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Slip ring robustness


Hi there,

Just back from a field trip using our new Fathom Spool, where we had a few issues with the connection from the slip ring (to the control box).

Essentially, in a bit of chop on a small boat we ended up catching/tripping up on the reel-interface box connection, which dislodged it (plus we broke a couple of wires to boot while trying to screw it back in to the reel).

I was wondering two things. First, could that connection be made more robust -now it’s out we can see it’s a not especially strong looking plastic thread? Are there any other suggestions about how to avoid a similar problem in future (other than tether management!)? The reality is a lot of our work is going to be on a small, moving boat, so making things tough as possible is key.

Second, is it possible to get hold of a spare slip ring? We’ll repair the one we have, but on a remote field trip like we were we would have had a better chance of rebuilding the spool with a new ring than trying to re-solder connections (I’m a biologist so while I can work a screwdriver OK, fine soldering is not my forte!). In this case, a spare ring might have let us keep going the next day using the spool.



(Tim) #2

Craig, you’ve encountered exactly what I was worried about myself with the reel. The plug and interface cable are vulnerable and present a single point of failure that could easily end a trip, and a small boat is a tough environment for anything that’s not extra robust.

My solution (not yet complete) will probably be to install a ring guard around the plug made from a 3" ABS pipe end cap attached to the frame. The interface cable will have strain relief using a thimble which will be clipped to the ring guard.

(Rusty) #3

Hi Craig,

Bummer! I’m sorry you had trouble with this. We haven’t seen this happen yet but I can see how the connection would be vulnerable in rough conditions.

The slip ring and connectors are all assembled in a specific order and can’t be removed from the aluminum parts, but we can get you a replacement/spare of that whole assembly. If you’d like to do that, can you shoot us an email at support@bluerobotics.com and we’ll figure that out.

In the meantime, I’d suggest possibly securing the 8m extension cable to the side of the spool with zip ties or something so that if someone trips on it it pulls on the whole spool and not just the connector.



Thanks Rusty, Tim

Yep, small boats can sometimes be quite tough working environments.

In future we’ll try to provide some strain relief with some cable ties - but I also like Tim’s idea about trying to attach some sort of cap assembly around the plug itself, as a way to minimise the effects of any direct knocks. Something that screws on/off for transport would be ideal.

I also want to add that despite this hiccup, we really do like the spool as it makes tether management a whole lot easier, especially on a small boat.