Connector seals may determine the life of systems

3 min read

ODU connectors are ideally suited for mission-critical military applications and their extreme environmental conditions. Seals are potentially the weakest part of the system, so ODU ensures overmoulding according to international standards and beyond, in addition to mechanical seals within the connector bodies.

 Where reliability is paramount, the seals between cable and connectors are often the most significant points of failure, particularly over prolonged periods of time. This is unacceptable under the extreme conditions in which military operations take place, such as immersion in water, exposure to dirt and dust, extreme temperatures and humidity, shock and vibration etc.

ODU offers a wide variety of connector families, many of which are capable of operation in the harshest environments. Among them are the ODU AMC and the ODU MINI-SNAP series, which ensure watertight as well as dirt-proof seals where the connector is mated with its receptacle.

Products that excel standards

A combination of O-rings, potting and overmoulding is used to meet the IP68 specification. ODU has raised the bar by defining waterproof products to be capable of immersion at a depth of 2 meters for at least 24 hours, in accordance with the IEC 60529:2013 standard. Some members of the ODU AMC family even meet the more rigorous IP69 specification, in which they are subjected to high-pressure jets from a steam cleaner.

Although push-pull connectors such as the ODU AMC® and ODU MINI-SNAP® are not specifically covered in MIL DTL 38999, both these ODU connector families actually outperform the MIL spec in various areas. For customers who require true hermetically sealed (gastight) connectors, ODU offers customized solutions, in which sealing techniques utilizing glass to metal seals are incorporated in the product. ODU connectors have been adopted by numerous equipment manufacturers due, among other factors, to the outstanding reliability of their seals in harsh environment applications.

For tactical, reliable communication

Poor quality reception, listening fatigue and constantly having to wear a headset in or around one’s ears – these are common issues associated with military communication systems. To address this challenge ODU, working with a special US Navy unit, helped its customer with the development of an advanced headset system. Combining a watertight, noise-absorbing microphone with bone conductors and electronic headphones, the system enables users, for the very first time, to be able to easily remove the headphones from their ears while the radio reception continues uninterrupted. This is possible by bone conductors which enable the radio communication to be transmitted directly into the inner ear via the bones of the skull. An ODU AMC® connector ensures reliable transmission of the signals. The circular connector connects the headset with the push-to-talk housing. This solution offers a non‑reflective surface, protection class IP 68 water tightness, durability of up to 5,000 mating cycles and a break-away function that protects the connected equipment in the event that the cable or any component becomes snagged on some immovable object. It allows for easy disconnection of the connector with one pull on the cable. The ease of handling and reliability enabled the headset to fully meet the requirements of military and security technology.

Glass-seal Connector for Weighing Systems in Raw Material Mining

ODU manufactures custom hermetic connectors for load cells used in stationary truck scales. The weighing systems in the raw material mining sector are equipped with a number of individual load cells. Trucks are weighed before and after being loaded, in order to determine the net weight of raw material they are transporting. A glass seal between the connector shell and shielded cable ensures that no dust or dirt can infiltrate the unit in its harsh outdoor environment, while also helping to make the entire weigh scale tamper proof.

Future Soldier Radio

The FSR (Future Soldier Radio) is a compact “dual band radio” for use in military and security technology applications. It is reliable, lightweight, uses very little power, has integrated GPS and can handle extreme environmental conditions. The FSR meets the most demanding military standards for electrical, mechanical and environmental conditions. A 10 pole ODU AMC® Easy-Clean plug connector is used to connect the radio’s headset to the function selector unit. The plug is overmoulded to meet the IP 68 specification and to offer a flexible bend relief to protect the cable in use.

When selecting electronic equipment that may be exposed to harsh environments, it is important to consider every point at which leakage could occur between the exterior and interior of the equipment. Of particular importance are the seals that protect cable connectors from ingression by dirt, dust and water, since these are potentially the weakest part of the system. ODU offers customized overmolding solutions according to and sometimes excelling international standards. For more information please visit