Preventing Condensation on Outdoor Equipment
Mark Winters email (remove spam text)
I've built some PIC-based circuits for use outdoors, where I expect them to
be used from the spring to fall, with them powered down in the winter. This
is currently a "hobby" project, but I may find a commercial use at some
To protect the main circuit from snow and rain, for now I've placed it on a
small platform about a foot high, and covered the whole thing with an
upside-down 5-gallon paint bucket. During the summer and fall this worked
great. We also had a break in the snow recently so I plugged it in and
everything worked fine.
Now for the problem. When I removed the paint bucket recently to see if
everything was OK, I noticed some water had formed on the "wall-wart"
transformer I use to power the circuit (the wall-wart is under the bucket as
well, hooked up to an extension cord from the house). I didn't notice any
water on the circuit itself, however.
I don't know that much about the condensation process, but I'm guessing the
water has formed on the transformer because it has a high amount of "thermal
intertia," where it is colder than the surrounding air in the morning just
after the sun has come up and begun warming the air. Having everything close
to the wet ground may also be a factor.
Does anyone know of an inexpensive way of preventing the condesation? I know
I probably shouldn't be using an "indoor" wall-wart this way, but this is
still just a "hobby" project, so I'd like to keep the investment low :-) I
suppose I could keep the thing powered up all the time, and that may help
the transformer, but I'm also worried about some of the larger parts
(relays, etc.) having the same problem.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
See also: www.piclist.com/techref/index.htm?key=preventing+condensation
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