TE Connectivity’s new FullAXS Mini connectors address several challenges in rugged outdoor environment applications – miniaturization, harsh environmental conditions, and ease of installation. One of the best design features of the new fiber-optic connector – in addition to the sealing system - is its user friendliness, enabling one-handed installations for wireless equipment and other rugged outdoor industrial applications.
Through benchmarking TE Connectivity discovered that all major OEMs had very similar requirements, said Stefan Borgas, manager, Product Management, TE’s Data and Devices business unit. “That’s why we took a step back and made a connector interface and sealing system that worked globally.”
“The challenge was more about how you handle the interface,” explained Borgas. “OEMs are shipping the same kinds of boxes to the world so the interface needed to withstand the heat in the Middle East, Africa or India as well as the cold in Northern Europe, Canada or Alaska. They all should be the same because OEMs don’t want to have different interconnect products depending on where they ship in the world.”
One of the common requirements was the need for a smaller connector, particularly in outdoor wireless equipment applications, where space is at a premium, and engineers are designing smaller boxes, said Borgas. The market requires smaller and smaller boxes so the interconnect needs to be smaller; handle more cables in and out of the box, and offer greater flexibility, he said.
The FullAXS Mini connectors are 23 percent small than TE’s current FullAXS products, and can be placed virtually anywhere on the box thanks to its flexible sealing system. The connectors offer a watertight seal up to IP67 and IP65 levels.
Borgas said the FullAXS Mini connectors are one of the easiest connector sealing systems to install in outdoor environments by field engineers. He attributes the ease of installation to several features – a 3-sense (visual, audio, and tangible) locking feedback, floating connections and a twist angle of 30 degrees.
The connectors enable two-finger blind installs from any angle – even upside down – using a thumb and index finger to grip the back-end of the connector. The ease of installation enables field engineers at any level of experience to install the connectors in virtually any location, according to the company.
“When you lock the connector you may not see it or it may be noisy outside so we provide all three senses that give an indication that the connector is locked in a proper way, said Borgas.
As an added benefit the connector system can transmit power and signal anywhere on the box.
“This is not only a fiber-optic interface or sealing system, we also offer it for RJ-45 and power,” said Borgas. “If you want to have a uniform design for power and signal then this gives you a very nice fit. Especially with 5G next-gen equipment, they will be placed, in a lot of cases, in urban areas. This provides a nice clean uniform design for every interface on the box if you use the full range.”
The connector system also uses UV material to meet F1 rating UL 94-V0 and withstands all applicable lightning strike requirements, making them suitable for many harsh outdoor environments.
The FullAXS line includes fiber-optic floating cable assemblies, fixed copper cable assemblies for ET power and RJ45, and field installable versions. Applications range from wireless outdoor, WiMAX & LTE base stations, remote radio heads to industrial outdoor, robotics and aerospace & defense. The system is available through TE’s global distribution network.