Re: Controller Safety Cover

Joe Zeglinski

Hi Steve,
    Here is a VERY simple, inexpensive fix for the CP4 lack of water-proofing.
    I had TWO CP’4’s drown (probably) from dew rolling off my OTA during several sessions, most likely as it slewed across the meridian position – and in both situations, my CP4’s were attached to the top of the AP-1200 axis – just as the original CP3’s were. This should not be done.
    I eventually discovered that he water leak access point on the CP-4 “case” is ONLY along that fairly large spaces surrounding the ETHERNET housing. It was easy to  stick two business cards into the crack. Pointing this out over a year ago, AP’s only advice was NOT to position the CP4 on top of the mount. The early User Guide was then revised to add the warning that the CP4 is not waterproof, only water resistant.
    Now I see you have the same problem with your CP4,  even being mounted vertically to the pier side.  That is good information, since I now have my replacement, THIRD CP4 - “supposedly safely” attached - to the side of my own pier, hoping any sudden rain, or dew,  would simply dribble  straight down,  past that connector’s  sides.
    There are in fact TWO REMEDIES to drowned CP4’s – even without being rained upon:
  1. Make sure you have pulled out the TWO black rubber plugs from the lower edge corner holes of the CP4 case – they are NOT just rubber feet !!!
        For some reason AP installed these plugs into the case DRAIN HOLES during shipping, and didn’t mention it to anybody. So, most of us thought they were just rubber bumpers. I think they were originally intended to prevent “large bugs” getting inside. In fact, if moisture does manage to enter the CP4 case, possibly accumulating over weeks, these “water drain holes” will help prevent the inevitable corrosion of the internal circuit pins on the circuit board bottom inch or so,  and subsequent shorting out. In fact, I noticed that the water inside my CP4 case, actually created a rust line  over time, from corrosion of that cheap metal connector housing, causing a short circuit path between powered pins.
  2. Hearing about your circumstance, I intend to also apply some black SILICONE SEAL, pressed in around all 4 sides of the Ethernet connector, to keep the moisture from entering, in the first place. You could use “clear” rubber sealant, but I bought a small tube of the black one,  to blend in with the panel colour on the third one.
    e.g.  PERMATEX Adhesive Sealant BLACK SILICONE,  automotive grade RTV.

    That mostly  prevents moisture from rain, or condensed dew, getting in through the Ethernet connector sides. It can also seep in through the small center part as well, but with much more difficulty, if the square recess well in that connector keeps fills up – e.g. with a long rain storm, as in your situation. Perhaps that drainage is a good thing, and should be left open, to prevent the Ethernet plug spring contacts from corroding – the case corner drains should prevent any subsequent internal build-up, if moisture still gets in.
    Others who bought the early run of CP4’s – which still had the traditional WHITE cases, as the CP3’s did –   had no water drainage corner holes,  due to a production oversight,  so the case gradually filled up.  My early CP4 case had to be drilled, after its  second drowning.
    The good news is that it seems that ALL of the other connectors on the CP4 case are higher quality,  bolted down tightly from behind, and their socket pins are probably high Military Grade,  well-sealed, quality,  so even that potential moisture access point is unlikely.
Only the ETHERNET connector is soldered to the circuit board,  and is “free-standing” through the slightly oversized square panel cut-out, completely unsealed around its sides.
    I would also say, that the (later production) BLACK  painted CP4 cases likely do have those drilled drain holes, but may still have rubber plugs when they arrive. Hopefully, after my two disasters,  AP now seals the Ethernet connector. But, if you have an earlier production run, it would be prudent to apply those two solutions,  as I have done.
    It should then be safe from drowning,  with drain holes present, their rubber plugs removed, and with the Ethernet connector sides sealed, on a “VERTICALLY mounted” CP4.
Joe Z.

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