ISOLATION & SURGE SUPPRESSION QUESTIONS
3) WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OPTO-ISOLATORS AND SURGE SUPPRESSORS?
Answer: Opto-isolation uses LED electrical isolation circuitry to separate the electrical connections on a cable from the internal electrical circuitry of a device. In a optical isolator, electrical current is converted to light with a LED transmitter. The light signal is transmitted to an optical sensor which passes the information while providing no direct electrical path between the input and output. This makes an optically isolated converter particularly tolerant of voltage spikes on cables, such as voltages induced by lightning strikes. In some cases, the isolator may be destroyed, but may still protect the device to which it is connected. Surge suppressors, on the other hand, do not electrically isolate devices from their cables. Surge suppressors use special diodes, resistors, and capacitors to absorb surges in electrical energy, or to direct the excess energy to ground.