USB Isolated Ground Plane?

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For a high speed USB 2.0 PCB, I've read that it should have a continuous, isolated ground plane. Since power is provided by USB that's pretty easy to ensure, just connect the ground plane to the ground pin on the USB connector. However, I'm using an LDO to drop the voltage from 5V to 3.3V (to power an SD card and UC3A3). I'm uncertain if the 3.3V ground plane should be connected (at one point) to the High Speed USB ground plane. Here's my reasoning:

Connect ground planes: If the ground planes are unconnected, the 3.3V ground is floating without a defined value. I'm concerned this could cause problems when D+ & D- and VBUS are connected to the UC3A3. Also, I'm not sure how the LDO would react to having a floating ground, I assume it would be ok as it's just going to separate Vout and GND by 3.3V (provided the input is an appropriate voltage/current).

Unconnected ground planes: This is technically what an "isolated" ground plane would be.

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Quote:
For a high speed USB 2.0 PCB, I've read that it should have a continuous, isolated ground plane.

Reference please. [Document, revision, paragraph, page]

No RSTDISBL, no fun!

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Do connect the grounds.

There are options for a truely, totally isolated, USB interface. The generic USB interface isn't "isolated", and the voltage regulator and micro need to be tied to the USB ground reference.

JC

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Brutte wrote:
Quote:
For a high speed USB 2.0 PCB, I've read that it should have a continuous, isolated ground plane.

Reference please. [Document, revision, paragraph, page]
I found an AVR appnote, AVR32787 - High Speed USB Design Guidelines. I'm using a copy I downloaded from Atmel's website, but I'm sure with the appnote number it'll be easy enough to find. This appnote also references an Intel USB design spec which I do have a URL for:

http://www.usb.org/developers/do...

The actual line in question is from the AVR appnote, Page 2, Section 2.1, Item 7 (second sentence in particular):

Quote:
7. Route all traces over continuous GND plane with no interruptions. USB ground plane
should be isolated from other ground plane.
Emphasis is mine.

DocJC,

Thanks, that's what I was thinking, it seemed odd to not tie a ground plane to an actual ground somewhere...even if it's all relative. Thanks!

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I ran into this app note recently, which you may find useful:

http://www.ti.com/sc/docs/apps/msp/intrface/usb/emitest.pdf

It doesn't include specific recommendations for high speed designs, but it does mention adding a ferrite bead between USB ground and the main ground. Perhaps this is the kind of isolation the Atmel app note is referring to?

Michael