2 added 95 characters in body edited Jul 29 '15 at 16:41 The Photon 93.4k33 gold badges112112 silver badges220220 bronze badges First, a possibly more permanent link to this product is here. And the schematic is here. (Edit 7/29/2015: Ironically my two links are now broken and OP's Amazon link is still useful) Two reasons it makes sense to use optoisolators here: The controlling device might be very far away so that it doesn't share a common ground reference with the relay board (except as connected through a long cable). Using the optoisolator means the control signal is used purely as a differential signal between Vcc and the control signal, both sourced from the controller circuit; ground potential differences won't affect the operation. The relay coil voltage is not necessarily the same as the controller's Vcc. It could even be generated by an off-line (unisolated) supply. The optoisolator then provides isolation between the potentially unisolated JD-VCC supply and the controller circuits. First, a possibly more permanent link to this product is here. And the schematic is here. Two reasons it makes sense to use optoisolators here: The controlling device might be very far away so that it doesn't share a common ground reference with the relay board (except as connected through a long cable). Using the optoisolator means the control signal is used purely as a differential signal between Vcc and the control signal, both sourced from the controller circuit; ground potential differences won't affect the operation. The relay coil voltage is not necessarily the same as the controller's Vcc. It could even be generated by an off-line (unisolated) supply. The optoisolator then provides isolation between the potentially unisolated JD-VCC supply and the controller circuits. First, a possibly more permanent link to this product is here. And the schematic is here. (Edit 7/29/2015: Ironically my two links are now broken and OP's Amazon link is still useful) Two reasons it makes sense to use optoisolators here: The controlling device might be very far away so that it doesn't share a common ground reference with the relay board (except as connected through a long cable). Using the optoisolator means the control signal is used purely as a differential signal between Vcc and the control signal, both sourced from the controller circuit; ground potential differences won't affect the operation. The relay coil voltage is not necessarily the same as the controller's Vcc. It could even be generated by an off-line (unisolated) supply. The optoisolator then provides isolation between the potentially unisolated JD-VCC supply and the controller circuits. 1 answered Feb 27 '13 at 16:48 The Photon 93.4k33 gold badges112112 silver badges220220 bronze badges First, a possibly more permanent link to this product is here. And the schematic is here. Two reasons it makes sense to use optoisolators here: The controlling device might be very far away so that it doesn't share a common ground reference with the relay board (except as connected through a long cable). Using the optoisolator means the control signal is used purely as a differential signal between Vcc and the control signal, both sourced from the controller circuit; ground potential differences won't affect the operation. The relay coil voltage is not necessarily the same as the controller's Vcc. It could even be generated by an off-line (unisolated) supply. The optoisolator then provides isolation between the potentially unisolated JD-VCC supply and the controller circuits.