Outdoor installation: Things I didn't expect

So, I’ve had LEDs - PixelLights - installed on the outside of my house for a while now, and they have proved very durable through the summer’s record heat. Recently though, we had a monsoon storm with wind in the 80mph range.

That’s… excessive. It ripped a bunch of tile off the house, de-shingled some outbuildings, and took the roof off our hay barn, and flew it several hundred feet till it landed in a downed-UFO heap of scrap metal in the neighbor’s yard. After the storm, I found my lights didn’t work.

Ok… not surprising. I figured the wind had blown some water into a connector and I just needed to dry everything out. But we had electrical continuity, the Pixelblaze was responding, and the main box was working. I finally worked my way to the last power box, which is waterproof and mounted in an outdoor closet, and I found… Ants!

This is the Zigbee smart relay that switches mains power to that section of strip. Soooo many ants! Ick! They eventually ate through the insulation somewhere and fried themselves along with the relay. The storm was just coincidence.

I did some googling and apparently, ants and electronics are a thing. Totally didn’t know that! The lessons here are, I guess, (1) seal your outdoor boxes really well, and (2) the universe will still find new ways to surprise you on occasion.