Most drones today are built for flying over land and not on water. While you might think it a fun idea to fly it over the water in your next vacation, one wrong move could render the drone useless. The body of most drones is made from plastic and should the drone drop in the water the water pressure forces the body to give way causing massive leakage into the drone’s electronics.
To avert this risk, various manufacturers have started producing waterproof drone bodies, but they do not offer the intended purpose. For one, they are either too big or too small for your drone, and they use heavy plastic that reduces the range of control. For example if you have these waterproof drone bodies, your FPV flight range is limited at 20 meters.
The only solution that will work and keep the electronics in your drone dry is by water proofing the entire circuit board as well as the components of the drone. In this article, we will look at the various ways you can water proof the electronics of your drone and fly it even after a dunk in the water.
Table of Contents
How to Water Proof Drone Electronics
There are many methods you can follow to waterproof the electronics in your drone and it is a matter of choice. Here are the various ways you can protect your electronics from water and moisture to increase the lifespan of your drone.
Nano Shield Technology
This is one of the most effective methods available in the market today. The leading Nano shied technology includes Nano State, Semblant, Nano Flow X, P2i, HzO, and Liquipel. Trouble is that you have to send your drone to the companies for the water proofing since the technology is not available commercially. The nanites provide a thin layer invisible to the human eye and undetected by touch.
It is effective given the fact that the technology can get to every nook and crack ensuring that every part is covered. The coating Nano shield is a thousand times thinner than a strand of human hair. The coating is applied to the electronics as a gas, which allows it to penetrate every part of the drone’s electronics. This is the technology used on the premium waterproof drones, and the best thing is that you pay only a fraction of the cost.
This has to be the oldest water proofing method in the book. Despite new technologies, it remains one of the cheapest and effective methods. There are two ways of applying the silicone conformal, you can dunk the circuit board and the electronics components in bowl of silicone or apply the conformal with a screwdriver.
You will need to dismantle the drone and ensure that the conformal reaches every part of the electronics. Different conformal solutions have different drying periods. After the electronics are dry, you will need to seal it with Corrosion-X HD. The two products are recommended since you can solder through the two products together.
With this method, you have to be careful and ensure that you get the conformal to every part including the screws, motors, as well as the space between the two halves of the body. You are bound to get the best out of this method and it will survive several dips in the water before you have to worry about the integrity of the electronics.
This is an easier method than the silicone conformal and you do not need to disassemble the entire electric system. The waterproof sprays cover the electronics. The spray applies a thin coating unlike the conformal that can be bulky. 3M, Rust-Oleum, among others waterproof sprays have reduced the time it takes to waterproof your drone’s electronics.
The only downside to the sprays is that they leave a white hazy film on the electronics, but since the electronics go inside the body, you can overlook it. However, you need to apply two coats for the waterproofing to be effective. Most manufacturers sell the sprays in two cans, one is to be applied first as the base coat, and after it has dried, you apply the sealing coat.
Replace the Copper with Gold
When copper is exposed to moisture, it is without a doubt bound to corrode and lead to the corrosion of the other parts of the electric circuit. Experts recommend that for a longer lasting solution to avert corrosion it is better to replace the copper connectors and fittings with gold or gold plated fittings and connectors.
Gold can withstand several dunks in salt water and moisture, before you can see any signs of corrosion. This will improve the lifespan of the electronics in your drone.
What to Watch out for
The above tips will help you waterproof the electronics in your drones. However, did you know that there is more than meets the eye? Here is what you need to watch out for when waterproofing the electronics on your drone.
Most drones come with stainless steel screws and most people think that it enough. However, they will start to stain and corrode after several dunks in salty water making them hard to remove when needed. Ensure that you cover them with either of the waterproofing methods above so that they may remain in good condition.
The frame on most drones nowadays is made from cheap and light plastic, and this makes most drones today susceptible to water damage. On the other hand, premium waterproof drones are using carbon fiber frames and this makes them strong enough to maintain the integrity of their body. You will need to cover the spaces between the body’s parts with the waterproofing agent to ensure that the water pressure does not lead to massive leaks.
Motors in themselves are waterproof; however, the bearings in the motors are not. You will find motors at the arms where the propellers attach as well as in the gimbal. You will need to coat the motors with the waterproofing agents to protect the bearing from corrosion.
In conclusion, waterproofing will save you the trouble of replacing your drones as well as the agony of saving up to buy the pricy waterproof drones. Nano shield technology is the best for your drone electronics but you can experiment with the other methods outlined. However, be sure to ascertain that the products you buy is waterproof not water resistant, there is a difference you know. Was this information helpful? Drop us a comment in the section below.