Common mistakes & guidelines in selecting an outdoor enclosure
Outdoor electrical enclosures are typically disregarded for connectivity. Connectivity concerns generally involve the controller and the regulated equipment. NEMA and IP-rated approved exterior enclosures are becoming increasingly vital as more electronic equipment is utilized outdoors to regulate sprinklers, lights, electricity, pest control, and traffic patterns. Engineers must consider numerous factors while building outdoor equipment controllers. Too frequently, issues are ignored in haste to evaluate the product or because enclosures are low-tech items. Here are five blunders engineers make when specifying outdoor electrical enclosures.
IMPROPER NEMA OR IP-RATED OUTDOOR ENCLOSURE
Outdoor enclosures frequently have improper NEMA ratings or the wrong IP ratings, and engineers do not keep the following critical actors for standard ratings.
Determining Environmental Factors
Before purchasing a cabinet or enclosure, research the local climate and environmental conditions. For example, this will reveal if you require a cooling system, corrosion resilience, moisture or dust-tight seals, or any other type of additional protection from the elements. Equipment damage and malfunction may be minimized, and wasteful operation can be avoided by building a cabinet or enclosure ready for anything.
Wind & Rain
The wind isn’t an issue for well-designed enclosures. The granules of dirt, dust or external particles that enter via a defective or damaged seal can cause issues in the interior environment. These issues can arise due to the wind’s ability to introduce these factors. Problems with cooling and heat transmission, clogged air circulation and decreased lifetime are all possible outcomes.
A quarter-turn spring lock rated IP65 made of stainless steel and corrosion-resistant access hardware might be helpful. As an extra seal, the correct gasket can help prevent these issues. For this purpose, ethylene propylene diene (EPDM) sealing gaskets work well. EPDM is highly durable in the face of the weather. Heavy rain, which may penetrate weaker materials, is an example.
It is common for engineers to believe that NEMA 12 enclosures may be utilized outside. In truth, they can only handle dripping liquids and oils and are only intended for indoor usage. NEMA 4 or 4X rated electronics enclosures should be utilized for outdoor applications since they can withstand outdoor weather conditions.
Theft & Vandalism
To keep your outdoor enclosure secure, you’ll need to consider security measures to keep equipment out of the hands of intruders. Security systems, alarms, monitoring equipment, and remote controls can be implemented. In the United States, using NEMA 12 and NEMA 4 standards, or IP56 and IP52 in Europe makes your enclosure less vulnerable to theft and damage.
WRONG MATERIAL SELECTION
The wrong material for outdoor enclosures may quickly degrade its physical and aesthetic properties. To accomplish your goal, you’ll need to build a cabinet or enclosure that can withstand these threats. It is essential to consider the resistance qualities of every component of your enclosure to eliminate the possibility that a gasket, lock, or another item will become a corroded weak spot. Choosing suitable materials is critical, so keep reading to learn more.
Fibreglass is a polyester material reinforced with glass fibres and becoming an increasingly preferred substitute for metal. As a low-cost substitute for metal, it is highly durable, making it ideal for outdoor enclosures exposed to harsh weather conditions. Fibreglass deteriorates when exposed to direct sunlight; hence UV inhibitors and aluminium trihydrate must be used in the formulation to give the UV protection required.
Injection moulding and sheet extrusion are the two primary processing methods for polycarbonate, a high-performance thermoplastic. It is highly durable and can withstand a diverse range of temperatures. Polycarbonate’s only problem is that it doesn’t hold up well in settings where strong alkalis or organic solvents may come into contact with it. These situations require the polycarbonate to be coated with silicone, making it more scratch-resistant.
Polyester is a lightweight, long-lasting material impervious to corrosion and dampness. It’s a relatively new enclosure material; therefore, it can be challenging to locate, especially when mixed with polycarbonate. Injection moulding is used to create the polyester mix, just as it is for polycarbonate. In terms of electrical qualities, it’s got a lot of heft and good impact resistance. As far as chemical and moisture resistance goes, it tops the list. Despite polyester’s superior UV resistance, UV absorbers are still recommended.
Specific features may be found in each steel type. Stainless steels are particularly good at preventing corrosion caused by chlorine, seawater, sulfates, and bromides; however, EMI shielding is an essential consideration for an outdoor enclosure holding electrical components. Some stainless steels, known as ferromagnetic steel, are not magnetic. Electrical equipment will not be damaged by this method of deflecting electromagnetic interference. The steel you’re looking for should be nickel, iron, or cobalt-based.
Bare and anodized aluminium is commonly seen on front panels and enclosures due to its low cost and wide range of applications. Anodized aluminium is a common choice because of its robustness and aesthetic appeal, although bare aluminium may be easily branded or coloured.
In case of lightning strikes and surges, aluminium does not conduct electricity. With its ventilation and heat reduction qualities, aluminium may transform your enclosure into a heat-resistant one, protecting your equipment and reducing its deterioration due to regular usage.
There is no better material for external enclosures than polycarbonate or polycarbonate plastic components. PVC-based hole blanking covers snap into place to keep dirt and moisture out of the holes. PVC edge guards with a steel spring core should be sought. These are highly bendable and may be applied by pressing them with your hands. Edge protectors should withstand temperatures ranging from -40°C to +90°C. Another significant part of the entry and strain-relief system is nylon-coated cable glands.
Consider your locks and latches. For small generator doors and panels, quarter-turn latches are ideal. You’ll want to look for Die-cast zinc alloy in this category. Extremely well-conductive electrically and thermally, these are exceptionally robust materials.
Due to their corrosion resistance, stainless steel quarter-turn compressed latches are an excellent choice for outdoor cabinets. Ideally, you’ll want a grounding device with particular clips. Also, consider steel hinges hidden from the outside, preventing meddling. Corrosion resistance is best achieved with a zinc-plated finish.
NOT SPECIFYING ENCLOSURE VENTS FOR INTERNAL TEMPERATURE & HEAT DISSIPATION
Adding louvres or exhaust fans in an outdoor unit is not enough. NEMA and IP-certified enclosure vents are required to maintain the seal.
To better understand this, think of an electrical enclosure engineered to withstand the elements. The temperature of the inside of a structure can potentially pose a danger, depending on the heat load, rate of heat dissipation, and the outside temperature. Thermal stress can cause electrical components to become less dependable and function more inefficiently over time.
On the other hand, a decrease in internal temperature might be caused by a rise in ambient temperature. The enclosure can be ventilated using an air-to-air heat exchanger in this situation. An air conditioning system or another active cooling system will be required if the ambient temperature of the surrounding environment is higher than the interior circumstances of the enclosure.
Frost might be more detrimental to the performance of your HVAC system than heat. An auxiliary heating unit is required to maintain safe operating conditions within such situations.
NON VERIFICATION OF THE ABILITY TO MOUNT EQUIPMENT INSIDE WITHOUT DRILLING EXTRA HOLES
Do any of your boards or other equipment come with mounting bosses or slots that they may be fastened to? Do you have access to panels that you can use to install your equipment? These are the common questions engineers neglect while designing and selecting an enclosure.
NO KNOWLEDGE OF MOUNTING OUTDOOR ENCLOSURES TO A WALL OR OTHER EQUIPMENT
Wall-mounted enclosures are available in a broad range of sizes and configurations and may be used indoors and outdoors due to the extensive range of IP ratings. As a result, you can nearly always find a model that meets your exact installation space and safety criteria requirements. Ensure that the mounting ears on your NEMA outdoor enclosure are present. If drilling through the box and the associated gaskets expenses are a concern, is it possible to prevent this? Various wall-mounted enclosures and boxes are available in the market, and one should be careful with their selection as the wrong choice will lead to production and financial loss.
YONGU L03A 120*75*H Outdoor Waterproof Enclosures
YOUGUBOX outdoor waterproof enclosures are suitable for use in harsh environments such as heavy machinery, industrial plants, and underwater or outdoor applications.
YONGUBOX has a wide variety of IP-rated enclosures with flexible customization options.
The following characteristics unite them.
- Waterproof Electrical Enclosures
- Rugged and robust for heavy-duty use.
- The dispensing ring is good for maintaining both waterproof and dustproof functionality.
- Shock-resistant diecast aluminium enclosure.
- Conductivity can be achieved by utilizing the contact between the unfinished inner surfaces.
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