Author Topic: Scurion cable connector  (Read 1293 times)

Offline AlexR

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • BPC, TSG
Scurion cable connector
« on: October 26, 2020, 12:27:20 pm »
tl;dr: Does anyone know if the Scurion cable connector can be bought in the UK without getting it from Rolf with €20 postage cost?


I had the misfortune of killing my Scurion basic battery case on the last digging trip, and am now contemplating what to do about it. I've never really liked the 4 cell dive module (for my purpose), if one of the 18650s in there kicks it it's a pain to replace, so wiring the plastic case to connect speleo or homemade cells has always been on the cards.

The plastic replacement case is £50, the Speleo aluminium one €150 plus €20 postage. Ouch. Never been a big fan of the heavy box with 4 cells, and I'm now contemplating making 2 cell packs to bungee cord to the back of my helmet. Problem is, I'd need connectors, ideally waterproof.
If I cannot source one compatible with the original Scurion connectors, the other alternative is to change the connector system (i.e. take the old ones off). Custom duo sells one for £4, other than that google hasn't spat out anything too useful. Maybe because I'm looking for the wrong thing, but the available connectors are all huge (~15mm) where the original Scurion one is 9mm.

Has anyone fettled around with this?


PS: I should say that the case has had a hard life in the last 7 years, so in the long term investing in a Scurion pays off. Doesn't change the fact that I can't currently afford to blow £150 or so on a battery case.

UK Caving

Scurion cable connector
« on: October 26, 2020, 12:27:20 pm »
Warmbac

Offline Minion

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 233
  • Diggas With Attitude
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2020, 12:29:59 pm »
Are you referring to the red two pin connectors?

Offline A_Northerner

  • menacing presence
  • **
  • Posts: 228
  • SUSS 'til you die (Also BPC + CDG)
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 12:33:31 pm »
Benji (BenFool on here) is the go-to Scurion Technician in the UK and has sourced various Scurion connectors and knick-knacks from old condemned units for me in the past. I'd have a chat with him and he might have the parts you need to carry out your Ultralight Scurion project (an oxymoron if ever I saw one!)
Sweet is the sound of the pouring rain,
And the stream that falls from hill to plain.

Offline AlexR

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • BPC, TSG
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2020, 12:42:18 pm »
Holy shit, UKC works fast.

@Minion
No, I don't mean the internal red ones but this one: https://www.scurion.ch/jm19/en/lamps-en-eg/model-overview/scurion-700-basic/23-accessories/125-extension-cable-4-pin.html
Hmh, there should have been a hyperlink in my first post, but think I messed up the BBCode.

@Jack
Not sure why I didn't think of that, Ben Wrong should be the right man ;D If it works I'll just have to do some other form of neck exercise, can't do with loosing that Scution neck.

Offline maxf

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 347
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2020, 08:53:34 pm »
If your not diving then this looks like a cheap simple solution for batteries...


Offline badger

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 712
  • WSCC. WCC
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2020, 09:01:34 pm »
or try starless river, as the uk stockist of scurions

Offline Tseralo

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 148
  • TSG
    • louisemcmahon.co.uk
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2020, 09:39:25 pm »
I think the battery connectors in normal curious are JST. If you want to make your own that connect externally Roy fellows use XT40s or XT60s not 100% sure which but both should do the job you can but them pre-wired and sealed if you want.

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1311
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2020, 08:29:55 am »
If your not diving then this looks like a cheap simple solution for batteries...



Forget this, a bad design. It was main failure point on the Sten batteries, water gets in. You need a solid container with a cable gland.
The cable is flexible there needs a compression seal, not just dipping in something.
My avatar is a poor likeness.

Offline Fjell

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 355
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2020, 08:49:56 am »
If it were me I would use a gutted Duo box to use the existing cable, much more robust. You can fit two cells inside. I did think about trying this for one of our Custom Duos, but decided it wasn’t broke, so not in need of fixing in the end.

I would be pensive about rewiring the headset myself unless the cable was damaged, but it’s an option to remove the connector.

I have made some potted cells to go inside the alloy scurion box. This is mainly because they are spares to be carried in something and will get knocked about and maybe a bit wet if something leaks. I am pretty sure you can seal wire with epoxy, but it makes a hard point and should preferably be mechanically fixed in place if it can be flexed in use. You can’t get the potted one inside a Duo box, it has to be almost bare. I think there is something in trying to waterproof it to the point you can only short after the control circuit, which does no damage - as opposed to shorting the actual cells. Dipping in plastic might do it.

The one in the picture costs about £12 to make.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 09:05:24 am by Fjell »

Offline caving_fox

  • forum star
  • ****
  • Posts: 566
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2020, 09:08:23 am »
The battery cable has always been the Scurion's weakest point. I've had all sorts of issues over the last 12 yrs with it (way longer than any other light though and it's still going). The original wires were very thin, and you have to pull on them somehow every time you charge the lamp. The connection between the copper wires and the steel pins eventually corrodes as well.

Don't have any particular help in sourcing parts though, but I'm following with interest.
If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Offline Fjell

  • obsessive maniac
  • ***
  • Posts: 355
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2020, 09:19:50 am »
Tinned wire is more corrosion resistant and easier to solder. I use tinned wire in 12V systems in cables up to ½” thick. Saves no end of grief in the long term.

Using some contact cleaner wouldn’t hurt either.

Offline ZombieCake

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1177
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2020, 09:41:52 am »


Here's a link to some various connector types.  They're typically used in radio control cars, but the principle is the same - a battery connected to a large load.  https://blog.ampow.com/rc-battery-connector-types/

As an aside the ones I use for a LiPo battery fed car is a Deans type as it can handle the current draw, and a Tamiya type connectors for NiMh batteries as the draw is much less.  The XT30, 60, 90 series are also quite common for LiPo depending on current draw.  Available from places like eBay and model shops.

Offline AlexR

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • BPC, TSG
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2020, 09:42:09 am »
General info: Tony was of course my first port of call, and he immediately offered to meet me at an M1 service station for some clandestine car park battery box dealing. As I've got a backup Fenix I don't have to find a solution in a hurry, and decided to message Rolf (Scurion) and later Ben to decide on what to do.


@maxf & Roy:
The shown potted-type design is what I had in mind originally, though I worried about water ingress. After discussing it with Ben I reluctantly decided not to go down that route; a lot of the caving I do is just too wet and thrutchy for me not to worry about leaking. Hearing the same from Roy has put the nail in the coffin of that route, tbh.

@Corin:
Thanks, I was wondering what connectors were on Roys' boxes!

@Fjell:
Excellent idea, I hadn't thought about that! Should be able to source an old Duo box without too much hassle. I did look at the Rude Nora boxes, but like any well-made box the price point is then approaching the same as the Scurion Speleo (I know the Nora operates on 3.7V, but I assume it'd just be a case of wiring up the 18650s in series instead).

Offline Fred

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 118
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2020, 02:50:02 pm »
I've seen some quite nice DIY battery boxes made from PVC waste pipe.

When this is heated, e.g. by a heat gun, it becomes flexible and can easily be forced over a wooden former. The ones I've seen were made fom 43mm waste pipe pushed over a former made from 50mm x 25mm wood (corners rounded). This easily took a pair of 18650 cells. The ends were sealed with pieces of flat PVC and appropriate solvent weld (the flat pieces can be created from a tube again using heat). A cable gland is easily installed and sealed in one end before solvent welding this on. I guess you could also pot the cells before sealing if you wanted too.

The packs used Roy's standard XT60 plugs to enable easy swapping.
The one thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all.

Offline Stuart France

  • stalker
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2020, 08:26:17 pm »
You can do better than pvc waste pipe or exposing shink-sleeved packs to the abrasion and wet of a cave.

For the past decade I've been using Hammond extruded aluminium boxes (part no. 1455C802BK) on the back of my helmets.  The Achilles Heel of these is that they have screwed-on plastic end caps, but these are replaceable - available in packs of 10 (part no. 1455CPLBK-10).  There is space inside for two solder-tagged 18650 cells which should be secured in place with a dab of silicone sealant.  If you let the batteries rattle about inside a box then spot-welded battery solder tags may come adrift over time.

I use a rugged 2-pole DC plug/socket (part no. PSG08550 and PSG08548 from cpc.co.uk) for my caplamp cable.  My miner's caplamp is the bog-standard CEAG unit with toughened glass to which I've fitted a proper IP68 chrome plated brass cable gland to suit a thinner cable than the mining type.  Where the cable terminates at the rear of helmet, I have cast a polyurethane body onto the 2-pin metal inline socket which mates with a 2-pin panel plug on the battery box.  I also keep some spare inline sockets to act as "blanking plugs" for spare battery packs while in transit so as to keep them mud free and electrically isolated.

So there is no mid-way break in my helmet cable, as in other designs.  The battery is changed by fitting another complete Hammond box to the back of the helmet.  There is no "open a container and remove the old batteries and push in a new pack and screw down the lid" because my whole pack comes off the helmet easily as a waterproof assembly (more silicone here and there).

Not that easily though.  I've cast a flat surface on the back of the curved helmet with polyurethane resin.  This flat surface is then covered with 3M's Dual Lock, a kind of super-velcro.  There is also a tree-strap so it can't drop off even if given a hard knock.  I've done this to several helmets over the years as the fashion for light-weight helmets these days means a tendency to crack.

This system has served me well for a decade.  Yes the plastic end caps do wear away, as seen in my photos, but they are cheap to replace at £1, and a complete new Hammond box is only £10, all from rapidonline.com

As to my caplamp, I've fitted four 1W LEDs and a driver circuit.  Two warm white and two bright white.  Nice shade for stals.  The on-off switch is a waterproof 5K pot where the usual miner's rotary switch would go.  This gives an off setting then variable brightness levels.  So there is none of that "click once for this and reverse click twice for that" kind of stuff as the brightness is instantly and infinitely adjustable like a volume knob is.

Finally, the curious extra bit of Dual Lock on the side of my helmet is to hold a battery pack for a light that I use to illuminate my compass/clino capsules using a surface mount non-magnetic white LED on the end of a short umbilical cable.

As 18650 batteries cost $5 on ebay etc, you should see that a complete battery pack costs less than £20.  The LEDs, lenses and drivers are also peanuts.  Why on earth spend £500 on a caving lamp or £120 just for a box?



« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 08:40:08 pm by Stuart France »

Offline andrewmc

  • BCA ind. rep.
  • junky
  • ****
  • Posts: 974
  • EUSS, BEC, YSS, SWCC...
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2020, 10:14:11 pm »
That does look good and robust, although presumably not quite as light as a bit of pipe and some bungee cords? Many options for my eventual battery-building project.

Offline Stuart France

  • stalker
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2020, 11:04:27 pm »
I don't think there is any absolutely ideal solution using off the shelf components.

The helmet rear side is curved, so you need a box that is curved (a la Scurion, Petzl etc) and bolted on to it, or you somehow need to flatten the surface which I did by casting a level polyurethane block there.  Once you've got rid of the notion of a bolted-on-funny-shaped-box, then you can use any regular box on the world market that happens to fit the batteries.  Obviously it would be nice to find a helmet that has a flat face at the rear for a battery... like some building-site/mining helmets of yore used to have a flat face at the front for fitting a lamp bracket!

Having obtained a flat rear face to your helmet, the next question is:  should your now rectangular world standard box have a flying lead that unites with a flying lead from the caplamp somewhere near your ear, or do you put a socket on the battery box and have a lead coming out of the caplamp that reaches all the way to the battery box?

I've been looking at standard sockets for decades, decades, for caving purposes and I feel these el-cheapo robust ones from CPC (and other sources) fit the bill.  They have a captive locking ring as well, so don't fall apart by accident, but they are not always easy to unscrew with wet cold fingers :(

These are the same brand of multipole connectors that were picked for cave rescue Heyphones.

The weight of my battery box including the two 18650 cells inside, the socket, Dual Lock etc is 180g.

I'd steer clear of plastic tubes and rubber bands to hold them on caving helmets.  I'm surprised how much my Hammond boxes get abraded by travel through small spaces.  Mine exploration people are used to walking about in pretty big passages and contact between helmet (thus battery) and surfaces is largely a non-issue for them.

As to polyurethane resin, Brussels has gone and banned the organic-mercury catalyst that is/was used in microscopic amounts to cure PU resin.  The original PU chemistry patent makes interesting reading re catalysis.  The substitute PU products now suffer from slow cure times, brittle results and casting related problems.  3D printing is one answer to that, but it is a major faff and the result will also be more brittle than the EU-approved PU resin offerings nowadays which have, regrettably, been rendered a tad useless.  Import the old style PU resin components from beyond the EU border perhaps?

Anyway good luck with your battery project.



« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 11:14:31 pm by Stuart France »

Offline Tseralo

  • addict
  • **
  • Posts: 148
  • TSG
    • louisemcmahon.co.uk
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2020, 12:07:06 am »
As to polyurethane resin, Brussels has gone and banned the organic-mercury catalyst that is/was used in microscopic amounts to cure PU resin.  The original PU chemistry patent makes interesting reading re catalysis.  The substitute PU products now suffer from slow cure times, brittle results and casting related problems.  3D printing is one answer to that, but it is a major faff and the result will also be more brittle than the EU-approved PU resin offerings nowadays which have, regrettably, been rendered a tad useless.  Import the old style PU resin components from beyond the EU border perhaps?

I have been working on a design for a 3D printed (FFM) battery box. your right that PLA the most common 3d printing filament is quite brittle but newer filaments like PETG or Polycarbonate or Nylon are plenty strong enough especially if you use some of the exotic carbon fibre filled filaments.

Online Fulk

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 4382
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2020, 08:27:43 am »
Quote
Why on earth spend £500 (~£75 on a Fenix) on a caving lamp or £120 just for a box?

'Cos I'm f****** useless at electronic do-it-yourself!!  :)

Offline AlexR

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • BPC, TSG
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2020, 02:23:24 pm »
This is intended as a reference for anyone who has the misfortune of ending up here. Given at the wealth of knowledge above, this may come in useful for anyone going down a similar road. Bear in mind the below is written by an idiot, and one with no electronics experience at that. If you know electronics, avert your gaze.
I was specifically looking for relatively low-profile connectors as I want to keep the connection under my helmet rather than on the outside or even on the battery box. Huge 2cm diameter mil-spec connectors exist, but they won't fit under the lid with my noggin. Which connector might work will depend on your helmet.


Waterproof connectors: (and water resistant, IP65 or above)

You will quickly find that there is an extreme wealth of connectors, ranging from cheap and cheerful ebay ones (1) to the eye-wateringly expensive, deeps-sea rated Fischer Ultimate series (2). These broadly fall into two categories: JST-style connectors that clip together and circular connectors that have an actual thread holding the two parts together.

In corner one we have:
- JST JWPF, 26-22 AWG wire (0.14-0.34 mm²), mating cycle life not specified, manufacturer contacted but not reply (3)
- TE Connectivity SlimSeal, 18 AWG wire ( 0.75 mm²), rated for 30 mating cycles (4)
- Molex Squba, 22-24 AWG (0.25-0.34 mm²), diameter inc. insulation 0.95-1.4 mm (5)

In between the two lies the
- ITT Cannon Mini SureSeal (6), seems pretty good, but you need a million individual parts and the contacts are not gold plated.

Then we go on to the big boys (not necessarily in size, but usually), such as
- The aforementioned ebay connectors (1), probably fine but not exactly slim at 15mm nut diameter. Supposedly only IP65, I suspect it can handle more
- TE Connectivity, 4 pin circular connector (7)
- Bulgin Buccaneer, dito (8 )
- Lutronic 4 pin sensor cable, my personal favourite as it is the slimmest out of the bunch (9)
mating cycle life is generally stated as 100+

If you want to find more/ your own, what you're looking for is an M8 IP68 circular connector/ sensor or actuator connector.

The general theme is this: If you want more than a handful of mating cycles, the connectors in the first category are probably not the right choice.

(1) https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/392377017356?mkevt=1&mkcid=28&chn=ps
(2) https://www.fischerconnectors.com/sites/default/files/specifications/fischerultimateseries_techspecs_sept19.pdf
(3) https://docs.rs-online.com/b463/0900766b81670286.pdf
(4) https://docs.rs-online.com/9dcf/0900766b80f8e8e9.pdf
(5) https://docs.rs-online.com/312d/A700000006776403.pdf
(6) https://docs.rs-online.com/3bc0/0900766b80787d75.pdf
(7) https://www.te.com/global-en/product-CAT-SE594-M1L.html
(8 ) https://docs.rs-online.com/5eb6/0900766b815e8cb3.pdf
(9) https://cdn-reichelt.de/documents/datenblatt/C152/0800_0_.pdf

(I'm no shill for RS, it was simply an easy place to find data sheets)



Battery boxes


Scurion basic box:
This isn't a write-off, it's just the connectors to the helmet that are fudged. That being said I've experienced long-standing issues with water ingress which I have not managed to fix by new o rings and reassembly of the cable gland. I still opted to go for a modular attachment mode in the form of Velcro Alfa Lok (10), I believe 3M makes a similar product. Due to its size the lid of the Scurion box forms a sort of lever, I foresee issues with the box receiving knocks in constricted passages. Only real caving will tell how this pans out.
I fitted a removable capture cord by holding a knot captive in a softshackle-style noose as seen below. This is 1.8mm UHMWPE (Dyneema) with an EStar stopper, inserted into one of the fixture points with a screw of slightly smaller diameter than the original one.

Duo box:
I've obtained a Duo box and stripped the inside, which is a somewhat destructive but not difficult procedure. As per the info on CustomDuo, two 18650 cells do just about fit, however it is an extremely snug fit at the lid end to the point where this may distort the lid very slightly. There are however stand-offs at the bottom of the case which normally serve to hold the AA insert in place.
I set about removing them (very start shown below), initially with an extended dremel tool and subsequently an old soldering iron. Be warned, either procedure is fiddly at best and the case could easily be damaged beyond use with a simple slip. I recommend protecting the sealing lip of the case with tape, it is here that even minor damage could render your box useless. This process also necessitates the sealing of the bottom screw hole from the outside.
I fitted the case with a capture cord comparable to that above, this is much easier in the Duo box as the upper screw attachments actually go through an outer wall, so the cordage can easily be threaded through. It's worth mentioning that due to its smaller size and weight the Duo box is held much more securely by the Velcro than its Scurion counterpart.

(10) https://s23775.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2019/05/VELCROr-Brand-ALFA-LOKr-6411.pdf

Fiddler beware, at the end of the day this is a bodge job, and I would not recommend anyone follow it unless they find themselves light of wallet and in need of a box.
I reckon the Duo box will work absolutely fine, but then again I thought I'd grow up to be an astronaut. So there's that.

Offline royfellows

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1311
    • mineexplorer.com
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2020, 03:34:27 pm »
Just an idea. Please don't take this as professional advice coming from "Fellows Caplamps", I know very little about Scurions and have never even handled one!
So
Would it be possible to dump the plug altogether and fit a one piece cable? The battery could be disconnected inside the battery case to transport and storage. I rather expect, (guesswork, ref above) that it would require soldering skills inside the lamp but nothing more.

Am I missing something?
My avatar is a poor likeness.

Offline AlexR

  • regular
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • BPC, TSG
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2020, 04:12:19 pm »
It is possible, though I have basic soldering skills only and would leave this to someone who knows what they are doing, like Ben or Rolf.
Indeed that's the normal design of Scurions, I believe it's only the basic which has the connector which is intended to give it more flexibility.

This is what I would go for if I were to purchase a Speleo battery box as at that point you'd have a good box and no need for modularity, so the connector is an unnecessary weakness. If I did this, the lamp would then be permanently tethered to one of the above battery box options, which at present I don't want.

Online alastairgott

  • forum hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 1941
Re: Scurion cable connector
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2020, 07:40:23 pm »
Next you'll be splicing your own rope to save on postage.  :tease: :blink:

 

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal