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Marine Interconnect Sourcing Considerations

February 8, 2023

While winter is here in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere is enjoying warm weather and warm water recreational activities. To that end and in the eternal hope for an early summer this article will help buyers better understand the kind of connectors and related considerations required for applications where water and environmental exposure exist. Additionally, we will highlight manufacturers who have robust offerings for very harsh weather applications involving he most demanding jobs.
First, when thinking about water or wet interconnect applications in Marine, Transportation, Industrial, Defense and Energy industry implementations you need to decide does it need to be waterproof, water resistant, or simply well sealed. Waterproof connectors join electrical circuits in wet environments with an extremely tight seal. These types of connectors can create a waterproof seal using a silicone or rubberized O-ring or gasket that (when mated) will compress and form a good seal allowing for no water ingress.
For determining water ingress protection, we can refer to the IEC (International Electromechanical Commission) IP rating chart (table 1 below) to indicate levels of water and dust exposure to an electrical device.

Common marine, wet, and harsh water exposure want to have a rating of IP68 or better to ensure the electrical system will function well no matter what level of water immersion may exist for a given application. So, selecting a connector with the correct IP rating is critical to a good design. When a connector is incorrectly chosen bad things can happen during the life of the device including poor signal integrity, corrosion, total system failure.

Once, all design considerations including the required IP rating is agreed upon then it is time to choose a solution.
Several connector manufacturer’s have great products that address the various wet, marine, harsh, and outdoor applications needing sealed connectors. Some highly regarded suppliers and connectors include Amphenol (LTW’s DeepTronica Dry Mate & Wet Mate series) operating up to 7K meter depth. See Table 2.

Table 2 LTW DeepTronica:

Other suppliers with solutions include JAE (MX36 series for waterproof transportation applications), ITT Cannon’s (IT series) with up to IP69K rating when mated, Glenair’s (SeaKing 700 Dry-Mate) subsea connectors for use in many offshore drilling applications and Bulgin (Buccaneer Series) see table 3:
Table 3:

Whether sourcing for harsh or wet environments which include humidity, rain, snow, saltwater, temperature, or even pressurized water used for purposes such as cleaning, the connector industry has numerous options for every application. It simply comes down to what does the design require in ingress protection (i.e., IP Rating) and size, number of circuits, current & power ratings, price & availability considerations, etc. And when you educate yourself on potential suppliers you will see the vast amount of simple or sophisticated solutions to guide you along.

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