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Water crash success story

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fixedwing, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. fixedwing

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    Same thing I posted on another forum but worth sharing:

    Last week while filming wakeboarding over fresh water I clipped a cable tower and sent my drone hurtling into the water. It was pulled out of the water about 10 seconds later after being fully submerged upside down.

    We immediately removed the battery, and about 20 minutes later I had found the correct screwdrivers etc to open the case and remove the GoPro from its mount, allowing me to remove the GoPro battery. There was a decent amount of red dye throughout the phantom as a result of the moisture sensors being activated on the bottom of the motherboard.

    As the water was very clean and all the motors were spinning freely by hand (e.g. no silt in them) i decided rinsing it under the tap would offer more harm than good so didn't bother with this. I dried the drone and gopro as much as possible with a hairdryer on low heat.

    When I got the drone home I put the battery, GoPro, gimbal etc in a sealed plastic container with rice. I didn't have anything big enough for the drone so I just left it out in the open. I did order some silica gels, compressed air can and CorrosionX online which came a few days later. I then bagged the drone with several large silica gel packs.

    One week after the crash I decided it was time to re-assemble. As the Naza and iosd are 'sealed' units I had to hope they had enough time to dry out as I could not open then without fear of damage. I used the CorrosionX and some cotton buds to wipe down most of the motherboard and the motor controllers. I was concerned how wet this product was, and not having used it before I could not bring myself to spray it directly on the electronic components for fear of causing more damage.

    After re-assembling the core components (no gimbal, video tx etc) I powered on with my spare battery - All good, even GPS lock! I connected the USB and ran a re-calibration even though the software said this was nor required. I then powered on the motors (no props) and all appeared to spin up ok. I then tested the 'wet' battery - all ok, and the software reports consistent voltage across all cells. I added props and did a little flight on ATTI and then GPS modes - all ok! I added the gimbal, this is now working better than pre-crash! I think some grit got washed out on the process.

    I couldnt test the Video TX as the GoPro (Hero 3 Black) was dead. All it did was flash the rear led red, no response on any buttons. I tried all the hard reset stuff etc but no luck, so i decided to get intrusive. I used the ifixit teardown and completely dissembled the GoPro, and thoroughly soaked all non imaging (e.g. not the sensor board or lens) components in CorrosionX and then cleaned this off with paper tower, cotton buds and compressed air. Re-assembled and it powered on, recorded etc! I tested the GoPro on the drone and the VideoTX is also working fine.

    I will try and get out this week for some more flight testing, to see if anything goes funny or responds strange. I am also tentative about the battery that got wet - I will be interested to see how much flight time this now provides. Not sure I will ever use this battery in 'high risk' (over water etc) situations.

    So in summary - if you dunk in fresh water, you might be ok! [​IMG]
     
  2. Holt

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    Is there a way to waterproof the drone all together? I know GoPro has a waterproof mount. ...
     
  3. fixedwing

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    There are a few waterproof options offered. I doubt any of them can offer 100% guarantee.
     
  4. Holt

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    Ok. This might be a good opportunity to discuss those options. Anyone?
     
  5. Ti22

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    Google waterproof drone - there’s some very interesting designs emerging. Saw one that can even operate underwater as a submersible. Crazy!!!

    However, when it comes to recovering water-logged electronics - if you feel the need to rinse, try rubbing alcohol. Maybe distilled water followed by alcohol if you need a large volume wash?

    To dry, I like using 25-40W incandescent lightbulb for a few days in close proximity (not touching) to the PCB, LCD, components, etc.

    As long as nothing electrically “shorts” from the water immersion, the major potential for damage is from corrosion. So once everything’s dry and cleaned, apply liberal amounts of anti-corrosion solution.