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Sealing connections for RGB

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by Bill Ellick, Mar 24, 2012.

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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Well Thanks to Jeff Millard for donating some silicone tubing covering to the cause, I now have 2 pieces of it out in the weather for testing.
    Today is the 2 week mark for the RGB strips that I put out originally. I added the 2 pieces of silicone tubing last night inside so the silicone adhesive could set up and just put the test setup back outdoors this morning.
    The silicone strips I made up one with a piece of dumb strip inside it with wires soldered on and the ends of the silicone tubing sealed. The other piece of tubing is empty with one end sealed to prevent the wind from blowing though the piece although I want some air to be able to circulate into it.
    Nothing to report so far on the test other than some very light either oxidation or else it is the flux remanents discoloring on the one strip that I soldered 2 wires on but has no protection on the solder joints. The 2 adjacent copper pads are bright and shiny which makes me think that this is more the flux degrading than actual corrosion of the solder, but it really is too early to tell at this point.

    The weather for the past 2 weeks has been pretty much overcast with rainy and snowy periods with the temps ranging from low 20's at night to mid 40's during the day. Of course these are F and not C so those folks who live in Aus or Can will have to forgive me and convert for themselves. Guess I better get a dual reading thermometer on the next shopping trip and post it on the photos for you!
    So the waiting and watching will continue for months and we shall see what we shall see!
    I have also begun contacting manufacturers of sealants and hot melt adhesive (HMA or hot glue if you like) to get the actual data sheets on the sealants as well as any recommendations on useage of these substances on electronic and electrical connections.
    This way the testing will have actual "factory specs" to base the results on and not my own personal opinion or observations which only seems like the right way to do this.
     

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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Well after a month out in the weather there is not too much to report on the test strips yet.
    It does appear that they do get a cloudy haze to them on wet and rainy days though as you can see from today’s pictures.

    I do see the beginnings of corrosion effects on the test strip that has the 100% silicone on it under a microscope. I believe that this is more of chemical effect corrosion than a moisture corrosion which is too be expected from the silicone. A joint using neutral silicone does not show this effect yet.

    As far as materials to use for connections, I have been in touch with quite a few companies and am waiting for test samples as well as data sheets for various materials to be able to give good data to folks and for my sample analysis’ purposes.

    I have spoken with 6 different companies about the use of hot melt for RGB connections with varying opinions and results. Four out of the six companies do not recommend the use of hot melt adhesive for outside use, electrical connection sealing/insulating, or both. The other 2 companies are sending me samples of hot melt with data sheets so I can run some tests on them myself but these are not the average household hot melt adhesives that you would purchase from normal sources of the stuff. These are specific hot melt adhesives that are used for encapsulating items or being used for mold injection uses although the companies have assured me that the glue would be useable by the average consumer without special equipment (ie., a standard hot melt gun will work with it). This should be interesting to see once I have some of it to play with.

    I have been in touch with companies on using neutral silicone as well and have data sheets and some samples of it coming as well to test.

    Overall not much else new but I am excited by the hot melt adhesive possibilities as this would make a very quick and easy sealing item for use by people in this hobby. I have always been a firm user of potting compounds or the neutral silicone myself but as we all know, times do change and this could be a nice new addition that would save a lot of time for assembly of items.
     

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  3. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator

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    Thanks for the update Bill, you are definetly being thorough with your testing and these results will help the community for years to come.
     
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Well first off, my appologies for not doing an update before now. I have been very busy with rehabbing as well as some health issues that are on-going and not so much fun as I get older.

    The first item to fail the outdoor testing was the hot melt glue at 57 days into test. It started to peel away from the connection and has let moisture into the electrical connection as well as the cable sleeve.
    I also have not found even one manufacturer who will give any endorsement or even some casual okay to using hot melt with RGB strips. The only hot melt type that any of them will talk about or endorse is a reactive hot melt which is two step process that must be done in a controlled environment so it is out of the question for this hobby.

    The next one to show signs of failure is plastic dip coating so far. It is beginning to fray around the edges and looks to be starting to peel up off the RGB strip. So I guess I can't give this one much of an endorsement either at this point.

    All the other sealants look to be performing satisfactory so far even though the RGB strip samples are starting to show some yellowing effects from the sun and outside environment.

    This year so far has been very humid and hot here much more so than a normal year, but probably normal for other parts of the country.

    So there you have it for now. I'll try to be a little more diligent about getting updates on this more frequently!
     
  5. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator

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    Thanks for the updat Bill, not very surprising the results but they confirm waht i have been thinking.

    Hot glue is only good for holding something in place before using silicone to do the job. I also found the hot clue peels away very easily over time.

    Now the second failiure im not 100% sure what you are talking about. Are we talking about the strip that is the resin drip type that only has a coating on the top surface with only the 3M tape on the underneath side? From talking to others this strip will fail over time if left outside so people need to be aware of that.

    Again thanks for doing this trial Bill, im sure it will give us the facts that are needed to make wise choices in the future.
     
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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Here are a couple of photos of the testing as of today 8-10-2012.
    As you can see the hot glue is letting go pretty much. Also the strips are very cloudy looking now after only 4 months out in the weather, although the strip that is encased in the silicone sleeve is still fairly clear and has not degraded like the ones that are just the resin coating.
     

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    Bill Ellick

    Bill Ellick Full Time Elf

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    Well here are my final results for the testing on sealing of RGB strips. I made it into a pdf file for ease of moving around.
    Also this is my first attempt at posting a pdf file so please shout if it doesn't come through with pictures and text.
    Hopefully this will answer some questions or maybe cause some new questions.
     

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  8. Boof63

    Boof63 Senior Elf Generous Elf

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    Great work and comprehensive, thanks for your efforts and sorry to hear about the fallout from the lighting strike , fried, hardrives are not fun if no backups!! (my experiences!! - self inflicted tho.)
    cheers Boof63
     
  9. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator

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    That is a very detailed test and summary and well worth for people to read and understand as this can save a lot of people a great deal of heart ache, Its greatly appreciated Bill
     

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