Case Study: Pisces waterproof components for Wearable Technology

Background

US manufacturer of Cochlear Implants approached Intelliconnect to provide a suite of connectors to enable waterproofing of its new product which would enable customers to hear whilst bathing, swimming and showering.

Brief

  • Sub-Miniature connectors – easily mateable and de-mateable by public (children in particular)
  • 3000 mating cycles
  • 100% reliable
  • 100% safe
  • Rugged
  • Plugs (straight and right angle) capable of termination to ultra-low diameter coaxial cable
  • Jacks for both PCB edge-mount and face mount.

Challenges

  • Which connector style should we base our design on to achieve physical and electrical constraints?
  • How do we achieve 3000 mating cycles (when generally RF connectors are specified to only 500)?
  • How do we ensure that safety and reliability issues are addressed satisfactorily?
  • How do we address termination issues for small diameter cable and ensure that mating jacks are suitable for Customers PCB requirements?

Solutions

This project required a huge amount of interaction with the customer. Given their location (California), this was mostly achieved by phone/email.

We based our new range on the MCX interface in order to achieve the ease of insertion/extraction requirements. This ensured that connectors were easy to mate, stayed mated bur were easy to unmate by the user.

In order to achieve 3000 mating cycles we changed the material of the key parts and increased the (gold) plating thickness. Parts were tested to 5000 matings without failure.

A special solder sleeve was developed to enable us to crimp/solder onto ultra-miniature cable and PCB mounting methodology was agreed with the customer.

Special assembly and test processes were developed to ensure virtually zero defect product.

Summary

Products were introduced in 2011 and have since become one of Intelliconnect’s biggest selling lines (600k + units sold since 2013 to 6 different Customers). Standard RG178 versions have also now been developed. It is expected that this version will have a wider appeal by using standard cable. Product is currently marketed as ABMS (an Intelliconnect brand) but in future this will changed to ‘Rugged MCX’.

< Back to Technical Area

Accreditations