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Introducing the Blue Robotics Connector Standard

Greetings enthusiasts!

We have a new guide to present to you today: the Blue Robotics Connector Standard. It’s still a draft and we’d like to get feedback and thoughts from those here.

Connectors are something that we are all using. We use them to connect between subsea devices, on PCBs to connect between boards, and at the surface to connect to our computers. Internally, we’ve been developing a connector pinout standard at Blue Robotics for quite a while. It’s important to us to have a standard so that all of our products are compatible with one another.

From what we can find, there aren’t any public standards on how to use connectors in the subsea industry. We’ve used devices from different companies that have the same connector and speak over the same protocol, but use totally different pinouts! It makes it hard to integrate components from different manufacturers.

We have also started to see some of our distributors and other manufacturers start to make devices specifically for the BlueROV2, which is amazing! And although we don’t carry them, many of our distributors install subsea connectors for their clients to make components (such as the tether) removable for ease of use.

With that in mind, we wanted to publish our Blue Robotics Connector Standard for anyone who is interested. Much of this standard is based on the Pixhawk Connector Standard, which is for board-mounted connectors, but we’ve extended it to cover subsea connectors as well.

All of the products and components we sell follow this set of standards. For easier integration with our components, we recommend future manufacturers follow these.

Below is an example of one of the listings in the guide for a serial port PCB connector:

While we have put a lot of thought into these standards, everything is definitely up for discussion and we welcome everyone’s feedback! Let us know what you think or have questions about our reasoning or methodology. If there’s anything missing that should be included, please feel free to let us know.

-Rusty

7 Likes

Hi Rusty,

I like this idea but I have a couple of observations…

  1. It’s not strictly a subsea standard per se; it’s a board-to-board interconnect - a lot like Sparkfun’s QWIIC for example. Subsea standards generally refer to waterproof cable-to-cable and cable-to-bulkhead protocols used outside the pressure vessel - if you can forgive the mansplaining. :face_with_monocle:

  2. Given that you have chosen a 6-pin format, why not make it multi-protocol with color coded connector shells; you could have BR-U, BR-I and BR-S for UART, I2C and SPI. Maybe you could have one for PWM too. MikroElektronika did something similar with their MikroBus standard and they now have oodles of third-party participants.

SROV.

1 Like

Hi @Sarawak_ROV,

Thanks for the comments! There are two versions of the standard - one for “wire to board” connections inside an enclosure and one for external connections used outside the enclosure. It’s not intended to be a strictly subsea standard, but we are calling the external version the “subsea connections” version. The real intention there is to separate external, high-power connections from internal, low-power connections. I’ll think about better names for that besides “Subsea”. No where else does it imply that the standard is strictly subsea, as far as I know. Is there any way we could make this clearer?

I like the multi-color shell idea a lot. We’ve thought of how to do that before such as various color locking sleeves. It would really help the user identify the connections much more easily. Good idea!

I hadn’t seen the MikroBus document before but that’s very cool!

-Rusty