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I'm planning to assemble x86-based computer equipment and place it outdoors, on the balcony, which has no protection from the elements, except for the concrete floor and roof. The temperatures here go approx. from -30C to +30C (-20F to +90F), with abundant snow and rain at times, and also direct sunlight.

The computer equipment needs power (230V AC), and at least ethernet connection (cat6 or similar). VGA and USB would be nice, but are needed only for random debugging. The system generates heat, which needs to transfered away.

What kind of weather proof enclosures would be suitable for this project? This far I've gathered from Wikipedia IP Code tables that IP67 or NEMA 4 / 4X would probaby be sufficient, but is that overkill? Typical 19" rack enclosure at approx 4U size would be pretty good, but non-standard similar sizes are OK as well. I failed to find any price information online, how much should I budget for this? I've never built anything like this, should I plan to purchase a piece or is it easy to do it myself?

(I realise this might not be the right forum for this question. Feel free to suggest a better suited forum or move my question.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your question makes no sense. The enclosure isn't going to matter if you're assembling the system since it would be open during that time anyway. Basically, don't assemble computer systems in the rain, or snow, or high winds. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Nov 28 '12 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry for not being clear. I'm going to assemble it in favourable conditions, and place it outside once finished. Should I edit the question? \$\endgroup\$ – taneli Nov 28 '12 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ you have no air flow thru the box when moisture sealed and additional ?00 Watt solar heat source and higher ambient temp and connector corrosion issues. This is why military hardware gets expensive. I would look at wireless keyboard mouse and a good long VGA cable. \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Nov 29 '12 at 2:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess I'll have to find a box with weather-proof holes+connectors for cables and airflow (or maybe a weather-proof rack with AC?) \$\endgroup\$ – taneli Nov 29 '12 at 8:43
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There is a market for these cases already, the military. You can either buy something like one of these or use them as inspiration for designing your own. It looks to be exactly what you're after. Given that the most likely consumer is the military, the pricing is probably going to be pretty extreme. You'll have to ask for a quote from one of the distributors

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the military tip, hadn't thought of that (looked for telecom equipment, though). The prices are a bit ... steep, but not as bad as I thought before looking. \$\endgroup\$ – taneli Nov 29 '12 at 8:39
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Your best bet might be pelican cases. They come in several sizes and they provide several accessories so you can customize it for your application.

http://www.pelican.com/

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