Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

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Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby aashish2137 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:54 pm

Protecting your expensive camera and gear from fungus and moisture is very important. Humidity present in the air, especially in cities closer to the shore or during monsoons, can affect electronics and promote growth of fungus on the lens and camera sensor in particular. Fungus, once attracted, grows exponentially and is really really hard to clean. In most cases, its either too expensive to get it cleaned or is downright impossible. Hence, if you are someone who tend to leave your equipment in a bag in a dark, humid place, it is the time to wake up to this horror.

An ideal way to keep the camera clean is to use it frequently, say once a week and take it out in the sun so that excess moisture is evaporated. This obviously doesn't mean that you leave the camera in the scorching sun for hours. Consider a small photo walk on your terrace and keep shooting 10-15 pics with each of your lens. However, if that doesn't form a part of your schedule and you are looking for a permanent solution, a dry box is essential.

Dry boxes are essentially semi-portable cupboards with a glass door and a mechanism which maintains relative humidity of the cupboard at ideal levels. There are fabricated dry boxes available online which can cost anywhere from 9k to 50k. However, there is a cheaper alternative for beginners too. And what better than making yourself one.

DIY dry boxes essentially rely on Silica based humidity absorption. Silica gel is the same ingredient which you find in some pouches in your shoe boxes. But those pouches are practically useless. You need coarse Silica to absorb substantial humidity. Also, the characteristic of Silica to absorb humidity isn't unlimited. That is, a defined quantity of Silica will eventually exhaust its capacity to absorb. However it is rechargeable by heating the Silica in a fry pan.

What I've done for my setup is even simpler. I've ordered an electronic silica recharger. So the idea is very simple and it goes like this.

1) Buy an airtight plastic container (same thing you find in kitchens but make sure its airtight);
(This is what I'm using Image)

2) Buy a portable Silica gel container-cum-recharger; (this is what I'm using http://www.ebay.in/itm/CA27-Rechargeabl ... 642wt_1554)

3) Buy a hygrometer (a device to measure humidity); (This is what I'm using http://www.ebay.in/itm/HYGROMETER-Digit ... 398wt_1163)

4) Put everything including your camera equipments in the airtight container and you're good to go!

The setup had the RH level drop to 40 (ideal is 40-50) in a day after use. Though in monsson I had to recharge the silica gel every 2 days to maintain the RH, now that winter has drawn in, its been a week since I haven't touched the box and the RH has stabilized. Btw to recharge the silica gel, you just need to plugin the device in a socket as against coarse silica grain which has to be heated in a pan.

The setup is working great for me which costed about 2,500 bucks for everything. The 15L container holds my D5100 with 16-85 attached and 3 lenses pretty comfortably.

You can use the same equipments or find alternate ones since none of these are highly technical. But if done properly this sure gives you setup a sound safeguard against damage. Feel free to shoot any query that you might have.
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby getpackingvinod » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:55 pm

Nice info boss.. hadn't really thought about this.. May be because of Bangalore's weather..

aashish2137 wrote:Silica gel is the same ingredient which you find in some pouches in your shoe boxes. But those pouches are practically useless. You need coarse Silica to absorb substantial humidity. Also, the characteristic of Silica to absorb humidity isn't unlimited. That is, a defined quantity of Silica will eventually exhaust its capacity to absorb. However it is rechargeable by heating the Silica in a fry pan

I am still wondering if you are a CA or a science guy !! Whew..
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby aashish2137 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:46 pm

LOL .. A man's gotta do, what he's gotta do :D
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby dheerajsharma14 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:52 am

Ha Ha Ha, caught in a wrong job !! :D :D

But on a serious note, super info. brother and this is what DoW will be known for in future... the way to travel effectively with DIY practices and tips like this to help the supplements of travel like photography will go a long way in making it a reality :) !! I never cared for it, may be I need to take it out now or setup this awesome DIY thing :)
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby aashish2137 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:50 am

Yep, once affected with fungus, almost everything is close to junk.
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby NonStopDriver » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:30 pm

Pretty good information you've provided. What helps more are the links to specific items to procure.

Since you're using the dehumidifier, how does it performs in comparison with others like http://www.amazon.com/Eva-dry-Renewable ... Z1NHUZ31BJ

Asking since there is not much difference in the price, but the lifespan of the silica balls are said to be 10 years for the Eva Dry in comparison to the 5 years to the "Wonderful" brand? Is there any option to replace the silica balls or do you have to discard the entire product after the silica balls refuse to work?
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby aashish2137 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:14 pm

Niraj, I understand EvaDry is a British brand and is inherently more reliable. A friend ordered it around the same time as I did and his device hasn't saturated completely as yet. Provided its functioning as it should, it is far much better than 'Wonderful' brand, which is Chinese. But I couldn't order it since I didn't have a paypal account at that time.

Secondly, coming to replacement of Silica ball, it can be easily done. The dehumidifier has 4 screws which can be opened and assembled again. As a matter of fact, these Silica balls aren't as useful as coarse Silica grain and anyone facing humidity issues should immediately replace the balls with coarse Silica.

I haven't faced any issues with Wonderful dehumidifier as yet, primarily because recharging it is simple as plug-and-forget. It recharges in 5-6 hours tops. So really, no complaints. However EvaDry looks neat.
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby mariareese » Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:03 pm

A best way to keep your camera clean is to use it frequently. This manifestly doesn't mean that you leave the camera in the scorching sun for many hours. Consider a little size of photo walk on your terrace and keep shooting 5-10 pictures with each of your lens.
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby ladakhlover » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:34 am

Hi, been searching for a box like this.. but find that only small size (tiffin box) is available.. where did you pick it up? can you tell me the brand / mak/ address please? Thanks in advance
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Re: Do It Yourself: Camera dry box

Postby dheerajsharma14 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:11 am

This shall be available in local market at any plastic goods shop or where kitchenware/ kitchen goods are sold
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