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Optically Isolated USB to Serial Adapter. Up to 2Mbaud. 1.8-5V logic. No electrical connection between your device and the USB port.
Optically Isolated USB to Serial Adapter. Up to 2Mbaud. 1.8-5V logic. No electrical connection between your device and the USB port.
336 backers pledged NOK 86,055 to help bring this project to life.

About

Optically Isolated USB to Serial Adapter

NOK 86,055

336

What is a prototype?

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Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

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Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

9d24177e11f9cc97b20ca1e3a5d88250 original.png?ixlib=rb 1.1

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

Summary

The ZeptoBit Isolated USB-UART Adapter allows communications between a device using logic level (1.8V to 5V) serial communication and a computer with a USB port. The adapter is optically isolated, there is no electrical connection between the connected device and the USB port. Supports baud rates from 300 baud to 2 Mbaud. Available with Micro USB connector or “full size“ USB B connector.

YouTube video by MickMake showing the adapter.
YouTube video by Andreas Spiess showing the adapter.
YouTube video by EEVBlog showing the adapter

Main features

  • Supports all common baud rates from 300 baud to 2 Mbaud.
  • Works with IO levels from 1.8V to 5V.
  • No driver installation required on Windows 10 or on recent Linux versions.
  • Avoids ground loops.
  • Circuits ground and computer ground does not need to be at the same potential.
  • Maintains isolation from mains supply.
  • Protects the computers USB port from damage.
  • Separates sensitive analog circuits from potentially noisy computer ground.
  • Works with devices which can not drive an opto isolator directly.
  • Open source hardware: All the documentation needed to repair or modify the adapter is provided including schematic, BOM and design notes. 3D models of the device and 3D printable enclosures are also available.

Background

I designed this adapter because I wanted to use it with other projects I was working on. Appart from it's main feature, optical insualtion, it has two features missing in many other USB-UART adapters:

It works with signal levels from 1.8V to 5V, while many adapters only works at 3.3V to 5V.

Secondly I wanted the driver to be as trouble free as possible. The CH340 USB chip provides this, it "just works" with no driver installation on recent Windows and Linux versions.

Downloads

Datasheet (pdf)

Schematic and BOM (pdf)

Open Source Hardware

The ZeptoBit Optically Isolated USB-UART adapter is open source hardware, licensed under Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0.

The following is released as open source:

  • Schematic in Diptrace and .pdf format.
  • Bill of Materials
  • Design Notes (principles of operation)
  • Mechanical CAD files for adapter and enclosures. (Not ready yet, will be released before the end of the Kickstarter campaign.)

The following is not released as open source:

  • Board layout files Gerber/drill files

Risks and challenges

I belive this project is very low risk. I have made one test panel (8 devices) where 7 worked on the first try and I have boards and components for another 72 adapters on hand. I can assemble a few hundred adapters per week. If sales exceeds ~500 adapters I will outsource some of the assembly to avoid delays. All of the components used are readily available in quanitity, so I don't expect any serious logistics problems.

I have used the prototypes for a few months while working on my other projects and I have not experienced any problems.

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Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge NOK 99 or more About US$ 12

    Early bird special

    Get your adapter from the first batch at a lower price.

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    Pledge NOK 119 or more About US$ 14

    1 adapter

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    Pledge NOK 439 or more About US$ 52

    4 adapters

    Get 4 adapters at a discounted price and save on shipping.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge NOK 999 or more About US$ 117

    10 adapters

    Get 10 adapters at a discounted price and save on shipping.

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Funding period

- (31 days)