Case Study: Pisces waterproof components for Personal Locator Beacons

Background

UK manufacturer of Personal Locator Beacons required a group of connectors and cables to replace an existing US supplier’s product because of unreliability of supply and high costs.

Brief/Challenges

Design and supply the following:

  • TNC based connectors – bulkhead jack, reverse polarity bulkhead jack, antenna plug, right angle cable plug, and right angle reverse polarity cable plug.
  • Nim Camac Push-Pull connectors – Bulkhead Jack and Bulkhead Plug
  • Waterproof (IP68) to 10m for 4 hours
  • Ensure product was ‘modular’ and not ‘hard wired’
  • Provide significant cost savings over US product.
  • Ensure 100% reliability and safety.
  • No NRE (non repeating engineering charge)
  • 8 weeks to provide samples

Solutions

With the exception of the right angle, designing the connectors was relatively simple. The right angle was more difficult because pilots had issues with units ‘snagging’ on their pockets. This was resolved by making the connector low profile and rounding the corners of the square section of the body. More difficult was how to waterproof the products both externally and internally to ensure that parts achieved the IP (ingress prevention) rating that was required. After discussion with our O ring supplier, we came up with an O ring design in special material that ensured that the integrity of our seals at the correct depth for the correct time. In fact we exceeded the requirement by a factor of 6.

In order to ensure that the design was modular, an external TNC to MCX bulkhead adaptor was developed to mate to an internal MCX to U.FL cable assembly.

Quotation was provided to the Customer and a 35% cost saving reported. Samples were provided in 7 weeks.

Summary

Products were introduced in 2006 and have since become one of Intelliconnects staple waterproof product groups. Since 2013 some 80000 units of the TNC/MCX adaptor have been sold to 46 different customers.

Product is often sold as a package with adaptors/internal cable assemblies/external cable assemblies/internal connectors being sold together.

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