The building of a Waterproof TV

Discussion in 'General TV Discussions Forum' started by combitz, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. combitz

    combitz
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    Hi All,

    The following post explains how I have gone about creating an equivalent IP68 rated waterproof TV for my better half as 5 companies, 10 TV's, £100's of postage and 10 months later I finally lost the will to fight online retailers over the fact that their TV's where indeed faulty. You can read all about our nightmare on this post here:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/tvs/1271563-buying-waterproof-tv-woes.html


    If you have any doubt about what you are doing, do not put any electrical items in your bathroom that you can come into contact with when wet. Water and electricity do not mix.

    The following post covers:

    Intro
    Finding the right TV
    Where to source parts (subject to admin edits most likely)
    Making the mould
    Wiring, sealing and fitting
    Final result
    Reflection


    Intro
    Before I start, a little background knowledge. I am no genius or a highly skilled tradesman but I have always been very practical with DIY. I have worked in jobs from electric sales to polishing stone so I have a wide variety of basic skills but nothing of any speciality beyond the average Jo.

    If you can't fit a shelf or wire a plug, you think a soldering iron is something the misses does to your clothes at the weekend or you never completed that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle you always wanted too then a project like this is probably not for you.

    This is not a detailed how to, it is a basic overview of the process involved in making a waterproof TV. I do not want to make another one so please don't ask and as for costs, that depends on how much you value your time. It has taken approximately 60 hours work to complete over a 3 month period including travel and parts sourcing so if you think the overall cash cost is cheap at around £350 - £400, think again when you realise how much time has gone into this.

    However not to be all doom and gloom, if you fancy a project and want to have a go then I hope this post will be of some use to you. It's brief but should contain answers to some of your questions and I'll update it if I remember any other points that may have been forgotten in the original write up.

    Finding the right TV.
    I cheated here by going to our huge superstore about 10 miles down the road to see an array or 19" TV's. Mainly I wanted to find a TV that has a good picture as you won't be far away from it in the bath, wow was I disappointed, the software running these new LCD screens is pretty poor in all brands in my opinion and I've had far better CRT's in the past but I also wanted to find a TV that would not generate too much heat. The Lg's had perhaps the best picture quality but the sound was poor and placing my hand on the top rear of the unit it was very hot, the Samsungs were nice to look at but it was all the surround which I was going to throw away and the sound was really quiet. Not sure if this is their speakers or just the power output but I settled on a Sony kdlbx200 19". To test the TV I sealed it in a bag for 3 hrs whilst turned on to see how hot the unit got. Make sure you keep a close eye on it, I then turned it off and let it cool, and then turned it back on again. In my experience of electrical components, heat is the biggest killer so I wanted to test how it dealt with it before any seals were broken. Success for this one, no issues found with the donor unit.

    Where to sourse parts.
    I have no links with these companies and get no gains by posting these, I'm sorry if admins delete them as this was a time consuming part of the process.

    Mail speed marine
    Sealant: Sikaflex 291, Marine Sealant | Mailspeed Marine
    I've added a direct link to help find the correct stuff as its only one product. Keep out of reach of any pets or kids, this is horrible stuff. see further info later.

    cfsnet.co.uk
    fibre glass resins and materials.
    image

    cpc.farnell.com
    cables
    solder stuff and heat shrink kits
    waterproof Mylar speakers
    ip68 grommets 11mm, 9mm and 7mm. 3 of each to be safe

    Signform.biz
    acrylic screen and cast vinyl

    paint and filler from any car body shop.
    image
    I would not recommend this brand but it did the job, just. It does not cure well and I used twice as much as a better brand.


    Making the mould
    I began by opening the TV and removing the front surround. I then measured the actual panel/screen size and cut a piece of 10mm hardboard to this size (I recommend you oversize this by 1 - 2mm just in case). Then decided I wanted a 20mm surround to seal too so cut another piece 40mmm larger and stuck them centred together. Then decided to a 100mm back should be enough so cut some 4x2" to size to make the main part of the back panel 20mm smaller than the panel. stuck it all together, used a thin layer of body filler to skim over it and primed, painted and lacquered it to get the following result.

    [​IMG]


    It doesn't need to be perfect but the better the finish the easier the mould will come away. Also ensure there are no shapes that will get trapped. Notice the intended slight cone shape, although even this was not enough (see reflection). Allow it to cure fully. Then I covered the unit in bees wax. a heavy coat with a paint brush and warmed slightly with a heater to keep a nice thick layer over all of the unit, pay attention to corners and don't be shy.
    Fibre glass is horrible stuff, the resin and hardener is potent so I advise surgical gloves and a breather mask.
    After the wax set I applied a gel coat with 1 layer of fibre glass and allowed to dry. Note: cut lots of 10 - 50mm strips as its easier to apply as you don't have time to cut when adding each coat of resin. I added 2 layers of fibreglass and repeated 3 times.

    [​IMG]

    I also kept adding washers in the hope of keeping a flat surface in the area where the grommets would go, pointless, just sand it flat after and paint with a thin layer of resin. image

    After all this you end up with a large box of rubbish. don't save washing tablet boxes, the resin melts them but lurpak butter tubs work a treat. leave a stick in it when you finish and you can pull the whole residue out after its set and user the tub again. Paint brushes where from pound land, 6 in a pack for a quid, bargain! They only go in the bin. 2 packs should do it.

    Finally I sanded the outside so it was better to handle really, and gave it one final coat or resin all over which gives it a really nice finish. to remove the mould. This is tricky and I had to cut around the back to allow the mould to release and then re fibre glass it to seal it all again. But after you have a rear panel made then the results are worth it. I know my fibre glassing is not good but this is probably the second or third time I've used the stuff so go easy on me.

    [​IMG]

    All that was left to do then was sand down the overlap so there was a flat 20mm lip all the way around to bond the front cover on with

    [​IMG]


    Wiring, sealing and fitting

    I removed the front surround and used the bag material to cover the actual screen/panel. Then I covered this again with a cardboard to protect it from any hard edge that may try to scratch the screen/panel. The TV has 2 runners that needed to be trimmed so they would fit in the mould note the two runners.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    I removed the printed circuit boards (PCB) via their screws, slid the runners out and cut them to size.

    [​IMG]

    I needed to raise the bottom runner so there was at least the 10mm lip for the panel to sit into the mould so I used clear silicone and super glue to reaffix the runners 10mm further up the panel.
    I fixed the PCB boards back in place on the runners so the runners were straight and all inline.

    [​IMG]

    Now for what I think was the hardest bit, the wiring. I started on the speakers and ran an extension of about 3ft of oxygen free 79 strand cable. Far above and beyond what was needed but that's what I had spare. The ends were left for the moment as I would put male and female studs on them to help join them just before fitting.

    [​IMG]

    This bit it really important to be confortable and have plenty of time and clean working space. Remember to put your cables through your grommets after you cut each cable as you don't want to have to undo all your fine work.
    The power transformer on this TV is on the board itself, not like some units that have external transformers and the lead is oval not round. I had to buy some black round 13amp mains cable to run the 3 metres to the next room to the power source. This was not to bad but the soldering of each cable has to be clean and each solder point needs to be shrink rapped.

    [​IMG]

    If you've never seen shrink, it's really cool. It shrinks to 1/2 or 1/3 of its diameter when heated sealing any open wires. The last thing you want is bare wires floating around in a sealed unit.

    The RF/aerial cable can be added at any point as you can get a 90 degree RF adaptor and the wire will pass through the grommet easily. After the speakers, power and usb wires had been cut and rewired I moved on to the HDMI. Wow by now you should have better soldering skills as you will need them, inside a HDMI cable is 20 wires including shielding. The art I found is to tip the iron with solder and then tip each wire. Then clean the iron on a wet sponge and re tip with solder. Put the shrink in place and place the two wires together and just touch them with the iron. The combination of both wires tipped and the extra solder on the iron (not a lot) seams to almost instantly take and you can just touch the wires for 1 second and remove the iron. The wires should be held tight even to a short sharp (light) tug. This took me over an hour to do the HDMI cable alone.

    [​IMG]

    Once you have all the wiring done you can plug the wires into the unit and place the panel in the mould. Now it's test time. Turn on and hope it does not go pop. All being well you will get your picture and sound if you have wired those too. You will need to remove the card from the screen to see a picture and its wise to test every cable input you have added, especially the HDMI as any shorts will cause picture distortion. If you do have any problems with the picture you need sort out the cable based on the input that has the issue.

    [​IMG]

    After testing I fixed my speakers to the back of the tiles and wired which I drilled 21 3mm holes for each and wired the Infared unit too. I had to make another mini mould for this and fixed it onto the rear of a tile with clear silicone and the speakers next to it. You will have to get a bit creative as everyone's needs will be different depending on your bathroom.

    [​IMG]

    I added some sikaflex to the grommets where they pass through the back mould to ensure a total water tight seal and tightened up the fixings.

    The front screen was ordered by sending the following image to a sign company for them to order a flamed edged diamond polished acrylic panel. A black cast vinyl was then cut to size on a plotter and roller pressed onto clear screen. The vinyl must be cast as the heat from the TV screen/panel will shrink other vinyls and your rectangular shape will become distorted over time and crack. Cast vinyl is not that much more than normal so don't let them blag you. Normal 7yr is about £2 per mtr and cast is about £7 so you are not taking a huge cost but it's really important. I also got them to leave the application tape in the front of the screen. This can be pealed back and forth half way if needed when fitting.

    [​IMG]
    Finally the sealing process. Place a small blob of sikaflex in each corner or the screen/panel recess and seat the screen/panel in place.

    Oops, I made a mistake and with the lip on my mould as it was not deep enough to house the full depth of the panel so I needed to add a 3mm black foam spacer to make the clear screen sit flush and away from the screen/panel. This just meant I had to seal the foam to the mould first and then the clear screen to the foam. This all gets a bit tricky as the sikaflex is horrible stuff and it gets everywhere so be careful. You also want to leave the application tape on but peel it back far enough as you need to ensure that the clear screen is not showing any of the silver panel surround and is also square. The sikaflex takes a good 20 minutes to start going off so don't rush this bit but make sure you do it in a clean area. Plastics generate static so wipe once, don't buff.

    Another note: Sikaflex really is horrible stuff. If you get it on clothes it will not come out, if you get it on your skin it will not come off completely and will stay in the small pores and will only come off when the top layer of skin comes off. This tuff is guaranteed for 10 years and sticks boats together. It comes with a health warning but it will waterproof your TV properly.

    After about 3hrs or the next day you should be good to attach the wires for a final heart stopping test. This is the most nervous I was throughout all the processes next to the first turn on test, as a fault now would mean a new front clear screen, and how to get it off I shudder to think.

    I then placed the TV face down and undid two of the rear grommets to allow air flow. I left the unit on for 3hrs in a very dry warm room and then retightened the grommets. This was to try and remove any moisture that may have been left in the small back area. I did plan on using silica get packs but they looked more prone to setting on fire so decided to leave them out.

    After a successful final test, you can now cut or create the hole where you will mount the new unit.

    [​IMG]

    After I wired it up to the TV aerial point and to a 5 amp fuse spur oh and the xbox360 with media centre (yes we can now watch films, TV, listen to music and play games in the bath (how sad :blush: )


    Final result

    [​IMG]

    All working and one very happy woman. Wow have I got some brownie points to spend :thumbsup: Cups of tea will be on tap, for about a week. he.. he...

    [​IMG]

    This image is straight after I peeled the application tape off so it needs a clean to remove some of the excess grout but I'm quite happy with the results. :clap:
     
  2. combitz

    combitz
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    All I need now is to find a reliable plumber? :smashin:

    Reflection (no, not in the screen)

    Take photos of bits you take apart in case it's days or weeks before you return to it again.

    Before finally sealing the screen and rear together I should have got some cling film and covered the screen/panel with it. This would have hopefully pulled any minor dust particles into the film and then placed the clear screen on. I have 3 very tiny dust bits that although you don't see when the TV is on, when its off, I know they are there....

    5 sided moulds don't work very well. It's really difficult to get air into the mould if you have 5 sides. I even tried my compressor to try to push air in to release it but as soon as it had one point to escape the effect was lost so I still had to do some repairs and the mould will be no use again.

    The 100mm back was not enough to fit the VGA cable plug on the board as the lead has a 50mm plug and was located too far off the board but I managed to just get the HDMI cable in with some trimming and the USB and RF fitted easily. Scart would not be an issue but who wants scart now?

    We have not had chance to test the moisture issue of condensation yet as the room is still unfinished but this post has been playing on my mind for a while and I needed to finish the chapter.

    I hope someone finds this helpful if you are in the same situation I was a while ago.
    It's really not rocket science, just think ahead and hopefully I've highlighted anything that you may have forgotten.

    :clap:
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  3. maxwell

    maxwell
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    Congratulations on a real nice job there mate, you obviously put a lot of time and effort into it well done.:smashin:
     
  4. gazzathom2

    gazzathom2
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    looks fantastic well worth it i bet
     
  5. combitz

    combitz
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    After one last blast this weekend it's all done.

    [​IMG]


    and a close up showing IR/power and speakers with a festive theme :thumbsup:

    [​IMG]


    I did tell her it would be christmas, but I guess I never said which one. :rolleyes:

    Thanks for the kind remarks, I was not sure if I would get scalded for trying something out the norm.
     
  6. trudes

    trudes
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    Wow looks really great. Your hard work and time has really paid off and thanks for sharing, I really would like to have a TV in the bath too, but I'm not nearly as DIY savy or patient as you are.
    Nice bathroom too. Enjoy it
     
  7. BuyCleverStuff

    BuyCleverStuff
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    Your efforts look great and you look to have covered every consideration for a Waterproof TV, the final result looks really good and very much like a "off the shelf" Waterproof TV.

    I read your thread about your nightmare of sourcing, but didn't really want to get involved as it would be classed as self promotion...really sorry you had a nightmare finding the right Waterproof TV and ended up having to take this route. But it looks like the end result has worked out for you and I had to comment on your thread here to say nice job!
     
  8. Flimber

    Flimber
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    End result is great but would you not have been slightly better served by finding a TV which ran off 12V so that mains juices never went anywhere near the bathroom ?
     
  9. combitz

    combitz
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    Cheers for the comments, it was done through frustration rather than anything else, 5 companies, 10 TV's and £100's lost in postage costs I just needed a solution.

    Flimber, I did think about it, but behind the TV is a very dry dusty area and I was worried about the temperature that transformers get to especially as the boiler is located in the kitchen directly under that area so I was concerned about the fire hazard. It's wired to a 5amp RCD fuse spur so I feel it's about as safe as it can possibly be but your comment is valid if you could locate the transformer in a different location.

    So far the room has been used a dozen or so times and it's more like a steam room when used and no issues with condensation to report so the sealing in the dry heat area I think worked. I would definately not want to make another one as there are so many points that it could go wrong, I just thought I could help anyone thinking about doing it to realise generally what is involved. It's not exactly a how too, I'm just glad we have finished the room so I can go back to watching films and playing on the xbox. :thumbsup:

    Merry Christmas all..... these forums have a huge wealth of info, keep up the great work :smashin:
     
  10. fxytimi

    fxytimi
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    that is purely amazing. all i need is a tv for my kitchen
     

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