Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: skintsailor@yahoo.co.uk or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Waterproofing a Tablet

At Christmas I blogged about getting the Hudl2 tablet.

It's great for doing all kinds of stuff including navigation, viewing AIS info, weather reports, etc. All of that is fine, but like any other electronic device its vulnerable to water ingress. Which is not such a good thing on a boat when you're surrounded by water and it may also be coming from the skies in bucketloads!

So? Get a waterproof case for it I hear you say...

But then you have the problem of plugging a charging lead into the thing. A waterproof bag is great but waterproof usually means "anything-else-proof" as well. Which is a problem because when you're running something like a chartplotter app on a tablet, it's using a lot of processing power, as well as using the GPS and maybe the mobile network too. All of which means the tablet's battery life is pretty short when running navigation apps.

But in true Baldrick-esque fashion I had a cunning plan....

Well actually I had a series of cunning plans....

Plan A was to buy a case with a headphone lead for my phone and adapt it for battery charging. I bought a similar case months ago and didn't get time to adapt it, but then along came the Hudl.

Change of plan then. Plan B was buy a case with a waterproof headphone socket for the Hudl. Plan C was to modify a case if I couldn't fine a suitable one.

However at the London boat show there was a stall with tablets and phones in cases in a tank of water. They'd done exactly what I wanted to do and modified the headphone socket to supply power, so they could have the phones and tablets on constant display.

I bought a 10" tablet case for £20. The Hudl2 is an 8 inch tablet, but I figured I'd need the extra space for the adaptor lead. So I was on for plan B. The good thing in particular about the Seawag case I bought is that the headphone socket and plug are the 4-pole variety, which replicates the 4 wires on a USB charging lead.

The first thing was to buy a 4-pole 3.5mm jack plug and appropriate socket from Maplins. Then it was a case of cracking out the soldering iron and cutting a USB lead up. All I had to do was make sure the pin I soldered a wire to on the jack plug was replicated on  the socket, so the connections just passed through the plug and socket.

Obviously I didn't cut the lead in half, because all I needed at the "tablet" end was a couple of inches of wire. Then I'd have almost the full length of the USB lead from the case back to the charger.

So Here's how it looked once I cut and soldered:


Then to test your soldering, connect the two together and see if it works. It's probably best to try this with an old phone or something you don't mind blowing up, just in case you get it wrong! Please note I won't be held responsible if you try this and get it wrong. If you're not sure you can do it yourself, then get someone else to do it for you.


Then plug the plug into the case:


Then plug the plug in the case into the socket on the short bit of USB cable:

Then finally put the tablet in the case, Plug the charging lead and seal it all up to make it waterproof and voila! Charging while sealed in a waterproof case!

All done: sealed and charging.
So that's one on-shore job that's done.

Today's tides were a bit poor timing and height wise, so no boat this weekend.

7 comments:

  1. how did it hold up? thinking of trying this... does it make it hard to operate ?

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  2. Its working fine. To be honest its even been used in the bath so I can use the tablet anywhere! The touch screen loses a little bit of sensitivity but I expected that after using cases on my phone. But the safety of waterproofing outweighs any slight downsides.

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  3. Its working fine. To be honest its even been used in the bath so I can use the tablet anywhere! The touch screen loses a little bit of sensitivity but I expected that after using cases on my phone. But the safety of waterproofing outweighs any slight downsides.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Its working fine. To be honest its even been used in the bath so I can use the tablet anywhere! The touch screen loses a little bit of sensitivity but I expected that after using cases on my phone. But the safety of waterproofing outweighs any slight downsides.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Hi Mark,

    I read this and thought this would be a good solution for me. Then I read some other stuff and discovered that you can buy a wireless charging receiver (for example Qi on Amazon). Just put the wireless receiver on the back of your device, put a waterproof cover on it, and buy a waterproof wireless charging pad.

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  7. Hi, the reason I went for a charging cable is wireless charging can't deliver the charging current needed to power a Hudl while its running a navigation app.
    At the moment anyway. The Hudl2 needs at least 2 Amps while running the app, using GPS, and having enough spare to keep the battery fully charged.

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