Case ideas for Outernet Hardware

I have seen a few really cool case ideas looking through some of the other threads and I thought I might simply try to start a conversation where people could share some ideas or what they have done to case up their projects. I saw at least one person who has either purchased or been given a shell for the upcoming Lantern. It might be cool if Outernet sold a kit so that those of us who got the DIY could buy a case, maybe even with an option for the battery/solar cell, and charging system/harness? Also I saw one person that went to a lot of trouble to make a waterproof case with a remotely adjustable antenna, that is awesome! Any other ideas? Right now I think I am going to put this in a waterproof poly case and in fact I may cram it in together with my PiGate (ham radio ops go see as kind of an emergency data center! Currently mine is still sitting in the box with the patch velcroed to the lid propped up with the LNA box. :slight_smile:


I used a waterproof polycarbonate case for mine you can see the pictures in the installation thread.

I have since added a sheet of acrylic and used nylon machine screws to hold everything down instead of hot glue, and I add a lithium battery pack. If you want more detailed pictures I will post them.
But I am concerned with the temperatures I am going to reach in the hotter months, as there will be no airflow. Maybe I can rig up a watercooling loop, and a pettier chip to act as a refrigerator. :slight_smile:

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That’s a neat idea. The Peltier chip might use too much power from the battery. You can get bug proof (well almost) vents at Home Depot type stores used for aluminum siding vents.

Peltier chips usually run off of 12v so I wouldn’t be able to run it off the battery anyway. I would connect a 12v power supply to the mains connection in my box.

Be careful going down the cooled enclosure route… It can become large… :smile:

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My case is 3 times as large as it needs to be right now anyway. My original plan was to fill the extra space with 18650 cells, but that was going to cost nearly $1000. I should only need a small 30w peltier with a heatsink and fan attached to a AIO cooler from a pc.
BTW, what is that exactly?

I’am planning and designing a 3D printable case for the DIY Kit in the moment, that will be published on thingiverse when it is completed.

You will be able to addjust the angle of the Antenna between 25°-35° (this range because i need ~30°). Because of that, it will not be useable for everyone in the world, but it should be fine in central europe, i think.

The only thing that i need to add to my current model are the brackets/mounts for the other components (CHIP, SDR, LNA) and a hole for the microUSB port. All of this will be mounted on the backside of the case, that needs to be designed to.

I’m also planning to engrave the front acrylic glass and adding some LEDs in the future.

The case itself will be printed in PETG so it doesent melt in the sun :wink:

Here are some renders:


It is a solid state cooled enclosure that houses two ADS-B receivers. It has automatic temperature control and remote access. 48, 24 and 5v power. Just for fun.

From my own experiments, I can tell you that unless the device is located in Antarctica, the combination of the RTL-SDR, and the CHIP, in a small enclosure, will probably not work without serious cooling. The RTL tuning above 1000MHz is very sensitive to temperature and simply won’t receive well. The CHIP is a problem in itself. Runs very hot.

An enclosure that has integrated cooling channels and forced air built in to direct outside airflow over the two main components and out of the box would possibly work.

Baffling, these RTL dongles. They run waaaay hotter than an equivalent receiver one step up. An SDRPlay RSP is relatively cool to the touch at full blast, but costs over $100. You get what you pay for, I guess. The CHIP computer is ridiculously hot for the performance point.

I ran a RPi B + SDR dongle, LNA, and POE converter 24/7 in a minimally vented outside enclosure through winter spring and summer and they were fine.

I have SDRPlay RSP1 and several cheap RTL-SDR’s and I will agree!

If you have room for a heat transfer chip odds are you have room for a larger heat sink and a small fan. And do more with less. These heat transfer chips are no miracle. You have to hang great big heat sinks and fans behind them to get a slight difference in ambient, and then try to pump heat across that series heat resistance. Yes it does work in places, but not in a bush deploy radio receiver as we aim to deploy. *sorry about the we, It is Outernet that is deploying it.

I just we by, with one. :wink:

I agree with you on using the solid state cooling chips. They are current hogs and you still have to transfer the heat away from the other side of the chip. I have experience using them in F40 locomotives where believe it or not they are used at 72vdc to run a cooler box for the engineer’s lunch bag !

Heck yeah, Now there is a place you have a bit of extra electrical power available!

I have a ‘not ice’ chest that uses a TEC device. It uses 12V at about 2-3A to work, And it takes a LONG time to cool down.


they also have BAD habit of creating a massive amount of condensation, regardless of how “dry” the air is… They are good in places that are wet (like eskys) but I would be worried about the wet with electronics :slight_smile:
a big chunk of copper pipe, bolts and a fan would be safer IMHO :slight_smile: (and use less power and less prone to failure )

Key to a successful electronically cooled enclosure is:

  1. airtight
  2. big recyclable desiccant pack inside
  3. lots of air movement inside the box
  4. heat sinks and fans on hot and cold sides of the plate
  5. plenty of power.

Point 2 would be critical :slight_smile:

To a great extent, yes, however, if the heat load in the box is sufficient, it is a self healing environment. One of my boxes, pictured above, runs 24/7 with no desiccant pack at all. It has a lot of gear inside, and for example, today, with 73F external temp, the inside is 80F. The internal fan runs all the time. No condensation, because there are no “cold spots”. The fan keeps the cooling fins dry.

Either you have the power wired up backwards to your cooler, or your inside and outside are backwards.


Or your understanding of thermoelectric coolers, enclosures, and implementation is backwards.

The design is not to create a meat locker, but to efficiently move heat from a closed environment to the outside of the sealed enclosure.

I am also working on a 3D printed bracket and enclosure, but for the antenna and LNA only, and bought a cable to enable me to run through the WA and keep the CHIP and RTL inside on a UPS.

It will be on thingiverse as well.


Cool, be sure to post the thingverse link, that might be nice. I have been thinking about designing something myself, but couldn’t decide how much to put where. I think antenna and LNA outside would be good. Also thought of antenna, lna, and SDR outside and run a USB in. Or of course box up the whole deal.