Intelliconnect Develops Rugged MCX Connectors for Wearable Technology

Intelliconnect Develops Rugged MCX Connectors for Wearable Technology

Intelliconnect develops sub-miniature connectors (ABMS), also known as Rugged MCX which come with additional ruggedization that allows for 3000 matings. These waterproof connectors have been built for harsh environments with IP67 and IP68 ratings and are excellent for a wide range of applications such as mil-aerospace, SCADA, maritime, medical, transportation, and oil & gas.

The ABMS sub-miniature connectors were initially created for use with cochlear implants. Intelliconnect was asked by a US producer of Cochlear Implants to supply a suite of connections to enable waterproofing of their new product, which would allow users to hear while bathing, swimming, and showering.

Customer Requirements of ABMS (Rugged MCX) Sub- Miniature Connectors:

  • Sub-Miniature connectors – easily mateable and de-mateable 
  • 3000 mating cycles
  • 100% reliable
  • 100% safe
  • Rugged
  • Plugs (straight and right angle) capable of termination to ultra-low diameter coaxial cable
  • Jacks for both PCB edge-mount and face mount.

Key Design Challenges that were faced:

  • Which connector style design should it be based on to achieve physical and electrical constraints?
  • How to achieve 3000 mating cycles (when generally RF connectors are specified to only 500)?
  • How to ensure that safety and reliability issues are addressed satisfactorily?
  • How to address termination issues for small diameter cable and ensure that mating jacks are suitable for Customers PCB requirements?

The Solution:

This ABMS (Rugged MCX) project required a huge amount of interaction with the customer. Given their location (California), this was mostly achieved by phone/email. The new range was based on the MCX interface to make insertion and extraction requirements easy. This ensured that connectors were easy to mate, stayed mated, and were easy to unmate by the user.

To reach 3000 mating cycles, the material of the essential sections was changed, and the (gold) plating thickness was raised. 5000 matings were successfully tested.

A special solder sleeve was developed to enable crimp and solder onto ultra-miniature cable and PCB mounting methodology was agreed with the customer.

A special assembly and test processes were developed to ensure virtually zero defect product.

These connectors were introduced in 2011 as standard RG178 versions and have since become one of Intelliconnect’s biggest selling lines (600k + units sold since 2013 to 6 different customers), but now they have been upgraded using standard cables and are currently marketed as ABMS (Rugged MCX) sub-miniature connectors

Click here to learn more about Intelliconnect's Pisces Waterproof Connectrors.

Publisher: everything RF