Waterproof connectors suit challenging projects to a Tee
Electrical installations need protecting from the elements and few applications provide more challenges than those that need to be waterproof. Waterproof connectors often protect the most vital functions within a system and where environmental aspects can be variable, it’s sensible to opt for a specification to suit the worst case scenario the installation is likely to encounter. Connectors designated IP68 are suitable for continuous immersion in water, generally up to a depth of a metre or more, with no ingress of harmful moisture. The Tee range of waterproof products from Hylec has proved successful in a wide variety of applications, is re-useable as it does not require gel and accommodates a wide range of cable sizes. Additionally, TeeTube connectors have a screw clamp termination that removes the need for bespoke tooling. A look at some applications where the Tee range is in use gives a good indication of the reliability which is expected of waterproof electrical connectors.
Dawes Highway Safety, specialists in engineering automotive road safety solutions, needed to source waterproof connectors for its DawesGuard® safety apparatus. DawesGuard® is a safety curtain that attaches to heavy vehicles and prevents cyclists or pedestrians getting caught under and run over by the rear wheels. The DawesGuard® needs to operate with 100% reliability, but being attached to the underside of vehicles, is subject to harsh environmental conditions year-round. The electrical components used also need to be completely protected from fluid ingress not only from standing water on the roadway but also from water jets during frequent heavy hosing down. Three TeeTube connectors are used in each DawesGuard® to extend the vehicle wiring harness into the safety system. They ensure vital electrical connections remain waterproof and maintain system integrity and reliability.
Dawes Highway Safety consulted Hylec-APL’s technical team and selected TeeTube connectors as they provide a completely water-tight seal to IP68 at up to 5 bar. In addition to being exceptionally hardwearing and robust, TeeTubes have a unique space-saving design - the terminal block with secure sealing forms part of the external housing and can be directly screwed to the connector’s entry points, so no secondary housing is required. The range is very comprehensive and includes straight through, T splitter and Y splitter models for 2 and 3 cable entry in a variety of sizes. There are also dual terminal versions available for easy fitting and looping of conductors (2+2 and 3+3pole). Standard Series TTK20 TeeTubes have a diameter of 26.5mm for cables of between 5mm and 13 mm and suit 32A max current. For really tight spaces, there are Micro TeeTubes which are a mere 23mm in diameter, while larger cables between 8mm and 17mm diameter can be accommodated in the slightly larger 32mm diameter TTK25 Series.
IP68 TeePlug connectors play an important part in flood prevention around the towns of Windsor, Eton and Maidenhead. At Taplow Weir, located at the head of the man-made Jubilee River which diverts water away from the Thames and prevents flooding, three sluice gates control water levels, increasing the flow during heavy prolonged rainfall. Transducers are used to monitor the position of the gate rams and any failures need to be repaired as quickly as possible. To assist routine maintenance at the weir, the decision was made to upgrade the transducers with TeePlug inline plug and socket connectors. Maintenance teams can now quickly connect and disconnect transducers for testing and replacement times in the event of a failure are very much shorter. This means that the weir can be monitored at all times and ensures that the surrounding towns are protected from flooding. The TeePlug TH384 series was chosen as it is compact and quick to install while offering IP68 protection. Unlike many waterproof connectors, which are often cumbersome and require a time consuming tooling process to connect and install, TeePlugs use a simple cable gland design to facilitate quick wire entry that is completely water tight. Ten units were ordered for use at the weir and they have been used successfully since the initial installation.
Other TeePlug Series are available, including panel mounting versions, and where space is tight, IP68-rated Micro TeePlugs (TH387 Series), that measure just 23mm across by 52 mm long.
Keeping the lights on
Cannes Film Festival was the glamorous setting for another customer project successfully accomplished using products from Hylec’s Teebox power distribution connector range. Although the sun generally shines in May in the South of France, short, sharp thunder bursts aren’t uncommon either! Team Air Express transports and fabricates equipment at the Festival for a number of UK-based international film agents. Often the seafront apartments are converted into offices during the festival period and large advertising displays which are lit up at night are set up on the terraces. Team Air Express designs and builds the lighting rigs, transports them to the event and then has a tight time frame of a few days in which to install them. The project is quite challenging as some displays need up to 20 individual spotlights, they all have to run from domestic sockets and the rigs have to withstand heavy rain. Team Air Express used a product from the Teebox TH630/TH361 series, which features a 1 in, 2 out, T design, perfect for daisy-chaining multiple lights from a single power source. Rated to IP68, the Teebox distribution connector is extremely compact and quick to install. Cable entry points on each connector are protected thanks to a dome-topped cable gland with high integrity TPE-V seals. Each connector is keyway protected and has a double O ring seal, features that prevent incorrect connector assembly to the hub and ensures the IP rating once the locking ring is securely closed. Team Air Express found that the compact design not only suited and improved the aesthetics of the lighting rigs, but also helped to reduce the volume of material during transportation. Another huge advantage is the ability to re-use the connectors year after year as no silicone gel is required to protect the connection.
These are just a few examples of how the right waterproof connector system not only keeps electrical systems functioning but provides years of maintenance-free and trouble-free service.
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