We need to protect our electronics from the weather and we use enclosures to accomodate that. But we still need to to be able to connect those protected electronics to the outside world. Here are some of those connection types:
An A/C Power Cord - We need one of these to provide power to the Power Supply (PSU).
A Network Connection - The controller needs a connection to the network and this is usually provided via a network cable (CAT-5 or CAT-6).
Pigtails - These are used to communicate between the controller board and the pixels. There can be anywhere from four to forty eight of these depending on the number of controller outputs.
Power Injection Connections - If power injection is being used, some number of these will be needed.
Anatomy of a Cable Gland
One way of providing a water resistent solution is the use of cable glands. A gland is composed of the following components (refer to the diagram in the images section below):
Body - The body is inserted through a hole in the enclosure.
Washer - The washer goes over the body on teh inside of the enclosure. Washers are typically made of silicone.
Lock Nut - The lock nut goes inside the enclosure and gets tightened down on teh washer to make a seal between the enclosure and the body.
Seal - The seal is inserted into teh body from outside of the enclosure. It is sometimes easier to add it to the cable before threading teh cable through the body.
Claw - The claw goes on the outside of the seal and compresses to provide strain relief to the cable.
Thread-lock Sealing Nut - This nut is the final component and compresses the claw to finalize the installation of the gland.
We use two types of cable glands:
As described above in the "anatomy" these are for passing cables of various sizes through the enclosure.
These are specifically for making the network connection and differ from the regular glands in that nothing actually passes through them. Instead, the body has an RJ45 jack on the inside and another one on the outside. This type of gland requires to network cables to make the connection as follows:
A short network cable on the inside of the enclosure connects the gland to the controller. A version of this gland is available with a short network cable built into the inside.
Another network cable on the outside connects your network to the gland.
The electronics in the gland connects the two RJ45 jacks.
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