Water Proof Connectors: How to Choose Them?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Connectors are a critical element to any connection in automobiles or communications systems. You need one for regulating the current in the circuit. But what if you have to apply them in areas with continuous moisture? You will need “Waterproof Connectors” such as those produced by many industries. Among the many products, you will need to choose what is best for you.

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Female Bullet Terminal Connector Custom Wiring Harness

Waterproof connectors Designing for Severity.

Waterproof connectors exist under varying degrees of water infiltration and other environmental conditions. Hence, you will assign a rating based on the Ingress Protection Code (IP Code) scale. IEC standard 60529 or European standard 60529 defines the scale for a different severity level. 

 IP-rated connectors have undergone testing to meet particular standards for each degree of IP protection. Thus, there are several IP protection levels, ranging from no protection to total protection, with levels of moisture exposure in between.

For example, if your power connector has an IP67 label, it means that you will get dust-tight protection when you expose the wire to a dusty place for two to eight hours. However, if the exposure is in water depths ranging from 15cm to 1m, it will shield it for 30 minutes. 

The IP-68 gives long-lasting protection against solid contaminants and actively protects the long-term immersion of the cable.

IP-rated connector selection

Completely insulated wire connectors

Caption: Completely insulated wire connectors

A typical entrance point for water and dust into a device is through exposed external ports. But, it is critical to determine the application area at an early stage. Thus, it will ensure that you have picked the exposed connections with an IP rating that meets the wire applications.

Moreover, you will observe that its most common application for IP-certified connections is on devices that have external ports, such as an audio, USB, or DC power jack, along with other things. Therefore, choosing a good IP rating will safeguard any internal circuitry against unanticipated water or dust infiltration when no plug or external equipment connects to the device.

You will seal the connector and plug combination when mated together for some situations, such as cable-to-cable connections. When in operation, the sealed connection can prevent dust and moisture from interfering with signals or causing damage to components. 

However, using plugs and connectors with separate IP ratings does not result in an IP-rated connection. Hence, they are susceptible to dust and moisture penetration at the connection interface unless the design has an extra sealing device. If you do not seal the interface, it can cause signal disruption or damage to internal circuitry.

Common waterproof products.

Here are the five waterproof solutions popular in the industry for harsh environments.

Water Proof Connectors:Different types of waterproof connector 

Caption: Different types of waterproof connector 

Waterproof Micro USB 2.0

Waterproof Micro USB 2.0 is a shielded connector protecting against EMI, RFI, and EMD (ESD). These USB connectors offer quick charging with 1.8A power contacts and support up to 3A for customized needs. Moreover, they are the smallest USB 2.0 interface, so you can use them for micro areas. An optimal design composition with epoxy glue-based plastic sealing fulfills IPX4 certifications.

Waterproof USB Type C

Pluggable power and data connectivity paired with a form size that matches today’s products makes USB Type-C the ideal connector for electronics.

Waterproof USB Type C connectors provide USB 2, USB 3.1 Generation 1, Generation 2, and super communication of 10Gb/s, 5A, and 20V power supply. Thus, the developers love its reversible plug and cable arrangement. 

These connections contain waterproof glue, a ring, and a liquid insert mold in the front shell and are graded IPX2 to IPX8. Moreover, the terminals are high-quality copper alloy metals to support high current ratings.

Waterproof D-Subminiature

The waterproof D-Subminiature product range includes board and cable terminations, lowering cable assembly, and connector costs. The D-sub connectors give reliability to each termination variation. Moreover, D-sub connectors are ideal for high-reliability applications with metal shells for EMI and grounding dimples for the plug.

OCTIS™ I/O

The OCTIS I/O plug has become popular in harsh environments since it is lightning protected, has waterproof sealing, and has a rugged weatherproof design. Moreover, it is a high-speed and power-transferring connector that completes multiple industry standards.

VerIO™

This industrial I/O system is excellent for tough indoor or outdoor situations. VER I/O is rated IP67, making it water and dust-proof. Also, the rugged design makes it resistant to wear and tear. Also, it features multiple interfaces, including PoE (Power over Ethernet), RJ45, signal, power, and Hybrid.

Designing Seals That Seal

Water Proof Connectors:Different types of waterproof connector 

Caption: O-ring Seals

Different seals, like O-rings or Gaskets, ensure the connection is waterproof even if you immerse it in a 1-meter depth of water. Here are some common design seals for electrical connectors that seal.

Static O-ring Seals

O-rings are available in different sizes, denoted by “dash” numbers. It is static since there is little to no motion in the application. Let it set into the right groove for better application and fix the pins inside it for a strong connection.

Dynamic O-ring Seal

In the case of the Dynamic O-ring Seal, it is moveable and allows you to reciprocate in some situations. Thus, if you want to move the parts that are submerged in the sea or have continuous moisture exposure, a dynamic O-ring seal is an ideal pick.

Gasket Design

The gap between the contact surface is sealed by a gasket, commonly known as a washer. These products are often constructed of rubber and come in various sizes and forms, depending on their intended use.

The flat gasket is the most common type of gasket. Its cross-section is like a circle. Also, cylindrical gaskets come in sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 3 inches in diameter. The diameter of cylindrical gaskets is usually circular. The tubular gasket looks like a long tube with different diameters on each end.

Water Proof Connectors: Choosing Waterproof Connectors

Water Proof Connectors:Electrical Connection on Port 

Caption: Electrical Connection on Port 

Here are a few things you should consider before choosing a waterproof connector.

Water Proof Connectors: Understand the Environment

To design a waterproof connector, one must first understand the environment you will use it. Many engineers have different definitions of “waterproof.” Other items, such as those used on ships, must withstand more than just the occasional rain shower.

Thus to avoid over-specifying the connector, ensure that the product is appropriate for the amount of protection you require. Moreover, many cost-effective connectors can meet the given criteria. Hence, IP ratings make it simple to identify the proper connector for your environment.

Water Proof Connectors: Know the Limitations

The frequency of use of connectors is also a significant factor in determining the connector’s quality. Also, one of the essential properties of a connection is the number of mating cycles. Hence, you must select the connector limit by numerous factors, including contact design and manufacturing materials. However, higher-rated connectors typically come at a higher cost.

Some applications do not require the same level of durability as military connectors. There are a plethora of solutions available to such customers.

Water Proof Connectors: Circular Connectors

Harsh working conditions are common in the industrial sector. Connectors that can withstand high temperatures, vibrations, and chemicals are present on the factory floor, and there are a variety of options available. Factory automation, control, and robots have benefited from the M12 connector’s popularity. Some manufacturers offer M12 connectors that have a rating of IP67 or better. Moreover, you can use IP67-rated connectors in various manufacturing floor settings.

Some options are available for clients that require a higher power rating in the market. For outdoor applications, they are typically sealed to IP69K and made of polyamide, resistant to water and UV radiation.

Water Proof Connectors: Connectors for Cars

While many circular connections are weatherproof, they are not suited for all applications. Designers can also use automotive-related items. Automobile and truck connectors have various features suited for industrial use. They make them withstand moisture, dirt, pressure, and high temperatures. Moreover, they are mass-produced, quickly terminated, and widely available. These features make them appealing to clients looking for a simple waterproof connector.

There are few connector series for automotive use, but they also provide valuable solutions for other services. Additionally, Waterproof versions of current data connectors, including the latest USB-C varieties, are also available.

Conclusion

Waterproof connectors are a must for moisture-exposed applications. However, it would help if you chose the appropriate option for you. For that, you need to have a detailed insight into your application area, as well as the limitations you will face. Here at Bloom, we offer wiring harnesses. Your connection is made with attention to detail. To avail of our services, contact us now.

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