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Protecting the board from sweat
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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Protecting the board from sweat

by MightyDrake on Thu Dec 24, 2015 2:03 pm

I have a slightly oddball application in mind.

I am wanting to power a "helmetcam" when I play hockey. The rinks and the refs won't allow me to mount anything on the outside of the helmet, so it has to be contained entirely inside my face cage, without any alterations to the helmet.

I have tried a few different "spyglasses" type cameras. The problem with those is that they're not waterproof enough. Hockey generates a lot of sweat, so it's very humid inside the helmet. Within 20 or so games, corrosion builds up on one of the chips and kills the glasses. Also, the battery that comes with the glasses only lasts about an hour, and my games are usually about 1:15 elapsed time. So, I have to hack them to wire in a larger Lion battery.

I have found a new, small camera that might have a form factor that works. And, it is designed to take a USB power source. I haven't been able to find a USB battery that's small enough to fit in the gaps of my helmet padding comfortably. They're all designed for phones, so they're far larger than I need for my application. The Mintyboost is also going to be a little too large. So, I'd like to take the Lion battery that I know does fit and marry it to a Mintyboost board.

So, I'm here looking for suggestions on what to mount the Mintyboost board in that would protect it from the sweat. Would it survive if I just sealed it duck tape? Does it generate enough heat that it might damage something without a little bit of air around it? If it needs just a little air, but no flow of air (which should mimic the inside of the mint box, methinks) does anyone have any ideas for a box just big enough for the board without the current battery pack, that I could seal with duck tape and/or hot glue? (I would probably pop off the female USB connector and wire in a short cable, since I can't conveniently seal around a USB plug.)

Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

Drake Christensen

MightyDrake
 
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Re: Protecting the board from sweat

by adafruit_support_rick on Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:52 am

Some sort of spray silicone or rubber may be your best bet.
I found this stuff or this stuff.
No idea if it will work for you, but it may be worth a try.

If you want to spend a little more money, electronics manufacturers use "conformal coatings", which are designed specifically to protect circuitry from water and corrosion. The 55ml size isn't too expensive. Should be plenty for a mintyboost. I might stick with the rubber spray for the battery.

Another option is to use heat-shrink tubing, an seal the ends with silicone caulk or RTV. I think you can get heat-shrink large enough for a mintyboost and battery.
This place also has heat-shrink tape
http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/heatshr ... Hwode0kHew

The mintyboost can get a bit warm, but I don't think that will be a problem with any of these solutions.

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Re: Protecting the board from sweat

by MightyDrake on Fri Dec 25, 2015 5:07 pm

Thanks for the info. Glad to hear that it won't get too hot.

And thanks for the variety of suggestions. I suspect the spray sealants you mentioned at the top will be my best bet. I'm sure that will work better than the duck tape solution I was headed toward. I can probably also use that on the outside of this new camera, to make sure it's sealed well enough.

Hmm. I was thinking I would need to break the seal on the camera each game, to get the videos off. But, I could seal a short USB cable onto the camera, so that the only part exposed would be a connector. That would be cheap and easy to replace if it ever built up any corrosion.

Hmm. Just occurred to me how I can keep the camera controls and lights visible. I can lay a piece of clear sock tap over the controls and seal around that, onto the camera. Wow, this stuff is like magic! :-)

Sorry, now I'm babbling. This just opened up a world of possibilities.

Thanks, again,
Drake

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Re: Protecting the board from sweat

by adafruit_support_rick on Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:33 am

Keep us posted!

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Re: Protecting the board from sweat

by MightyDrake on Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:36 am

Unfortunately, the new camera I was going to try is too large to fit inside my hockey helmet. I'll prolly keep it and use it as a dash cam in my car.

What I'm going to do instead is get another pair of spyglasses and coat them with one of the sealants you suggested. I'm going to do the tricks I mentioned before, where I hold a USB cord in place with duck tape for physical strength, and then seal it in place. And, use clear tape over the indicator light, sealed on, so that there's no pathway for moisture through there.

I think I'm going to go ahead and order a Mintyboost for my phone. I just find it convenient to use standard sized batteries where I can. And, I may find a smaller camera sometime in the future that I could power with the cannibalized Mintyboost.

Thanks again for the great ideas,
Drake

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Re: Protecting the board from sweat

by adafruit_support_rick on Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:30 pm

No problem!

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