SparkFun Differential I2C Breakout - PCA9615 (Qwiic)

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.

  • Uses the PCA9615 buffer
  • I2C Supply voltage range 2.3-5.5V
  • Differential Supply voltage range 3-5.5V
  • draws 16µA of current
  • Extends I2C bus up to 100 feet
  • Data rate up to 400kHz
  • 2x Qwiic Connectors

SparkFun Differential I2C Breakout - PCA9615 (Qwiic) Product Help and Resources

Qwiic Differential I2C Bus Extender (PCA9615) Hookup Guide

May 31, 2018

Learn how to extend the range of your I2C communication bus with the Qwiic differential I2C bus extender (PCA9615 ) breakout board.

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

3 Electrical Prototyping

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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Looking for answers to technical questions?

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  • Typo in the part number on the features tab, FYI.

  • can these be daisy chained?

    • As stated here the chip doesn't package the communications, so you can treat this as simply a wire in your I²C bus (albeit one that needs to terminate in another chip before it can be used for interfacing to other I²C devices). You can also do multiple drops from the cable side, if that works better for your application. If you have drops off the differential cable, they need to not be terminated, so just remove the termination resistors from this board.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

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1 of 1 found this helpful:

does what it is supposed to do!

I tested at 1,6,25,50 and 100 ft cat 5e wire still delivers data.

I2C bus extender

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

Great for remote sensors

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.

Extremely useful

For fiddling around on the bench, the hot plug capability saves endless reboots - want to try a different qwiic board? Unplug the RJ-45, plug in the new board, plug the RJ-45 back in and scan for it. I use a pair with a 1 m Ethernet cable for just that purpose all the time.

I’m looking forward to using it for its other purpose (extending i2c/better noise immunity) as soon as I have a need.

New product idea: combine a qwiic hat + 14589 (this) into one board.

fast and good

item receive fast and good

I broke it

Worked great using a 5 meter cable with a NodeMCU on one end and a 3-axis compass on the other end until the compass got wet. The pga9615 leads shorted with green copper fuzz. Bought and applied some MG conformal silicon coating to another board and so far it's working. Compass being used to report position of a dual axis solar tracker.