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    Sensible connector specification can increase project profitability

    Landscaping, lighting and signage applications are some of the toughest tests for electrical connectors. Often subjected to freezing temperatures, direct sunlight, heavy rain and even full submersion in water or buried underground, the connectors need to protect wiring year round with no requirement for maintenance or repair. Many connectors which are suitable for the job are cumbersome and awkward to install, especially in applications where daisy chain connections from a single power source is required. Sourcing suitable solutions can reduce installation time and increase profitability for OEMs and installers.

    When a connector is located underground or in a hard-to-reach external environment, failure due to moisture or dust ingress really isn't an option. For this reason many OEMs and electrical installers choose to play it safe when they specify their connectors; choosing bulky components which involve time consuming tooling to install and connect. This can prolong the installation time and drive up costs which affects the profitability of the project.

    A typical example of an external application would be outdoor lighting for a large house or public building. For a series of low energy lights to all be powered by a single power source it is necessary to daisy chain the connections. This can require multiple connectors, each of which need to be correctly installed and then buried or discretely positioned to preserve the aesthetics of the building. Fortunately it is possible to find specialist components which are designed to offer a compact connection which is reliable in even the harshest environments.

    Mark Severn, Director of Sales at Hylec-APL, comments: "A lot of people are still specifying traditional, bulky IP68 connectors because they prioritise reliability over everything else. While this is a sensible priority, reliable performance and reduced installation times aren't mutually exclusive. For example, Hylec-APL offers a complete range of compact connectors which are fully tested and certified as IP68 and have proven themselves in many applications involving full submersion in water and underground installation."

    The Weatherproof range from Hylec-APL has been carefully selected to include products which offer a unique solution to most common applications. Examples include the Paguro junction box, which is one of the smallest IP68 enclosures available on the market, and the Tee Family of products, which use dome topped cable glands to provide fast and secure sealing of connections without the need for specialised tools.

    Mark continues: "No OEM or installer can be expected to have an expert knowledge of all the electrical components that are currently available on the market. Before beginning a project it's always worth speaking to a component supply specialist to see what they would recommend. Good suppliers should be able to understand your application and offer you knowledgeable guidance on what component is best for your particular requirements."

    For the application example cited above, Hylec-APL has recently launched a new, IP68, three way, connector solution. The three way cable entry range provides IP68 ingress protection and up to 32 amp current rating along with up to six-pole connection and a choice between a ‘T’ or ‘Y’ shape design.

    The three way cable entry TeeTube design is incredibly efficient for applications where installers need to daisy chain connection from a single power source. Applications such as drive way lighting or road bollards can benefit from drastically reduced installation times as the loop connection is made in the base of the bollard and only one run of cable is taken to the lamp in the top of the unit. This can reduce the overall cost of a project and maximise profitability for the installer.

    Durability of products is something that Hylec-APL views as vital. Because of this high integrity TPE-V seals have been used to provide reliability and protection to the cable entry points. The seal created by the dome topped cable gland also offers a high degree of cable retention which will further protect the connection.

    The connectors come in a variety of different sizes, including the Mini-TEETUBE for compact applications. Both the T-shape and the Y-shape can accommodate round cables with diameters between 7mm and 17mm depending on the model. Units are also available which can accommodate a different cable size range on both ends and there are a number of accessories available including an oval seal for flat cables.

    By offering a wide choice of options for cable sealing and terminals that can accommodate up to 4mm2 conductors, Hylec-APL ensures that the system designer can specify the correct size and type of cable for the application and still be certain that there will be an appropriate IP68 connector. In situations where long cable runs are required, the conductor size may have to be increased to account for voltage drop, a condition that is appreciated by the designers of the TeeTube connectors.

    "In today's environment it is important that OEMs and installers are able to reduce costs wherever possible in order to remain competitive in the market. By investing a little bit of time during the specification stage to see how new innovations may be able to improve their product, it is possible to make significant savings later on. This is why Hylec-APL, like all good suppliers, is constantly expanding its range and searching for the latest innovations."