Found Enclosures - Using What's Available

pic 2 - 300At some point, many of our projects should go into an enclosure so that it looks nice or is projected from damage and even weather.  Many styles of enclosures are available from Radio Shack (yes, they are still in business), Digikey and Jameco but cost can be high and finding exactly what you want can be difficult.  Often, with a little ingenuity, enclosures can be found at hand.  I've shown some different options here in the past for enclosures but you may be neglecting a great source of stylish enclosures as close as your bathroom - stick deodorant containers!

These come in different colors in a small range of sizes and some even have transparent end caps if you want to show some LEDs.  These containers are nearly air-tight too, so a water-tight enclosure can be arranged with some judicious use of silicon sealant.

The pictures here show a couple of Old Spice Deodorant containers.  A TAP-28 Plus board (98mm x 60mm) slides right in the larger container with about 12mm to spare in the length.

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The slightly more stylized container has an angled translucent top which would be perfect to display a few LEDs.  It's slightly smaller in cross-section, so the TAP-28 board doesn't quite fit due to the thickness of the PIC in a socket and the keyed 6-pin headers.

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These containers have a knob on the end and a shaft extending inside to push up the deodorant stick.  In the first container, it's impossible to remove the shaft and knob without breaking out the plastic around the knob.  On the more stylized version, the knob is a press-fit into the container; it can be popped out and put back in.  A cool design would be to use the existing knob to rotate a pot or a rotary switch.

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The protective cap that seals the deodorant before purchase might come in handy to create a watertight seal, or to separate the container into sections for a shorter board.  The piece used to push the deodorant stick up in the container may be handy in some applications too.

Let your imagination run wild with these.  If you don't use stick deodorant or you want to experiment with a different type, this product typically costs around $4 - not a bad price for an enclosure even it you buy it and toss the stick.

Posted: 3 years 3 months ago by hop #17790
hop's Avatar
BRAVO! What a great idea!!! And the pictures use look like my brand! I wish I hadn't thrown all those old expended ones away!!

Another side-effect you created with this project! Our embedded hobbyists and designers are going to smell better as they use more to get that empty container!

I'm going to explore using these with my outside sensor pods. THANK YOU JON!
Posted: 3 years 3 months ago by Jon Chandler #17791
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hop wrote:

....Our embedded hobbyists and designers are going to smell better....

That remains to be seen!
Posted: 3 years 3 months ago by Jon Chandler #17795
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Since the response to this topic has been overwhelming (not), here's an additional hint.

If the board is too small to fit nicely in the enclosure, spacers may be used in the corners so that the board can wedge tightly in the enclosure. What? Of course all boards should have mounting holes in the corners!

Posted: 3 years 3 months ago by hop #17796
hop's Avatar
Not sure why I didn't think of that. Great idea! How do you answer the 6-pin header connector? A right-angle would be better yes?

I am racing you! I am going to put one of my little OLED displays in the cap and use a teensy with a ESP8266 to relay sensor data from outside. Just an experiment. Looks like there MIGHT be room for a cell phone lithium battery under the board for back up power. Maybe a connector for a solar panel or two.

Can you link the silicon sealant you mentioned earlier?
Posted: 3 years 3 months ago by Jon Chandler #17798
Jon Chandler's Avatar
The board was a handy TAP-28 board that I use for everything. If I was actually building something to fit in the enclosure, yes, right angle headers would be necessary.

As far as the silicon sealant goes, there are all kinds of them at the hardware store. There's silicon caulk for around the shower and tube (usually white) or many general purpose types, often in clear. A small amount would seal the lid, yet it's flexible and would allow the lid to be removed at a later time.

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