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Harsh Environment Circuits

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by mrozel, Apr 27, 2013.

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  1. mrozel

    mrozel

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    Apr 27, 2013
    I have a project that I have built that will be for a marine installation. Works great on land!
    However, boats and cars are considered 'harsh' environments for electronics. In the retail world you always see parts, for example stereo systems, in their marine counterparts to indoor applications.

    My questions: What is the difference between marine/auto parts in their components?
    What steps and/or considerations should I take to protect my circuitry from heat/humidity?

    If any of you have knowledge in this area, I would love to hear about it!
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Salt and water are bad for electronics. In combination they are deadly.

    Add heat and vibration to the mix and all sorts of bad things will happen.

    You can seal your electronics, or pot them in a protective block of epoxy, but this tends to make the heat problem worse. So you'll probably have to increase the size of heatsinks and recalculate everything for a higher ambient temperature.
     
  3. mrozel

    mrozel

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    Apr 27, 2013
    Thanks for the reply...
    That's what I was thinking anyway. I've seen some cool under water led projects that use the epoxy sealing.

    For the time, extra heatsinks.. I'll let you know how long till they burn out!
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    If you're actually under water, you'll find that heat will be carried away much faster than in air. This may well mean *less* heatsinking is required, even if the device is potted.
     
  5. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    I think the overall answer to your question, is that the difference between the outdoor/harsh environment electronics, is that the chassis for the device is shielded
    from the elements. Rubber seals, water-tight connections, just whatever is needed
    to keep the outside elements from getting in to the electronics. Bear in mind *steve*'s
    warning that tightly sealed electronic enclosures will increase the heat inside.
     
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