For engineers and purchasers who want to take advantage of the USB Type-C connector’s small footprint for harsh environment applications, Amphenol released a rugged version with a robust construction and an IP67 rating that also delivers electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection. Like the standard USB Type-C connector the rugged version offers power levels up to 100 watts, the ability to handle faster data rates and multiple data protocols, and reversible mating in a tiny footprint for portable devices.
“We have developed over a number of years a wide variety of commercial I/O interfaces that are intended for harsh environments. These include products such as D-subs, RJ connectors, and USBs in all different shapes and sizes,” said Adrian Green, engineering director, Amphenol Canada. “All of these are IP67 rated. This means they are suitable for applications where they may be temporarily immersed in water up to one meter for 30 minutes.”
“In a lot of cases for smart phones or tablets you may not necessarily need that harsh environment feature but there are a lot of devices that could need it,” said Green.
A key feature of the connector is its construction – a diecast [zinc alloy with nickel plating] shell assembly. “It’s intended to be screwed to the panel and we utilize a conductive silicon rubber gasket to provide the seal. It seals not only for dust and water but also provides EMI protection,” said Green.
The conductive silicon rubber gasket is part of what makes it IP67 rated. “It provides a seal on the outside of the shell and we use internal seals and gaskets to provide protection through the connector,” Green continued.
With a more robust construction and an IP67 rating, these connectors are suited for a variety of harsh environment applications. These include factory automation, outdoor communications, portable vehicle-mounted instrumentation, navigation systems, and security surveillance equipment.
The ruggedization of the USB Type C makes it a target for industrial, medical as well as military/aerospace applications where they are looking for rugged tablets when out in the field, said Cathy Rew, product manager for harsh environment products, Amphenol Canada.
“It’s intended for harsh environments that may see a lot of temperature cycling, and a lot of shock and vibration particularly if it’s going into a military or industrial application, said Green.
The IP67 rating makes it unique, said Green. Another difference versus the standard USB Type C is the termination style, he said.
Amphenol’s product uses solder tail terminations compared to a surface-mount or hybrid footprint that uses a mix of through-hole and surface-mount terminations. The benefit of the soldier tail is that it is more robust, said Green. “It will stand up to a lot of mechanical shock and vibration and even thermal cycling. So it’s going to be more resistant to external stresses. Surface-mount terminations can fracture a lot more easily.”
However, the mating interface is the same as the USB standard, and the rugged Type C is compatible with other USB Type C, A or B protocols. “We want it to be compatible with any of the other devices. It’s compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.1 interfaces using the low-speed or high-speed signaling as well as the different power level requirements,” said Green.
“According to the latest standard, you can operate it up to 20 volts. With the 20 volts and 5-amp current rating you can get up to 100 watts of power, which is a lot more power than any of the older generations could provide,” said Green. “You have the ability to provide power as well as signal transmission to a lot of portable devices so you would not necessarily need to have a separate power source. You could essentially have one connector on the device that can provide power and signal in that same connection.”
The rugged connector is available in two different versions: right angle and vertical PCB terminations. The line also offers different threading and gasket options. Protective dust covers will also be available. The connector is rated for 10,000 mating cycles.
Key specs include:
- Thermal Shock: 5 cycles @ -40° to +125° C
- Physical Shock: 30g’s ½ Sine for 11ms
- Humidity: EIA-364-31 Condition C, method III
- Vibration: EIA-364-28 Condition V, letter A
- Salt spray: EIA-364-26 for 250 hrs
- Current rating: 1.25A per contact
- Contact resistance: 40 mΩ max
- Insulation resistance: 100 MΩ min
- DWV: 100 VAC
- Differential Impedance: 90Ω ± 15Ω