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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2012
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If you do find a marine-grade wifi bulkhead connector...do share!
Yes please do.

I've found the selection of marine good deck connectors to be particularly grim. I replaced several different connectors with this which as far as I can tell is one of the best options (for some reason I've found 3 threads to post this in today after not having it come up for monthes). It's strong and you can add any type of wire to it later on:
Salty John: Cableport and other fine boat and yacht chandlery products.
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-m...gh-deck-4.html

That perko connector is decent, I added it for my auto-pilot although I found it maddening that it doesn't have proper polarity protection. You could probably try it but the signal quality would be hard to predict for the reasons you mention.

Besides the other options mentioned I happen to know of this connector although at about $100 for both ends it's complete overkill (assuming you can get it in quantity 1). But the -07 option includes 6 power signals and 50 ohm coax. It's IP-67 and panel mount which could be deck mounted.
http://www.samtec.com/documents/webfiles/pdf/acr-16.pdf
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tominny View Post
It's an SMA connector, and the deck has two layers of fiberglass with balsa core in between, probably all together about 1 inch thick.

What I am looking for is a marine-grade connector that is not to obtrusive when the cable is not connected. This looks good, but it's not coaxial and I wonder if I use this one there might be signal degradation or noise interference because there is no shielding and everything else that makes coaxial so much better suited:
2-Prong Watertight Deck Connection
If you use that one, you can be pretty sure there won't be *any* WIFI signal getting through it. To simplify, RF connectors should look as much as possible like an uninterrupted length of cable.

I too was going to suggest a Type-N barrel, with a gasketed cap similar to the one from the power connector when not in use, but better yet would be a Type-N Bulkhead (or "panel") connector with a flange, sized for the coax run to the router.

Type N Female Panel Mount 4-Hole 1 in. Flange Crimp - ANF-5700

Avoid the solder-type, since at WiFi frequencies you won't be able to make a "clean" constant-impedance RF connection, but a crimp-on - or better yet prefabricated cable/connector assembly - would make for fewer connectors overall, and a smaller hole through the deck. (Notice they mention that "all N connectors are weatherproof" (when mated) as they are internally gasketed - which is why I'd recommend N rather than smaller SMA etc.) Also, I think N gives a decent mounting flange, while most smaller jacks like BNC or TNC mount in a round hole which would require some sort of metal plate which would likely end up being larger than the N flange.

Elsewhere on the L-Com site (no relation to the vendor but I have bought from them several times, always satisfied) they have a "custom cable configurator"

Custom Product Configurator | Custom Cable Assemblies | L-com.com

I did not find an option for the flanged bulkhead connector you would need but a 5-foot run of low-loss cable with an SMA at one end and an N-Female at the other was automatically quoted at $38. I'm sure an email would generate a quote for something similar to a bulkhead jack. If you do, spec the lowest-loss cable you can fit/afford for any run over a few feet.

For what it's worth, I ran Cat-5 to a (formerly Engenius EOC-3220, and since a week ago a Ubiquiti Bullet M2-HP) on the arch. I don't disconnect it (nor does that cable have a waterproof entry as it enters the underside of the arch), but the point is that an external WiFi radio fed by POE Cat5 (Power over Ethernet) or USB avoids RF signal loss in coaxial cable and connectors, which can be considerable. And weatherproof Ethernet and USB connectors are also available.
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

I know the PO does not want to use one of these:

http://www.scanstrut.com/cmsimages/g...18fd3c070d.jpg

Any reason why? I plan to use one, but do you have any bad experience with those rubber plugs?
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

I've had no problem with the round plastic variant (Blue Seas), otherwise similar to the Scanstrut. The instructions say to use a sharp drill bit while drilling the plug, maybe "very sharp" or "extremely sharp" would be better, but even though my holes were not quite perfect, each one sealed very nicely. I might have gone with the rectangular Scanstrut had I had more room and fewer legacy holes.


My only wish for them would be to be able to buy the rubber plugs alone, so as to easily block the holes when the cables are pulled for a period of time.
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Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?-dsc01689_mast-cables_resize.jpg  
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Last edited by redline; 11-01-2012 at 01:24 PM. Reason: p.s.
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

This discussion reminded me of something I searched for a while back. On my first sailboat (circa 1987) I installed this deck cable fitting consisting of a plastic base with holes large enough to pass a PL-259 or similar coax connector, into which fit O-ring sealed twist-locking plugs. You mounted compression-gasketed plugs on your cables before attaching any connectors, after which the entire cable with plug could be pulled out of the base and a twist-lock o-ring blanking plug fit in its place.

It came in versions for one, three, or five cables, and I believe they were made in Europe, but don't recall the maker and (of course) the place I bought them no long sells nor even remembers them. Looked for them for my second boat, and would have used them on this one as well.

Apologies for the lousy pic, it was a detail cropped out of a much larger photo. Does this ring any bells with anyone?
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Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

The other issue is that WiFi antenna connections do not like long cable lengths and should be kept short as possible, then add connections in between I think you are going to wind up with a weak signal. Normal recommendation is not to go over a few feet that is why they almost always have the antenna physically attached to the units. . My plan is to go with a Ubiquiti Bullet WiFi bridge, as it attaches directly to the antenna and uses twisted pair for the connection and you are good for a 100 meters and that will be long enough anything I plan on ever owning!
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Re: Anybody know of coaxial thru-deck connector?

Paul, I just replaced/upgraded my EOC3220 to a Ubiquiti BulletM2-HP, and am very happy with the performance. It's also nice that it runs on 12V ("pseudo-POE") so I don't need the 12-to-48V convertor.

If the power budget works out, I hope to leave the WiFi, wind instrument, NMEA interface, and an ARM9 SBC running on solar panels so I can keep tabs on the boat over the winter. The Bullet is a nice package, and not expensive.
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