Waterproof Components?

Hey everyone, I'm trying to install keypad with 3 or 4 buttons and a LCD screen on the outside of a scooter, where it is definitely going to get rained on and take some abuse. Does anyone have some ideas of how to do this so I'm not replacing the screen/buttons every week? I thought of using a LCD with a touchscreen overlay like this one:

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=257

to keep things simple so I only have to waterproof one area with minimal custom fabrication for a housing, but I'm not sure if this will work if I just leave the face of the touchscreen exposed and have everything underneath waterproofed.

Anyone have any experience with this type of application?

Well, the LCD is easy, just stick it behind some plexiglass that is sealed to an opening in the enclosure, or use an enclosure with a clear cover.

You could do capacitive buttons, but a large amount of water on the face can cause problems. The advantage is that these too could be mounted to the back of a clear cover just like the LCD, so you'd need to make exactly 0 openings in the face of the enclosure.

Discrete waterproof buttons tend to be fairly bulky. . .

You could build your own membrane keypad that could be sealed to the face of the enclosure. No real tactile feedback, though.

You could mount tact switches behind a flexible membrane.

Alternatively, you could also get something from OKW, you can search by IP Rating according to what your needs are under the Sealed Enclosures dropdown menu. Depends where you want to land on the good/easy/cheap triangle.

Ajb - Thanks for the fantastic information, this is just what I was looking for.

Quick question on the capacitive button option, I assume the problem with large amounts of water is related to false button presses? If this is the case is there a way that you know of to "debounce" this kind of input?

i think the problem is that water is conductive already so you touching the button barely changes the capacitance.

Quick question on the capacitive button option, I assume the problem with large amounts of water is related to false button presses? If this is the case is there a way that you know of to “debounce” this kind of input?

Basically, you’d get multiple key presses to keys ‘bridged’ by water with which ever one you actually touched. Or at least that’s what I’ve read, I’ve never bothered to play with touch sensing. A way to combat that would be to reject multiple simultaneous presses, and maybe also only register a keypress once the key has been released within a certain window after the initial press, although that would prevent you from being able to ‘hold down’ a button to scroll or run a value up and down–the touch buttons on my laptop are like that, it’s obnoxious trying to run the volume up or down by mashing the button with no tactile feedback.

The major problem with water ingress into button switches is that the water corrodes the contacts and they don't make contact at all after a short time.