Neutrik's OpticalCon

The IP65-rated rugged connection offers heavy-duty retention.
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In live broadcast settings, military spec connectors and cables were once the only options for heavy traffic areas. While these products offered supreme ruggedness, they were extremely cost-prohibitive.

What the industry lacked was a heavy-duty cable with the ruggedness and stability of the military spec cables, but designed specifically for broadcast applications and environments.

Introducing OpticalCon

Featuring an IP65-rated connection, all-metal housing and heavy-duty cable retention, Neutrik's OpticalCon connection system is protected from dust and dirt through automatic sealing covers and gaskets. Its standard, easy-to-clean lucent connector (LC) fiber-optic connectors are equipped with a push-pull locking mechanism and include colored labeling plates to identify fiber mode.

In addition, the company offers a hybrid cable — fiber optic and copper — providing users with a signal that can be transmitted by fiber optics, while the four copper contacts can be used for power, logic systems, to test whether the connector was mated or unmated, and for a number of control functions, such as a camera.

Expanding your options

A significant advantage of using the chassis connector is its compatibility both front and back with an LC duplex patch cable. Connected to the front of the chassis connector, it can be used for lower impact applications that don't necessarily need a ruggadized connection.

It is also ideal for applications where the user doesn't want to be limited by the fragility of a standard LC, straight tip (ST) or subscriber connector (SC) cable. The user can also employ a chassis connector that fits into a standard D series cutout. The back of the chassis connector accepts a standard LC duplex connection, while the front accepts OpticalCon or a standard LC duplex patch cable. Because of its compatibility with conventional LC connectors, users can either apply a cost-effective LC connector as a permanent connection or the OpticalCon cable connector for mobile applications.

It's offered in a multimode hybrid version, where four 18-gauge copper wires are added to the duplex fibers. A single-mode version is available as signal mode angled physical contact (APC), which minimizes back reflection of the light signal. When working with high output devices in single-mode fibers, back reflection can occur. To minimize this, Neutrik finishes the end of the fiber by grinding it to an 8-degree angle. This minimizes the effect of this reflection of light back into the fiber.

There is also a SMPTE version. Although it is not intermatable with a SMPTE camera connector, the cable and grounding features are SMPTE-compatible.

Maximum protection

The system offers protection for the fiber optic built into the cable. With the cable in the unmated position, it has two silicon shutters that are backed with metal and a soft silicon seal. It is mechanically actuated and operates automatically. As a user plugs in the connector, the shutters lift up, exposing the fiber optics so that signal transmission can occur. When disconnecting it, the shutters close, protecting the fiber optics from dirt and contamination. This feature is on the receptacle side as well as the cable side. It offers complete protection in the unmated condition.

Available in lengths from 0.5m to 2000m, the system comes with a variety of package options, including an air spool, which is a heavy-duty Velcro tie to a nylon case, and three different spool options based on the length of cable chosen.

Combat high-traffic areas

OpticalCon is ideal for high-impact applications, such as extreme outdoor venues and conditions where foot traffic is a major concern. Able to withstand constant dragging and dropping during setup, it increases the reliability and maximizes the uptime for fiber-optic connection systems, while also maintaining its effectiveness in harsh conditions.

Mark Boyadjian is marketing facilitator for Neutrik USA.