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Effective, Easy Clean Connectors for Soldier Systems

Soldier Modernisation talks to Simon Koehler, Product Manager Circular Connectors at ODU about their ODU AMC® Easy-Clean connector range

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The last decade has seen a steady reduction in the size and weight of almost all kinds of electronic equipment. Many formerly fixed-base items are now portable, or even wearable. That, in turn, has driven the development of innovative interconnect solutions and the introduction of miniature form-factor connectors. The military market—with its stringent environmental requirements, extended development cycles, and product lifetimes—has not been immune to this trend. This is driving military connection systems towards smaller and lighter connectors, while maintaining or increasing performance and accommodating more and more new technology.

Infantry soldiers have long been burdened by heavy loads; today’s soldiers still carry an average load of 87 to 127 pounds on extended foot patrols. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, this literal burden has resulted in increased musculoskeletal injuries. Every decrease in equipment weight reduces fatigue and decreases response time. In combat, those savings can mean life or death, so reducing weight without compromising the mission is a priority. Reducing weight while raising interconnection means that today’s connectors must be lighter, connect with any device and be able to handle all types of temperatures, whilst being rugged enough for all terrains.

This raises another issue how to keep the connectors clean and effective when interconnecting or wading through water, mud, snow etc., stopping to clean connectors must be quick and easy without losing effectiveness.

Q: With this in mind ODU have produced a new range of connectors, ODU AMC® Easy-Clean. Could we look at the AMC Connectors – how easy are they to clean and why?

A: If you take a close look at the ODU AMC® Easy-Clean, you can see that the plug forms a flat surface when unplugged. This feature is especially useful in the field. Every soldier/user knows that good radio communications are a key element of tactical operations. In the event of a communications failure, a solution to the problem must be found quickly. Every interface and the whole system have to be checked in record time. Our Easy-Clean speeds up this process. There is no need for an additional cleaning set with brushes and cleaning agents. It is enough to clean the contact surface from dirt like mud and dust by a simple wiping process on the mating surface. This process is possible even under bad visual conditions and the connector can be plugged in again blindly through 5-finger coding after the cleaning process.

Q: Within which parameters can the connectors be used in terms of temperature, times of use, etc. What products can be used to interconnect with AMC?

A: Our AMC® Easy-Clean can operate in a temperature range of 51°C to +125 °C due to its extremely robust and stable design. The quality standards of our customers and ourselves are very high. That is why we enable our customers with our Easy-Clean connectors more than 5,000 mating cycles. The user- and maintenance-friendly design of the connector makes the AMC® Easy-Clean a perfect choice for portable radios, reconnaissance equipment and rugged PCs, but also for all devices that are inevitably exposed to pollution due to their application and that require a rapid solution in the event of a malfunction.

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