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International Workshop on Very Large Volume Neutrino Telescope (VLVnT09), Athènes : Grèce (2009)
A New Technique for the Deep-Sea Mating of Inexpensive Connectors
S. Beurthey1
ANTARES Collaboration(s)

Deep-sea electric and optical connections can often be problematic. Several manufacturers propose wet-mateable connectors based on integrated valve systems but the complexity and precision needed to reach the required reliability result in high cost. We are therefore developing a new type of tooling for connecting cheap standard wet-mateable connectors under oil in deep sea water pressure conditions. Complexity is delocalised from the connector to the easily recoverable and reparable tooling. The cost of wet connections is consequently expected to be drastically reduced, with reliability enhanced. The tooling contains 2 carriers sliding on a linear stage together with a second perpendicular stage intersecting the line between the carriers. The carriers and linear stages are enclosed in a clam-shelled oil-fillable volume. Each half of the connector to be mated is fixed to its respective carrier in a ROV operation. The waterproof caps of the two connectors automatically attach to the third carrier on the perpendicular stage. Seawater around the connectors is replaced with non-conductive oil, and both halves of the connector are detached from their sealing caps, which are then moved sideways to allow the connector to be mated under oil. The clamshells are then opened, allowing the mated connector to be removed by the ROV. A reverse capping procedure is applied for disconnection.
1 :  CPPM - Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille
Sciences de l'ingénieur/Electronique
Wet-mateable connector – Mating tooling