wood enclosure + electronics project?

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wood enclosure + electronics project?

Postby scales11 » December 7th, 2012, 4:47 pm

Hi all.

I am thinking about using wood to make my project enclosure. I plan on putting a raspberry pi, amplifier, and maybe one or two other things in it.

Should I be worried about the wood catching fire? I know it would need to get pretty hot, probably even spark in order for it to go up in flames, but I still worry.

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Re: wood enclosure + electronics project?

Postby Osgeld » December 7th, 2012, 6:41 pm

back in the day everything electronic was encased in wood, and they were far more dangerous than a PI. Most of the boards I own are mounted on little wood planks with some clear coat on them, looks nice.

you might want to be careful with homebrew power supplies and whatnot, but that being said, if its hot enough to combust wood, you may have other problems
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Re: wood enclosure + electronics project?

Postby semicolo » December 7th, 2012, 7:21 pm

From an old report,
wood heated to around 100°C looses its humidity but doesn't go through any transformation.
at 150°C it looses gaz (carbon dioxyde and others)
between 230° and 270° it transforms into red coal that can burn spontaneously if hot air is blown on it.
At 300° it turns into black coal that needs heat to burn.

So it looks like you're ok if the temperatures stays below 100°C

It says too that the continuuous action of a small heat source can lead to the formation of this red coal, but not if it's intermittent or the wood is heat treated, no temperature is cited.

Here's the report (that's french, sorry)
http://e-collection.library.ethz.ch/ese ... 060-02.pdf
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Re: wood enclosure + electronics project?

Postby UAirLtd » December 9th, 2012, 7:11 am

To give you a comparison, many common plastics used for small electronics enclosures have softening points between 90°C and 160°C, so even wood outperforms many of these in terms of temperature, for example, you wouldn't want your plastic enclosure to deform and come into contact with a hot heatsink, which would lead to more deformation/melting and lead to burning.

Of course wood is more flammable, but it also doesn't produce toxic fumes.

If your electronics is getting past 100°C under normal operation, then you're going to need to think about metal or phenol formaldehyde enclosures and better cooling.
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Re: wood enclosure + electronics project?

Postby jaybee » January 11th, 2013, 1:15 am

I burnt my self made led alarm clock when encasing it with those very cheap wood chip blocks, its powered by a 9v battery and ran on pic18f4520. The only thing that was actually warm is linear regulator lm317 (Not touching the enclosure).

I took out the led array and mount it on harden Styrofoam. no problems
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