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Dahua Z5 water condensation inside lens

ITHelpMe

Young grasshopper
Hello All, I have the Dahua IPC-HFW5231E-Z5 which I purchased from Andy, Empire Technology less than a year ago. We've had solid rain in our area for 3 days straight. I noticed there's water inside the lens. It's causing the image to be blurry and I can no longer read license plate. Is this normal? I emailed Andy and he says this is normal and he suggested that I take it apart and seal it better. I thought this is at least IP66 rated? What happened? Thank you.
 

Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
Hello,

Mine just done same thing today and is only 6 months old, they are supposed to be outside cameras, did you find a resolution ?
 

mat200

IPCT Contributor
You may need to open it up and use a hair dryer to dry it out. Also take out silica gel packet and put it in a toaster oven or similar to dry it out. ( it acts as a sponge inside the camera )
 

bp2008

Staff member
This happened to a PTZ my dad was running in a remote location. Such a complicated beast to take apart, we honestly haven't even tried yet and just left it sitting indoors for the last month.
 

ITHelpMe

Young grasshopper
Hello,

Mine just done same thing today and is only 6 months old, they are supposed to be outside cameras, did you find a resolution ?
I fixed mine permanently by taking it apart, wiping it dry, cleaning the lense and I used tons of clear silicone to seal every hole imaginable. Make sure you buy quality seal that last decades and is sun/crack proof. No problem since then and it's been through crazy storms, baking heat and all sorts of weather.
 

Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
Thanks Guys

I was assuming its a fault and guarantee should jump in as never had it with other cameras in same location. But it sounds like its accepted as a norm. Is this camera easy to open up ?. The camera has a rear entry for cable and what looks like a drain hole at bottom of mount. Mat200 mentioned a gel packet inside, so it sounds like getting damp inside is something the manufacturer was aware of. Is their any point getting. hold of manufacturer and complaining to see if service options are available ?, if not i guess its try and find a guide in opening it up :(.
 

fenderman

Staff member
Thanks Guys

I was assuming its a fault and guarantee should jump in as never had it with other cameras in same location. But it sounds like its accepted as a norm. Is this camera easy to open up ?. The camera has a rear entry for cable and what looks like a drain hole at bottom of mount. Mat200 mentioned a gel packet inside, so it sounds like getting damp inside is something the manufacturer was aware of. Is their any point getting. hold of manufacturer and complaining to see if service options are available ?, if not i guess its try and find a guide in opening it up :(.
its not an accepted norm. if you have a warranty then use it. it does happen to some cameras, its not normal. if your cable is exposed ensure you have a proper drip loop, otherwise its your fault.
 

Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
Hi, cable comes out rear and straight in wall with silicone all around where bracket hits wall just as precaution. 3 hrs later and the fogging has gone, so seems to gave recovered quickly :). I will check it out again when stops raining to check silicone is still intact etc and then hope was one of due to very hot temps in uk with sudden heavy rain. Thank you for sll your comments everyone.
 

mat200

IPCT Contributor
.. Mat200 mentioned a gel packet inside, so it sounds like getting damp inside is something the manufacturer was aware of. ...
Hi Night Owl -

Same sort of packet you see in shoe boxes... some food packets ( beef jerky for example )..
 

Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
Thanks mat200, i seem to remember such came in the box the camers came in, i just put it bin as no where did it mention i had to put it somewhere in camera, lets hope thats not the one :).

Camera seems to have recovered, so either a one off or the camera has such a big gap somewhere its allowing ventalation as was getting clearer while still raining:)
 

mat200

IPCT Contributor
Thanks mat200, i seem to remember such came in the box the camers came in, i just put it bin as no where did it mention i had to put it somewhere in camera, lets hope thats not the one :).

Camera seems to have recovered, so either a one off or the camera has such a big gap somewhere its allowing ventalation as was getting clearer while still raining:)
Hi Night owl - in terms of the camera there should be a packet inside the camera, which helps up to a certain point.
 

Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
Hello.

Unfortunately today the issue returns worse than ever and camera us now useless in its current state.

Can anyone advise how they opened the camera up and what parts etc i need to fix.

Personally the camera is 6 months old and went through winter fine. I expect the sun has deteriated a washer or something but only a guess and i would expect the manufacturer to repair under warranty ?
 

TonyR

IPCT Contributor
Hello.

Unfortunately today the issue returns worse than ever and camera us now useless in its current state.

Can anyone advise how they opened the camera up and what parts etc i need to fix.

Personally the camera is 6 months old and went through winter fine. I expect the sun has deteriated a washer or something but only a guess and i would expect the manufacturer to repair under warranty ?

Only one way to find out.....contact the vendor that you bought it from.
 

TonyR

IPCT Contributor
Few, if any, of these cameras at this price are hermetically sealed. The only way you can prevent this type of moisture intrusion in an outdoor device where there is even indirect exposure to humidity and moderate heat followed by cooling off is by using O-rings, gaskets and sealant on the case, all fittings and pigtail cable then slightly pressurizing the case with inert gas. That would make our $120 cams cost probably 5 to 10 times more. Cams I swapped out back in the 80's on the building for offloading and counting the fares from municipal transit buses were of that type. The technology of that era used Vidicon and Trinicon tubes, not CMOS sensors, and cost several hundred 1980's dollars.

This moisture intrusion occurs because of what I term 'differential thermal cycling'. Maybe there's a more scientific term but for lack of reading about it, I came up with a name for the effect after observing the process in street lights...yes street lights! I was a traffic signal tech for over 31 years and also worked on airport, facility and roadway street lighting. I would notice oftentimes when I opened the hand-hole at the bottom of a 30 foot metal pole there would be about 1/2 inch of clear water standing in the bottom on the inside of the pole or you could see where the same amount, about 1/2 cup, would leak out onto the sidewalk where the pole's flange was bolted to the foundation located below the sidewalk. There had been no local rain for days.

This is what I discovered and theorized:

1) The street light would come on at dusk, activated by the PEC (Photo Electric Control).
2) As the lamp and the light fixture heated, the air around it would also heat up and expand, pushing out the air inside the fixture and the pole.
3) The lamp would stay on until the PEC would turn it off at dawn, typically about 11 hours. By now the air inside the fixture in the pole was a lot warmer than the outside air.
4) When the lamp switched off, the light fixture and the air inside it and the pole would begin to cool off and as it did, it would contract and drawn in the outside air. Because it was early in the day, right after dawn, that outside air likely had the most moisture it would have all day, having increased all night.
5) The vertical pole shaft of the street light was also cool now, having been in the cool dark all night, and as that moisture-laden air was drawn in it would condense on the inside walls of the pole and run down to the bottom of the pole where it would collect or seep out.

Today's cameras are assembled tightly with perhaps gaskets and sealant rings, not filled with inert gas and are rated generally IP66 or IP67 but until you reach IP68, I think the 'differential thermal cycling' will allow some moisture inside the case under certain ambient conditions.

I think that when the IR LED's come on at night they generate a little bit of heat inside the unit. After being on all night and as dawn approaches they turn off and much like the street light I described above, draw in the moist, outside air as they cool off. That moisture condenses on the inside of the case, most noticeably on the lens. Then the sun comes up and begins to heat the case of the camera, the air inside begins to expand...and the cycle starts all over again. It's also possible that the camera housing is heated during the day by the sun, expanding the air inside and as night comes, the housing begins to cool and draws in the moist outside air which condenses inside.

I think the best we can do to fix an affected camera and mitigate the situation to help prevent (but not guarantee) future moisture intrusion is as follows:

Wait until the ambient relative humidity is at its lowest point. Chose the driest environment you can for this procedure; in other words, the bathroom after someone took a hot, steamy shower or the kitchen after or during the stove has cooked or boiled anything is NOT a good place. This will be the biggest challenge but is likely the best way to not trap moisture-laden air inside the cam when re-assembling. Late afternoon, outdoors, sunny, no rain for 24 hours and out of direct sun may be your best bet.

Open up the cam, noting how it is assembled and what gaskets and sealant rings are in place then dry it out. Soak up excess moisture with lint-free cotton rag, handkerchief, etc. Use a small hair dryer on low to accelerate the drying out of the cam's interior but don't overheat any of the components.

Allow the cam to cool down to room temp.

Replace the bag of desiccant with a new, dry one. If you have no new bags, take the existing one, dry with hair dryer then bury in cup of uncooked, instant rice for several hours to absorb moisture from the bag.

Reassemble the cam (DON'T FORGET THE BAG OF DESICCANT), insuring OEM gaskets and sealant rings are in place. Insure that the pigtail cable entrance is sealed. If any gaskets or sealant rings are missing or damaged or the cable entrance is not sealed, you'll be wasting your time and moisture will be back in sooner than later. You should use clear, outdoor-rated silicone sealant to caulk the mating surfaces before AND after re-assembly, including the pigtail cable entrance. Allow to dry overnight before placing back into service.

Good luck!
 
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Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
TonyR, Thankyou for your detailed reply. Having done a google search, i can not see any information on how to open this camera, so this is my hurdle as this time. One this hurdle is overcome and failing a rescue from the supplier who is well known on this forum. I guess i will have to try my best to fix as you have detailed above.
 

Night-Owl

Young grasshopper
Hello.

I called dahua again today and mentioned i can see no seal where the cables enters the camera and their are half holes top and side on the camera mount. So surely water will come in the top half hole onto the cable and into the camera. Thinking i am silly and their is a seal. I originally mounted the camera so half hole was bottom and side so water had a drain hole and sealed it to the wall, not following the diagram that shows hole at top, i have now removed from wall, mounted as to instructions and sealed nothing, this morning cctv was all good again. Dahua have no explination as to why water can easily get into camera by following instructions and suggest i seal the half holes up and seal where mount reaches wall again. All very weird.
 

TonyR

IPCT Contributor
Yeah, I'm not much for tiny drain holes anyway....in many cases they're big enough for insects to get in but too small to overcome the surface tension of the water to let it out by gravity with no positive pressure behind it. Or they're sized such that it would take a large column of water to accumulate before it would drain...not so good either. These 'weepholes' perform even worse if it's not vented above it so it would actually require a slight vacuum OUTSIDE the enclosure to drain the water out!

That fact may have something to do with the opposing holes in your bracket.

A tiny hole in the low point some aircraft fuselages can drain condensate that collects as the aircraft ascends to the cold upper altitudes then descends, lands and is hangared where it warms up (see 'differential thermal cycling', above in post #14), but that tiny hole has air moving across it rapidly, like over 100 MPH in all cases, so it gets pulled out, somewhat like how the wing gets pulled up by negative pressure created as the air flows over it when the aircraft moves forward. If the aircraft has a pressurized cabin and compartments, the tiny holes are more successful.

But our cams are not pressurized and are not moving at 100 MPH +. It's best to try and keep the water out in the first place....then we don't need to create other issues by trying to let it out. :cool:

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

mat200

IPCT Contributor
Hello.
.. this morning cctv was all good again. ..
The Gel packet is clearly able to absorb some of the water, but not enough. I'd try to open up the camera and dry everything out, and dry out the gel packet, then remount and carefully seal it as best as possible. (*)

If you have a bullet camera and would like to open it up see the following post: ( for those having a similar issue and looking for a way to open up a bullet camera )
Dahua 4k Starlight with 1/2 sensor (CVI only for now)

( * - for those following, if you have the cable running along your wall, remember to install a drip loop )
 
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