Protecting your drone from the elements is a good idea if you tend to get your drone caught in the rain.
I’ve flown my drone without waterproofing it, and trust me, it was a bad idea. Since I love to film close to waterbodies, it should have occurred to me that waterproofing my drone was probably the best course of action to take once I bought it. Long story short, I flew too close to the sea, caught some mist on my drone’s propellers, and had a propellor failure around 500 meters from the shore. Yikes.
So here I am, explaining to future drone buyers how to waterproof a drone to avoid such incidents and have a much better experience flying it near water bodies and in light rains as well.
If you want to know if your drone is waterproof or water-resistant, read this blog post, where I answer the question, “Are DJI Drones waterproof?“
Choosing a suitable method based on your skill level is crucial for optimal results.
Use Silicone Conformal Coating If you don’t mind stripping your drone as much as possible.
Use CorrosionX HD if you’re only comfortable removing the outer cover of the drone.
Buy your drone a wetsuit if you don’t feel comfortable opening up your drone at all.
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Discover three top-notch waterproofing options for your drone. Each method caters to varying levels of expertise. Whether you’re confident enough to strip your drone down or prefer to keep its outer case intact, we have a solution for you. So, even if you’re not the biggest tech enthusiast, we’ve got you covered.
How To Waterproof A Drone?
Depending on how comfortable you are with the technicalities of waterproofing a drone, here are three methods that will best suit you to waterproof your drone.
Use A Drone wetsuit
For new drone pilots & for those who aren’t comfortable opening their drones up.
Use CorrosionX HD
For experienced pilots & those who are comfortable removing the outer cover of the drone.
Use Silicone Conformal Coating
For expert pilots who don’t mind stripping apart their drones down to the components.
If you’re willing to disassemble your drone, it’s crucial to identify the key electronic components to address first. Assuming you have limited experience with electronics, I’ll strive to explain this in the most straightforward manner. Please don’t feel intimidated; it’s surprisingly straightforward.
If you don’t feel comfortable opening your drone, please skip to method number 3.
Important Electronic Components That You Should Be Protecting First
Before you begin, you must identify which electronic components you must protect. I suggest focusing on the drone parts that are most vulnerable to abrupt voltage fluctuations. Remember that certain waterproofing techniques mentioned below may necessitate removing these vital electronic components, while other less efficient methods won’t require disassembling your drone electronics.
Printed circuit boards.
The electronic components that are at the highest risk can be found in the legs of the ICs (Integrated circuits) on the printed circuit boards, which are the big green-looking boards with a lot of chips and lines on them. These boards have hundreds of little charges of electricity that can easily be disrupted even by a drop of water. So, you want to take out as many printed circuit boards as possible.
Motor ESC (electronic speed control) connections.
If the integrated circuit on these connections shortens, it could fry your motor or even your electronic speed control. These are usually situated on the drone’s arm where the wires that come out of the motor attach.
Battery or mini ports.
These areas are weak points on the drone because they are always exposed. This makes it difficult to waterproof. Ports usually include battery ports or any areas where something can be plugged in. Many people skip over ports because of this; however, if you want to make your drone extra waterproof, then make sure you use the methods below that allow it. DO NOT use a silicone coating in ports; it will stop the plugs from working.
Should you take apart your drone?
Now that you know what to remove, you’re probably wondering how to remove them. This step will heavily depend on your type of drone or quadcopter. I’ve gone ahead and sourced a video on how to take apart a DJI Phantom to help you along the way. However, I highly recommend you find a tutorial video that walks through how you can take apart your specific drone.
How far you would want to break down your drone is also completely up to your preference and the method you select below. So please go through the entire article before you start removing electronic components.
Please be aware that tampering with or following the steps below to waterproof your drone may result in the voidance of your warranty.
Waterproof Drone With Silicone Conformal Coating [HARD]
This is designed to waterproof your drone completely, however, the downside to this product is that because it’s so effective at separating electricity that runs through the components from the elements, there is a high risk of coating the wrong areas, such as plugs, which could cause them to stop working.
Why Conformal Coat?
The primary objective of applying a conformal coating to quadcopters is to provide waterproofing to the surface. Even though drones can be conveniently carried by hand and effortlessly slid into water bodies, ensuring the waterproofing of their electrical systems remains beneficial.
Applying conformal coatings on aircraft effectively safeguards against moisture and humidity from wet grasses and leaves. By doing so, the coating prevents electrical shortages in exposed solders and prolongs the lifespan of the batteries.
A quick way to limit this issue is to make sure you use the paint on the version instead of the spray-on. With the spray on, it’s really difficult to control where you get the silicone, which will obviously increase the chances of getting the silicone on the wrong components of the drone. If you’ve ever used spray paint to paint, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Take out any electronic components that you want to waterproof. Remember, the printed circuit boards are the most important and sensitive components you probably want to waterproof.
If you want to paint around ports and plugs, make sure they are plugged in first to avoid accidentally covering them.
Make sure you don’t get any silicone on ports where you would have to plug something in. Remember that silicone will blog these ports because it resists current.
You’ll need to grab a bottle of Silicone Conformal Coating from Amazon here.
You’ll be able to solder straight through this if need be, so don’t let that worry you.
Don’t use this on any internal components of your camera.
This will more than likely void your warranty.
Let’s get started.
The first step is to remove your drone’s battery and other media cards.
Begin by removing your drone and opening it to a point that exposes as many printed circuit boards as possible.
Start brushing the silicone over printed circuit boards. Cover as much surface area as possible. The silicone should have a slight shine, so you’ll have a visual reference of parts you have missed.
You could move on to any chips and electronic motor connections where the wires from the motors meet with the printed circuit board; however, they aren’t nearly as sensitive. And I would recommend using Shake ‘n Bake or CorrosionX instead.
The only electronics you can’t cover with silicone are the ports. Skip these.
Pro tip: For an extra layer of protection against water damage, apply Shake ‘n Bake or CorrosionX HD to all ports. This simple step can go a long way in safeguarding your device.
Waterproof Drone With CorrosionX HD [EASIER]
The contents of this spray bottle tend to spread everywhere, causing a mess. However, unlike Conformal Coating, it does not obstruct electric current. This allows for easy application into ports and plugs without any issues.
Moreover, since it can be easily sprayed, there’s no need to disassemble your drone to the same extent as you would for using a conformal coating. So, why not opt for this alternative from the beginning? However, the only drawback is its relatively lower efficacy.
You’ll need to grab a bottle from Amazon.
At least you will need to take off your drone’s outer case.
This process will get messy!
You can also solder through this stuff without any issues.
This might void your warranty. Make sure you double-check with customer support if this is something that worries you.
Let’s get started.
Start by taking out your drone’s battery and any media cards.
Take off your drone’s outer case, exposing as many of the internal electronics as possible.
Lay the parts that you’ll spray over a large paper towel, or do it outside where you don’t mind getting things dirty.
Shake the can.
Point the straw to the components you want to spray.
First, go for the printed circuit boards, tap the spray quickly, and adjust. A lot will come out, so get used to the spray before going crazy.
Once you’ve covered all printed circuit boards, spray them on any electronic motor connections. They are usually where the wires from the motors meet with a printed circuit board.
Once that’s done, you begin spraying it on any ports. Remember that this won’t stop any electric current, so you don’t have to worry about things not connecting.
Make sure every nook and cranny is covered.
Pro Tip: Start by applying conformal coating on internal components for robust protection. Then, use CorrosionX on ports, hard-to-reach areas, and any spots you may have missed. This ensures comprehensive coverage and safeguards your equipment effectively.
Prepare for the ultimate challenge! The video below features a drone that was completely submerged after being coated with CorrosionX HD. Witness the astounding results firsthand.
Use A Wetsuit to Waterproof your drone [EASIEST]
This method is extremely user-friendly because you won’t need to take apart your drone. However, keep in mind that it might be a lot more expensive. Wetsuits for drones might be a bit costly, but it might be your only option if you don’t want to open your drone at all.
There are, however, some drawbacks to this method. Like many others, it comes with its own set of limitations. The additional weight of the wetsuit on the drone can result in reduced flight time and distance. A Phantom 4 owner shared on a forum that this wetsuit decreased his flight time by approximately 2 to 3 minutes, which is relatively minor considering the typical flight duration of around 28 minutes.
Another drawback is that these wet suits are less effective than some coating methods above. They are designed to keep the water from seeping through the body’s cracks, which protects some of the most important electronic components; however, they do very little for the drone’s motors.
Having said that, they certainly get the job done. If your knowledge of electronics is limited, this could be your top choice. Nevertheless, if your drone encounters wet grass or gets caught in the rain while wearing a wetsuit, I still suggest following these steps to learn how to dry your drone properly.
Here’s where you can get them.
Locating these wetsuits has proven quite challenging, but I found a few options for the popular drones. Just a heads up: I’m uncertain about the manufacturer of these wetsuits as they are not listed on any official drone websites. Consequently, conducting thorough research is crucial to avoid any potential damage to your drone.
If you’ve got a Mavic 3, Here’s a Wetsuit that’s available on Amazon.
Flying too close to the water
It is recommended that a person exercise caution when flying near water to protect a drone. Flying close to the water will result in the drone being hit by water, causing irreparable damage and causing the drone to lose its power. To prevent the possibility of such accidents, certain flying techniques and precautionary measures must be taken.
Clean the drone regularly
Maintain regular water and dust removal for optimal efficiency and long-term performance. Cleaning tools such as a soft brush can effectively clean the components of a drone. In addition, gently cleaning your drone can help prevent water contamination and help protect your device from moisture and rust stains. The drone is inspected thoroughly and must be fully dry before being assembled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is DJI Mavic Air 2 waterproof?
This is accompanied by good safety options that cause some users to ask themselves if they are ready to use water. DJI Mavic Air 2 has leaking vents; the holes in the vents are clear. It might need a small amount of use, but a wet suit will make it more conductive and apply a conforming coating.
Is DJI Mini 2 waterproof?
DJI’s Mini 2 drone is the most powerful in its class and is very affordable. DJI Mini 2 is not water-resistant or waterproof. Even if a water-based device isn’t damaged at its initial contact with water, it will eventually become so due to condensation/deterioration.
Will a wetsuit protect my DJI Mavic Mini from water?
If you fly the Mavic Mini, you’ll probably not have much better protection because its design prevents most water from leaking through to the battery system. This does not guarantee water resistance but a wet suit.
How do I make my DJI waterproof?
Applying silicone conformal coating to drone electronics will increase their protection against seawater damage and improve their reliability. It is formed to create protective layers on drone electronics and prevents moisture from settling on surface surfaces.
Is there such a thing as a waterproof drone?
Yes, there are multiple waterproof drones available in the market. I personally recommend the Splashdrone 4 as it’s an IP67 Seawater-proof Aircraft with corrosion resistance & a floating design.
To sum up, waterproofing your drone is essential to maximize your safety and preserve its longevity. Keeping your drone away from water exposure is the most sensible action you can take, but other protective measures should be considered if you are planning on using them amidst harsher conditions. Ultimately, with a few simple steps and the right gear, you can keep your drone running the way it was meant to, no matter what kind of weather or terrain comes its way. So don’t be afraid – go out there and waterproof your drone today!
Mechanical Engineer and E-commerce Expert.
Roseandro is adept at various fields.
He’s got 5+ years of experience in e-commerce, SEO, personal finance & a deep understanding of the latest AI and blogging trends.
He’s also a drone pilot who is passionate about cinematography in his spare time.
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