Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Weatherproofing the controllers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    58
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Weatherproofing the controllers

    Hi...

    So I would finally like to do what I have wanted to for a long time: make a whole bunch of cheap wireless controllers (probably ESP32's), have them drive up to 4 SSR's or Mosfets apiece, and spread them out everywhere. What has killed me every time is the weatherproofing. Lots of people have solved this problem before. What are the best options for weatherproofing the controllers? Are there good ornaments (such as blowmolds) where I can hide them? I think I saw some good white boxes on Aliexpress for $11.50 apiece--which is like 200% the price of the ESP32 and the SSR's combined, plus I wasn't sure if the size was right or if you can route wires in & out and it will stay weatherproof.

    Right now I'm looking at recycling the red plastic containers from lunch meats that I got at the grocery store--which is hilariously cheap, if I got it to work. It would work beautifully, if it were not for the wiring. I can't come up with a reliable seal around the wires yet, that will easily stay in place even if I am constantly opening up the box to check the wiring. Recycled paint buckets would work as well, but they're an eyesore.

    p.s. I do see there is already a thread for where to buy enclosures, but I am not limiting myself to necessarily buying dedicated enclosures. For example maybe you can just hide in a blowmold, or 3-D print something.

    thanks!
    Last edited by 1pet2_9; 01-16-2021 at 02:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Dickson City, PA
    Posts
    533
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    My ESPixelsticks are in pill bottles, holes for wires in the caps, and I mount them upside down. I have one in a pill bottle, in a RBL. Plastic containers from drink mixes work too, the ones that have packets you mix with water,
    Zaker

    1 - Ren 64
    4 - Ren 24
    1 - Ren48LSD
    2 - E681
    LOTS OF LIGHTS!!
    [URL]http://lights.quietwebhosting.com[/URL]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chambersburg, PA
    Posts
    936
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    Cable Glands are an efficient way to get wiring in and out of a waterproof container. Personally, I have started using MTM30 Ammo boxes for a lot of my Power Supplies and Controllers.

    Don't cheap out on the enclosures to protect your equipment. You do not want to have water intrusion into your controllers and lose part of your show. Your location will determine how careful you have to be.

    Also I mount most of my enclosures on 1/2 PVC conduit which I slip over a piece of rebar pounded into the ground. With this mounting system, I can even have open holes in the bottom of the enclosure, the water will just runoff. Remember, Gravity is not just a Good Idea, It's the Law!
    2012 - 1st year 64 Channels - 7500 LED lights - 5 sequences
    2013 - 128 Channels - 10,000 LED lights - 7 sequences (2 New)
    2014 - 201 Channels - upgrading 8 Arches to dumb RGB - 8+ sequences (1+ New)
    2015 - 240 Channels + 8 Universes - sequences TBD
    2016 - No Display
    2017 - Back in the Game - 240 Renard Channels + 12 Universes
    2018 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2019 - 256 Renard and 9 Falcon Outputs of Pixels - 16 sequences shown over 2 nights
    2020 - Emergency Conversion to Falcon F48 with limited wireless

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    3,882
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    Remember, Gravity is not just a Good Idea, It's the Law!

    ROFLMAO...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Blaine, MN
    Posts
    143
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    I have a few controllers in lengths of PVC with caps on the ends. Zip tied vertically with all the wiring out the bottom cap. Just label them clearly since the look like pipe bombs!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    58
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    Yeah, I saw that trick at a commercial display with mounting 1/2" PVC onto rebar in the ground, and mounting your box on the PVC with the wires pointing down. I'm actually more worried about losing ALL of my show by cheaping out on the boxes, because that will trip out GFCI. I have spent way too many hours debugging GFCI trips.

    This is the experiment I've got going using recycled lunch meat containers. It can fit a full-on Arduino Uno and then some. I think I could double-sided tape the PCB to the package, but I'm afraid that in the weather elements/temperature swings, the tape would give out, and it would all fall toward the bottom towards the hole. If I ziptie the wires INSIDE the package, I'm thinking some duct tape could weather seal it pretty good. It's only protecting an ESP32 + a 4-channel SSR at the most, so it doesn't have to be a perfect IP68. And I'm thinking if the lunch box cracks, then I guess that means I need to eat some extra lunch meat before Christmas.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Kansas City Missouri
    Posts
    2,747
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    Quote Originally Posted by 1pet2_9 View Post
    Hi...

    So I would finally like to do what I have wanted to for a long time: make a whole bunch of cheap wireless controllers (probably ESP32's), have them drive up to 4 SSR's or Mosfets apiece, and spread them out everywhere. What has killed me every time is the weatherproofing. Lots of people have solved this problem before. What are the best options for weatherproofing the controllers? Are there good ornaments (such as blowmolds) where I can hide them? I think I saw some good white boxes on Aliexpress for $11.50 apiece--which is like 200% the price of the ESP32 and the SSR's combined, plus I wasn't sure if the size was right or if you can route wires in & out and it will stay weatherproof.

    Right now I'm looking at recycling the red plastic containers from lunch meats that I got at the grocery store--which is hilariously cheap, if I got it to work. It would work beautifully, if it were not for the wiring. I can't come up with a reliable seal around the wires yet, that will easily stay in place even if I am constantly opening up the box to check the wiring. Recycled paint buckets would work as well, but they're an eyesore.

    p.s. I do see there is already a thread for where to buy enclosures, but I am not limiting myself to necessarily buying dedicated enclosures. For example maybe you can just hide in a blowmold, or 3-D print something.

    thanks!
    I use these garbage cans and made them look like presents. Never had to waterproof my controllers. Bungee cord on each side to attach to a stake to hold it down. Also never worried about freezing connections.

    Sent from my SM-T710 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    58
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Weatherproofing the controllers

    You added a ribbon to the trash can and that's it? My wife would probably think it looks like...an upside-down garbage can. How do you get the bungee to attach, without compromising the water seal?

    Speaking of which: in the background, I see you have a chain link fence. Maybe I'm seeing things, but are you removing the end caps off of the fence posts and inserting PVC in them? That is something I am looking in to, albeit with a vinyl privacy fence, and not a chain link fence.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •