ISpa - Entertainment for Jacuzzi Geeks




About: With 21 Featured Instructables, and Over 1 Million Views, I think I am doing pretty good here, with my wacky ideas!

[Check out my NEW & Improved version of the SPApad!]

So I just added a 5 Person Hot Tub, and Gazebo in my new house, and I want to have music, movies, and of course Internet access (as well as home automation, nothing gets a geek girl hotter, then being able to control things from a iPad in a Hot tub!)

There are some Great Products available to waterproof a iPad like:
($40 U$)

But the one issue is, I need to remove the iPad from the protective casing to charge it, and sooner or later
that would compromise the protective shell, and destroy the iPad with water.

The solution?


Using parts from a Old Powermat inductive charger (you can get them really cheap on eBay)

I removed all the plastic housing from a 3gs case I had (I have the 4s now)
and attached it to my ipad. and housed it in the Overboard case,
Added a bit of hot glue for insulation and WALA!

A rechargeable, waterproof Floating iPad!

(Adding in a few waterproof speakers, a Airport express and a 12v Amplifier all mounted safely away from the spa)

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Step 1: Gutting the Powermat

I only took pictures of the 'guts' of the powermat, I didn't photograph the taking it apart, part, Sorry

In pulling apart a powermat, you need to be careful of a thin cable that goes from the iPad port to the electronics.
I used a tin snips to cut around the edges, and separate the two layers of plastic.

The whole thing is put together with a kinda of double stick tape, so a gentle pry will separate all parts

You must remove all the plastic from the components, or it will be too far from the powermat to activate the inductive charge

Step 2: Mounting Unit in Enclousure

Since I don't want to modify the iPad itself, I set everything up outside the waterproof enclosure, and plan on using a layer of hot glue
to hold everything in place, with the ability or unplugging the iPad and removing it, if needed in the future.

it is VERY important you keep the round sensor as CLOSE as you can to the outside layer.

I used industrial THIN PLASTIC (not Styrofoam) tape to hold the unit to the enclosure - you can use thicker stuff on the iPad side
to electrically insulate it from the iPad housing

Also the water of a Jacuzzi spa is hot, and the iPad will be operating in a warmer (100°+ Temp) so make sure any tape / glue you use
is rated at that temperature (but it doesn't need to be waterproof)

Step 3: The Waterproof Enclousure

I was a bit unhappy with how thin the Waterproof case is, and wanted some protection of the iPad in case it gets blasted across the spa and hits a wall, so I added a silicon case to the iPad, cutting out access for the lower connector, as well as the Inductive charger.

The screen is sharp and clear, and you can control all functions.

Step 4: The Finished Project

I could show pics of me in the Spa, but this is a family website, and I did not want to scare small children and dogs.
so here is a quick video of me putting the iPad on the Inductive charger.

Step 5: Afterthoughts

Now I have finally used the iPad in the Spa, and found these issues;

1) The iPad doesn't float - I need to add more ballast or build a holder that it stays above surface.

2) Hot water screws with the iPad screen, Random caricatures on typing, and random commands if the iPad is underwater for a few seconds, the water temp is just about 100° so I assume it thinks I am jumping up on down on it


Using it and the screen has been VERY watchable, you cannot hear the sound out of the iPad with the SPA running
which I knew was going to happen, and am still building the Airplay sound system

To watch a movie holding it is not "there" yet, I need to come up with a better way to hold it.


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    15 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I can't seem to reply to your comment about the heat management, so I'll just post here.
    I have to disagree with your comparison of the water proof jacket to a wet suit. The water proof jacket is not a thermal barrier. The ipad will reach ambient temp which if left in the water will be the temp of the water. It will just take a little longer to get there due to the jacket surrounding it.

    The reason a wet suit insulates is because it allows a certain amount of water to remain between your body and the exterior of the suit. This allows your body to warm the water trapped within the wetsuit. With a wetsuit we're also talking about a temp far colder than your body's temp. Not the other way around where the temp would be higher than your body's temp.  In that situation where you are in waters warmer than your core temp you would eventually overheat as the outside water radiated heat into the trapped water of the wetsuit.
    Hope this helps you find a better heat management solution.  Awesome work though, and thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    your bringing up some great points, I am not a diving expert, and the deepest I ever swam was my bathtub :)

    I am just going to 'throw the ipad in the deep end' and see what happens

    I have a tee shirt that says "I void warranties"


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What are you doing about heat management? As hot as a hot tube gets, it isn't very good for high end electronics.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's a really good point, Here are the specs on the iPad

    Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
    Nonoperating temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
    Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
    Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

    Since the hottest the water gets is about 100° - 102° the iPad is floating
    slightly above that, but usually won't be submerged longer then a few seconds.
    the waterproof jacket also adds a touch of insulation from the elements
    and drops the temp down a few degrees (like a wetsuit shields the diver from extreme temperature)

    Mostly the iPad will be sitting on the side of the Spa, or being held, I plan on testing it as thoroughly as I can (and will update the 'able' with details)

    Nice! But unless you are trying to cook your man-parts into oblivion I would suggest you turn the temp down. Would help keep you from cooking the iPad too :)


    7 years ago on Step 3

    lol, asses of slain ice dwarves! :D cool instructable, might try it with my ipad!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Macgeek is totally right about the insulating properties of the protective case, especially if there is air between the iPad and the case. Heat from the hot tub will have to travel from the water to the case, then heat up a layer of air, which then heats the iPad.
    That means the case probably works as a weak insulator, because it helps make the transfer of heat a little more inefficient and take a little longer.
    Compare that to a wet suit, where your body produces the heat. You don't want that heat to be used to heat all the cold water around you, just the layer of water closest to your skin.
    Once you've heated that layer, the neoprene suit acts as an insulator between the warm water on one side and the cool water on the other. More specifically, it's the air that is trapped inside the neoprene that makes the transfer of heat inefficient. In fact, the best insulation for diving is found in dry suits. Those are filled with a little bit of air and the diver's body stays dry. They work because, compared to water, air is not very good at transferring heat.
    So assuming there is a pocket of air between the iPad and the protective case, what you probably have is an OK insulator, probably good enough to keep the iPad from heating up right away when it is submerged in hot water. But you wouldn't want it to be great insulator. As it operates, the iPad will generate heat and if that heat has nowhere to go, you'll have problems.
    It sounds like Macgeek has the situation well in hand.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I was thinking about one thing to set the mood lighting. How about using the iSpa for controlling the lights in the room? Through bluetooth or wifi maybe?

    Wonder if it would be easy programming an app for that if there isn't one already. Thanks for a great i'ble!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Osquar,
    Both my house and Spa are wired with Insteon (x10) remote controlled lights and controls, there are a great many Apps to control Insteon using wiFi.

    I also can control it via a web interface.

    No only can I turn on / dim the lights, I can remotely unlock the gate,
    open the garage door, and (As my next 'i'ble will show)
    Answer the front door.. All from my iPad



    7 years ago on Introduction

    I thought the iPads require a a more powerfull charging source. Or is that just the iPad 2? Great post gave me an idea for a different project with the 4s. Need something to do with it untill it is Jailbroken.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I charged it and used it, till it was empty then charged it again.
    Works like a champ!