 2 U1,U4 INA128UA Texas Inst. / inst. amp, 8-SOIC pkg. 3 U2,U3,U5 OPA227UA Texas Inst. / precision opamp, 8-SOIC pkg. 1 U6 BUF634P Texas Inst. / 1/4 Amp high speed buer, 8-DIP pkg. 2 U7,U8 LM78L12ACM National Semi. / +12V reg, 8-SOIC pkg. 2 U9,U10 LM79L12ACM National Semi. / -12V reg, 8-SOIC pkg. 1 OP1 HCNR201 Agilent Tech. / Analog optocoupler, 8-DIP wide pkg. 1 Q1 2N3906 PNP Transistor, TO-92 pkg. 2 D1,D2 LM336M-5.0 National Semi. / 5.0V refernce, 8-SOIC pkg. 1 D3 1N4150 Diode, DO-35 pkg. 5 D4-D8 20V Zener Diode, DO-35 pkg. 2 J1,J2 227222-1 AMP-Tyco Elec. / Vertical PCB mnt BNC receptacle. 2 J3,J4 70543-0002 Molex / 3 pin vertical header power conn. 1 50-57-9403 Molex / 3 pin mate housing. 16-02-0102 Molex / female crimp pins. Quantity is per board, label is on the PCB, part # is manufacturer number. Most parts obtained from www.mouser.com, www.digikey.com, or www.alliedelec.com. Note, it is absolutely required to glue a small heat sink the buer package.


Todd Meyrath UT-Austin July 2002 updated Dec 2004
W1 0 R17 7.5k R23 C1, 68pF 1 Analog In BNC D4 R4 1k 3 2 INA128 5 U1 4 R7 0 R6 10k D1, D2: LM336M-5.0 D3: 1N4150 R5 23.2k -12V R11 2k OC1 HCNR201 D3 C19 + 10F R19 33k 1 8 6 R1 200k Q1 2N3906 +12V OPA227, INA128

C3-C7 0.1F

R16 2k

R18 300

C8-C12 0.1F


U2 6

Power Supply Connections, as on each side


2 OC1 HCNR201

External Power Connections

8 LM78L12M U7, U8

+ C22,23 10F

C20,21+ 10F

2-3, 6-7 D5,D6

4 D1

C24,25 10F

+ D7,D8 5

+ C26,27 10F

W2 0 W3 0

2-3, 6-7

LM79L12M U9, U10


-12V R22


1 3 C2, 33pF 2 6 OPA227 3 U3 5 OC1 HCNR201 C18 10F + 8 4 D2 R2 196k 6 R3 10k R12 2k R8 23.2k +12V 2 INA128 5 U4 8 6

R13 100

U6 3 2 U5 OPA227 6 R20 1k 3 7 BUF634 4

C16 10F

C13 100nF Analog Output BNC

C17 10F

R21 100

R9 10k

R10 0

+ C14 100nF

C15 100nF