How to protect your outdoor sensor

  • Hardware Contributor

    This thread brought up the subject of outdoor sensor protection which I think is interesting as a separate discussion. Like said, there should be many users with experience to share? (Sensor type, supply, duty, enclosure, time, environment, inspection notes etc ?) I've only read these this far: link, link.

    I'm no expert but have some experience from electric-/electronic equipment failures in outdoor enclosures with insufficient protection. I'd say temperature variation and corrosion is common (sometimes galvanically accelerated) and with electrical failure as a secondary effect. A completely sealed casing is not realistic because the temperature and pressure variation will eventually make it leak. A ventilated design (long pipe?) should be much better in this perspective.
    On the other hand are there many reports of sensors in operation for years without any particular considerations. Because of this I'm not very anxious when planning my own designs. But I like to stay safe and I think it's easy to add a few Watts heating resistor when there is good power supply for it. My next level precaution measure I can think of would probably be to apply a suitable coating to pcb, solder pads and other naked parts.

    Tried to research the subject without finding good spot on info. Read a few (most commercial) texts. Maybe some inspiration... link, link , link, link, link,
    Then there's always the harsh automotive branch to learn from (larger/faster temp variations): link, link

  • I am interested in what people have tried. For example i am creating an outdoor soil moisture + Light sensor + either temperature only or temp/humidity sensor. I am very concerned how to weatherproof while still getting accurate data.

    • I planned to have the soil moisture sticking out of my enclosure but sealed so that all the connections and electronics are inside the enclosure. The enclosure basically sitting on the soil with the prongs from the sensor in the soil.

    • lThe Light sensor I was hoping to have sealed in the enclosure but with a clear plastic window. I am not sure how to keep this from fogging up.

    • The temp/humidity sensor should be measuring outside air, so it would need to have air flow. However I do not think this sensor could handle being in the rain so it would still need to be protected. I am not really sure how to get good air flow but protect this sensor from being splashed by rain.

    I would love to hear what other people have done. I will post some pictures if i ever get finished.

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