Connectors for Underwater Applications Product Roundup

By AJ Born | April 19, 2022

This week’s Product Roundup highlights connectors for underwater applications from leading suppliers.  

Connectors for Underwater Applications  

Trexon’s Hydro GroupTrexon’s Hydro Group designs, manufactures, and pressure tests underwater electrical and optical connectors, cable, and cable assemblies for unique and challenging subsea applications. Hydro’s connectors have been tested extensively for performance and endurance, both internally and externally by third-party verification companies, and pressure tested to 10,000 PSI/6860 MSW/689 BAR. Hydro is a key supplier in oil & gas, marine, renewable energy, and defense markets, driving technology and innovation for subsea applications. Products include fiber optic connectors, EXD-rated connectors, HRC Hydro Renewable Connector (36kV), surface mateable coaxial connectors (metal and rubber keyed), surface mateable hybrid coaxial electrical connectors (metal keyed), HMK Hydro Metal Keyed Underwater Mateable electrical connectors, HRM Hydro Rubber Molded Connectors, HDM Hydro Deck Mate connector, and HRS Hydro Rubber Sealing Underwater Mateable Electrical Connectors. 

Allied Electronics & Automation supplies Bulgin’s Buccaneer sealed in-line cable joinerAllied Electronics & Automation supplies Bulgin’s Buccaneer sealed in-line cable joiner in 4-, 6-, and 8-way variants, designed for joining multicore cables together in-line. The maximum standard cable acceptance is 6 to 8 mm in diameter and the connector is rated at IP68 and IP69K when fully assembled. The Buccaneer in-line cable joiner range is rated at 10A and 250Vac, with a maximum conductor accommodation capacity of 1.5 mm2 (16 AWG), with glass-filled polyamide body construction, UL94-V0 flammability rating, and is RoHS compliant. The comprehensive offering includes single-ended USB-A sealed end to standard USB type-B and USB-B sealed end to standard USB-A cable assemblies in a variety of types and lengths and USB type-A and type-B sealed front and rear panel mount connectors. The screw coupling USB connectors are dust and waterproof when mated (IP68 and IP69K) with visual mating indication and offer low and high-speed bus connections of 1.5 Mbs to 480 Mbs, high noise immunity and EMI protection with RoHS compliance. Suitable for PCs and peripherals, and other applications. 

SOURIAU SWIM dry mate connectors, supplied by PEI-GenesisSOURIAU SWIM dry mate connectors, supplied by PEI-Genesis, are designed for shallow water applications, delivering high reliability, durability, and watertight protection. The SOURIAU SWIM (Shallow Water IMmersion) connector series is designed for the most demanding needs and addresses poor sealing or corroded contact issues due to low pressure cycles while providing shell-to-shell shielding. The SWIM Series features dry mate sealing technology inspired by the SOURIAU JUPITER connectors. A robust scoop-proof coupling ring makes these connectors easy to mate and unmate even with high contact density layouts. Insulators are removable, which allows for easier wiring. Shells and inserts can be stored separately for a flexible insert configuration. With high-performance yet cost-effective thermoplastic construction, SOURIAU SWIM connectors are designed for use in tough marine applications that are subject to shallow immersion, such as ocean drones, buoys, small ROVs, and commercial diving equipment. They exhibit no corrosion and no cathodic delamination. 

SEACON HydraElectric Wet-Mate connector from TE ConnectivityThe SEACON HydraElectric Wet-Mate connector from TE Connectivity features a modular construction that enables many configurations to be assembled from a minimum number of components. Industry standard panel, bulkhead, and stab plate interfaces enable the HydraElectric Wet-Mate connector to replace incumbent product with no impact to customer hardware. The HydraElectric Wet-Mate connector supports upcoming industry standards for subsea control system power distribution. Rugged marine systems require connectors with high-speed communication capabilities and the ability to manage a range of operating currents. 

Fischer connectorsFive Fischer Connectors product lines — Fischer Core, UltiMate, FiberOptic, MiniMax, and Freedom — meet the following requirements for efficient data transmission underwater: high-speed data transmission and multi-protocol management; signal integrity with 360° EMC shielding and non-magnetic locking mechanism; real-time HD video with best optical performance and robustness; plug & play technology for fast equipment setup; and easy, secure power & data transmission. Fischer connectors are compact and ultra-rugged, offering extreme sealing ratings (up to IP68/IP69) and hermeticity for water ingress protection and pressure resistance; operating depth down to 300 m/1,000 ft tested to 60 bar (870 PSI) – more upon request; high corrosion resistance with up to 1,000 hours of salt-mist spray; securely locked connections and mechanical endurance with up to 10,000 mating cycles; space-saving solutions minimizing equipment size and weight (45% space saving and 75% weight saving with the Fischer MiniMax connectors compared to standard receptacles with similar number of contacts, while performing an IP68 sealing rating with up to 5,000 mating cycles). Tailored options are available for tethered or untethered UUVs. 

Amphenol LTW designs and manufactures waterproof connectors, such as CeresAmphenol LTW designs and manufactures waterproof connectors, such as Ceres, which are resistant to high and low temperatures and UV damage, and are sealed against dust, sand, and corrosion. All products meet IP66, IP67, IP68, or IP69K. The waterproof range includes circular, RJ45, D-sub, sensor, USB, DVI/HDMI, power connector, and hybrid connector products. Market applications include agricultural and farming electronic systems, broadband wireless access, commercial, military devices, construction machineries/heavy vehicles, fuel cell technologies, EV/HEV, industrial automation, LED/displays/lighting, marine, medical devices, metal detectors, MRT/railway, renewable energy/photovoltaics, safety detection and warning systems, Test & Measurement equipment, UV water filtering, and more. 

LEMO’s W Series screw-coupling, underwater cable connectors with alignment keysLEMO Connectors’ W Series screw-coupling, underwater cable connectors with alignment keys provide peak protection (>IP68) from high-pressure liquid ingress, ruggedly withstanding up to 30 bars of pressure, which translates to water depths up to 300 m (984.25 ft). W Series connectors incorporate the same insulators, contacts, and clamping system as LEMO’s B Series, but replace the B Series’ push-pull latching system with a watertight screw-coupling system equipped with a Viton (FPM) O-ring that maintains effective compression by leveraging the triangular shaped cavity principle. The series is available in nine ruggedized shell styles and six shell sizes equipped with 360° EMC shielding, four keying options to prevent the cross-mating of similar connectors, and solder or crimp contacts. W Series underwater cable connectors are also available with 2–64 multipole contacts, fiber optic contacts, or 2–6 thermocouple contacts, as well as in mixed or hybrid layouts with up to 14 coaxial, fluidic, or fiber optic contacts. The series is compatible with cable diameters spanning 1–23.5 mm and, once installed as part of a cable assembly, will need to have the rear part covered with an adhesive heat-shrink boot to ensure watertightness on the cable side as well. W Series underwater connectors exhibit shielding efficacy greater than 95dB at 10MHz and 80dB at 1GHz and are rated for operating temperatures extending from -20 °C to +200 °C. Ideal applications include marine environment electronics, nuclear physics, and the petroleum industry. 

Smiths Interconnect’s M23 Series circular power, signal, and data connectorsSmiths Interconnect’s M23 Series circular power, signal, and data connectors are compact, robust, and widely employed in harsh-environment medical, industrial, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, chemical, and marine environment applications due to their stable electrical and mechanical continuity and rugged resistance to extreme conditions. The M23 Series’ waterproof connectors are tested and qualified to meet IP68 sealing requirements for operation at depths of up to five meters for 72 hours and are qualified for use in submersible motor and pump applications. They deliver the same high electrical and mechanical reliability, durability, and failure-free performance in both wet and dry conditions; are very easy to handle and operate; and, like all M23 Series connectors, are equipped with Hypertac hyperboloid contact technology, which provides immunity to shock and vibration, low insertion and extraction forces, minimal contact resistance, long contact life, and high current ratings. M23 Series connectors are manufactured from high-grade stainless steel and advanced polymers and offer outstanding electromagnetic compatibility protection via a 360° screen connection, crimp contacts for various cross sections, various types of cable clamps, and ground connections for power connectors. They are also RoHS-compliant and UL/CSA-approved. Variants not qualified to perform at depths of up to five meters are environmentally sealed to IP67. 

SCHURTER’s waterproof, push-pull appliance couplersSCHURTER’s waterproof, push-pull appliance couplers provide robust and reliable power connections suitable for use in a wide range of harsh environment applications in the medical, industrial, food processing, laboratory, outdoor equipment, and marine environment electronics industries. Mated pairs of Series 4761 IEC appliance inlets and Series 4762 rewireable cord connectors provide IP69K protection when unmated and equipped with their corresponding accessory covers (IP67 protection when mated). They also robustly withstand temporary submersion in water, high-pressure, hot-water cleaning, and several disinfection and sterilization processes. Other features include user-friendly push-pull mating mechanisms, audible confirmation of proper engagement, symbolic and color-coded indication of the proper pull-out direction, and breakaway safety mechanisms that help avoid user entanglement and injury, as well as connector and cable damage. SCHURTER’s waterproof push-pull appliance couplers are distinguished by a special contact arrangement to prevent intermating with conventional power cords and preserve the couplers’ power and IP ratings and cord retention strength. They are approved to VDE and UL/CSA according to IEC/UL 60320, which simplifies the OEM approval process and saves both time and money. Inlets are available with solder or quick-connect terminals, and cord connectors are equipped with conventional screw terminals, which are commonly seen in rewireable connector designs and don’t require any special tools for wire assembly. They are compatible with cable diameters spanning 6 mm to 10 mm. 

AMETEK Subsea Interconnect (ASI)As part of AMETEK Interconnect Technologies, AMETEK Subsea Interconnect (ASI) is focused on the design and supply of critical subsea feedthroughs, wet or dry mate connectors, and associated terminations. ASI prides itself on its standard and custom engineered component and system solutions for demanding oil & gas applications.

Nautilus range of IP rated connectors and assemblies from GradconnThe Nautilus range of IP-rated connectors and assemblies from Gradconn is an industry leader in dust and waterproof coaxials. Dust and waterproof interface connectors mounted in an enclosure feature an internal seal and O-ring. This prevents ingress of water and particles through both the inner contact and the panel. Nautilus is IP67, IP68, and IP69K rated with SMA, TNC, BNC, and N-Type interfaces. Isolated and stainless steel SMA and TNC are available. 

Like this article? Check out our other Product RoundupProduct News, and Connector Industry News features and our 2022 Article Archives.

To learn more about the companies mentioned in this article, visit the Preferred Supplier pages for Trexon, Allied Electronics & Automation, PEI Genesis, TE Connectivity, Fischer Connectors, Amphenol LTW, LEMO Connectors, Smiths Interconnect, and SCHURTER.

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AJ Born
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