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What is the Neutrik opticalCON DRAGONFLY?

The opticalCON DRAGONFLY is Neutrik’s new SMPTE fiber (and power) connector series for cameras in the broadcast and A/V markets. As the leader in the connecting world, Neutrik is always pushing the limit and always at the edge of the newest technology. With its newest invention Neutrik has for purpose to setup a new standard in the broadcast and A/V market for the cameras. Indeed, by once more improving their connector’s efficiency against dust and dirt, the DRAGONFLY is based on the patened XB2-technology. Developed in cooperation by Neutrik, the XB2 is an innovative fusion splice high- performance lens transmits UHD 4K and 8K signals with very low loss.

Reason for a new camera connector

Neutrik received feedback from the community for an even more robust camera connector able to withstand outdoor environments. Thus, Neutrik has responded by providing the market with a new fiber optic camera connector which is robust, resistant, reliable, while at the same time easy to clean and repair in the field.

In fact, all you need to remove dust and dirt from your connector is a can of compressed air and some distilled water. But don’t take our word for it, look at the video below where Fabio from Neutrik demonstrates how to clean an opticalCON DRAGONFLY connector.

Fabio Röllin, Product Manager Fiber Optic Solutions at Neutrik AG, introduces the brand-new opticalCON DRAGONFLY at the IBC Show 2019.

A technical dissection of DRAGONFLY

The opticalCON DRAGONFLY connector is based on a unique lens technology specifically developed and patented by Neutrik for SMPTE camera applications in the broadcast and A/V markets. XB2, Neutrik’s new lens technology, combines all the best features of expanded beam connectors. In the next section, we’d like to give you a quick explanation of what these connectors are.

Expanded beam explained

Before looking at expanded beam connectors, we need to familiarize ourselves with physical contact (PC) connectors.

Due to their better performance, PC connectors have for a long time been preferred in data centers. However, those were not initially designed to be used in more hostile environments where contamination, dust, and water are a danger to fiber. Neutrik originally developed the opticalCON from this technology, but nevertheless made it robust, and resistant to dust and dirt, so that it could be plugged in any environment.

WinnerPhysical ContactLens Coupling
CostPCLow CostHigh Cost
Optical performancePCLow coupling loss (0.3-08 dB)High coupling loss (1.5 dB)
DustLens CouplingDust sensitive (light transmission surface = 9µm or 50µm)Dust insensitive (light transmission surface >= 270µm)
MultiplexingPCFull support of multiplexing.Limited in multiplexing. Only works with specific wavelengths.
FrequenciesPCWorks with all frequenciesWorks with dedicated frequencies
Back reflectionPCLess sensitive to back reflectionMore sensitive to back reflection

At first glance, expanded beam connectors are more reliable in dusty environments. Indeed, a spherical lens is used to increase the transmission surface of the connector which reduces the chance of dirt or dust obstructing the light signal. By incorporating this technology with their own, Neutrik achieved a result with DRAGONFLY which would at the same time provide good performance and an even better protection from dirty environments.

The advantages of expanded beam connectors over physical contact connectors are twofold:

  1. The expanded beam connector is less sensitive to dust since the surface through which the light signal goes is larger.
  2. Expanded beam connectors are much easier to clean than physical contact connectors.

The DRAGONFLY combines both advantages and strength of those two technologies and provides customers with the best possible optical connector. Not only that, the new connector is compatible with upcoming 4K and 8K cameras using CWDM and WDM. And, thanks to various innovations and spherical lens technology, DRAGONFLY is capable of supporting all wavelengths, including the 1550 nm one. This is really great news for Neutrik, as it opens doors for a lot of different applications.

Enough said, let’s take a look at the technical specifications.

Optical Specifications

Insertion LossTyp. 0.6 dB per connection / Max. 1.0 dB per connection
Wavelength850, 1300, 1310 and 1550 nm (WDM and CWDM compatible)

Mechanical Specifications

Insertion force< 45 N
Withdrawal force< 45 N
Lifetime10’000 mating cycles
Wiresize Power4 x 20 AWG
Wiresize Sense2 x 24 AWG
Locking devicePush-Pull

In the next section, we will take a closer look at the different parts that make up the new fiber optic camera connectors and SMPTE fiber cable. Let’s begin with the male cable connector which comes pre-assembled.

Male cable connector (NKO2S-XP-0-*)

Quite a number of new improvements have been made by Neutrik as a result of feedback from users and a desire to improve usability, durability, and compatibility with harsh environments. Let’s take a look at the main improvements this connector has to offer.

  • Great optical performance + robustness: it is the first lens connector to compete with physical contact connectors in terms of performance. What is so great about the DRAGONFLY is that it combines all the advantages of lens connectors and a performance nearly equal to that of PC connectors.
  • Field repairable: one of the main advantages of using DRAGONFLY is its easy maintenance thanks to fusion splicing. Without much technical knowledge, anyone will be able to get back on track in a matter of minutes. All you need is Neutrik’s tooling kit specifically made to do your own repairs and assemblies in the field.
  • Fusion splicing: this is currently the fastest and safest way to terminate fiber cables. Indeed, fusion splicing achieves a typical loss between 0.01 and 0.5 dB.
  • Up to 50% less insertion loss: one big advantage of DRAGONFLY is its performance in terms of insertion loss. DRAGONFLY has 50% less insertion loss than other lens solutions on the market.
  • Support of all wavelengths: as explained above, DRAGONFLY has been tested on all possible wavelengths, including the 1550 nm one, leaving the door open for a lot of different applications.
  • IP68 rating in mating conditions: the new SMPTE fiber cable male connector received an IP68 rating,
  • Proven anti-kink boots: the cable connectors feature a proven anti-kink boot design which will prevent your cable from breaking when it is bent.

In addition to the benefits already mentioned above, the new connectors offer an easier labeling of Camera Control Units (CCUs) via two color codings (for example: red for camera at position 1, yellow for camera at position 2). Moreover, the connector has a push-pull mechanism and small dots on the metal part to indicate orientation, and a massive guiding nose to connect and lock automatically to the chassis.

Female cable connector (NKO2S-XP-0-*)

The female cable connector is almost identical to the male cable connector. Among other things, it offers an improved shielding on the front and an easy SMPTE fiber cable extension.

Female chassis connector (NO2FW-XP)

Let’s see what the female chassis connector has to offer. It has color codings which you can use to mark your connector and other two strong selling points. First, it has the same cut-out as broadcast standard connectors. Thus, it is easy to integrate the DRAGONFLY into your existing equipment. Secondly, DRAGONFLY answers a frequently asked question which customers had with fiber optic chassis. How to replace chassis if anything happens on the fiber side? The answer is: you don’t have to anymore. Before, you’d have to replace both patch cord and chassis. By taking a more modular approach, DRAGONFLY allows you to replace only the part that have problems, reducing costs drastically. It is easy to replace the patch cord.

Male chassis connector (NO2MW-XP)

Lastly, let’s see what the male chassis connector has to offer. The push-pull mechanism was improved, it also has the same cut-out as other camera connectors you will find on the market and colored codings to easily identify which camera goes to which CCU. The male chassis is built with lockable dirt protection.

Assembly kit

Customers are now able to repair cables themselves with Neutrik’s assembly kit. Fusion splicing guarantees the best quality for your cable repairs.

opticalCON DRAGONFLY repair kit

Camera manufacturers integrate the new opticalCON DRAGONFLY

DRAGONFLY is compatible with SMPTE 311 standards for hybrid cameras (9.2 mm). In fact, some Sony and Grass Valley have already begun to integrate the DRAGONFLY into their systems.

Here is the list of camera systems equipped with the DRAGONFLY:

  • Sony: HDC, HSC, HXC
  • Grass Valley: LDX82, LDX86, LDX86N

Why should you buy it?

opticalCON DRAGONFLY is unique of its kind. It is the best lens fiber in the market, with a typical insertion loss of 0.6 dB insertion loss per connection, which is 50% less than other lens solutions available today. It is the lens that comes closest to the technology of physical contact connectors.

Prices

For more information regarding pricing, please contact us by calling us or sending an email.

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