Introduction: Waterproof a LM35 Temperature Sensor

Here is a instructable to waterproof a LM35 for use on a tethered ROV using a automobile 12V battery as a power source. This came out of a need for the MATE ROV Competition. The LM35 series are precision integrated-circuit temperature sensors, whose output voltage is linearly proportional to the Celsius (Centigrade) temperature. Here is the datasheet -

Step 1: Cat-5 Used for the Tether

I used cat-5 cable for the sensor as it will shield the sensor signals on the twisted pair (and I had a spool sitting around.) It will also easily attach to the tether.

I used six wires (three pair) for the sensor (Vs+, Vout, Gnd). I twisted colored pairs together to give me the three conductors.

Step 2: Solder the LM35

Before soldering, I added short lengths of heat-shrink tubing wrap to the conductors, and two larger ones over the cat-5. Then, I soldered the LM35 to the cat-5 cable and added a 10K resistor to the Vout (center) to stablize the signal for the length of cable.

I then shrunk the wrap over the soldered joints using a torch (on it's lowest possible setting.)

Step 3: Copper Cladding

I used 1/4 inch O.D. copper tubing (the kind for an automatic ice maker for your refrigerator) to make a small copper cover for the LM35.

I was able to just squeeze the LM35 into the copper tubing, then I squished the tubing just above the sensor in the vise...being very careful not to squish the sensor.

Step 4: Operational Sensor...but Not Waterproof

At this point, the sensor is fully operational in the air, but it is not waterproof. I decided to give it a quick test to make sure everything still works.

That's 16.7 mV (16.7 C or 62 F) on the voltmeter. Everything seems to be working.

Step 5: Capping the Probe

I wanted to have the sensor on a probe so it would stick out forward of the ROV a little. Here I'm building the cap out of 1/2 inch copper pipe and cap. I drilled a 3/8 inch hole in the cap to accept the sensor with the squished copper cladding on it.

Step 6: Silicone Sealant to Waterproof

The copper cap was hammered into 1/2 inch PVC pipe to make the probe. Then, I used aquarium, silicone sealant to seal the gaps as I pushed the sensor into the probe.

The entire length of the probe was filled with sealant to complete the waterproofing. Note - However, you should probably fill it with a non-conductive grease. Then, clean the end of any grease and seal it with the silicone sealant. The sealant will never set if it is not exposed to air.