Signal Distribution

TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: Cable and Connectors

12/22/2016 3:11 PM Eastern Last updated at 6/23/2017 1:11 PM
TAKE AWAY

This is where it all comes together and the critical junctures where cables meet cables or cables meet components are frequently fixed into tight places that are difficult to access. One of the most time-wasting problems still around is diagnosing, finding, and fixing loose or corroded connections. Putting these in secure but accessible housings and managing them effectively puts the AV plant on a solid foundation. The products shown here represent a wide array of creatively designed problem solvers and critical physical links.

Altinex is great at bringing the connection points to the user in a straightforward and organized fashion and the TNP329 compact interconnect solution does the job with elegant style. Mountable into tables, podiums, and other furniture, and available in a black matte or clear-brushed finish, the TNP329 provides a hybrid connection point for HDMI and VGA along with network, USB, and power. The twin AC 12A outlets use a single power cable. Below the connector plate the cables extend 6ft. and are bundled together. The unit’s internal gas spring allows the top to smoothly rise into the open position when pushed down.

The HPX-1600 HydraPort 16 Module Retractable Connection Port from AMX can be customized with the appropriate connector modules to provide a base station that will gently rise above the desk or conference table for easy connection. Then it can sink out of sight when not being used. Each side of the doublesided unit can fit 8 AV or data modules, 4 power modules and 2 keypad modules in any combination required, using the cable ring to retract flush with the table. Metreau or Novara Keypad modules can be added for lighting, shade and climate control in addition to pre-programmed events.

Aurora Multimedia has just introduced its new line of HDMI 2.0a cables in different colors for resolutions up to 4K2K @ 60Hz 4:4:4 and 18Gbps data rates. Custom colors are available for order. First created for military projects where colors indicate security levels, the cables also make it quick and easy to trace the lines and track down any trouble. The new HDMI cables are thin and flexible with the strength and quality of thicker types. Now, Aurora Multimedia has done the same for USB and fiber cables.

Black Box Network Systems has the twisted-pair installation solution with its Cat-6A bulk cable. It supports 10-GbE up to 328ft. with PoE and PoE+ for VoIP, WAP, and security applications. The cable is ETL Verified for component-level performance. It is available in 1000ft. rolls in a choice of black, blue, green, white, yellow, and gray with both shielded and unshielded types. The shielded Cat-6A cables have an internal separator, FEP insulation, dielectric tape, drain wire, and aluminum/Mylar tape. Black Box can also provide bulk fiber optic cable cut to any desired length in single and multi-mode types with six-, 12-, and 24-fiber strands. Also available is fiber trunk cabling with MTP MPO-style connectors along with preterminated fiber cable and patch cords.

Comprehensive Connectivity Company now offers Connectivity Kits for Chromebook, Ultrabook, and MacBook along with mobile kits and Surface Pro kits. These have all of the necessary cabling and connectors to connect a device to a monitor, projector, and/or network. Among these are the Universal Conference Room Connectivity Kit that includes an HDMI to VGA, and HDMI to DVI adapter, and a USB to Ethernet adapter with Cat-5e cable. Also provided are a 6ft. Aux 3.5mm stereo mini audio cable, 6ft. VGA cable with audio, and a cable tie. For mobile devices there are the Android MHL Connectivity Kit and the Lightning Connectivity Kit.

The new 28AWG HDMI Active Cables from Covid are available in plenum (black ends) and non-plenum types (blue ends). Their smaller gauge makes them more flexible and capable of getting through tight spaces on installation. The 25ft. and 35ft. plenum cable supports 4K, 30Hz, and 8-bit max. While the 50ft. and 75ft. lengths support 1080p, 60Hz, and 8-bit max. Conveniently using HDMI bus power, they are built with Covid’s T-Grip connectors. The blue, non-plenum active cables use the same bus power configuration, goldplated connectors and they ship with Covid’s Spear-Head Pull System. All of the 28AWG HDMI active cables use foil- and copper-braid shield construction.

Crestron has an innovative solution for desktop/tabletop connectivity with the FTTSC600, the touchscreen version of their FT-600 recessed connector panel. The 3-Series control processor and 5in. touchscreen are mounted on the FlipTop lid. The cable compartment is built with pass-through plates with grommeted holes for the user end of the cabling. The unit can also fit up to six Crestron CBLR2 cable retractors. The unit can be configured with surface connectors if desired. For powering multiple devices, as many as four 120 Volt AC (NEMA 5) outlets can also be installed.

The DVIGear DVI/HDMI fiber optic cables give those signals the boost they need for long-distance connections up to 328ft. Using high-speed electro-optical converters integrated into each connector, the cable converts them into optical pulses in the transmitter end, and the receiver puts them back into the original HDMI/DVI signals. The hybrid design includes four optical fibers and six copper wires. The connectors are locking DVI type and they are enclosed in durable, high-impact metal shells. Suitable for use in highly sensitive and secure environments, the optical video transmission is immune to electromagnetic interference and eavesdropping.

The versatile line of conference table connection solutions from Extron includes the Cable Cubby 1400, a dual-sided enclosure with retractor bracket, cable passthrough bracket, and AAP bracket included. The retractor brackets hold three Retractor Series/2 or Retractor Series/2 XL cable retraction modules. The unit is designed for easy reach across the conference table from either side. The simple integrated clamp system allows the enclosure to be quickly mounted and secured without the use of other tools. To match the conference room décor, the Cable Cubby 1400 is available in a choice of black anodized or brushed aluminum finish.

FSR unveiled its new Revolution Table Solutions at InfoComm 2016 and these come in both square and rectangular models to complement the current T6 Table Box line. The five versions can all use the current T6 Table Box insert brackets along with the cable retractors. The internal brackets can contain AC, USB Chargers, Cable Pulls, snap-in keystone connectors, or FSR’s Intelligent Plate Solutions (IPS). The RT6-RD4 Table Box is designed to fit any two brackets mounted horizontally on opposite sides of the box with individual cover for each side. It can also be used to hold TBRT cable retractors and still have space for AC and USB chargers.

Gefen has fiber-optic pigtail extension modules for HDMI. The EXT-HD-CP-FM10 can run an HDMI signal up to 3300ft. using a single-strand 50/125µm multimode (OM2/ OM3) SC-terminated fiber-optic cable. Supporting resolutions up to 1080p full HD and HD lossless audio formats, the module’s tiny size makes it easy to fit into installations with other gear. The EXT-DP-CP-FM10 provides the same capability in a DisplayPort format supporting resolution up to 2560x1600 and using the ability of fiber transmission to provide galvanic isolation and immunity to electromagnetic interference. The EXTDVI-CP-FM10 supports resolution up to 1920x1200 in a DVI connector format.

The thin and flexible 4K Javelin Active Plenum HDMI extension cable from Hall Research is a hybrid copper-fiber product that can carry HDMI signals including 4K Ultra HD up to 330ft. with no loss. The circuitry runs on HDMI bus power, requiring no external power supply, and using less than 0.25W. If the source cannot provide this power, there is a 5V power inserter available to connect between the source and the cable. As long as the maximum data rate is less than 10.2Gbps, the cable can handle any resolution and color depth and it is available in lengths from 33ft. to 333ft.

Hosa Technology’s HDMA 400 Series cables are thin enough to make HDMI cable installation very easy and they handle bandwidth greater than 10.2Gbps with 10-bit color. Each also carries an Ethernet channel for network connectivity. The HDMA 400 Series cable is available in lengths from 1.5ft. to 25ft. and they are terminated with HDMI Type A connectors to serve in a variety of HD video applications. 

The CP-AOCH/XL plenum-rated active optical high-speed cable from Kramer Electronics has unique removable HDMI-A ends to allow it to be easily pulled through small conduits using the supplied pull-through capsule. Supporting up to 4K UHD resolution on runs up to 320ft., the cable eliminates the need for separate power supplies and extenders. Using HDMI bus power, the active elements only require 0.25W for operation. Each cable contains four optical fibers and six copper wires in an outer diameter of only 0.13in. The jacket material is UL plenum (CMP−OF) and LSHF (Low Smoke Halogen Free).

In the versatile line-up from Legrand is the Integreat AV Table Box for meeting rooms and conference tables. Available in black and brushed aluminum finish, the box features beveled edges and a softtouch handle. The pocket door in the cover fully recesses into the box when open to allow unobstructed access. The depth of the box can be adjusted in 1/2in. increments from 1in. to 4in. The box is supplied with a cable grommet kit that can accommodate up to eight pull out connections, and it can accept up to five Wiremold AVIP, or Extron MAAP connectors. For power, there are two 15A receptacles in the top compartment and one on the underside.

Metz Connect has fully shielded Cat-6A patch cord AWG 26/7 in LSHF(LSOH), halogen-free cable sheath that’s suitable for 10GB Ethernet (IEEE 802.3an) and remote powering (PoE, PoE plus, and UPoE) and HDBaseT. They include a snagless boot with integrated lever protection. The cables come in lengths from 0.5m to 20m, and custom lengths can special ordered. Also available from Metz Connect are the 2m fiber-optic pigtail cables in fiber types OS2 (single mode) and OM1 to 3 (multimode), provided with various connector types (ST, SC, and LC). These include the yellow OpDAT pigtail LC-UPC OS2, the OpDAT pigtail LC-APC, OS2 in 12 colors, and there is a wide assortment of other cable and connector types.

An industry leader in connectors, Neutrik offers the powerCON line of power connectors for heavy duty applications. These are locking three-conductor units with contacts for line, neutral, and pre-mating ground contact. The line includes the NAC3FCA that matches with the NAC3MPA-1 and NAC3MPA-1-WOT chassis terminals. There is also the NAC3FCB cable connector that matches the NAC3MPB-1and NAC- 3MPB-1-WOT chassis terminals. The powerCON TRUE1 cable connectors are locking 20A mains units that have breaking capacity (CBC), so that it can be connected or disconnected under load or live. The series includes five types of chassis connectors and three types of power cords.

Fitted with a new high-retention HDMI connector to prevent any accidental disconnection, the HDFC-200 active optical HDMI cable is the newest product from Opticis and it supports resolution up to 4K 60Hz for a distance of 328ft. on hybrid cable. Thin and flexible enough to be pulled through small conduit, it operates on 5V HDMI bus power to provide HDMI 2.0 with 36-bit color depth. Also from Opticis, the DVFC-100 active optical DVI cable supports (4K 30Hz) on HDMI bus power with EDID and HDCP compliant performance. An interesting addition to the Opticis line, the MVDF Multi-Format Converter accepts video on DVI, VGA, composite, and S-Video connectors, and transmits it up to 1640ft. on a single multi-mode fiber line in conjunction with the DVFX-100-RX fiber DVI receiver.

Peerless-AV has many architectural connectivity solutions. Among them are the ACCXT402 in-wall cable routing and power source accessory and the IBA2AC-W and IBA2 recessed cable management power storage accessory boxes. Designed for keeping installation profiles low, the ACCXT402 fits inside the wall plate of compatible Peerless-AV flatpanel mounts to provide wall passage for low-voltage lines with easy AC connection and power surge protection. The IBA2AC-W and IBA2 create more cable room in the wall behind a flatpanel display to store cable while providing surge protected dual AC outlets. All are constructed of heavy gauge rolled steel.

The AoC (Analog over CAT5e/6) snakes from ProCo Sound can take audio signals on a clean ride for longer distances than conventional cables. Available in stage range or extended range, the AoC snakes use the shielded twisted pair to carry 4 channels of audio and terminate in XLR connections. The stage range snakes can pass phantom power and are DMX 3-pin compatible. The AoC fans are available in XLR male, XLR female and TRS versions. ProCo Sound also offers DMX over Category cable distribution systems in 4-input hanging breakout boxes. Fitted with hardware eyes and clamps, the DoC boxes can be attached anywhere for lighting setups.

For virtually any type of connector plate mountable in standard single-gang electrical boxes, RDL can provide the D-J2 Line Input Assembly with its twin red-and-white-coded RCA terminals, which are combined and balanced through audio transformers configured to reject induced hum. The rear panel has line level outputs on screw terminals. To add an XLR mic jack to this, just use the D-J3 with its XLR input that connects directly to the rear-panel barrier block. The terminals are clearly labeled on the front side of the unit. The D-XLR2F has dual XLR 3-pin female jacks on the Decora Wall Plate. The XLRs are solder type for direct wiring connection. For a single XLR mic input, the D-XLR3F has a single solder type XLR for direct connection to a mic preamp. All of the Decora style products can have the text on the front panel custom labeled.

Among its many products, SnapAV has the answer for control system applications such as Crestron, Lutron, and AMX with its Wirepath NST-LUT1-1000 bulk cable. Coiled with Reelex II Technology to ensure a tangle-free pull, it transfers data and power over a single bundle. Its NST-122-DB-500-WH, Wirepath 12-Gauge 2-Conductor 65-Strand Direct Burial Speaker Wire is Class 3 and FT4 rated for fire safety in the United States and Canada. The cable has wet slick jackets that pull easier with less friction. It is rated for 300V and maximum temperature of 75°C.

For getting delicate signals through harsh environments, the Data-Con-X sealed connectors from Switchcraft can be used for HDMI, RJ45, Micro USB and USB A and B, along with mini USB. The Data-Con-X HDMI Weathertight Connectors are sealed to IP67 and IP68 NEMA 250 (6P) when a panel connector is rear mounted and mated to the cable, as are the RJ45s. The USB connectors are available with feed through, PC Tail, or solder terminals, while the standard USB Type A and B models are available in a quickconnect bayonet or a threaded-style interface. The field installable mini-USB connectors are sealed to a level of IP-68. They are made from a UV-resistant thermoplastic in order to reduce the effects of sunlight on the assembly.

Want to read more stories like this?
Get our Free Newsletter Here!
Past Issues
June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016