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I am watching some tutorials on signal integrity and the instructor keeps referring to a driver and a receiver. I am a little confused what exactly this would be when designing a PCB is the driver like a microcontroller sending the signal? What is the receiver then?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It kinda depends on the context. In an analog mixer, I would use an amplifier (like an op amp) as a driver to reduce my output impedance, which improves the fidelity of the signal, especially with a reactive (capacitive or inductive) load. In a digital circuit, a similar "driver" would serve to improve the shape of the digital wave form and therefore reduce the error rate. \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Harvey Jan 12 at 17:28
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In digital logic, a driver is just a buffer (a gate whose output is the same as its input) designed to produce a relatively high output current, so that it can deliver a signal across a relatively long (and high capacitance) trace. For example, a 74LVC244 chip is often described as a "buffer/driver" chip.

A receiver is a buffer designed to be able to fully switch its output with a relatively low amplitude input signal. You won't find too many chips sold specifically as receivers, but there are several that are called transceivers, combining driver and receiver functions.

Generically, your instructor might just be using these terms to mean whatever gate drives a signal onto a line and whatever gate receives the signal from the line.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ so would this be like an ic sending a signal that will control what another ic does? \$\endgroup\$ – Brit Jan 13 at 0:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brit, for whatever reason you want to send a signal from one place to another. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jan 13 at 0:36
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Some other chip that receives the high-speed signal, for example a DAC.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Examine the CAN transceiver, the MicroChip 2551. \$\endgroup\$ – analogsystemsrf Jan 12 at 18:01

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