When designing a piece of hardware that has even the faintest chance of being exposed to the elements, it’s best to repeat this mantra: water finds a way. No matter how much you try to shield a project from rain, splashing, or even just humid air, if you haven’t taken precautions to seal your enclosure, I’ll bet you find evidence of water when you open it up. Water always wins, and while that might not be a death knell for your project, it’s probably not going to help. And water isn’t the only problem that outdoor or rough-service installations face. Particle intrusion can be a real killer too, especially in an environment where dust can be conductive.
There’s plenty you can do to prevent uninvited liquid or particulate guests to your outdoor party, but it tends to be easier to prevent the problem at design time than to fix it after the hardware is fielded. So to help you with your design, here’s a quick rundown of some standards for protection of enclosures from unwanted ingress.
Continue reading “This Way to the Ingress: Keeping Stuff Dry and Clean with IP and NEMA”
As circuits find their way into more and more real-world environments, the old standard circuitry isn’t always up to the task. It wasn’t that long ago that a computer needed special power, cooling, and a large room. Now those computers wouldn’t cut it for the top-of-the-line smartphone. However, most modern circuits don’t bend well and don’t like getting wet.
An international team of researchers is developing chemical-based circuitry that uses gold nanoparticles and electrically charged organic molecules to build circuit elements that behave like semiconductor diode junctions. It’s simple to make flexible circuits that don’t mind being wet using this chemical soup.
In an interview with IEEE Spectrum, the developers mentioned that other circuit elements similar to transistors and light sensors should be possible. The circuits aren’t perfect, however. The switching speed needs improvement. Also, while conventional circuits don’t like to get wet, these chemical circuits have difficulties if things get dry. Still, like all technology, things will probably improve over time.
This technology needs a good bit of engineering refinement before it is practical. If you need flexible photosensitive circuits in the near term, you might try here. Meanwhile, waterproof circuitry just needs the right kind of enclosure.
Photo Credit: UNIST/Nature Nanotechnology
The D-SLR “crunch” sound can be pretty satisfying. Your camera has moving parts and those cell-phone amateurs can eat your shutter actuation. If you’re a professional photographer behind the scenes on a sound stage or at any film shoot, however, your mirror slapping around is loud enough to get you kicked off the set. [Dan Tábar] needed his D800 to keep it down, so he made his own sound blimp to suppress the noise. As an added bonus, it turns out the case is waterproof, too!
[Dan] got the idea from a fellow photographer who was using a prefab Jacobson blimp to snap pictures in sound-sensitive environments. Not wanting to spend $1000, he looked for a DIY alternative. This build uses a Pelican case to house the body of the camera and interchangeable extension tubes to cover lenses of various sizes. [Dan] took measurements and test-fit a paper cutout of his D800 before carving holes into the Pelican case with a Dremel tool. One side got a circular hole for the extension tubes, while the other received a rectangular cut for the camera’s LCD screen and a smaller circle for the viewfinder.
Lexan serves as a window for all of the open ends: LCD, viewfinder, and the lens. [Dan] snaps pictures with a wireless trigger, saving him the trouble of drilling another hole. You can hear the D800 before and after noise reduction in a video after the break, along with a second video of [Dan] trying out some underwater shots. If you’d rather take a trip back in time, there’s always the 3D printed pinhole camera from last week.
Continue reading “Sound blimp makes camera quieter and waterproof”
If you’re in search of a flashlight that can stand up to the elements, or simply looking for an easy way to spruce up your pool for those hot summer nights, check out these rechargeable PVC LED lights. Inspired by a post in Make: Magazine featuring Indestructible LED Lanterns, [John Duffy] decided to take the project one step further.
While he liked Make’s iteration of the waterproof lantern, he thought it would be best to permanently seal the lights for maximum durability. Not satisfied with a one-use light, he equipped the PVC lanterns with a single rechargeable AA battery, step-up circuitry to drive the LED, and an inductive charging coil.
His floating, waterproof lights sport a slightly bigger footprint than their predecessors to house the extra electronics, but we think that’s more than a fair trade off considering they can be charged wirelessly.
Place your Digikey/Mouser/Jameco orders now and check out [John’s] how-to video – you just might get some of these built in time for the weekend!
Continue reading “Mini waterproof LED lanterns charge without wires”
[iskor12] put together a blu-ray laser that is waterproof and packs quite a punch. At 182 mW there is enough power here to pop dark colored balloons (see the video after the break). To make this happen, he found an LED flashlight that has rubber o-rings for waterproofing. Although small, there is enough space in the case to house the battery, driver, and laser diode. A thick ring of aluminum is placed around the laser diode to act as heat sink.
We’ll admit, we don’t know that much about lasers. This is probably the wrong question to ask, but now that he has this what do you do with it? Leave us a comment about your plans for this diabolical creation.
Continue reading “Underwater laser, just add shark”
[Ben Heck] has put the final touches on his Pelican case Xbox 360. This prototype was constructed for use by troops stationed overseas. When he announced the project in October, he already knew some of the hurdles he would face. An industrial Velcro style product is used for all component mounting so the air/water-tight seal of the case remains intact. He sanded the surface so that it would stick better. [Ben] mentions that he ended up using less Velcro than he planned on because it held so well. Not being able to cut the case meant the DVD drive had to be converted to top-loading. The tray movement limit switches have been relocated so they now respond to lid position. He regrets not being able to motorize the lid, but let it go since this is still just the first attempt. Extra copper was added to all of the heat sinks to improve cooling. This Xbox is for sale and he’d love to hear from anyone that wants to put it into production. The write-up has a ton of pictures and you can see a video of it below.
Continue reading “Pelican case Xbox 360”
Popular Mechanics contributor [Anthony Veducci] wanted a virtually indestructible video player that he could use anywhere. Not finding a commercial solution, he decided to build his own. He already had a large waterproof case and another for the iPod Touch. The 8″ display came from an iPod accessory. Unfortunately it was developed before Apple implemented their stupid accessory locking, so he had to use an Apple approved video cable through several adapters to get it to work. The speakers were also salvaged parts. The case was assembled using a jigsaw and a whole lot of epoxy. The speaker openings are covered with latex from a pair of gloves and everything is sealed with silicone. We’re usually trying to escape technology when we head outside, but we’ll be looking back at this the next time we need to ruggedize something.