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Connector Insights from iCONN

NiobiCONN for Underground Applications

Posted by Robert Czyz on Mon, September 28, 2020

This is the fourth in a six-part series as we take an in-depth look at how NiobiCONN™ performs in various applications and can provide solutions no other connector can.

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Why You Should Use a Wet-Mate Connector

Posted by Robert Czyz on Mon, September 14, 2020

Developers and technicians aren’t always keen on buying into the latest “innovation.” If their go-to underwater connector solutions work, why change them? This question is best answered with another question: Why struggle to keep water out when you can let it in?

NiobiCONN™ wet-mate connectors are the superior product for numerous reasons. Here are the top 10.

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What is a Wet-Mate Connector?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon, August 31, 2020

Electrical connectors come in infinite shapes and sizes with customizable features to meet the exact specifications of an application. However, only wet-mate connectors can solve the ultimate electrical conundrum—the delivery of power, signal and/or data underwater. More recently, iCONN Systems developed a patented, niobium-based product line called, NiobiCONN™ that outperforms every other type of wet-mate connector in the market today. However, to fully appreciate just how revolutionary the NiobiCONN wet-mate connector is, it’s helpful to understand how far wet-mate connector designs have come.

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NiobiCONN™ Solves Outdoor Infrastructure’s Common Challenges

Posted by Robert Czyz on Mon, August 17, 2020

This is the third in a six-part series as we take an in-depth look at how NiobiCONN™ performs in various applications and can provide solutions no other connector can.

From cellular networks and SCADA systems to lighting and surveillance equipment, an outdoor infrastructure is only as reliable as its power, data and signal cabling. As such, these infrastructures largely depend on rugged cables and connectors. Rugged connectors have long been used in outdoor environments to combat extreme elements. However, none compare to the latest connector technology that utilizes niobium contacts to offer unprecedented reliability. Before looking at this revolutionary technology, let’s consider the most concerning issues related to outdoor electrical systems and equipment.

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How Do Wet-Mate Connectors Work?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon, July 27, 2020

The first underwater electrical connector — a transatlantic communication cable — made a splash in 1858. In the early years, most underwater connectors were homemade using regular electrical components wrapped in rubber. Of course, they didn’t last long in subsea conditions (some less than one month). Saltwater, in particular, is extremely damaging to electrical assemblies due to its corrosive properties. If connector contacts or parts of the metal connector body are exposed to water, they will eventually corrode, causing electrical failure. Over the last 150 years, engineers have gone through many iterations to develop a better solution for underwater applications. Enter the “wet-mate” connector category.

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NiobiCONN™ Performance in Freshwater & Saltwater Environments

Posted by Robert Czyz on Mon, July 20, 2020

This is the second in a six-part series as we take an in-depth look at how NiobiCONNTM performs in various applications and can provide solutions no other connector can.

Advances in wet-mate connector technology, specifically connectors that utilize niobium, have extended the life span and capabilities of underwater equipment while making servicing this equipment in wet environments safer and more convenient for technicians.

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Understanding the Different Types of Electrical Connectors

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon, July 6, 2020

To name every type and variation of electrical connectors in existence would be like counting grains of sand on a beach—the options are virtually limitless. What we can do is break electrical connectors down into general categories and subcategories to help you understand the expansive inventory of products available to you. Let’s start with the basics.

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What is a Wire Amp Rating?

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon, June 29, 2020

Electrical circuits are capable of producing immense energy, but despite their powerful output, circuits are also quite delicate.

Ampacity is a rating system used in electrical work to define the maximum current of energy a conductor can carry without exceeding its temperature rating. The current is measured in “amperes” or “amps.” If an electrical circuit does not have the proper wire amp rating, the wire can overheat, causing irreversible damage to the conductors and wire insulation. In severe cases, overheating can even lead to fires, explosions, and serious injury.

Wire amp rating requirements are established by the National Electrical Code (NEC) and defined in their published codebook, which can be viewed online. The NEC sets the standard for electrical safety in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Every three years, the organization releases updates to its codebook, and 2020 happens to be a benchmark year, including important changes to the standard wire ampacity guidelines. Fortunately, one of the goals of the NEC 2020 codebook is to clarify ampacity tables, which have been notoriously difficult to understand.

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NiobiCONN Application Series: The Underwater Power & Signal Connector

Posted by Robert Czyz on Mon, June 22, 2020

This is the first in a six-part series as we take an in-depth look at how NiobiCONNTM performs in various applications and can provide solutions no other connector can.

Few things contradict as strongly as water and electricity. Nonetheless, electrical engineers have found ways to conquer Earth’s aquatic frontiers, but not without shouldering the tremendous risks, responsibility, and challenges of working in some of the most damaging and dangerous environments on the planet. Fortunately, electrical components have evolved significantly to enhance the safety and efficiency of underwater power and signal systems. Arguably one of the most noteworthy advancements is the development of an electrical connector that prefers the ingress of water.

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NEC Wire Ampacity in 2021

Posted by Rick Regole on Mon, June 1, 2020

NEC wire ampacity standards are updated every three years. The National Electric Code (NEC) is a standard set of rules for safe electrical design, installation and inspection. The NEC regularly makes necessary revisions to these rules to ensure that standards evolve alongside technology. One of those benchmark years was 2020 and those standards will continue to apply as we move into 2021.

Specifically, we're focusing on the significant changes that have impacted wire ampacity since the last update. Wire ampacity (a wire’s current-carrying capacity) can vary greatly depending on the application and exposure to ambient temperature. If miscalculated, the risk for cable failure, fire, and equipment damage increases exponentially.

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