Ask any technical support officer “what is the biggest day-to-day challenge of deploying covert surveillance equipment” and “wiring systems together” will, undoubtedly, be high on the list.
Installing devices such as digital video recorders, cameras, microphones and batteries can be a major problem as a myriad of differing cables and connector types have to be interfaced
together to make one operational system.
In the past, video surveillance products could be fitted with standard video connectors such as BNCs without compromising the size of the device. With electronics becoming more and more miniaturised, designing feature rich digital video and audio recorders in minute packages is now possible. Standard connectors are not viable for such small devices, so other options have to be considered. This is all well and good, but how do you connect cameras, microphones, record triggers, and DC power etc to such small devices in a robust and reliable way?
There are a number of competing requirements but the ideal connector system would be:
Most commonly, manufacturers select from the vast array of commercially available connectors for their surveillance products. Due to their small size and wide availability, 2.5 mm jack plugs are often employed which have the advantage of being small, but do not latch and are certainly not waterproof. Rugged and latching multi-pin connectors are available from specialist manufactures such as Lemo, Binder, Hirose and Fischer etc. These parts offer watertight options but the complete socket, plug, and cable clamp assembly tend to be excessively long (over 60 mm) increasing the devices size when deployed.
An alternative strategy is to use a single, very high density, multi-pin connector for all the interfaces to the unit. This keeps the product small and can be designed to be watertight, robust and latching. However, to cater for all the connection possibilities, the mating cable assembly often consists of many leads, which can be far larger than the recorder itself! One way to help reduce the cable count is to make up assemblies specifically for the task in hand, but soldering to such small, high-density pins is all but impossible.
Over the past 15 years, Ovation Systems have used both of the above techniques for its range of video surveillance products. However, with products becoming ever smaller and more complex using traditional connectors was introducing unacceptable compromises. With no “ideal” connector on the market, the company decided to develop its own connector with a complementing range of cable assemblies and peripherals.
Based on a 4-pin miniature watertight, latching connector, i-Conex certainly meets the basic requirements for a surveillance deployment. The i-Conex plug is over-moulded in the factory, resulting in reduced length and width when compared to traditional cable clamp designs. To make installation of Ovation products as simple as possible, i-Conex includes a full range of interfacing cable assemblies to commonly used video, audio and DC power connectors (eg BNC, RCA Phono and 2.1mm jacks).
As all inputs use the same 4-pin connector, i-Conex sockets are colour coded to indicate their function; yellow for video, red and white for audio etc. Careful electronic design is used to ensure any misplaced cable will not cause damage to the host unit. At first sight, using the same connector for all inputs and outputs may be considered a drawback, but it does have one very significant advantage.
A common input connector format allows any cable to be lengthened by a range of i-Conex shielded extension leads of 0.5, 1.0 and 5.0 metres in length. With i-Conex, lengthening any cable is now a simple matter of adding the appropriate in-line extension; a capability that is especially useful when installing cameras and microphones in hard to reach locations.
Finally, to make installation as easy as possible, a range of i-Conex peripherals has been developed, including low-light bullet cameras, Knowles microphones, GPS receivers etc. Camera power and mic bias is included on the i-Conex audio and video interfaces making a simple one cable connection to these peripheries.
i-Conex is now available for Ovation's FlashBack-2C and FlashBack-3C DVRs. Many other products, including the micro-FourSight-C miniature video quad, will follow shortly.
Due to continual product development Ovation Systems reserve the right to change specifications without notice. E&OE.