B5 Systems

Sneak Peek – Mystery Ranch PowerBuckle

During a visit over the weekend to Mystery Ranch in Bozeman, Montana, founder Dana Gleason gave me a quick look at a new technical development. Dubbed the PowerBuckle, it offers the same functionality and stength of a standard side-release buckle, but with the added utility of use as a databus.

Essentially, it buries a data cable in a National Molding buckle such as the quad release buckle used on the IOTV. While it is still a prototype, it is a Mystery Ranch exclusive.

Due to the buckle’s architecture, they can embed between two and 16 conductors.  This one is set up as a USB and features four conductors. You’ll notice an access plate at the rear of the female portion of the buckle. This will only be present on the first thousand or so. Once users begin to integrate the PowerBuckle, they’ll be built to spec and there will be no need to access the circuitry in order to configure the circuits because each will be purpose built for the task. Dana went on the explain, “You may also notice that this isn’t waterproof. It’s a prototype and the production versions will be.”

Regarding the buckle, Dana related, “We saw a clear need for this technology, so we developed it. There were guys with cutaway vests getting hung up by comms cabling and we wanted a way for the gear to cutaway completely and safely.” He went on, “National Molding is our manufacturer. If anyone else is interested in using the PowerBuckle, you know where to find us.”

Patent pending.


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7 Responses to “Sneak Peek – Mystery Ranch PowerBuckle”

  1. Jon, OPT says:

    This has massive potential, how waterproof is it? Will it survive a torrential downpour in a jungle without having to be encased in a plastic bag? Bravo to MR for innovating this.

    Jon, OPT

    • d says:

      My best guess, on the production version, as waterproof as the PTT/handmic connection on most radios, but not as waterproof as it would be on a maritime MBITR.

      • Jon, OPT says:

        The PTT can be further waterproofed without hindering the purpose of the item. This is designed to create clear breakaway, so further waterproofing might hinder the item’s original purpose. I’m sure it is easily addressed with a robust O-ring and some other sealing technology.

        Just food for thought, we won’t be in the desert forever, and the desert is about as close to an ideal environment as possible for most technology related items, minus the heat issues and other small factors. My point being, as a force we are in this comfort zone with certain gear that will fail when placed in another environment.

        Jon, OPT

  2. Tanner says:

    Still pretty exciting as a concept. Unless it’s pretty modular might be difficult to work for each individual kit set up. But as a guy who’s gear break away has been rendered null by radios, tablet, and cables, seems pretty cool if they can get it to work.

  3. James says:

    This buckle is designed to work with the current Quad Release trigger which is used on IOTV Gen III and IV along with the new X Quad trigger being implemented on the SPS MSV…

  4. Darrel says:

    Normally, you can’t route cables over surfaces that you would normally unbuckle when donning and doffing your equipment, but this would simplify it to just being once piece of equipment. Very nice idea. I don’t think too many people would actually need something like this, but I’m sure as time passes, it will be apparent that there is a need for simplified cable routing.

    I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we see ground infantry using sophisticated data display systems. The picture in the background of SSD right now, the Tarsier Eclipse mounted on a pair of PVS-15s, just brings to mind all kinds of possibilities. I don’t see any reason why a Heads Up Display couldn’t be integrated into a sophisticated NVD