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Description: If you've ever tried to connect a 3.3V device to a 5V system, you know what a challenge it can be. The SparkFun bi-directional logic level converter is a small device that safely steps down 5V signals to 3.3V AND steps up 3.3V to 5V at the same time. This level converter also works with 2.8V and 1.8V devices. What really separates this Logic level converter from our previous versions is that you can successfully set your high and low voltages and step up and down between them safely on the same channel. Each level converter has the capability of converting 4 pins on the high side to 4 pins on the low side with two inputs and two outputs provided for each side.

The level converter is very easy to use. The board needs to be powered from the two voltages sources (high voltage and low voltage) that your system is using. High voltage (5V for example) to the 'HV' pin, low voltage (3.3V for example) to 'LV', and ground from the system to the 'GND' pin.

Dimensions: 0.63 x 0.52" (16.05 x 13.33mm)


Comments 14 comments

  • Very cool board, but I’m not sure that this will work reliably with 1.8V devices. From the referenced Philips application note the low voltage should be at least 1V higher than the threshold Vgs value of the MOSFET. The BSS138 has a maximum Vgs threshold of 1.5V (1.3V typical), so this circuit should work down to 2.3V, but 2.5V is safer. At 1.8V there may still be enough juice to turn the MOSFET on, but I’m not sure I would trust the results.

  • What is the ground pin used for? In the schematic it appears to be not connected but not connecting them in my current setup gives strange results.

  • I bought a couple of these to convert teensy 3.1’s 3.3v data signal up to 5v to communicate more effectively with adafruit’s neoPixels.

    I’ve read a lot about people using the 74HCT245 but should this perform a similar function?

    So far I’m having some intermittent problems that I’m not yet sure are related to this, or my code.

  • @GMAN - that is the MAX Vgs

    What you want is the MIN Vgs which is 0.8V With the 1V suggested margin that goes up to 1.8V, and you should have no issues switching 1.8V devices.

    I use this board with the TTL serial coming out of a Parrot ARDrone at 1.8V and have had no issues, switching at 115200 baud.


  • will this work with analog signals

  • Excellent and useful product, but I require more than 4 conversion lines. Although I can use 2 of these, I still prefer more than 4 channels on a single board, like the following very similar product:

  • Hope to make this work for 3V to 15V. Hey, love the Skills icons, but they don’t show up for everything. Will you be retrofitting them to current products eventually, or only tacking them to new products (starting recently, I assume)? Brief mention here.

  • Great board for the project I am currently working on which needs level shifting on the I2C BUS.

    Have you thought of making a shield to level shift between a 3.3V Arduino/shield and a 5V shield or the other way around. Then one simply uses the shield to make other shields compatible with shields of another voltage.

    One consideration that must be taken into account if this level shifter is used for i2C, which requires pullup resisters for the BUS. And that is the resulting pullup resistance in the I2C BUS.

  • Awesome. finally you guys made a quad bidirectional version of the logic converter circuit (it was quite requested i do believe).

  • Do you have a good recommendation for a converter that works with 12V to 5V and vice versa?

    • This board will handle 12V-to-5V or 5V-to-12V conversion. Just make sure the HV and LV are connected properly and you’ll be good to go.

      This board will also work great for converting 3.3V or 5V PWM to 10V PWM for use with things like the the dimming control on MeanWell LED power supplies.

      • I assume that would that include the Mean Well ELN-60-48P dimmable driver? It requires a 10v PWM. And if so, do I just connect an external 10V DC supply to the HV, and the mean well driver to HV1?

  • What would be great is if this breakout board was expanded to also include regulators for 5V and 3.3V for example. Maybe with jumpers to HV and LV.

    This way all the regulation (signal and current) are combined in one pack.

    I’ll probably hack something like this together myself. (maybe first ordered custom pcb :))

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