In order to cope with harsh environments, and with increasing computerization technology becoming available, very often a waterproof computer is necessary to fit an application that an OEM needs to fulfill. This results in the corollary requirement of a fanless system, in addition to any waterproof I/O and/or display that is needed for the application.
Now, there may have been a time when obtaining a waterproof computer posed a big problem. In the industrial market, however, that issue is a thing of the past, with a slew of rugged waterproof computers and panel PCs.
The main question is, how waterproof does the computer need to be? Luckily that is a question that is easily answered by examining the IP (Ingress Protection) code. At New Era Electronics, waterproof computers generally break down into 2 different IP ratings.
IP67 – This indicates that the product can be submerged at a depth of at least 1 meter for 30 minutes. This is usually the highest level of waterproofing that can be found in a waterproof computer.
IP65 – This indicates that the product is protected from water splashing and low pressure water jets from all directions.
Any ratings lower than these, such as IP54, don’t quite classify as waterproof by our standards. But these systems are very useful in an environment where the computer may get splashed or dripped on.
Other Waterproofing Solutions
Depending on the situation, there are other measures that can be taken to make the device water or moisture proof. When it comes to components such as the motherboard, one such option that can be taken is conformal coating. This is a special coating that is applied to the printed circuit board which protects it against external elements such as moisture, humidity, dust, chemicals and temperature extremes. The key point that we are interested in here is the moisture and humidity protection.
Another option, specifically for use in Panel PCs is for the PC to have a waterproof (IP65) front panel, while the back of the computer doesn’t have this rating. What this results in is a machine which, if mounted within an enclosure correctly, allows the enclosure to be completely waterproof, while also being able to reap the benefits of having a back that is not waterproof such as not having to be fanless.