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I am putting together time lapse controllers for long term shooting. I had seen a forum post about reliability of some Arduino boards. Does anyone have experience with the Arduino Pro from Sparkfun? The Minis can be not so great long term from what I hear.

Thx
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#define long term?  days - months - years?

The internal clock drifts so if you need accurate timekeeping consider a RTC
- http://pdfserv.maxim-ic.com/en/ds/DS3234.pdf -
- http://pdfserv.maxim-ic.com/en/ds/DS3231.pdf -

be aware that a 2ppm clock can drift about one second in a week = minute/year

Syncing with an NTP server is the ultimate time stabilizer.
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Rob Tillaart

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I am running with RTCs already I am concerned about the Ardino dying. I have them running in inaccessible areas for a year with battery and card changes in cameras about 2-4 weeks. I have heard of mini's passing away after only weeks but I want a smaller footprint and longer battery life so I was thinking of using Sparkfuns Arduino Pro 328s. I have had few problems with the full size boards which I still want to use for some applications but smaller would be an asset.
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Quote
I am concerned about the Ardino dying
He already lost one char smiley-wink

Seriously, I have had sketches running for > 6 months on a 2009 (with build-in reboot for lockups of an old ethernetshield) without a problem, but that was in dry inside conditions. If you are using the hardware outside you can have several problems like:
- water
- cold => dew
- insects creeping in,
- etc
- good soldering is also important as bad solder joint can break due to cold/heat (I've been told)

A good watertight casing seems to me the minimum.

Longer life could be passible by using sleep mode (IIRC there exist a narcoleptic library?) as often as possible.


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Rob Tillaart

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I understand all of that, my Arduinos have worked at Shuttle launches 2010-11. I had no problems, they were in Pelican cases and well protected. Even with all the forces, the Arduinos were 400 ft from the launch pad, the Duemilanove's worked great. I just looked and I can't get Duemilanove's anymore. No stock. So I will have to go to Uno R3's unless there is something more reliable.
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I understand all of that, my Arduinos have worked at Shuttle launches 2010-11. I had no problems, they were in Pelican cases and well protected. Even with all the forces, the Arduinos were 400 ft from the launch pad, the Duemilanove's worked great. I just looked and I can't get Duemilanove's anymore. No stock. So I will have to go to Uno R3's unless there is something more reliable.

There is one arduino compatible board that is designed with maximum reliablity in mind. Costs a few dollars more but worth it for some applications.

http://ruggedcircuits.com/html/ruggeduino.html

Lefty
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The Minis can be not so great long term from what I hear.
So where are you hearing that?
I'd normally put Arduinos in the same category with most computers: if they survive the first week, they should survive a long time - quality control is more of an issue than reliability in the technical sense.  But I don't have any hard data for anything either...

(heh.  Buy a kit and use leaded solder to assemble it!)
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If you are having problems with rough environments, maybe you should just try and "pot the whole board"( minus the connectors you will use)... paint it with epoxy resin. That should seal it and still allow for heat transfer, if that is any kind of issue.

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If you are having problems with rough environments, maybe you should just try and "pot the whole board"( minus the connectors you will use)... paint it with epoxy resin. That should seal it and still allow for heat transfer, if that is any kind of issue.

Actually on the note of this, I've done this twice so far, and as long as I make sure that there is a little piece of aluminum stuck to the voltage regulator and a couple other things (probably doesn't help them) with some heat sync compound stuff. And the piece of aluminum comes up out of the resin, the thing becomes nearly un-damageable. ( I heatsync the the VR even though I probably don't need to cause the airsoft batteries I run can be up to over 9V so it can heat up a bit)

I've been using this method on all the arduino stuff I make for airsoft because radioshack project boxes are broken through by the airsoft BBs all the time. I potted up one of my arduinos a bit inside of the project box, the thing can take shots from a real BB gun, and I haven't damaged it in any falls or tossing it in my car either.

With regards to overall longevity. Well I've got an arduino uno thats about a year or so old, thats been assaulted by about 500 different sketches (it was my tutorial unit) and different pin usages. Definitely drawn too much current from several pins on several occasions. Thing still works fine. And its been built into a temperature sensing jig and running constantly for the last 3 months with the exception of shutting it off to put a new SD card in and reset the timer.
Theres another one in use on a machine by a friend of mine thats been in constant operation since 2009 with the exception of power outages and its still fine.

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