Originally Posted by schalliol
I don't think we have an issue with wiring anything, and the ideal solution would be a standard engraved keypad. Unfortunately this is just not an option outdoors where it gets below freezing in the winter. If one can make a simple button like a doorbell work reliably outside, I can't see why we can't have waterproof controllers.
First off, what's the lighting scenario here? What's the expected use pattern?
There's a ton of reasons why cold and outdoor environments pose BIG problems for complex electronic devices. Even a doorbell switch is going to have problems, but you're less likely to notice them because of the physical forces and amperage involved. Basically the rough contact of a simple switch, combined with the amount of electric flowing through it, is pretty good at keeping the switch perceived as 'working'.
Yet little of that applies for a much more complicated keypad or remote. The materials involved with how the buttons 'flex' usually have a very narrow window of temperatures in which they'll function reliably. To say nothing of the problems posed by moisture condensing on the circuit boards when tiny bits of SMDs are involved.
Then there's the cost factor. Almost anything is possible
, but there isn't always enough of a market to justify anyone making the attempt. Just look at stuff like waterproof remotes. A simple $10 IR remote costs $150 when you introduce the requirement that it be waterproof (and float). The materials cost more, the design is more complicated to manufacture and assemble and then there's just not a ton of sales opportunities.
Sometimes it's worth considering using a product that you know may eventually fail and planning around those failures. A perfect switch (that doesn't exist, and would cost $$$ of they did) might be replaced by one that won't last more than a year or two. Factor that replacement effort into the budget.
As for engraving, there are lots of custom engraving services out there. Not as convenient, perhaps, as having Lutron do it, but even they probably job it out to someone else.