From prototype to final product

Hi there! I am new to this maker world and I would like to get some feedback from more experienced makers (is that the right terminology???). I recently bought a RPi3 from Core and WOW!!!. I cant believe how easy it was to setup and start producing prototypes!! The RPi course on the Core website was extremely helpful.

I have built a small prototype to record the level of water in my water tanks. The current prototype uses a non solder breadboard to hold the resistors and make the circuit. I would like to make the setup permanent and allow for expansion later. It also has to be installed outside.

So now for the questions!!
Does everyone use non solder breadboards in their final product?
What housing can you get for outdoor use?
Does RPi’s need airflow or can the housing be air/waterproof?
Does RPi’s get damaged from being outside in sometimes moist air?
How does everyone attach boards to the housing?

Hi Denver,

Congrats on getting to that point with Raspberry Pi. I’m sure other people will chime in with their own thoughts but here are a few things about some of those points:

  1. 99% of projects use some form of soldered board as solderless connections just aren’t reliable enough for the majority of use cases. If you’ve already got your project nailed down on a breadboard and you’re happy with the circuit, then the best option (in my opinion) is to use one of the Adafruit Perma-Proto boards which match the layout of a solderless breadboard, however, you can solder to them.

  2. You can get a bunch of different enclosures for a Raspberry Pi, however, the best option is definitely to just get a decent enclosure, and mount it somewhere undercover, rather than a waterproof enclosure (I haven’t used one) as all of your connections need to be waterproofed as well.

  3. Unless it’s severly humid, moisture in the air shouldn’t be too much of a factor. A Raspberry Pi is exposed to the same air most of the time, so unless you’re letting it sit out in dew or similar conditions, it should be fine. But again, common sense and caution are the best indicators here.

  4. The Raspberry Pi has several holes for small (M3 screws I think) screws/bolts and most cases will either use those, or a clip on system.

Thanks Sam!

I guess will have to buy some proto boards and learn how to solder. :slight_smile:
I plan on mounting the enclosure under the eaves of my house, so it shouldnt get wet.

What type of wire do you recommend for attaching the RPi to the proto board or can I use the normal breadboard leads and solder them on?

The best option would be some good solid core wire Something like this kit is good as it allows you to use different colours according to the wire usage to help keep things organised. They can go into the RPI headers as well.

Thanks @Sam for the advice.

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After doing some research it appears that using a hot glue gun is an appropriate method of securing LED’s, wires, etc in a housing. This does not seem right!!! A little to agricultural for me.

It might seem like a bit of a caveman approach, but if it works right? Hot glue is good because it fixes into place well, but can be removed if required.

How would you remove the glue once set?
What is a better way to fix a component to a plastic housing if the component doesn’t have mounting holes. eg.

Hi Denver,

Hot glue can be fairly easily removed once set. Everything you’re asking is simply a matter of trial and error. There is no ‘best’ way of doing most of these things, I would suggest trying out a couple of things with your project and seeing what works the best.

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Thanks. I’m just trying to see what everyone else has done.

Yeah of course, unfortunately, most of this stuff is just trial and error, and eventually you’ll find something that works for you.