If the camera is properly installed and sealed, the desicant packs should never get anywhere near saturated. They are there usually to absorb any moisture trapped in the dome during installation, so that you don't get internal condenation on thing with temp swings. In fact, if you have a *poor* install, you might not need the desicant packs because the internal and external humidity will tend to stay about the same :)
They are just typical desiccant packs, like most electronic products ship with, and to replace them you would just pull them off the double-stick tape and press new ones on. I was actually tossing the loose ones out at first as I was unboxing the cameras for setup, and realized my fingers kept sticking to certain spots inside the dome lids where the tape is. The ones I had been tossing had just come loose during shipping and needed to be stuck back on. I don't know if these change color as they absorb moisture, but it has prompted me to find a source for desiccant packs and make it a regular service item each time we get in to an outdoor camera. I like the idea so much I'm going to add them to our other cameras, wherever possible, as they get installed or serviced.
IPVMU Certified | 08/25/14 07:16pm
Thanks for the field report, Andrew.
Is it possible to replace those desiccant packs? Can you tell if they are fully absorbed?
One thing to note on the WiseNet III domes... I just did my first installation using them (all SNV-6084R), and did not catch one detail regarding the wiring specs until after all our wire was in place and it was too late to add additional power wire to each camera: the internal heater operates ONLY on 24 VAC, not on either POE or 12 VDC. Here in Washington State that is not a real problem. We have few sub-freezing days each year, and the natural internal heat generated by an IP camera with a beefy processor like the WiseNets should be sufficient to handle our weather with no problem. For those of you in areas where the low temperature specs are critical, make sure you pull an extra power wire and account for 24 VAC power to each outdoor camera.
On the plus side, the cameras are providing outstanding picture quality even in some very challenging lighting (nighttime, headlights, landscape lighting in varying color temperatures, etc). And a simple touch that I love... each camera ships with two dessicant packs stuck to the inside rim of the dome cover with double-stick tape (not visible with the dome installed, of course). So instead of them being tossed once the device is unboxed, they are meant to stay in place and keep the internal workings of the camera nice and dry.
IPVMU Certified | 03/15/14 09:53am
I did smile when I read those specs as it never gets down to freezing point where I live but I guess a bit of overkill in the specs means it should be very durable which is a good thing. Thank you for your help.
IPVMU Certified | 03/15/14 09:50am
Thank you Brian, I did not find a mention of the SND only being for indoors so I had wrongly presumed it was also for outdoors. Next time I'll look harder for the seals now that you've pointed that out to me.
In this particular case, in addition to the IP66 and IK10 ratings
SND-5084 Operating Temperature (+14°F ~ +131°F)
SNV-5084 Operating Temperature (-40°F ~ +131°F)
the SNV variant's operating temperature is much lower.
IPVMU Certified | 03/15/14 04:02am
There are a fair number of polycarbonate outdoor housings, so it's not a materials difference.
Likely the aluminum housing is cast in a solid piece, where is poly housing is just a lightweight cover.
In the case of the SNV, you'll notice there are rubber grommets/glands that seal the cable pigtails trailing from the camera. Most indoor domes don't include this type of seal, and so they are prone to damage.
The vandal rating is secondary to the environmental seal.
IPVMU Certified | 03/15/14 03:23am
A local distributor told me that the polycarbonate housing is just for indoors and that's why the camera isn't advertised with an IP rating. For outdoors, the vandal-resistant model should be used as it has a rating if IP66.