We designed the Fiber Duplex Board for creating simple fiber links to embedded devices. This board has the same pinout as our Serial Breakouts, so they will connect directly to the serial header of many dev boards such as the Arduino Pro or Pro Mini. To create a fiber link between two dev boards, simply connect the Fiber Duplex Breakout to each board, connect them with two pieces of fiber cable, and then use the Serial library to send and receive data as you normally would.
This board also works in concert with the Serial Fiber Modem to create a fiber link from a dev board to a computer. We've even had success loading Arduino code over fiber this way (although because the fiber doesn't carry a DTR signal, we had to manually reset the Arduino board during upload).
The Industrial Fiber Optics line of emitters and detectors are by far the most economical way we’ve found to create a simple fiber link between two devices. The IF-E97 emitter is literally just a superbright red LED in a fancy plastic module that makes it easy to insert a piece of optical fiber and lock it in place. On the other end, the IF-D96F is a 5V TTL phototransistor in an identical enclosure. Connect the two with a piece of fiber and you have, basically, the simplest possible fiber link. Speaking of fiber, while you can certainly use glass fiber (in the proper jacket) to connect these modules together, we recommend PMMA plastic fiber! It’s cheap, it’s not at all fragile, and you can cut it with scissors. In our experience, it requires no polishing at all, simply cut it with scissors and jam it into the connector.
The emitter and detector are soldered but not screwed into place. For field applications we recommend anchoring the connectors with a screw and nut. A 4-40 screw with nut works great but we don't carry the ideal 3/8" length. Alternatively we do carry a 3/8" screw and nut in the smaller 2-56 thread.
We've tested these modules at baud rates up to 1Mbps and distances up to 50 meters with no transmission errors.
Based on 1 ratings:
This product makes you ask "Why did we never do this before?" It's so simple to plug in an optic fiber and it works right away. The obvious advantage of optic fiber is isolation: sharing data between two pieces of equipment that can't share a ground connection. Maybe one end of this is on top of your big solar battery and you want to keep that high-voltage DC away from your laptop. Or you just need protection from lighting strikes and your own screwups. You can be sure that absolutely no electric current is coming down that optic fiber.
The circuit that Sparkfun used isn't the same as the recommendation in the datasheet for the transmitter or receiver. It's much simpler. So it's good for regular serial speeds (I tested 115200 baud) but you're not going to be pushing megabits down the fiber with this equipment.
I went to other suppliers to get longer optic fiber and even some figure-8 cable so I don't have to wrangle two unruly pieces of plastic. But I like using this unit because it has exactly what you need for a serial connection. I love that the fiber is easy to cut.
I do hope this makes it out of Spark-X into the regular product lineup as I will definitely be using more of these in future projects.