The SparkFun Differential I2C Breakout is the fastest and easiest way to extend the range of your I2C communication bus. The breakout uses NXP’s PCA9615 IC, which converts the two default I2C signals into four differential signals, two for SCL and two for SDA. The differential signals are sent over an Ethernet cable, which attaches to the breakout through the on-board RJ-45 connectors The differential signaling allows the I2C signals to reach distances of up to 100ft. while still maintaining their signal integrity! To make it even easier to get your readings, all communication is enacted exclusively via I2C, utilizing our handy Qwiic system so no soldering is required to connect it to the rest of your system. However, we still have broken out 0.1"-spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard.
The simplicity of the Differential I2C Breakout is one of its biggest appeals. Other I2C communication methods require packetizing I2C communication into another protocol, be it RS-485 or 1-Wire. However, the PCA9615 keeps the I2C protocol by utilizing a differential transceiver.
Whether you need to extend the range of an I2C sensor on an autonomous vehicle plagued with noise from motors or want to create a vast sensor network in your home or office, the Qwiic Differential I2C Breakout is a great solution to extend distance and reduce noise susceptibility.
The SparkFun Qwiic connect system is an ecosystem of I2C sensors, actuators, shields and cables that make prototyping faster and less prone to error. All Qwiic-enabled boards use a common 1mm pitch, 4-pin JST connector. This reduces the amount of required PCB space, and polarized connections mean you can’t hook it up wrong.
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Based on 2 ratings:
Initially, I was a bit confused by the online manual and instructions, but after some dialog with the knowledgeable tech support chat person, I was able to verify it is ready to use without any modifications (for my use case). For clarity, I am only running 5v I2C devices and my Arduino is using 5v logic. So it was just a matter of connecting the VDDA, GND, SDA, and SCL lines on each module and connecting a Cat5 cable between them and it worked (I’m not using the Qwiic connectors). Very cool and super easy to use! I like the fact that by default it will source power and ground from the local module, so no need to run separate wires for that. Great design feature! So if anyone needs to extend their I2C bus more than a few meters, these modules are well worth the money and are super easy to use. -Mike
I have been using RJ11 and RJ45 breakouts for running I2C sensors for a while, but always less than 2 or 3 meters. These will allow me to do much longer runs with solid data integrity. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar and now SparkFun has saved me the trouble! The addition of the Qwiic connections is a nice touch also. Great value in this product.