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Four pin waterproof connector?

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by KK6RPX, Apr 11, 2021.

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  1. KK6RPX

    KK6RPX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Howdy Folks,

    I have been running a Little Tarheel II in my camper van and it really works great. Now that I know it is my permanent solution I am looking to set it up so that the antenna cable doesn't run through the back door. One of these days it is going to get damaged. So I am looking for a four pin waterproof bulkhead connector with a matching plug. ON Amazon I see some that *look* like what I want but you can bet they are cheap pieces of you know what. Looking at Digikey they have an endless selection. Anyone know of one good for this application?

  2. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just use a 4 pin molex. If you get the pin pusher for it you can swap them out easily. I have gone the elaborate route and not seen any advantage. I just pass the cable through and seal it with a short stub and the connector. If you really want a bulkhead connector get a mil-spec and isolate the bulkhead connector. If not you will get galvanic corrosion on the nut over time. They still get wet inside so use a non conductive grease.
  3. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Years ago, I was tasked with 'kitting up' some mobile radios for the back of all-terrain-vehicles. When the initial cost of 'mil-spec' ( typically made by a company called 'Cannon' ) connectors was rejected, for a time I used some 'Packard' connectors obtained from Terminal Supply Company in Michigan. While the crimping tool for these was beyond the project price, I was able to find cable assemblies ( bulkhead ), plug, water-resistant- that worked fine with Pelican(tm) cases. I have no financial interest in Terminal Supply Company(tm/r/etc.), Packard (tm/r/etc. not seen ), nor Cannon (tm/r/etc. may be out of business ). I did later find some 'Cannon'-brand mil-spec connectors at Acme Electronics Inc. ( AEI ) in Golden Valley, Minnesota. I have only fond memories of the surplus warehouse(s) near Minneapolis. Be aware that Fry's Electronics may have closed near your location, yet others may know of a company near San Francisco that would have what you require ( and that the total cost will likely include shipping ). Your only 'local option' might be a 'ship-to-shore' connector designed for 230 VAC 'twist-lock' use. The plug might be a bit bulky, and the price of keeping it dry higher than other styles. Hint: white lithium grease in the correct place can make keeping something dry a little less messy. Vaseline works in a pinch. Both will absorb water when contaminated.
  4. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    A trailer plug should fit the bill.

    WA8FOZ, W9WQA and N2PQW like this.
  5. N2PQW

    N2PQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agree, trailer wiring connections are ideal for this. Look for this set (Female Bulkhead mount and Male connector) at any autoparts, marine supply or hardware stores, or wherever you shop online.
    You mentioned only needing 4 conductors, but an extra 3 gives you opportunity for future projects.
    Hopkins Trailer Connectors.png

    David / N2PQW
  6. KK6RPX

    KK6RPX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the replies.

    I don't think Molex will stand up to the dirt, mud, snow and water that it will encounter in this application. No way to seal it up from the back although you could make a dummy plug for the front. A trailer connector will work but I was hoping to avoid a dangling pig tail. The area that I will be bringing it through is plastic (in the bumper) and so galvanic corrosion or a little water ingress is not an issue there. The 7 pin trailer connector is just too large. I guess I will poke around on Digikey and order something that looks likely.
  7. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    THey have bulkhead mount trailer connectors in all forms. Check out Tractor Supply, or the like.

  8. N1IPU

    N1IPU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My application goes off road and spends a lot of time on the coast. Judicious use of grease helps a lot. I used to spend big bucks on marine connectors for the boat and vehicle but found its much cheaper to have a molex kit on hand when issues arise.
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    One possibility is sealed waterproof connectors for automotive applications. I’ve not personally used them for radio, but they are made in the many millions so they can’t be very expensive.. When I’ve pulled them apart on my vehicles while doing maintenance there is no water and corrosion at all.

    Some examples

    I just looked and at least two of the suppliers mentioned are carried at Mouser.

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