Using Slip Ring Assemblies with Gigabit Ethernet

Michigan Scientific strives to be at the forefront of innovation. We pride ourselves on never turning down a challenge or a new project. New products and designs are often brought along because of our commitment to our customer’s testing needs. Recently, a customer came to us with a project that pushed the slip ring envelope. He wanted a slip ring assembly to pass Gigabit Ethernet signals. With a little testing and validation, we were able to provide this customer with a comprehensive and reliable solution to his needs.

Slip Rings and Signal Transfer

Using a slip ring assembly has been a tried-and-true method for passing many different types of signals on rotating devices. From transferring power, to passing strain gauge or thermocouple signals, a Michigan Scientific slip ring assembly is an accurate and reliable choice. It functions using the same concept as an electrical bearing would. Michigan Scientific has a variety of slip ring assemblies to fit most size and number of connections constraints.

Ethernet Test Setup 

For this validation test, the transfer of Gigabit Ethernet signals was tested using an SR36M, a Michigan Scientific slip ring assembly with 36 electrical connections. A large file was transferred between a PC and a laptop using the slip ring connections. In order to do this, a CAT 6 cable was cut in half. Each half was then jumpered between the connections on the SR36M slip ring assembly, in order to make the cable “whole” again. The other ends of the cables were attached to computers; one end to a laptop, and the other to a PC. The two computers were then connected while the slip ring was spun at 900 RPM on a motor. During the test, we transferred a large file from one computer to the other through the slip ring assembly without any signal drop-outs or errors. The file transfer showed speeds of 111MB/sec and was validated by an SHA-256 cyclic redundancy check.

While Michigan Scientific has been developing slip ring assemblies for nearly 60 years, our customer’s needs often require us to continue to innovate on an already dependable design. With an industry that is constantly evolving, it is crucial that we provide our customers with inventive products, so that they too, can remain on the cutting-edge. If you have a new testing application, contact a Michigan Scientific engineer to see how we can help.