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Tips & Pointers

Datalogger enclosures

One of the most important things to consider when deploying devices outdoors is what type of enclosure you’re going to use.  Many designers say they focus on finding the ideal enclosure first, then they design their circuit board to fit that particular enclosure.   For our projects, we have been using Pelican brand waterproof cases.   A handy size is their model 1050.   I like them for a couple of reasons:  they are available in a variety of sizes, and they are vented.   The waterproof vent allows the air inside the box to equilibrate with the outside air pressure.  This is extremely important when we are using vented pressure transducers because we can simply terminate the sensor’s vent tube inside the enclosure with some dessicant.  Without a vented box, the transducers would not give accurate water level readings.  Pelican cases are one of the few brands of cases in a convenient size that have a waterproof vent.

The clear cases are handy because you can place a solar panel inside the box to charge your batteries.  The only problem is that on sunny days the clear boxes tend to act like little greenhouses.  We have measured temperatures over 60 degrees C inside the cases on summer days, which is not very healthy for the batteries and some of the electronics.  So depending on your climate and how sensitive the contents of your box are to heat, you might not want to use a clear box for certain deployments.

For a cheaper, non-vented alternative to Pelican cases,  I have had good luck with Seahorse Cases.  These cases, along with the larger version of Pelican cases, have tabs that allow you to padlock the lid to keep people from tampering with the contents of the case.  The small micro cases like the one I linked above do not have locking tabs.

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