Tips for Securing an Electronic Device in Water

Ever since the first smart devices hit the market, we have pretty much had to treat them with kid gloves. We do everything we can to avoid dropping them, we don’t leave them in our hot cars and when it comes to them getting wet — forget about it.

While we understand that these devices can be somewhat fragile and easily damaged by water and other elements, Bressler Group notes that we also want electronics that are more rugged and can go with us wherever we go. We now want to swim with our tech and tuck our devices in our pockets when out for a jog in the rain. In other words, we expect our electronics to be as tough as we are.

Fortunately, securing electronic devices when they are exposed to or submerged in water is not an impossible task — it typically involves placing them in some type of waterproof electronic enclosure. Here’s what you need to know about securing your device in an enclosure.

Get to know the IP ratings

When it comes to waterproofing an electric enclosure, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Ingress Protection Marking numbers, or IP ratings. In a nutshell, these ratings help you know how effective a seal must be to solids like dust and liquids like water. The higher the IP rating, the better the seal will be.

Simpler is better

As Aim Processing notes, the best way to achieve good waterproofing is to keep the product design as simple as you can. This is not the time to bust out a hexagonal electronic enclosure with lots of moving parts; instead, focus on simple shapes that most toddlers know, and avoid complex seals. For instance, a circle is an ideal shape for an opening in a waterproof enclosure, and it is also most likely to score a high IP rating — this is due in part to the availability of o-rings that can be placed around a circumference in the enclosure. If you are in the market for o-rings, Apple Rubber offers the industry’s largest selection of the small rings. Their seal design guide provides guidance on the different types of o-rings and what they are best used for. For example, if you would like your waterproof enclosure to create a vacuum seal, an o-ring made from Butyl would be an outstanding option.

Additional tips

When creating an electronics enclosure, it is also important to pay attention to what parts will shrink or distort in some way. In general, the more stiffer a part is, the easier it will be to seal because it will not be as likely to open up. Also, be sure that any gaskets that are used have adequate support; if a gasket pulls itself out, you will end up with leaks or even a total failure of the enclosure.

Keep the H2O out

Creating a waterproof electronic enclosure is not the easiest task in the world, but it can be done. By being aware of the IP ratings and focusing on creating something that is as basic as possible in its shape and internal parts, it is quite possible to have a space for your electronics that will help keep them free from damaging water.


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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