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P3 fell in Fresh water advice

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by jephoto, May 30, 2016.

  1. jephoto

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    Hi guys. Joined the Phantom swim club.
    Took off a bit too fast- a bit too close to an overhanging tree.
    At about 15' high struck some leaves & thin branches, then fell - luckily right at edge of lagoon's cement wall in about 5' of water.
    Probably submerged for about 5 minutes while I dithered about whether if I disrobed and jumped in if I could get back OUT....

    But I did- undress to undies and jump in. found it with my foot & brought it up (lots of plants & murk so I couldn't just see it. And with help of a very nice guy fishing with his wife, was able to get out again.

    Drained it, shook it out, had to drive home. Probably 30 min from fall to house.
    Where I took off rotors & unscrewed the UV filter on camera and used a hair dryer thoroughly all over in all vents & motors.
    Now it is sealed up in a trash bag with a couple pounds of rice.
    My question now is - should I also open the shell? I've not done this before and don't want to break anything. Also not entirely sure I have the right tools.
    Do have a decent computer screwdriver & star driver kit & hex wrenches.
    But - do I NEED to open it up if I can leave it sealed in rice for a few days?

    PS- I do have an air compressor which I just fired up. Will use that to blast out what I can.
    Then back in the rice....

    Thanks for the replies!
     
    #1 jephoto, May 30, 2016
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
  2. DroneDestination

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    Opening up the shell and air drying is actually more effective than rice, if you can bring yourself to do it.
     
    mikesmiley likes this.
  3. jephoto

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    PPS- Just used the air compressor. THAT was a good thing to do. I felt lots of moisture coming out. And was able to put a steady stream of air through every vent, each motor, gimbal, etc. Anywhere I could think of to put air thought it.
    Without taking off the cover.
    But if you all think that its really necessary I will attempt. But for now, in the bag of rice for the next 2 days.
     
  4. jephoto

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    Is there a link or tutorial (video) you can direct me to that shows how to do that without breaking anything?
    Never mind... Found a bunch on YouTube....
     
  5. jephoto

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    Most Excellent- found this one about "Hotboxing" - putting a space heater up to a hole in a cardboard box placed over the drone for a few hours.
    This guy pulled his out of the water and had it flying about 4 hours later.
     
  6. mikesmiley

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  7. jephoto

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    well, I did the Hot box for a while. Then got worried about the heat.
    Put it under a fan for an hour. Then decided to try to open the shell to do a more thorough clean & dry.
    But was defeated by the clips. Could not get the darn thing open. Watched several videos on how to do it and it always went easier on the video.
    I can't get them undone. Maybe got one.
    But I do not want to break them.

    So I am back to a hotbox for a while (low setting) and after a couple hours there will seal in bag with lots of rice.
    Im pretty confidant that I got most of the water out using the air compressor and as much as I'd like to get inside, Im not.

    But after a couple of days in the rice I'll see if it starts - and then send it to STCNY - my repair guy. Let him open it and clean & check.

    Best I can do for now. But Ihave high hopes....
     
  8. jephoto

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    Here's an update. Mostly good news.
    Waited a week with bird in bag of rice and just a few minutes ago tried to fire it up.
    Mixed news.
    Powers up.
    Camera works.
    Gimbal works
    Home point updated..
    But when I tried to start motors (no props) I get an ESC status error.

    I assume that means one of more motors is affected. Jammed or worse.

    They do turn easily by hand. Nothing grossly out of whack.

    About to go on a 3 day trip so can't deal with it until I return. I suspect I'll be sending it to my guy at STC NY for checkup.

    But at least it's not TOTALLY fubar.....
    Could be much worse.
     
  9. Bagpuss

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    Genuinely, don't believe for a second that putting your drone (or any other electronic device) in rice will help avoid long term damage from immersion in water. The only way to prevent long term damage from corrosion is to displace the water before it's had chance to dry out. For concrete proof of this, check out:

    In this video, you can clearly see that corrosion and component damage has occurred within a few hours of the device being immersed in water. You might get lucky by putting the drone in rice, but you will almost certainly see a failure at some point in the future. Personally, that's too big a risk when the thing that's failing is flying several hundred feet over my head.

    If you don't have an ultrasonic board cleaner (who does, apart from specialist repair shops), then the best thing to do is remove power as soon as you can following the dunk in the drink, open the drone up, identify any areas of corrosion (and they will form quickly) and gently go at them with a toothbrush and some isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol will displace the water, which is exactly what you want. Don't be afraid to give the board/components a good dunking. You won't damage anything.

    If you're lucky, then the water will not have shorted out anything vital, and your drone will work. If you're unlucky, then it's not uncommon for surface mount caps to be shorted to ground. If a component has failed, it will probably be fairly obvious, and you can test with a multimeter. If you're good with a soldering iron/SMD rework station, you might attempt to repair the board. If you're not, then I guess it's time to call DJI.
     
  10. Ted4797

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    Never tried it with a drone but I have used silica gel to dry out electronics. It's those little bags they ship with electronics. It works better than rice.
     
  11. Beavs Bird

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    I dumped mine in Lake Siskiyou in northern California after hitting a tree, 45 minutes later I found it near the shore in 3 ft of freshwater. The battery is toast but the drone is fine, just let it sit in the sun for a few hours. No problems since, and have done a lot of flying since.
     
  12. jephoto

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    I'm sure you're right. I wanted to just that, but was unable to open the shell. Was afraid I'd break it. Or my thumbs.
    So undid the best I could.
    Although it wasn't just rice.
    I used an air compressor to thoroughly blow out as much moisture as possible. Then constructed a "hot box" with a small space heater and put it in there for about 3 hours. Then put it in the rice bag for a week.
    Almost enough....
    I'll be sending it in for repair.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  13. Bagpuss

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    It's a tough one. I'm very cautious about flying over water, but I still do it.

    For many years, I firmly believed that the rice trick was the right thing to do. It even saved a couple of devices, or so I thought. My daughter's DS took a dunk in the sink a couple of years ago, and I did the rice thing. A couple of months back, it died completely. When I opened it up, it was badly corroded in several places inside. That's what prompted me to go and do some more research into the problem.

    I hope it gets sorted out quickly, and without too much expense.


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