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Extronics iSOLATE501 RF Galvanically Isolated Intrinsically Safe Barrier

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The unique iSOLATE501 RF barrier is the latest product in the iSOLATE range of intrinsically safe RF isolators from Extronics. Replacing the very successful and widely installed iSOLATE500, the iSOLATE501 utilizes the same ground-breaking RF isolation technology packaged in an even more compact housing. Perhaps the most remarkable innovation is the ultra-wide frequency band that the isolator is compatible with. A single variant is available that enables the use of the iSOLATE501 on RF outputs ranging from 150MHz to 8GHz with minimal losses. This allows for simple deployment in wireless systems utilizing the new dual-band Wi-Fi standards. It has been certified as “simple apparatus,” which enables it to be interfaced with any of the iANT200 Series antennas. It may also be used with many generic antennas subject to assessment by Extronics Ltd.

Isolated Barriers vs. Zener Barriers

When it comes to hazardous work environments, there is a pressing need for reliable and efficient barrier solutions—that is, intrinsically safe devices designed to prevent the accidental ignition of flammable gasses, vapors, or dust in these areas. Two widely used types are isolated barriers and Zener barriers. Let’s look at the differences between them.

What is an isolated barrier?

An isolated barrier is an electronic device used in hazardous locations to ensure safety while transmitting signals and power between the hazardous and non-hazardous areas. It employs galvanic isolation to separate and protect the safe area from the dangerous area. This isolation is achieved through components that transfer signals across a physical barrier that prevents direct electrical connection. By doing so, isolated barriers effectively prevent the transmission of excessive energy that could reach an ignition source. This helps in maintaining an intrinsically safe environment.

What is a Zener barrier?

A Zener barrier, on the other hand, is another type of safety device used for similar purposes but operates differently. It limits the voltage that can enter a hazardous area by using Zener diodes and resistors. While Zener barriers can be effective in preventing ignition in explosive atmospheres, they also have certain limitations compared to isolated barriers.

Why are isolated barriers superior?

Isolated barriers offer multiple advantages over Zener barriers:

  1. Enhanced Safety and Reliability – The galvanic isolation in an isolated barrier provides a higher degree of safety. It ensures complete electrical separation between the hazardous and non-hazardous areas, which minimizes the risk of energy transfer that could cause explosions.
  2. Noise Immunity – Isolated barriers are known for their superior noise immunity. They are less susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), which can be a significant issue in industrial environments.
  3. Flexibility and Signal Integrity – Isolated barriers can handle a wider range of signal types and maintain signal integrity over longer distances compared to Zener barriers. This makes them more versatile and reliable for various industrial applications.
  4. Ease of Installation and Maintenance – Isolated barriers often have simpler installation requirements and lower maintenance needs. They do not require the same level of grounding precision as Zener barriers, which simplifies their integration into existing systems.

The benefits of the iSOLATE501

The Extronics iSOLATE501 is a premier example of an isolated barrier’s capabilities. Here’s why:

  • Innovative Design – The iSOLATE501 is designed with cutting-edge technology to provide performance in terms of safety and signal transmission.
  • Enhanced Safety Features – This device goes beyond the basic requirements of intrinsically safe barriers to supply an extra layer of protection in hazardous environments.
  • Advanced Noise Immunity – The iSOLATE501 excels in environments with high levels of electrical noise, ensuring clear and accurate signal transmission.
  • Broad Compatibility – Compatible with a wide range of equipment, it is ideal for diverse industrial applications.
  • Ease of Use – The iSOLATE501 is user-friendly, with easy installation and minimal maintenance requirements, reducing downtime and operational costs.

It should be clear by now that the Extronics iSOLATE501 offers superior performance and reliability. For more information about the iSOLATE501 and other intrinsically safe equipment, feel free to contact Exloc Instruments. Our expertise in hazardous-area field devices and equipment can guide you to the best choices for your specific needs. We would be happy to serve you.


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  • Render the R.F. output from regular wireless hardware intrinsically safe
  • Radios can be swapped out or upgraded without re-certification
  • Ultra-wide RF frequency band, 150MHz to 8GHz with minimal loss
  • ATEX & IECEx Zone 0 certified
  • MET Approved Class I II III, Division 1 & 2, Groups A-G; Class I, Zone 0, Group IIC
  • Compact, lightweight design for easy installation inside radio enclosures





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