Oftentimes, harsh environments can pose challenges when it comes to specifying the right electrical connector for your application — one capable of withstanding a variety of elements including dust, dirt, and rain. Such environments require reliable and dependable connectors, even in the most rugged conditions. Amphenol AIB Series connectors provide an excellent solution to meet the needs of these situations, as illustrated by a recent customer with an interesting application: a Baja racing truck modified for use by a paraplegic driver.
The Baja Challenge
Off-road truck racing is both a mental and physical activity: drivers train their minds in order to assess their surroundings and react appropriately and must be able to physically respond to those assessments and make real-time reactions to position themselves for success. One of our customers — a paraplegic who races Baja trucks — has customized his truck to meet these physical and mental demands in a unique, fascinating manner.
Specific to this situation, the driver uses hand controls in place of foot pedals which called for a mated connector pair that would be able to send signals from the truck’s transmission to the driver seat — allowing him to change gears using hand input only. Transmission-related signals and controls route from the transmission control box to the truck’s cab, within reach of the driver. This results in eliminating foot pedals while also enhancing typical hand controls.
One of the major challenges of this application involved choosing the right mated electrical connector pair. Baja racing environments are rugged: dirt, mud, sand, moisture, shock loads, and high vibration all come into play. This complicated what seemed like a trivial design choice — selecting a connector for the line that carries the signals to the transmission. Beyond ruggedization, this connector also needed a minimal footprint that would not interfere with already present controls and systems.
Dependability in Extreme Environments
Amphenol AIB connectors are the world-standard for rail, mass transit, and military ground vehicle applications. However, these 5015 connectors are also used in a wide range of demanding commercial applications — from buses to rugged industrial robots and can even be utilized in Baja racing trucks. The AIB Series are sealed to withstand the harshest environments, including regular exposure to moisture, condensation, vibration, and flash-over.
These connectors come in variations that can transmit power, signal, or a mix of both, based on the selected contact type. AIB connectors have a reverse bayonet coupling for quick mating/unmating, without hindering their ability to withstand shock, vibration, or moisture. With audible, visible, and tactile confirmation of mating, users can be certain that the connectors achieved a successful connection.
This series has a lightweight, yet damage-resistant shell made from an aluminum alloy. In addition, their large open ramps can be easily cleaned of mud or other contaminants — a vital feature for Baja racing applications.
Versatile Amphenol AIB Connectors
Amphenol AIB connectors were originally developed for NATO equipment such as combat vehicles and aircraft. Made in accordance with MIL-DTL-5015 standards and German military specification VG95234, they mate quickly and easily in confined conditions and cold temperatures. In fact, these 5015 connectors can successfully operate in extreme temperatures ranging from -67˚F to +257˚F. They work with up to 150/245 amps and can accommodate wire gauges from size 26 to 0 AWG.
Used in battery systems, power systems, engines, industrial machinery, and motion control systems, Amphenol AIB connectors serve as an excellent solution for off-road vehicles, construction equipment, railroad equipment, mobile equipment, and even ships. They offer extreme environmental reliability in harsh conditions, and their field reliability has been proven time and time again.
PEI-Genesis: Finding Solutions for Your Connector Challenges
Big or small, many design projects require electrical connectors capable of withstanding extreme environments where exposure to wind, dirt, and shock is common. The requirements for Amphenol AIB connectors are critical and having a trusted partner to ensure that performance is always guaranteed is equally important. To help meet the challenges you will likely face when looking for a connector to satisfy complex design constraints, turn to the experts at PEI-Genesis for help. At PEI-Genesis, we provide catalog-off-the-shelf and custom-engineered connector solutions for your project — just as we did for the Baja racing truck.