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MIL-STD-1553B Data Bus Couplers FAQ

We’re proud to offer turnkey, one-stop shop MIL-STD-1553B solutions here at sopto, including the industry’s most complete line of data bus couplers for MIL-STD-1553B box-style and in-line couplers.

So here are just a few facts about the MIL-STD-1553B serial data bus worth knowing:

How was the MIL-STD-1553B standard developed?

Like much of our nation’s IT infrastructure, MIL-STD-1553 was actually designed by the military in the early 1970s as a way to replace analog point-to-point wire bundles between electronic instrumentation. In 1978, the version was upgraded to MIL-STD-1553B as a way to boost both compatibility between designs by different manufacturers and overall flexibility, through providing explicit specifics about the electrical interfaces.

For example, in the F-16 Falcon fighter jets which first featured the standard, MIL-STD-1553B helped reliably connect and integrate the weapons systems onboard with the mission computer and other applications.

Minus a handful of minor updates throughout the years since then, the data bus has remained the most popular and reliable militarized network for more than 30 years now, used most prominently in military machines like F-16 Falcon fighter jets, satellites, missiles, and the International Space Station. Commercial aircraft manufacturers have grown fond of the technology as well, thanks to a strong, mission-critical track record of excellent EMI performance, dependability, and robustness.

Cool. So how does it work?

The MIL-STD-1553B bus features four primary elements:

1. The bus controller, which manages the information flow.

2. Remote terminals that interface one or more simple subsystems to the data bus and respond to commands from the bus controller.

3. The bus monitor, which is used for data bus testing.

4. Data bus components (data bus couplers bus cables, terminators and connectors).

Data is transmitted sequentially, bit-by-bit, and received then in a multiplexing scheme over two copper wires from computer to computer (usually at a rate of one megabit per second). In most vehicle uses for the MIL-STD-1553B, redundant buses are employed.

LAN topology usually encompasses bus couplers (coupling transformers with fault-isolation resistors), terminators and cabling via twinax cables (twisted shielded pair), and concentric twinax connectors (with a center contact and an intermediate cylindrical contact).

What’s the advantage of couplers?

Couplers play an important role in the overall system. Basically, they help reduce reflections and maintain signal impedence levels, resulting in the sort of mission-critical reliability that’s demanded from the system. Without couplers, there’d be no DC isolation or common mode rejection, and a simple shorting fault between the device’s internal isolation resistors and the main bus would lead to a failure of the entire bus.

Part of this function has to do with the bus coupler’s transformers, but there are also built-in fault isolation resistors designed to protect the main bus during a short circuit in the stub.

So what does sopto provide?

 we offer the industry’s most complete line of MIL-STD 1553B data bus products, including:

1. Box-style couplers — From one-stub couplers to eight-stub couplers, and everything in between.

2. Inline couplers — From one-stub inline couplers to four-stub inline couplers—these are used in vehicles where light weight and small size are important.

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