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possible mold for casting controller in silicone

Started by Bob in WV, March 22, 2014, 01:10:12 PM

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Bob in WV

Been thinking about how to waterproof the new controller and keep it as inconspicuous as possible.
While browsing for casting supplies I ran across this as a possible contender to put the controller in. (center mold)
Cast with clear silicone and the leds could be seen.
Just a thought.



I already had this in mine, I was just gonna build out of some small wood pieces and rect mode, spray it with a release, then silicone etc - I was thinking of just the pic led and not the rest for mine - dont want to see the blinking leds in the dark.

Was also thinking of trying to mix some food coloring into the silicone to turn it back as well, I wanted the flexible stuff "in case" I needed to get it back out for some reason.

Time will tell...



Myk--you think the LEDs on the micro controller would be visible from a viewing distance?  I didn't figure they would.  If you have experience in that ballpark, I might just go for "no" LEDs...  I was thinking I would really like to have the troubleshooting capability the LEDs would naturally provide, but now I am not so sure..


I was thinking clear silicone to seal and still see the LED's.  Then put a piece of black electrical tape over the silicone casing when you don't.


Depends on where you put them, how close to the street your are etc, plus I guess you could jut make sure the back of the board is facing the street....

Will ask Dave if the LEDs can be turned off via software or if they are hard coded into the design....


David Pitts

Quote from: MyKroFt on March 22, 2014, 05:14:53 PM
Depends on where you put them, how close to the street your are etc, plus I guess you could jut make sure the back of the board is facing the street....

Will ask Dave if the LEDs can be turned off via software or if they are hard coded into the design....


3 are hard-coded into the hardware. The Pixelnet/programming LED can be turned off and even dimmed with software. 
PixelController, LLC


I kind of figured the answer would be "maybe".  I was thinking the same thing, that I might just see what I could do to have the boards turned such that the LEDs didn't face the street.  Probably easier said than done, though.


Mold:  I don't think the mold shown in the first post will work.  The controller will be very close to 1-3/8 x 3/4 inches.  The mold appears to be close to 1" diameter. 

LEDs:  As Dave says Tx, power and Rx LEDs are built into the hardware.  If you add them, they will be on whenever you have power on those lines.  The LEDs are rated for 5V and have an internal resistor already incorporated.  They are rated for around 15mcd (millicandellas) @ 5V, but the power LED is run on 3.3V, Rx LED is run on 3.5V at about 50% duty cycle, and Tx LED is run on 5V at about 50% duty cycle, so they are all likely a bit dimmer than the spec.

In comparison, I see some nodes rated Red = 300mcd, Green = 1000mcd, Blue = 300mcd, so between the indicator LEDs and nodes, we're talking the nodes being anywhere from 30-100x brighter.  The closest comparisons I could make would be the power LED on my TV or computer, or a 'night time' illuminated wall switch.  Can you 'see' them?... yes.  Are they obtrusive or 'attention getting' in any real way... no.  In most instances with mine, given even 6-8 feet of lead wire, and the small size, I can tuck the controller where it won't even be seen or point the LEDs back or down toward the ground.  And given most, if not everyone will be viewing from the street, or easily 20, 30, 40+feet away, I suspect they will blend in or won't be noticed at all.

I don't know that my camera does the scene justice, but I tried to capture a scene with nodes vs indicators.  Probably the closest representation would be to set the image 3-4 feet away and see if the LEDs 'stick out' that much to you.

I also tried to capture video, but I don't know that it is much better   

Of course, conversely, you would also need to consider at certain points, the nodes may be out, but the LEDs may still be on.  ie - 'black' or 0,0,0 RGB is a perfectly valid set of data to transmit.


I plan on using empty 35mm film canisters; they measure app. 1" wide by 2" long.  They come in a variety of materials/colors/cap styles.  Drill hole in cap and bottom of bottle, run wires through them, seal holes with silicone, snap/screw lid on, finished.  Get clear if you want to see led's, if not, black or gray.  For extra weatherproof assurance, silicone the lid on.  If you ever need to access the board, just cut the container with utility knife, replace with a new one.  Plenty of them on eBay from 20 cents and up.

For my curiosity, I always thought silicone was NOT an insulator, and would actually conduct current...would encasing a board in silicone not short the board circuits?

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