Slip Ring Tether Reel

This is a rough drawing of the Slip Ring Tether Reel I am designing. For those of you who do not know what a slip ring is, a slip ring is basically a way of making an electrical connection through a rotating assembly. This will allow the Tether to be spooled in or out while maintaining the electrical and signal connection with the computer at the same time it will keep the tether from becoming twisted.

The Spool will be probably be made from Wood, Plastic, and PVC Pipe. I have yet to decide if the entire set up will be contained in a case or if I will just make a simple base as shown.

The Spool will be made to hold 150' of Tether which will be made from Cat6 Cable. The Size will depend on what type of floats are added to the Tether, which is why I haven't decided on a case yet.

The actual Slip Ring will consist of 8 Brass Contact Rings, some Spacers, and 8 Copper Contact Hooks.

When assembled Springs will apply downward pressure on the Copper Hooks which should maintain the electrical connection through the Brass Rings.

The Tether from the Spool will run down the center of the Shaft and each of the 8 wires in the Tether will exit the Shaft and attach to one Contact Ring each.

To complete the connection eight more wires will then attach to each Contact Hook which will then continue on to the Computer.

In theory as the Tether is spooled out the center Shaft will rotate along with the Contact Rings. The Springs should hold the Contact Hooks in place and they should slip on the rings while keeping the electrical contact.

These are the first set of Rings and Spacers I have machined. I wanted to test the video through the first set of rings to check for noise before I machined the rest of the rings and spacers.
I threw this temporary prototype together just to test out the video through the rings.

As you can see from this 20 second clip my design worked perfect, in this video the camera taken the video is fed threw the slip ring and there is no noise or interference of any kind seen on the video. Now that I have a successful test with the video I can machine the rest of the rings and try out the control.

This is the almost completed Reel, I still have to finish the Reel Handle and Cover for the actual Slip Ring.

The tether is removable so different lengths or upgrades can be added in the future.

Here is a close up of the Slip Ring and spring block.

I changed the design a bit so the layout of the springs were offset so there wasn't a chance of any of the springs contacting each other.

For testing I have a 150' of cat5e cable on the reel. I'm still not sure if it will all fit once I add floats to the tether.

I hooked everything up and spun the reel a few times and the control and video worked prefect with no noise or loss of connection.

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