Something first-time transit case buyers often overlook is adding an I/O panel for easy cable connection. Without it, the case is little more than a storage box, albeit one providing protection from temperature extremes, dust, humidity and shock impact. Using the equipment inside means either taking it out of the case or running with the case open and cables fed in. Either option negates the purpose of the case.
An I/O panel on a transit case is a form of bulkhead interface. It allows cables to be connected and disconnected quickly and easily. And, the equipment inside to be used with the case closed. Depending on the application there could be connections for AC and/or DC power, Ethernet, fiber-optics, RF communications and so on. If the case has an air conditioner or thermoelectric cooler (TEC), there may be a display showing the internal temperature and controls for adjustment. (Note that a TEC is only effective with the case closed – lids on.)
The I/O panel itself is mounted in a cut-out section of the transit case, weatherproofed with ‘O’ rings and secured with jam nuts and lock washers. On the outside there are bulkhead-style connectors, often with screw-in fittings or covers for additional security and protection. Inside, the cables are routed to the installed equipment. Sierra Cases can install I/O panels in plastic cases but panels for aluminum cases need installing by the case manufacturer.
Some applications, as when hooking-up a 110V electrical supply, need only a single connection. In situations like these, it’s sometimes possible to use a bulkhead connector fitted directly into the case rather than on an I/O panel. Product specialists at Sierra Cases will be able to offer advice on this.
Transit cases are purchased to protect delicate or sensitive equipment from temperature extremes, moisture and dust. If the intention is to run the equipment while it’s in the case, an I/O panel is essential. Without it, the case must be used open, defeating its purpose.