The Mighty Thuderbolt 3.0 Meets Versatile USB Type C

Powerful I/O Ports

As the interface between your computer and any peripheral, I/O ports are highly important. Here’s why Thunderbolt 3.0 is actually quite appropriately named. The Thunderbolt 3.0 basically accommodates the increasing quality of high resolution displays on large and smaller devices. The trend for devices to be portable, smaller and as light as possible means that connectivity often suffers as the ports and cables cannot keep up with the resolutions of up to 4K.

Using the new USB Type C connector, the Thunderbolt 3.0 considerably boosts the connective capabilities of smaller devices, resulting in superfast data transfer through the smallest of ports that maximize portability.

Thunderbolt, A Bolt Of Lightning Speed

An Intel product first launched in 2011 and intended to augment USB 3.0, Thunderbolt offered data transfer speeds up to 10 Gigabits per second. USB 3.0 managed speeds of only up to 5 Gigabits per second (or 640 Megabytes per second). Unlike USB, Thunderbolt had the ability to transfer multiple types of data: not only serial data to storage devices and peripherals, but also video data to displays. The added capability of daisy-chaining devices like hard drives to display monitors to your computer without any loss of performance makes the Thunderbolt one of the most powerful and versatile ports out there.

Apple featured a Thunderbolt Mini DisplayPort connector in their 2011 MacBook Pro, but the choice of other devices with a (production cost intensive) Thunderbolt port was very limited. Fast forward to 2016 and the situation has rapidly changed, with a wide range of Thunderbolt compatible peripherals on the market. Thunderbolt is no longer mainly the platform of choice by media professionals and Apple now offering a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter.

New USB Type C, The End Of A Flipping Era

The USB plug is that familiar plug that plugs in wrong every single time, even though there should be a 50 percent chance of a correct plugin… Look forward to no more flipping over and over again to insert the USB plug correctly into your device. The new USB Type C connector is small and reversible, meaning it plugs in correctly every time. It is set to replace previous USB types including Micro USB and Type A.

The USB Type C also packs a bigger punch in power delivery. While the current transmission rates for the USB 2.0 and 3.0 are 2.5W and 4.5W respectively, the new USB Type C allows for 7.5W and 15W transmissions. With power delivery, the new USB Type C may transmit up to 100W — enough to keep most power-hungry laptops going – and going.

One USB Type C To Charge Them All

The powerful USB Type C connector lets you speed charge portable devices like phones and tablets. The connector you use to charge your laptop can now also be used to charge any USB Type C port device. It is theoretically even possible to charge your phone by plugging it into your tablet, or use a friend’s phone to jumpstart your own if your phone battery is flat.

The Best Of Both Worlds: Thunderbolt 3.0 & USB Type C

Good news: Thunderbolt 3.0 now uses the new USB Type C connector. No longer limited by the Mini DisplayPort adapter, the new USB Type C port makes Thunderbolt’s technology available to a much wider range of devices than merely Apple’s. Look for Thunderbolt ports with amazing bandwidth and daisy-chaining opportunities in Ultrabooks and notebooks and an increasing number of Thunderbolt-capable peripheral devices. This is great news for the USB Type C connector, too. On its own, the USB Type C is just another USB cable which is reversible and capable of delivering more power.

Note: not all USB Type C ports support Thunderbolt 3.0 as it runs on Intel processors. Most mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and other USB Type C peripherals may have the USB Type C ports, but without Intel chipset inside, they will not work without Thunderbolt controllers. So if you plug a USB Type C device into a Thunderbolt 3.0 port, it will work but won’t support Thunderbolt’s powerful features. Similarly, a Thunderbolt 3.0 peripheral plugged into a regular USB Type C port will work but won’t support Thunderbolt features.

Uses Of Thunderbolt 3.0

1. With the integrated DisplayPort, you need only a single cable to drive two (daisy-chained) 4K displays at 60Hz (4K is twice as big as 1080p) to your computer.

2. Mighty fast data transfer speeds: whether you use Thunderbolt to edit high-resolution 4K videos in one or even two hard drives or for standard storage purposes, Thunderbolt achieves superfast transfer speeds. Working with 4K applications, the speed can be785 Megabytes per second and 5 Gigabytes per second for standard applications, 8 times faster than USB 3.0 and 4 times faster than USB 3.1. The limitation is the number of drives in the enclosure and the combined read and write speeds of those drives, not the cable itself.

3. Never run out of ports or connectivity. Daisy-chain peripherals to the Thunderbolt 3.0 port to connect – or simply charge.

4. The Thunderbolt 3.0 and USB Type C connector is a perfect match of power and versatility. Connecting multiple displays, achieving enormous transfer speeds and storage capabilities, and an external graphics card while charging your power hungry laptop – all through a single reversible cable.

Lite Trace – Identify Leads In Seconds

Fast-Track Smart Cable Management Without Labels Or Documentation

Simply connect the Lite Trace tool to any Lite Trace ethernet cable to identify the opposite end. No labelling, no documentation needed – just instant and 100% accurate LED identification of individual cables. Talk about real smart and high value cable management!

Lite Trace is a great tool to stay on track of your cable management goals to
  • reduce costs
  • minimize risk of downtime from errors
  • reduce cable management overhead
  • increase efficienciency
  • carry out quick and easy maintenance and serviceability

Available in a variety of guaranteed quality cable types including LSZH CAT6, OM4 and OS2. Built-in durable LED technology. Compatible with all network cabling equipment and switches. Compliant with TIA/EIA 568 B.2-10 and ISO/IEC standards for CAT5e, 6 and 6a cables.

Review Lite Trace Self-Tracing Network Cables

“Despite our best intentions, how often do we just shove a cable into a rack without the proper labelling or registering? As a result, how often do we then need to track down one or more of these cables that snake their way through our racks? At a site that has say 150 cables, the “responsible person” might only visit the rack once every two weeks but they will still be expected to be able to make a patch in the 5 minutes they have to leave their desk. That’s why a no label, no registration Lite Trace cable management solution makes sense to me. It gives me 100% confidence that I’ll have the correct cable. I just need to insert the light tool into the back of a connector and instantly see the corresponding connector at the other end light up.” – Greg Smithfield, Gold Coast tester



Rapstrap – The $61 Million Rubbish Invention

‘It’s A Simple, Cost- And Waste Effective Idea, But The Point Is No One Else Had Come Up With It.’

 

Hailed as the next generation cable tie, the Rapstrap is a reusable polyurethane band that ties up cables, bin bags, plants and has an endless array of other commercial and domestic uses.

Andrew Harsley was 15 when he put out the rubbish and the idea of the Rapstrap came up. He spent 20 years perfecting the Rapstrap, took the reinvented tiny plastic strap to the 2008 UK invention marketing game show Dragon’s Den and won to close a $61 million deal, making Harsley’s invention the show’s biggest success story.

Discontented over the original 1958 Tie-Wrap design by Maurus C Logan of US electrical company Thomas & Betts, Harsley reinvented the Rapstrap to do the same job, but four times more cost- and wastage effective. UK consumers use as many nylon cable ties as carrier bags with a substantial amount of plastic going to landfill each year. Australia uses almost 7 billion plastic bags each year, 170 per person per year, with 3% being recycled.*

* The use of single plastic bags in the UK dropped over 85% since the introduction of a 5p charge in October 2015. 7 Billion plastic bags were handed out in the first 6 months of 2015, to 500 million in the same time in 2016. Source the Guardian and Australian Ethical

Rapstrap Is The Efficient Alternative

Cutting the end off, you can use it again and again. Made from elasticated polyurethane, a single 300mm Rapstrap typically replaces up to 5 standard ties, greatly reducing waste and lowering costs. Rapstrap is soft, flexible and extremely versatile. It is flexible enough to be used on delicate installations.

Use Rapstrap Over And Over Again

1. Reusable: the Rapstrap gets used up from the back, whilst the tongue-front end is kept and used again and again. As a result, a single Rapstrap can perform several ties, and just gets a little shorter with each use. This dramatically reduces waste and saves money.

2. Rapstrap comes in convenient tear-off sheets. To use, simply tear down a row of Rapstraps from the tongue end and start tying. The Rapstrap’s cellular tie strip can loop and weave into a multitude of different configurations.

3. Rapstrap derives its superior performance from a combination of the special shape of the cells, and the strong and flexible qualities of the polyurethane from which the Rapstraps are made. This patented design is a clever piece of engineering which allows the cells to deform during use, and this in turn allows one portion of the tie strip to pass through another.

4. The cells do this by folding along their spine, which makes them narrower and able to pass through one another. As each cell in turn gets pulled through, it automatically changes shape and glides through to form a loop in the Rapstrap. However, when pulled backwards, this folding process occurs in the opposite direction, and this makes the cell’s horns stick out. In this configuration they snare the outer cell and so lock the tie in place. This prevents the tie from coming undone.

Join The RackStuds Revolution

HEAVY-DUTY NO TOOLS, NO SCREWS CAGE NUTS

RackStuds are the easy, tool-less, strong (tested up to 37kg) and safe alternative to the traditional cage nut to install IT, PRO A/V, security and telecommunications equipment in 19” racks. 

Quick & Easy: RackStuds Save 20% On Rack Installation Time

Made of innovative, high performance metal replacement polymers, the RackStuds are tested to a heavy-duty load capacity of up to 37 kg. There is no need for tools, not even a screwdriver. Rack mounting is extremely easy, front-access only, which will save you 20% in installation time – and keep your hands and head safe. Its front access feature makes RackStuds the ideal easy solution to slot in new equipment into an already fitted out rack system.

Red & Blue RackStuds To Fit Almost Any Rack

There is a choice of red and blue RackStuds, depending on the thickness of the rails and hole size of your rack mounting system.

RackStuds REVIEW

“WOW… Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner? It’s brilliant! A great design saving countless fingers from cage nut injuries and countless heads from someone dropping a switch on themselves while they try and install it at the top of a rack.” – Landon Orr, Network Operations Engineer – QualtricsRave reviews

“Much faster to install than traditional cage nuts, even with a cage nut tool. Can be installed tool-less using thumb caps. Threadless tops allows for easy equipment mounting. Equipment has a place to rest while being screwed in.” – Patrick Kennedy, Serve the Home

“‘Major problem with traditional cage nuts is having to add rack equipment into an open slot with equipment fastened on either side. With cage nuts there’s hardly room to reach in and it gets fiddly. Not with RackStuds: just clip on and slide equipment in and fasten.” – Chris Adams

Submarine Communications Cable – The Cloud Down Below

To give international businesses voice and data connectivity, broadcast services and communication access in this digital economy, we acknowledge the importance of satellites above us and The Cloud. But surprisingly, 99 percent of data transmitted around the world actually relies on a network of submarine communications cable to get around. Lying deep on the world’s oceans, this network of fibre-optic and coaxial cables connects all continents except Antartica. Out of sight to most people, a network of almost a million kilometres of undersea cabling network carries the world’s internet, long enough to travel to the moon and back – twice.

Undersea Cables Vs Satellites

Laying submarine communications cable is a slow, construction-intensive and expensive procedure. But it is still faster and cheaper to set up than satellites, which are more sensitive to strong weather phenomena causing disruption to data transmissions. Despite currents and cable chewing sharks being underwater cables biggest enemies, reliable dta transmission is guaranteed for cost-effective ethernet services, bandwidth tiers from 1Mbps to 1000 Mbps (GigE) and point-to-point/multi-point, full-duplex native low latency and burst tolerant ethernet.

The main problems with the 1071 operational satellites orbiting the earth are latency and bit loss. Transmission to and from space takes time, while optical fibre now works at 99.7 percent of the speed of light. Imagine Antarctica’s problem, the only continent without a physical connection to the net. The Antarctic research stations rely on satellite bandwidth only while producing more climate research data than they can send through space.

The explosive growth of internet traffic has risen from 5Gb of data consumption per capita in 2013 to 14Gb in 2018, posing a serious capacity problem. However, new phase modulation techniques and improvements in submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE) have boosted capacity by up to 8000 percent, making submarine communications cable ready for the increased traffic.

Mega-Cable-Projects Interconnecting The Continents

There are currently 354 ‘lit’ (working) cables on the ocean floors spanning almost one million kilometres. There are also 22 ‘dark’ cables, waiting to be lit. To satisfy our digital hunger, another ten international megaprojects are set to add a total of 90k kilometres. As the data transmission boom is not likely to slow down, many more construction intensive cable projects are on the cards.

Below are two of the new megaprojects that will connect Australia to the world in 2018.

Project KM Connecting Type Partners
Hawaiki 14,000+ Sydney to Mangawhai NZ to Oahu Hawaii to Pacific City Cable Landing Station, Oregon US to Hillsboro, Oregon US 30 Terabits capacity; Fastest, largest link between US and Australia/NZ Hawaiki Submarine Cable/Equinix/AWS
Australia West Express 10,100 Perth to Djibouti, Africa, connecting India, Middle East, East Africa & Europe. This is the first connection not via Indonesia/Singapore/ Malacca Strait 2 fibre pairs, 10Tbps per fibre pair Go To Networks

How To Install & Repair SUBMARINE COMMUNICATIONS Cable

Special cable ships run anvilled cables across flat surfaces of the ocean floor, avoiding coral reefs, sunken ships, fish beds, and other ecological habitats and general obstructions. The cables can be hundreds of thousands of miles long at a time and as deep as the Everest is tall.

Cables located at shallow depths are the size of a softdrink can and are buried beneath the ocean floor using high pressure water jets. At a depth of 2400m there is not much is going on. This is why the deep water cables, roughly the size of a Sharpie pen, need less galvanized shielding wire.

When a submarine communications cable is damaged in shallow waters, robots on cable repair ships are deployed to lift the cable to the surface. If the cable is in deep waters (2000 meters or lower), the cable repair ships use grapnels to grab onto and lift the cable for on the spot repair. Grapnels may also cut the damaged cable in two so that each end can be raised and repaired separately (see video).

The installation costs depend on total length and destination but running a cable across the ocean invariably costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Yet the install and operating costs are still lower than the production and running fee of a satellite. Launching a satellite costs at least $4650 per kg, which adds up when you know that the International Space Station weighs 420,000 kg.

Shark Eating The Internet

The benthic zone is the depth where marine life and cables meet. A 2006 study showed that submarine communications cable have no impact in this environment. There is no difference in organism diversity or abundance, although cables prove to be a good attachment point for anemones that cannot grow in soft sediment areas. From 1877 to 1955, there were 16 reports of cables faults caused by the entanglement of various whales. No whales have been hurt since the introduction of improved techniques for placement of modern, less self-coiling coaxial and fibre-optic cables when lying on the seabed.

Submarine communications cable can be broken by boat anchors, trawling by fishing vessels and turbity currents (underwater muddy avalanches) caused by cyclones, earthquakes. And shark bites. Unlike regular overland fibre or copper cables, submarine communications cables must carry high voltage power to the cable repeaters, creating electromagnetic fields. Sharks mistake the electromagnetic currents for distressed fish so they attempt to feed on the cable. To protect their infrastructure, companies like Google wrap their trans-Pacific fibre cables in shark-proof Kevlar material.

What To Look For In A High Quality Wiring Harness

custom wiring harness is designed to save you time, money and improve project efficiency.

But what goes into making a high quality wiring harness? It’s not just the outside, but the inside of the cabling you need consider.

If you’re thinking about getting a custom built harness, you want to be sure that the manufacturer is going to build you something that will last and function properly.

Not all cables are created equal, so here’s 6 key components to look for in a high quality harness.

#1 – Quality Of The Conductor

A good place to start is to check what the conductor is made out of, whether it’s a:

  • Steel conductor which is clad in copper
  • Aluminium conductor which is clad in copper
  • Fully copper conductor

A fully copper conductor is the highest performing choice as it has the lowest resistance and the highest conductivity.

You’ll also need to check that the wire gauge (thickness) is adequate.  It is vital to ensure that the wire is robust and wide enough to safely carry the required amount of electrical current along the length of the wire.

Determining the right wire gauge will be dependent on the intended usage and the length of the wire – you don’t want to over spec or under spec.

#2 Solid Vs Stranded Wire

Deciding on the right type of wire core is conditional on the application the wiring harness needs to perform. If the wrong type of core is being used, the wiring won’t perform optimally.

Stranded wiring has increased flexibility compared to solid wiring. Stranded wires are best to use when the wire needs to be moved frequently over short distances such as in a pair of headphone cables or in a patch cable. In a custom wiring harness, you would opt for stranded wire when the harness needs to threaded around and into tight spaces. Stranded wire allows for a greater bend radius to be easier to install.

Solid wires are more appropriate when the wiring does not have to be moved often and doesn’t require a small bend radius, such as routing cables through walls or in ceiling cavities. Solid wires have less resistance per 100 feet compared to a stranded wire, making them a better electrical conductor. If a solid wire is bent, or flexed, too many times, the wire will experience metal fatigue and possible failure.

# 3 Robustness Of The Outer Sheathing

At first glance, a wiring harness might LOOK like it’s built to last, however there’s a number of factors to consider in determining whether the wiring will be able to withstand its anticipated usage.

Strain relief (or bend relief) is fundamental to contributing to the overall robustness of the outer sheathing of a cable and preventing the conductor from breaking. Proper strain relief will also stop any load applied to the cable from being transferred to the conductor terminations.

Another aspect to consider is whether the strain relief is moulded or field installable and which is more suitable for your application.

Furthermore, there’s a whole plethora of ratings that increase the robustness of a cable. Depending on the application of the wiring, look for the following ratings as an indication of the quality of the wire harness.

  • Chemical resistant
  • UV rated
  • Fire retardant
  • LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen)
  • Plenum (rated for cavities used for air circulation)

Armoured ratings such as Steel Wired Armour (SWA) and Aluminium Wired Amour (AWA) may also be necessary depending on the intended application of the wires, especially when it comes to underground and hazardous environment applications.

 

# 4 Reputable Connector Brand

You can be looking at a beautifully made wire harness with great performance and specs, but if the connectors aren’t up to scratch, then you are going to have a weak link.

While there are basic industry standards to be adhered to, some manufacturers offering cheaper offerings may not have equipment with close tolerances, quality raw materials or stringent quality control measures. So the end result may be connectors that fail, or are at best, niggly and difficult to use. This is especially a concern when there is a high mating cycle (repeated unplugging/plugging).

The best way to avoid this is to only use reputable and trusted connector brands such as Molex, Amphenol, Lemo, Belden, TE Connectivity, etc. That way you can be totally confident the wiring will perform properly.

# 5 Fully Certified

A harness is of little use to anyone if it doesn’t carry the right industry certifications.

If all the components of the harness have been sourced from a fully certified manufacturer, then you can be rest assured that the wiring is of excellent quality and will perform reliably.

But it’s important to note that different industries, such as medical, mining and communications, all require different certifications.

The military in particular has its own set of unique certifications in order to guarantee all equipment being used is extremely heavy duty and reliable. In fact, many heavy duty cables and connectors are often graded as “Mil-Spec” (Military Specification) even if they are not intended for military use. Mil-Spec helps to achieve interoperability, ensures products meet specific requirements, commonality of parts, increased reliability, lowers total cost of ownership, compatibility with logistics systems, and similar defence-related objectives.

There are also unique certifications for wiring used in hazardous environments and some certifications incorporate IP(Ingress Protection) ratings for dust and waterproofing.

Another consideration to remember is that different countries may have different certification requirements within the same industry. For example, the auto industry in the USA has very different wiring certifications compared to the Australian auto industry.

Ensuring that a wire harness meets all necessary certifications is also important for ensuring there is full traceability.

# 6 Tried And Tested

At the very minimum, a wire harness should be tested by the manufacturer for continuity and polarity.

Testing the electrical polarity (positive and negative) means testing that the direction of the current flow in an electrical circuit has been connected the right way. If the manufacturer hasn’t connected the electrical polarity of a wire harness correctly, it can result in damage to the equipment it is connected to.

A continuity test is completed using specialist test equipment to ensure that an electrical circuit is completely closed and not open. The test will help to identify breaks or issues in the flow of current and ensure that connections are correct between two, or more, points.

A high quality harness manufacturer will have the proper testing equipment to test all connections at the same time and ensure no mistakes are ever made.

In fact, the best manufacturers will not only conduct tests on prototype harnesses, but they will test EVERY individual harness before they go out the door.

Be sure to check the testing standards of any harness manufacturer and ask for copies of testing records so you can be completely confident in their product.

To Wrap Things Up

So as we’ve discovered, there are a lot of factors that go into making a high quality custom wiring harness.

What makes up both the internal and the external of a harness is key to how well it will perform in the context of its intended usage.

If your wiring and cables needs have got you tangled up, call the experts at QCC Custom Cables.

Our team have the expertise and access to the right equipment to deliver a workable solution for you, in full and on time.

For more information and advice, simply click here to get in touch. 

What Do I Need To Know About IP Rated Connectors And Cables?

Using the correct IP rating is one of the most important considerations when specifying connectors for a custom cabling project.

If your wiring harnesses are in a location where there is little chance of adverse conditions affecting them (for example, connecting desktop computers to an Ethernet socket), then an IP rating may not be important.

But if your custom cabling project involves areas where exposure to moisture or dust can occur, ensuring you have the adequate rating needs to be thought through properly.

In this blog, our expert team explains the ins and outs of IP rated cables and connectors.

What Is An IP Rating?

First things first.

An IP (Ingress Protection) rating refers to the level of protection an electrical enclosure provides from exposure to liquids. This includes both water and moisture.

It also applies to the level of protection against the intrusion of solid objects such as fingers, wires, dirt, dust and tools.

The terms “IP Rated Cables” and “IP Rated Connectors” tend to be used interchangeably.

This is because the rating applies to the section where the cable and the connector actually join, not to the cable itself.

So if both connectors at either end of the cable are IP rated, then the cable itself is considered to be an “IP rated cable”.

How Does The Rating System Work?

The rating consists of a number which will specify the level and degree of protection against either solid or liquid elements.

As an example, “IP64” ensures that the cable is protected from total dust ingress while also being protected from water spray in any direction.

Whereas an installation that is only exposed to minimal dust and no moisture may only require a rating of “IP50”.

Generally speaking, the higher the rating, the more protected the cabling will be, and obviously the more expensive.

For any type of cable project, you want to ensure you are using connectors that aren’t under or over rated.

There’s no point in paying extra for a higher rating when it won’t be necessary in the environment the cabling is exposed to. This would unnecessarily increase overall costs.

To determine what rating you need for your project, there are a few broad factors to consider.

Temperature

As a rule of thumb, if you need to rug up or be kept cool using air con, as a human, in the areas where your cables and wiring harnesses will be located, then you need to think about protecting your cables with an IP rating.

Temperature has a massive impact on the longevity and performance of cables.

If it’s a cold environment, especially where there is also moisture such as in refrigerated warehouses or factories, the combination of cold and moisture can make the shielding brittle if the rating isn’t sufficient.

If it’s a hot environment, the cables can actually expand and contract, causing them to deteriorate and eventually fail. Or in extreme cases, the use of the incorrect insulating material may cause melting and failure.

To ensure a long service life and the integrity of the wire harness, custom made IP rated connectors may need to be used.

Indoor Vs Outdoors

A cable that is specified to work indoors is probably not going to survive the outdoors.

Outdoor cables, in particular, require a high level of protection from water if there is possible exposure to the elements, such as rain, or if the cable could be submerged in water for any length of time.

Different levels of protection apply for vertical water drops landing on a cable compared to being partially or fully submerged in a body of water.

An indoor cable that runs through a wall and up through the roof may need protection from dust. Total or limited dust ingress may be required depending on the location of the cabling and if it’s likely to lay undisturbed.

And Of Course, There May Be A Mix Of Environments!

For custom cabling projects, there are a whole host of factors that need to be considered.

If yours is a complex project, with cable being routed through different environments, deciding on the right rating for your connectors will require a holistic approach.

As the cable goes from point A to point B, there may be varying stress points and potential environmental exposures you may not have thought of or noticed.

A custom cabling manufacturer has the knowledge and experience to weigh up all of these considerations and help you to think it all through.

They will be able to identify what type of rating will be appropriate for the environment and recommend if a custom solution is required.

Moreover, the manufacturer will be able to professionally test the cabling to confirm it meets IP rating standards.

With an expert opinion, you can then be fully assured the cables in your project are safe for use and fully protected from the elements.

 What Type Of IP Rated Connectors And Cables Do I Need For My Project?

So, as we’ve discovered, there’s not always a simple answer when it comes to deciding on IP rated connectors and cables.

If you have a custom cabling project and you are unsure what level of rating you need, call the experts at QCC Custom Cables.

Our team have the expertise and have access to the right equipment to deliver a workable solution for you, in full and on time.

For more information and advice, click here to contact QCC Custom Cables.

 

What’s The Difference Between A DIY And Commercial Wiring Harness Prototype?

If you are working on a project that requires a custom wiring harness, it can be tempting to have a go at building your own DIY harness prototype.

But there are many important differences between a prototype which is built to simple test functionality and one that has been built to commercial standards by a professional.

As experts with over 30 years of experience, QCC Custom Cables have completed countless wiring harness projects and prototypes.

In this blog, our experienced team will give you an overview of the differences between a DIY prototype and a commercial prototype.

DIY Prototype

A DIY wiring harness prototype, in most cases, will give you the bare minimum for checking what does and doesn’t function.

Such a prototype could be made using twist-on wire connectors, zip ties or even electrical tape to hold things together for initial development and testing.

This may be all you need for a quick project that is simple to manage, where all you need is a one-off prototype to get things working.

However, if yours is a more involved project that will be developed over time, a DIY prototype may cause unnecessary frustration and expense.

The prototype might work when it’s tested, but it may not be made from the correct robust components and assembled precisely. This means it’s very likely that it won’t continue to work.

Once you’ve put your prototype away on the shelf and come back to it later, you could very well find that there’s a problem. Now you’re basically back at square one.

The more complex the project, the more confidence you get from a commercial prototype.

Consider that in a complex wire harness there can be between 50 to 100 wires and double the amount of pins that need to be attached to each end. Then there could be 30 to 50 different connectors terminating the loom.

All of these connection points make it difficult and highly time consuming to trace a problem to its source if there is an issue, especially if you don’t have the right testing equipment.

A DIY prototype in this situation can give you many unnecessary problems with red herrings and multiple faults. What you think could be a continuity, resistance or a short circuit issue could actually be an entirely different problem all together.

You can spend a lot of frustrating hours trying to get the prototype to work properly. And as we all know, time is money.

If building a wiring harness is not your core business, investing in a commercial prototype from the get-go will almost certainly save you time, money and reduce risk in the long run.

Commercial Prototype

A commercial prototype is one that is made professionally by an expert custom cabling manufacturer. It will be fully tested to all appropriate standards and guidelines.

During the design stage of the prototype the experiences and “lessons learned” from the wiring harness consultant can add value in many ways. Suggestions can be made and modifications can be included before manufacture to ensure optimum performance whilst utilising space and material efficiently.

The prototype will consist of high quality and robust materials, which have been correctly crimped and soldered to industry standards.  This removes the variable of any potential physical problems occurring with the prototype.

In addition, a commercial prototype will come with documentation confirming that it has passed the passive testing phase. This allows for full traceability and the comfort of knowing that the prototype will work first time, every time.

Once the prototype has been completed, you can confidently test it out in the field and continue on to the next phase of your project.

Handing over the process of making a prototype to a professional relieves you of the stress and responsibility to get it right.

This frees up your time to get on with work that you are the professional in.

Moving from a professionally made prototype to manufacturing the “real thing”, is a much smoother process than coming from a DIY prototype. Minor modifications to the original design due to testing results can be very easily.

To Wrap Things Up

So as we’ve discovered, you can save time, money and reduce risk in the long run by getting a professional to make a commercial quality prototype.

If you have a project that requires a custom wiring harness, call the experts at QCC Custom Cables.

Our team have the expertise and access to the right equipment to deliver a workable solution for you, in full and on time.

For more information and advice, click here to contact QCC Custom Cables.

4 Design Considerations For Custom Automotive Wiring Harnesses

Designing an automotive wiring harness presents a unique set of challenges for any type and size of vehicle.

A secondary custom wiring harness may be required for installing a GPS tracking system, two way communications radio or even a specialised console interface.

Regardless of the application, the harness needs to be precisely built in order to withstand exposure to specific conditions within a vehicle, such as engine vibration.

While a harness design may look good on the drawing board, it might not be practical or even feasible when it comes to actually installing it inside a vehicle.

In this article, the experts at QCC Custom Cables explain 4 key considerations that need to be taken into account when designing a custom made automotive wiring harness.

Using The Right Connectors

All vehicles have existing wiring harnesses using specific types of connectors. When designing a secondary wiring harness, the connectors used have to meet the same specs from the vehicle manufacturer.

If there are differences in the quality or type of connectors used, there will be weak links in the wiring.

The same type of connectors also need to be used so that an automotive engineer can easily understand how the harness works and how it impacts on other wiring.

Another point to note is the design of primary wiring harnesses can differ between models of the same type of vehicle.

This makes it very important to thoroughly check that the right connectors are used in a new custom made automotive wiring harness.

RF (Radio Frequency) Interference

Using the correct type of shielding is very important for a custom made automotive wiring harness. Shielding can be composed of braided strands of copper or a layer of conducting polymer, covered with a plastic jacket.

Inadequate sheathing can cause the wiring to act as an unintended aerial, picking up and emitting Radio Frequencies. In other cases, the RF can interfere with other electronic equipment in the vehicle and potentially cause malfunction.

With continued advancements in vehicle electronics, such as parking sensors and voice activated controls, it has become more necessary than ever to ensure effective RF interference shielding is used.

RF shielding needs to be a high priority in the early design phase to avoid working retroactively to create a viable solution. Determining the correct type of shielding often requires an expert understanding of custom wiring harnesses and the potential impact the cables have on the other electronics in the vehicle.

Weight

A secondary wiring harness can easily add a significant amount of weight to a vehicle.

Complex harnesses which power multiple devices can weigh as much as 50 kg or more. This weight can have an impact on the licenced payload for trucks and buses especially.

The issue of weight needs to be thought about carefully in the design phase. Weight saving measures can be incorporated into the design of the harness, such as using certain types of materials and minimising cable lengths where possible.

Routing Of The Harness

A major determinant in the design of a custom made automotive wiring harness is how the harness will be routed through the vehicle.

Size and ease of access needs to be thoroughly considered as these factors will directly influence the size and type of cables which can be used.

The harness may need to be routed through the chassis or between the cabin and engine bay. Aerials, external lights and sensors all need to be considered as well.

The conditions the harness will be exposed to as a result of how it is routed must be taken into account. A harness which runs through an engine bay will require sufficient protection from high vibration levels as well as high temperatures. Dust and water proofing may also be required.

Failure to ensure sufficient protection against these elements will result in the wiring harness becoming frayed and worn, ultimately leading to failure.

To Wrap Things Up

So as we’ve discovered, there are many unique design considerations that need to be factored in to a custom made automotive wiring harness.

Understanding all of these unique considerations and designing accordingly requires the experience of an expert.

If you have a vehicle project that requires a custom wiring harness, call the team at QCC Custom Cables.

We have the right expertise to deliver a workable solution for you, in full and on time.

For more information and advice, simply click here to get in touch.

Here’s 3 Industries Which Rely On Custom Wiring Harnesses

With the continued and rapid advancement of technology, the need for reliable energy and data transmission is more critical than ever before.

As a result, the use of custom wiring harnesses has become more and more necessary across a wide range of industries.

Some wiring harnesses may be as simple as two wires with a connector on each end. But for more complicated applications, the harness design can become extremely complex, branching out in several directions.

Whichever the case may be, wiring harnesses are an important component in many different types of projects.

With over 30-years experience in the industry, QCC Custom Cables are experts at designing and producing custom made harnesses, tailored to the needs of a specific industry.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the typical industry applications for wiring harnesses.

Custom Wiring Harnesses For The Automotive Industry

It can be argued that wiring harnesses are most often associated with cars and trucks and it’s easy to see why.

If you were to lay out all the wiring and cables required for an average car, it would stretch out for kilometres.

These wires and cables are essential for running the engine as well as operating the power windows, lights, navigation system and much more.

But there’s not really that much spare space inside a car to fit in all that wiring and cable.

This is why wiring harnesses are so important in the automotive industry. They are essential in organising individual wires and cables as well as keeping everything as compact as possible.

Wiring harnesses also provide protection against vibration and the hot parts of an engine. Without this protection, the wire and cables would be prone to damage.

Additionally, hiding wires out of sight is of key concern in the show car scene. People who restore classic and vintage cars often use highly customised harnesses to make sure their prized vehicles always look show ready.

Equally important is the design and manufacture of a “secondary” custom wiring harness when adding modifications or customising any type of vehicle. For example, if adding additional electronic devices and lighting such as reversing cameras, light bars, mobile phones, aerials, etc.

These devices can usually run off the vehicles current power sources but the wiring harness should be designed to integrate with the manufacturers harness and maintain the same quality and specifications. This will ensure that the new devices work seamlessly and not cause any issues with the existing equipment.

Military Uses For Custom Wiring Harnesses

The military has some of the most complex cabling and wiring requirements in the world.

Military vehicles in particular require complicated wiring harnesses which are specifically designed to meet stringent protocols and exacting specifications.

These harnesses need high levels of protection against intense conditions such as severe vibrations, high winds, extreme temperatures and water intrusion.

But it’s not just vehicles in the military that use custom wiring harnesses. Remote communication infrastructure and confidential data systems also require complex wiring and cable solutions.

The military even has its own set of standards for wires and cables called “mil-spec”. Mil-spec is an alphanumeric combo given to every component and part used military planes, tanks, radios, weapons etc.

The grading is used by the military to standardise their equipment and ensure every single component used is extremely robust.

Mil-spec wires and cables are used not only in the military, but other industries such as automotive, health and communications as a means of ensuring the robustness of equipment.

So if a wiring harnesses is graded as mil-spec, you know that it’s been built to last.

Wiring Harnesses Are Vital For Medical Equipment

There are few industries whose wiring and cabling needs are more challenging or more critical to human life than the medical industry.

Medical equipment is designed and built with the knowledge that if the equipment were to fail, a life could be lost. Therefore, it is essential that any wiring harness used in a piece of equipment is of the highest possible quality to ensure no failure can occur.

MRI machines, X-rays, medical sensors, ultrasounds and even electronic beds all require custom made wiring harnesses which will guarantee performance and ease of use. The more complex the machine, the more complex the harness becomes.

The choice of sheathing is incredibly important in order to eliminate the risk of dust or water ingress. Specialised protection must be incorporated into every medical harness design such as waterproofing, resistance to high temperatures as well as the ability to withstand repeated sterilisation.

Teflon or Silicon sheathing is often preferred in the medical industry as it’s a robust material which does not support bacteria growth and has higher tear strength than most thermoplastic (PVC) options.

Additionally, each component of a harness (the wires, cables, interconnects, terminations, etc.) must pass strict industry-specific compliance tests.

To Wrap Things Up

So as we’ve discovered, wiring harnesses are incredibly important across a diverse range of industries.

Each industry presents a unique set of challenges that must be taken into account when designing a harness.

The expert team at QCC Custom Cables understand these unique challenges and have over 30 years’ experience working on all kinds of projects.

If you require custom wiring harness, we have the right expertise to deliver a workable solution for you, in full and on time.

For more information and advice, simply click here to get in touch.