by Contributor

(Aug. 22, 2020) — Water and electricity don’t mix. You’ve likely heard this saying growing up because the adults in your life were trying to teach you how not to electrocute yourself. Even though that fear has likely passed, you still don’t want your electronic devices getting water in them because it could cause severe and sometimes irreparable damage. If you’re looking for a way to ensure your electronic devices are safe near water or underwater, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find our top six tips for waterproofing electronic enclosures.

1. Avoid Complex Seals

When designing your electronic enclosure, avoid complex seals. The goal is to minimize the need for seals between three or more parts. If your interface is too complex, it’ll be harder to achieve satisfactory and uniform gasket compression. You want something that can stand up to prolonged exposure and withstand the most amount of pressure.

2. Use Circles to Your Advantage

Don’t try to seal sharp edges and weird shapes. Instead, stick to circles because a rounded container is much easier to make water-tight than non-circular shapes. There are a few o-rings and rubber seals you can choose from to create your electronic enclosure. For example, fluorocarbon is the most innovative solution to help you seal your electronics when submerged in water because of its outstanding chemical resistance and high- and low-temperature resistance.

3. Think About What Might Shrink and Distort

Certain materials often shrink or distort under pressure, which is why you should think about what materials might be prone to that kind of reaction when you’re creating your enclosure. Do a little bit of research about the materials you plan on using to ensure that they’ll hold up over time, no matter the conditions their subjected to. Remember that stiffer parts are easier to seal.

4. Make Sure You Have Enough Support When Using Gaskets

Make sure the gaskets you’re using have enough support on all sides. Stand-alone gaskets need all the support they can get to prevent leaking or full seal failure when it potentially falls out of the pinch zone, especially if there’s some sort of pressure involved. Also, be sure to use quality parts and sealants. Check the IP rating and NEMA ratings to determine quality.

5. Create a Vacuum Seal

Whether you plan on submerging your electronic enclosure in water or not, you’ll still be better off creating a vacuum seal for it. That way, if it encounters more water than expected, your device inside will still be safe. Aim for water-tight, rather than just water-resistant just to be on the safe side. The last thing you want is to think your enclosure is more water-resistant than it is and destroy your electronic device.

6. Keep It as Simple as Possible

Don’t try to be fancy when designing and developing your waterproof electronic enclosure. Instead, keep it simple so that you can easily create what you design. Anything too complex could end up making it harder to waterproof your design. For example, wedge-fit components make it hard to control sealing forces. Bulkhead fitting is a common technique used to uniformly distribute compressive forces on your sealing surface.

Designing Your Waterproof Enclosure

Now that you’ve got some ideas about what would work best for your waterproof electronic enclosure, you can safely design one that keeps the water out. Fluorocarbon o-rings make a good fit when it comes to electronics. So if you’re considering waterproofing your electronic enclosures, you’ll need a high-quality fluorocarbon o-ring to help keep your electronic devices safe and protected.

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