White Paper: USB Isolation

Why You Need USB Isolators

Whether or not you need to isolate a USB device from your computer is dependant on the application. When connecting a flash drive, USB isolation is rarely necessary. However, if you are connecting industrial instrumentation or remote I/O equipment to your computer, there is no easy answer. You must evaluate the environment in which the device is installed. Is the USB device susceptible to ESD (electrostatic discharge), lightening, power surges, ground loops, differing ground potentials, EMI (electromagnetic interference), or RFI (radio frequency interference)? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you need USB isolation to isolate the USB connection. Otherwise, you are leaving your computer and measurement system vulnerable to damage and erroneous data.

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