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I'm tempted to use the Pi for controlling an autonomous robot that could be subjected to harsh conditions - mud, water, the lot. (It's theoretical at this point, but the concept remains the same!)

Because of this I'd either like to build or buy (relatively cheaply) a completely waterproof case, preferably one rated for submersion up to 1m to be safe.

What would be the best way of obtaining such a case, and how could I safely route cables through it whilst still maintaining its waterproofing?

  • What connectors do you want? – Alex Chamberlain Jun 13 '12 at 12:58
  • @AlexChamberlain USB, GPIO and possibly ethernet. – berry120 Jun 13 '12 at 13:02
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    I feared you were going to say that. Your first problem - the connectors are inherently not waterproof. – Alex Chamberlain Jun 13 '12 at 13:03
  • An autonomous robot would presumably use radio? So connectors for programming can be internal; and then use special waterproof connectors for battery, motors, radio, etc. – winwaed Jun 13 '12 at 13:18
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Many cameras and video cameras have waterproof cases available, most of these have buttons on the outside connected to mechanisms for pressing buttons on the actual contained device.

As other answers have mentioned, waterproof cables with underwater connectors do exist, the problem you might face however is that the off the shelf waterproof casings probably don't have holes for you to thread these through. Depending on what you wanted you can by watertight boxes with connectors already attached or make your own holes and make sure you properly seal them.

You could also consider enclosing the power for the RPi and its power supply inside a case and have it communicate with the other robotic components via wifi/bluetooth.

Example of the kinds of wire seals and boxes you might use: http://www.fuertecases.com/wireseals.html

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    You could put the waterproof box inside another water proof box with a gap between them, so that if the waterproofing of the cable holes on the outer one fails, there is the buffer protection and inner seals, so 2 chances of keeping water out rather than one point failing and flooding the entire electronic section in one go – RhysW Mar 27 '13 at 16:53
  • Attenuation is frequency dependent. Googling 'attenuation wifi underwater'., looks like your signal wouldn't travel very far in the water, but you may be ok if the device you connect to is close. – ntg Mar 17 '15 at 15:47
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There are cheap cases on the market that are waterproof. They use rubber isolation in the caps for the cables.

What I am more concerned about is the cooling for the processor core. You can use a radiator which will scatter the heat.

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    Processor does not need to be cooled if there is at least a 2 mm gap between it and casing. – Tibor Jun 13 '12 at 17:43
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For connectors, try these:

http://www.samtec.com/panelio/IP68_Sealed_Systems.aspx

Not sure how deep you could go...

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