Constant-airflow vent keeps satellite-comm system running

Sept. 20, 2012
Protective vents maintain operational readiness of a personal hand-held satellite communication device by keeping contaminants like dust, dirt, and water out of its sealed enclosure.

BriarTek Inc.,
W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.

Protective vents keep a personal handheld satellite communication device working by filtering out contaminants like dust, dirt, and water.

The Cerberus global-communication system from BriarTek Inc., Alexandra, Va., lets outdoor enthusiasts stay in contact with family and friends back home — even when traveling through the most rugged and isolated areas of the world. Cerberus records a traveler’s location as frequently as every 5 min and sends real-time updates via satellite to a monitoring station.

Unlike emergency position-indicating radio beacons and personal-locating beacons, Cerberus lets travelers send check-in messages any time to update those at home. In addition, the device alerts travelers of approaching severe weather or geo-political events happening in the area.

The hiker or mountain climber carries the CerberLink satellitemessaging device, which has been engineered to withstand the harsh conditions some outdoor enthusiasts enjoy. It operates in temperatures from –20 to 55°C (–4 to 131°F) and meets IP67 standards for keeping out water. This level of water protection means the enclosure needs tight seals and O-ring gaskets. While these gaskets provide excellent protection, variations in air pressure caused by changing temperature or altitude can potentially create a vacuum inside the device, leading to premature seal failure.

To make sure there is no pressure difference between the inside and outside of the housing, BriarTek added a protective vent made by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., Newark, Del. The constantairflow vent equalizes internal and external pressures, eliminating any chance of a vacuum forming. At the same time, the vent prevents water, dust, dirt, and other contaminants from getting into the housing and damaging the electronics.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.

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