Vivotek Camera Pond

This story is about a 360 degree fish eye camera that has some internal seepage that I cannot figure out how to stop.  Twice before it has fogged up the lens cover; however, this time it somehow accumulated about a tablespoon of water below the lens.  This story describes the steps I took to clear out the water and attempt to determine how it got there.

I will show that there does not appear to be a path from top to bottom, where the pond accumulated; however, the internal cable exhibits suspicious failure.  Following the search for internal water, I’ve described how I attempted to prevent this from possibly happening after the two fogged-lens symptoms.

Immediately below is the point-of-view through the camera lens when I found the puddle of water in the cameras.  This is an iPad screenshot using Vivotek iViewer.
Camera Pond POV

The picture below shows the water inside the lens cover with drops of water encircling a higher level above the puddle.

camera pond

To remove the water without touching any electronics, I removed all the screws around the edge of the cover then dumped the water out onto the ground.  To remove all of the moisture, I used a paper napkin and wiped the inside of the lens cover.  I then let it dry a few minutes in the morning breeze before proceeding.

camera lens napkin

Below is a view of the mounting bracket.  All pieces are PVC plumbing pipe and sealed with PVC cement.  The screw on the side of the top PVC connector locks the mounting bracket up inside the top PVC connector.  The screw goes through the PVC pipe that is filled with Great Stuff Window & Door insulating foam sealant.

camera pond top side

Below is the inside of the PVC pipe filled with foam sealant.  After I removed the mounting bracket screw from the mounting bracket (above), I found drops of water where the arrow is pointing.  The rest of the foam and RJ-45 connectors were totally dry, including inside the connectors.

Below is the inside of the camera showing there is no water or moisture in the electronics.

camera inside dry

Below is the back side of the camera case showing there is no water behind the inside of the mounting bracket.

Top Inside Dry

To prepare the camera after the two fogged lens cover, I put the camera with the case opened and electronics exposed inside a pine blanket chest with an opened Damp Rid desiccant next to the camera.  I put the camera in the chest on Sunday, 10 April, while waiting for replacement silica gel packs that arrived on Friday, 15 April.  I inserted the new silica gel pack exactly where the original manufactured silica gel had been glued (behind the black plastic ring encircling the lens).

As a reminder, I always follow a gasket install procedures of placing the camera cover evenly on top of the gasket and starting the screw until slightly tight.  Then I cross over and around screwing in each the same tightness.  My final round finishes the torque for each screw very tightly.

I installed the camera that Friday and confirmed it was fully operational.  I also shared this with the Vivotek Technical Support rep, Jonathan Gonzalez, for him to confirm it was operational.  Reviewing the camera recordings, I found that the camera lens was clean from that Friday (15 April) until the following week on Saturday, 23 April, between 7AM and 11AM.  It had rained the night before, Friday night.  The next morning, 24 April 2016, I discovered the camera pond (reference first photo time, 7:36AM) and removed the water.

After drying the camera all Sunday, I reinstalled the camera inside the house later in the afternoon.  At first, the camera did not boot using the camera housing cable inside the mounting bracket.  After circumventing the failing internal cable, I successfully booted the camera using the internal RJ-45 connector.  Next is an evaluation from Vivotek for advice going forward.