Infrared Illuminator Rescued From A Watery Grave

Well, it was inevitable, at least one piece of my wildlife camera network had to succumb to the extreme weather we’ve been having and at the weekend it happened.

On Saturday evening I noticed half of the garden was plunged into darkness as one of my large infrared illuminators suddenly stopped working. What a pain! You can guarantee a menagerie of exotic animals will be paying a first time visit to the garden on the one evening half of my IR lighting isn’t working! Oh, how easy it is for your imagination to run away with you!

In reality, I’m sure I didn’t miss a thing but I was keen to find out what the problem was and try and get things up and running as quickly as possible. Getting up close to the IR illumniator it was immediately obvious what the problem was – water, and lots of it.

For the life of me I cannot work out how the water got inside, even after totally disassembling it.

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All of the seals seemed pretty good on the IR illuminator but the water still managed to get in.The question was, could I get it working again? Not one to back down from a challenge I started with stage one – mopping up most of the water with a kitchen towel. Those thirst pockets work great! Ever the optimist I tried powering the light up…nothing. Dead as a dodo.

Stage two – a twenty minute blast with the hairdryer. Power up again – nothing. Hmmm I thought, I’m running out of options here.

Stage three – An evening on the radiator.

I got up Sunday morning powered up the dry and now toasty warm IR illuminator and…..BINGO!…..It’s ALIVE!!

Waterlogged-IR-4-600

by-the-power-of-sugru_4947112_GIFSoup.com

By the power of Sugru!

Things are never quite as watertight after you’ve taken them apart and put them back together again so I needed to come up with a way of guaranteeing a better watertight seal. This sounds like a job for Sugru I thought! I was lucky enough to recently be chosen as Sugru ‘Guru of the month’ and was kindly presented with a generous quantity of Sugru for future projects. This was my opportunity to open the first sachet!

Waterlogged-IR-5

I love this stuff! There are so many things you can do with it. I’ve used it to create some of my ‘upcycling’ projects but this was the first time I’ve actually used it to repair something.

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After sealing every orifice and joint (on the camera, not me!) I was ready to reinstall the IR illuminator on the outside of the Gadget Lab.

Waterlogged-IR-7

So, that brings us up to date. The IR illuminator is back in position and the whole of the garden is totally bathed in infrared light. I’m now ready for the menagerie of wildlife to return. Whether its a fox, deer, badger or Gruffalo I should be able to see it and capture footage via I-catcher. Fingers crossed it will remain watertight and carry on working!

 

By | 2016-10-27T15:27:04+00:00 January 7th, 2014|Live Cams, Technology|2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. David January 8, 2014 at 11:03 am - Reply

    It may have been watertight – but it wont have been (nor, probably, will be) air tight.
    Over the last few weeks we’ve had wildly ranging atmospheric pressure, high humidity, and the temp has been up and down to, and below, freezing often.
    Chances are that, after each of the very low pressures we’ve had (hence the very strong winds) during which air will have come out from the unit, very humid air will have leaked in during the following much higher atmospheric pressure.
    Add to this sub/near zero temperatures and this damp air will have condensed inside on all surfaces and components.
    Repeat several times …. and it looks like it has leaked.

    Just a thought … anyway.

    • Wildlife Gadgetman February 12, 2014 at 8:21 am - Reply

      I’m sure you are right David. Seems to be working fine now though.

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