Weather Ready Relay Node

#21

I’m using the similar, but cheaper Harbor Freight “Apache” cases to house stationary relays. Same snug fitted foam. I’ve painted the cases reflective white. It’s been cool here since they’ve gone online, so no real testing of potential heat=related issues.

My theory is to keep the foam packed in, as it reduces the transmission of heat into the interior. If it was open air inside it would heat more quickly. The question is whether night time cooling will be enough to offset daytime solar heating up on the roof now that warmer weather is on its way.

One additional note. I’m using the medium size “Apache” case. It is considerably larger than the Pelican case pictured above, looks like this.

More foam fits on top of this arrangement, cut to fit closely around it, filling the case; it’s removed here to show the GTM and battery pack. So is there much more insulation around the components inside. While they do make some heat that could be trapped, I suspect heat generated in the interior is far less than that from the input of exterior solar heating.

2 Likes
#22

I’m still testing indoors more to look at battery longevity, but I soon plan to begin testing it outdoors. I’ll likely need to conduct outdoor testing when we hit summer full-stride, as that will be a big deal for heat concerns. Love the questions and other people talking about their setups!

1 Like
#23

How has this been working out?

1 Like
#24

Not bad! Just checked the unit a few days ago, and it was up and running outdoors. It’s survived several 100°F days, some cloudy / rainy days, and even though it’s not optimally placed (on purpose for testing), the battery is keeping the unit up. If I mounted it properly, I would imagine the batter would stay better charged. The indoor tests resulted in about 7ish days of run time (complete dark with a full charge on the Mesh unit and the Battery bank). The outdoor test has been pretty good so far!

Edit: The heat has not done any damage that I can tell. For the most part, the case’s pressure release valve probably lets off any excess heat-related expansion, and the battery is designed to be in the heat. Overall, I’ve been a bit surprised and pleased with this project, as this is a completely “out-of-box” build with no soldering, modifying of electrical devices, or anything else like that.

3 Likes
#25

Okay. Glad to hear this. So I just ordered a couple of the pelican cases and a couple of different solar battery packs and I’ll run some experiments in my backyard. I’m going to try a 5k, 10k and 24k mah batteries the latter charged from their own solar panels and the 5k battery pack from a separate hanging solar panel as I also have a spare 1010 case which is tiny but could still be usable with a separate solar panel.

2 Likes
#26

I would be curious to know how you run cables through the Pelican cases, as they are well sealed & waterproof. Not to say it can’t be done, but since you’re doing experiments, I’d like to see the pictures.

1 Like
#27

I have a flat ribbon USB cable. On the 1010 when I close the lid the ribbon cable fits and the door still locks shut but the opening where the ribbon cable goes through doesn’t completely close. So that will be the bottom of the unit since I’m going to hang this up outside with the solar panel hanging below it. I might play around with some foam to see if I can relieve some of the pressure of the lid off the cable. Either that or drill a hole through the side as it will still be the “bottom” as it’ll hang vertically so I won’t need to worry about rain. I still have to think about how I’m going to do this.

2 Likes
#28

My solution may not work in exceptionally wet climates, but does work around here. We had 6"+ of aqua over a couple of days last month and no issues I am aware of. I don’t have a pic readily at hand, but use you imagination.

The HF cases I use (see pics above) have deep ribs n the exterior. On the side with the solar panel, I choose one relatively high on the side, but under the top horizontal rib on the lower half of the case between the hinges and drill a hole big enough to accommodate whatever cable end fitting is non-removable.

I mount the panel, then pass it’s lead through the hole. The first couple I siliconed. Since I leave the foam in place inside, I decided to try just leaving off the silicone. The opening that is left once the cable passes through is tiny, but is screened by the foam and seems to keep any splash out. It also a11ows venting.

2 Likes
#29

Okay. Got all the parts. Motorola Nexus 6, gotenna and 24,000mAh solar battery pack all fit nicely into the Pelican 1060. At 1.134kg it is hefty but hanging in the backyard. Will be interesting to see how this experiment goes.

6 Likes
#30

Day 2. Tried to message the solar unit delivery unconfirmed. Broke open the case and checked the Nexus 6 bluetooth had shut off. I haven’t seen that happen in a while. But okay. Rebooted the phone and made sure bluetooth was back on. Restarted gotenna app and closed the case back up. Have been able to message the solar unit thus far. Been raining on and off today (finally!). Everything in the case was bone dry.

3 Likes
#31

Day 3 still raining today. Looked and saw the gotenna mesh blinking white light. Brought the case inside and the Nexus 6 gotenna app thought it was still connected to mesh. Restarted the app and the mesh stopped blinking and the app said connected. Put all back in the case. The battery pack is still holding 3 out of 4 lights of charge even with all the overcast weather we are having.

1 Like
#32

The newer updates of Android, you may need to set goTenna app to NOT use the battery doze feature. Check this little video out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYxZWBlSdBE

1 Like
#33

That is right. I forgot about the battery optimizations. I’ve posted about them in the past. I’ll need to look at that and make sure they are set properly. There is the bluetooth service, bluetooth and midi and then gotenna app I have to make sure are all set.

1 Like
#34

That appears to have been the issue. The Nexus 6 is staying connected to the gotenna mesh whereas before it was disconnecting.

2 Likes
#35

Glad to hear that was the fix! I know my phone updated recently, and I noticed that I was having a heck of a time keeping it connected to do the most recent firmware updates. After a little digging, I found that video and voila!

1 Like
3D Printed goTenna Mesh Mounts and Enclosures
#36

Condensation inside the box. Not surprising with the swings in temperatures with the storms. Added silica gel desiccant packs (like the ones that come in a medicine/supplement pill bottle) to help keep the inside of the box dry.

Otherwise nothing new to report. Everything is still running 4 days in. If/when it ever does run out of battery power I’ll report then but with the 24,000 mAh solar battery pack it should be a long time from now.

1 Like
#37

Solar node 2. Same 1060 Pelican case however this unit is a 15,000 mAh battery, smaller Samsung Galaxy S4 phone with the gotenna mesh and a silica gel desiccant. There is more room at the top with the smaller battery.

Solar node #1 is having some interesting issues. I saw today that gotenna was not paired (flashing white). Broke open the box and the Nexus 6 was showing 10% battery on the gotenna mesh but it was only flashing white with no red. Stopped the app. Restarted the app and immediately connected and showed 100% battery on the mesh. That was odd.

Picture of #2 hanging in the test environment (backyard).

2 Likes
#38

Why not use DampRid packs inside the case to ensure that any moisture is absorbed by those, and not your sensitive electronics?

I’ve used these with great success in many applications. Airflow and drain holes (with grilles, so little multi-legged critters don’t crawl inside and call your new case “Home”) should work also.

1 Like
#39

I have a bunch of the silica gel packets in hand. Will look into the DampRid packs as I haven’t heard of them before.

Do you have any ideas/photos on grilles? I’m debating putting in some mesh like that from a window screen but not sure how to do this and get air flow without letting water. I swear some of the storms I see the water is falling at really steep angles.

#40

You can get plastic window screen at the big box. A little silicone around the edges will hold it. If a cable needs to pass through, you can cut a slot for it and use silicone to seal it to the cable.

On my cases designed for holding sensitive objects (like Pelican or Harbor Freight “Apache” cases I leave the foam in them. It presses up against the opening from the inside and is as fine as most screening you can get.

1 Like