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Outdoor electronics casing. Airflow, condensation & temp.?

  1. Mar 26, 2016 #1
    I have a similar question as others but I felt wrong taking over their threads.

    The project is an casing for electronics that will be outside all year around. Built out of metal.
    This means rain, sun, snow. -20c to +35c.
    The electronics inside works only in 0c-45c and 10%-80% humidity.

    I want my box to be airtight to not get any dust in.
    I will have a pc fan in the back that sucks hor air out. But I don't want an intake due to dust and maintenance of filters.
    • The question here is how well the fan will work as I don't have an air intake?
    I am working on a one way valve for the fan so that I can make if stop at +10c or something to keep the heat in.
    • If I stop it at +10c will the humidity go up in the box even if the heating is on?

    Heater will go on and off depending on the outside temperature to not get condensation.

    The casing could have two layers. First the box that is supposed to be airtight. Then a 3-5cm space abound the top and sides and then a metal cover over that. So its two layers with air in between.
    • Would this help against heat from direct sunlight?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 26, 2016 #2
    It won't work at all, no air in, no air out. You could have an airtight internal box with heat sinks to transfer the heat out of the circuitry box into another ventilating area around the airtight box.
  4. Mar 26, 2016 #3


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    Can you seal the enclosure and use it as a heatsink?
  5. Mar 26, 2016 #4
    I guess you could have your extractor fan pumping air through a cooling device (small fridge etc), when cooling is desirable,
    then the cooled air is refed back to your enclosure.
    It's a closed system that way and so there should not be any dust to get picked up.
  6. Mar 26, 2016 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    I don't understand why you are designing your own. A google search for "NEMA enclosure" returns 391000 results. Surely there must be one of those which satisfies your needs.
  7. Mar 27, 2016 #6


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    IP65 enclosures are commonly used in the UK to protect permanent electrical and electronic installations outdoors. That will give you dust proof and rain proof.

    IP68 is dust proof but also submersible at pressure.

    Personally I don't see any further precautions taken for condensation in outdoor installations. I would probably build a prototype and see how it got on before engineering anything to control that.
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