Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

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desiredlogin
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Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby desiredlogin » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:58 pm

This will be my first year adding interactive lights to my installation. We will have a bunch of control panels with buttons, switches, knobs and sliders. I'm now trying to work out how to waterproof these panels. I've considered placing a small perspex roof over the panels, and participants will have to reach in to access the controls. Or some kind of soft, clear covering so participants can access the controls through it without the controls actually being exposed. Both of these don't really seem ideal.

Has anybody on here presented participants with electronic buttons, switches, knobs and especially sliders before? How did you weatherproof it? What would you recommend?

Thanks!

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Train Wreck
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Re: Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby Train Wreck » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:03 am

I've done the electrical and electronics for several mid sized interactive installations in the past, some of which were honorarium.

We've had the damnedest of times getting buttons that didn't crap out once out there- not only do you have to worry about waterproofing in the event of rain, but you have to take into account that the dust is going to get in EVERYTHING that isn't completely sealed. That means all of your buttons, enclosures, and connections need to be rated IP66. Even then, we've had buttons fail on us once they get caked with playa, so spares for replacement are a must.

Let me know if you'd like suggestions. I've got some links to vendors that we've used in the past.

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Train Wreck
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Re: Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby Train Wreck » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:05 am

As far as sliders are concerned, you may want to consider using capacitive touch sliders since they have no moving parts, no wipers, and no contacts to get fouled up. I haven't used them, though they seem to hold up well out there based on ones I've seen on other projects.

desiredlogin
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Re: Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby desiredlogin » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:55 pm

thanks train wreck. Our controllers all have wifi chips, so we could potentially control everything from touch screens. Although I really like the idea of tactile buttons. Capacative sliders is a good suggestion, though. Yes please send through your suggestions of suppliers and/or parts you have had success with. Eeep, the headache of trying to keep these things working out there is starting to hit me...

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Token
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Re: Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby Token » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:16 pm

Or you could use a Theremin to produce frequencies that can manipulate the lighting and blow some minds ...

There are both analog and optical versions out there.

Fun factoid. In Israel, there is a whole industry that makes controls based on clever interruption of light so that the sabbath can be observed while critical systems operated, like hospitals and power grids.

badscr
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Re: Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby badscr » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:35 am

You want tactile feel with a capacitive touch reliability.

Ideas:
1: mount a tactile slider but don't hook up
2: use something else reliable to monitor the slider and hands/fingers people have to touch the slider to move it, same with buttons.


Options:
Mini therman (love that idea )
Ultrasonic range sensors
Optical range sensor
Capacitive range?

My favorite option:
(solid state with great mechanical feedback use a magnet with a Hall effect sensor)

Make/modify your own slider and use a magnet on the moving arm
Then use a Hall effect sensor to track the magnet based on its Gus strength. The closer the magnet the stronger the field.

This can even work for buttons too, as button is pressed the magnet gets closer to the sensor.

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Token
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Re: Waterproofing interactive lighting controls

Postby Token » Fri Jul 28, 2017 7:17 am

Lots of high duty devices use either optical or magnetic coupling for moving parts.

Computer mice are a great example.

Guitar pedals are another.

Anti-lock break sensors

Etc.

All these parts are mass produced and super cheap.


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