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Conformal coatings on PCB of digital and film cameras. Anyone tried it?
Old 04-23-2019   #1
Rowdyhotel
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Conformal coatings on PCB of digital and film cameras. Anyone tried it?

I have a drone camera of which there are many videos of them having their PCBs conformal coated in case they end up falling into a body of water.

I was wondering if anyone had tried to apply a conformal coating on the motherboard and other PCB of our cameras.

I have 3 digital cameras.

Sony a7r
Fuji xpro2
Fuji x100f

I also have several film cameras with PCB

Nikon f3
Canon ae1 program
Canon NewF1
among others.

A repair manual would be great for my digital cameras as this would allow me to reassemble them properly since complete disassembly would be required in order to properly coat and mask the PCBs.

None of my cameras appear to have a manual for repair available but I know they do exist for some mirrorless cameras. Before the xpro2 I had an xpro1 which does have a manual available.
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Old 04-23-2019   #2
Pentode
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Most PCBs are already coated at the factory.
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Old 04-23-2019   #3
Rowdyhotel
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I'm sure they get some type of coating but certainly not one that will protect the PCB from moisture or water.

Please let me know of any cameras you have seen that have a conformal coating.
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Old 04-23-2019   #4
splitimageview
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PCBs generally go through an aqueous wash during manufacturing process, unless the manufacturer uses special solder paste that doesn't require a wash.

I'm assuming you're wanting to protect the circuit when it's on/active, in case it gets wet?

This would be an inordinate amount of work for an event that's highly unlikely to happen. IMHO.
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Old 04-23-2019   #5
retinax
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Assuming you get the PCB coated, what about the other components? The sensor assembly would be more expensive to replace... I'm sure a weatherproof body and lens or if needed, even an underwater housing would be cheaper.
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Old 04-23-2019   #6
Rowdyhotel
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Yes, my goal is to protect the PCBs while they are in a functioning camera.

Much like I've done with my drones. I can operate the drone in the rain or have it fall in water and seem no worse for wear.

I understand cameras seem more complex and it is possible that other components such as shutters fail before a PCB.

Mechanical failures are easier to diagnose and replace. Electronics are not my forte.

I happen to disagree with the idea that moisture or water damage is unlikely to happen. I've taken apart cameras that have never been exposed to water and seen areas of corrosion on PCB and internals.

It is possible that it is condensation that has accumulated in those areas from exposure to different temperatures and humidity levels.

I've also seen PCBs coated in some form of residue that appears to have shorted the board.

I've just found the PCBs to be the weakest link and since I enjoy taking cameras apart and reassembling, applying a conformal coating would only give me another excuse to go ahead and do so.
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Old 04-24-2019   #7
splitimageview
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PCB corrosion? Having been in the industry, I'm not sure what you mean by this. Moisture/water won't affect PCBs, however it can affect the circuits (via shorting) if for example a circuit is active when it becomes exposed to water.

PCBs can be affected by poor manufacturing, technically speaking, referring to poor cleaning after assembly.

In the old days, the PCBs would go through a chemical wash.

Modern assembly processes no longer involve chemicals, they use aqueous washes now.

A PCB that isn't cleaned properly after assembly can cause problems later down the road, but the chances of of a major camera manufacturer skimping in this area is essentially zero.

The bottom line, this effort isn't necessary. Just don't drop them into the drink.
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Old 04-24-2019   #8
Rowdyhotel
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Yes, shorted boards are what I meant.

I'm sure it isn't necessary but if it will help keep the PCB from having a circuit shorted it can only help.
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