I didn't waterproof my drone. Now I'm paying the price.
Really i just fly when its sunny and if its raining outside i just go in, and i do something else and its not like it. Snows here or like theres, a giant swimming pool that im gon na crash in just dont ive, never crashed in this swimming pool, not once okay. Once okay, i did it once so. I guess its time to make a video about waterproofing, im, joshua, bardwell and youre gon na learn something today i really did fly my mobile 6 into my pool in the middle of doing a review of it and it ruined one of the escs. This is a bottle of silicon conformal coating and its the approach to waterproofing that were going to be focusing on in this video. I want to acknowledge that there are other products out there that can be used to waterproof electronics, some of them marketed specifically towards drones, and some of them have advantages over conformal coding were going to be talking about the limitations and disadvantages of conformal coding. As we go into this video, but there are two main reasons why im focusing on conformal coding in this video, i think, overall, it has a good balance of performance versus price versus availability. Some of the substances out there that are better than conformal theyre, not widely available, whereas conformal is generally widely available and number two. I i have some today and i need to waterproof this. This is the replacement mo beetle that i bought out of my own pocket and, if i crash it into the pool, i want to um make sure its waterproof.
In fact, i might even finish my review of this and then intentionally crash it into the pool to test how good of a wood job my waterproofing did so better watch the end of the video crap. Now i have to do that otherwise, youll watch the end of the video and ill have misled. You heres the first thing thats annoying about conformal coating. Is it always dries the lid shut? So i always try not to put the lid on too tight. So when it dries shut, i will be able to crack it loose now. This stuff comes in various dispensing mechanisms. You can buy it in a spray bottle, but i dont recommend you use a spray bottle to apply it to quadcopter parts ill. Tell you why in just a second, rather i suggest you buy the type with the brush in the cap and basically you just paint it on. Oh, it smells good too definitely apply this stuff in an area with no airflow, so were just going to paint that conformal coating on and youll see it will produce a thin layer of basically, i guess its silicone plastic. I dont know what it is and we want to just cover all. We want to basically cover the whole board, except for the things that, if you get conformal coating on it, it will ruin them. But im just going to keep painting this on for now and try to cover all the electronics nice thick coat and get it all on there and then let it dry now.
The camera brings us to the first thing that you dont want to get conformal coating on. There are some things that will just be damaged by the chemicals in the conformal coating, and the cameras sensor is one of those things. So if youre the kind of person who would literally open up your camera and try and paint conformal coding everywhere on it, youre going to have to be very careful to either number one just not brush it onto the sensor itself or number two you could. Theoretically, you could mask off the sensor in some way, but thats part of the reason why i dont suggest getting the spray on application, because if you get conformal coating where its not supposed to go, you will damage things and prevent them from working. But we should be fine to paint this onto the back of the board and maybe help cover up the five volt and the the ground, and maybe any i dont know a little bit cant hurt, but things that you cant completely protect may not be completely protected. If you dunk your quad and thats one thing to keep in mind, you youre basically trying to kind of stack the odds in your favor, its really difficult or impossible to completely waterproof a drone. I mean not without just basically encasing the whole thing in some kind of a container. These kind of paint on sprays and stuff can only go so far, but oftentimes.
It will be enough, as we come to the underside of the board here, im going to make a mistake that i dont want you to make, and i am going to get conformal coding into the usb port and im going to try and really goop it in There to make my point very clearly now you might think. Of course you would want to waterproof the usb port. The usb port has, you know five volts its electricitys in there, so you dont want water and electricity to get together, but the problem is that conformal coating protects by literally forming a layer to block electricity from getting to the other side of the layer and unfortunately, Thats, how usb ports work electricity has to get to the other side of the of the port. So if you get conformal coating on any kind of plug like your camera plug, if you have an esc plug, if you have a usb plug, if you get it on any kind of plug or port, it wont work. Dont. Believe me so now, ive, given the conformal coating a little bit of time to dry and were just going to plug in usb here and see if this flight controller powers up nothing doesnt work and if i had plugged in that usb cable with the wet conformal Coating in there it could have gotten conformal onto my usb cable and i dont know maybe made my usb cable not work either so whats the work around here.
Well, one workaround that people use is to plug in stuff to the ports. Before you start applying the conformal plug in a usb cable and then just sort of paint around it, if your camera plug and your esc plugger all plugged in the conformal cant get in there and its probably not going to cause a problem. But if you have any open plugs or ports, then conformal gets in there its going to make them not work. The other things that are affected by conformal are anything that requires electrical contact to work. For example, your boot loader button your buttons, if on your video transmitter, the button that changes, the output, power and so forth, all of these buttons make electrical contact, and so, if the conformal coding gets in there, then they cant do their job. The other thing that stands out that you definitely dont want to get conformal on, is if your flight controller has a barometer. The barometer has a tiny little hole that lets air pressure changes get into and out of the barometer, and if you paint over it with conformal, then your barometer is not going to work. Those are the main things that you want to make sure you dont get conformal on the camera sensor, a barometer any buttons and any plugs or ports other than that go hog wild. Once you apply the conformal coating. How do you know that you got it like everywhere that you wanted it to go and you didnt leave like a bare spot, thats gon na mess you up when you crash in the pool or something.
If you look at the board under a bright light, you can clearly see a shininess that the conformal coating leaves when it dries. That is, the conformal coating coating the board another way to go about it. Im not going to be able to demonstrate this to you, because i dont have a black light. But if you have a uv or black light, then the conformal coating shows up very very clearly under black light, and that is a more sort of certain way of checking that its got everywhere. That it needs to be. What, if i needed to solder on a new motor to this board, would i have to remove the conformal coating somehow before i did that great news, you dont, you can just take a hot soldering iron and literally just desolder this joint, as if the conformal coating Wasnt even there it will melt and sort of burn away, doesnt hurt anything and then, when youre done, when youre done completing the joint just dab a little bit more conformal coating on to cover it back up again, so you can solder straight through it. If you ever do need to remove conformal coating alcohol like isopropyl alcohol is one way to do it and you can just go in there with a q tip and wipe it off if thats something you wanted to do. But i i mean, i guess: if you got somewhere where you didnt want it to be, you could try alcohol to get it away and maybe itll start working again im looking at you, my usb cable now in just a second, were going to go outside and Were going to dunk this drone in the pool and were going to see if my waterproofing attempt has been effective and if i succeed in waterproofing this drone and it survives, then you got to hit the like button, because presumably your drone would also survive based on The contents in this video and thats got to be worth a like right, but hold that hold that, like until we find out if it succeeds better succeed before we do.
That, though, i want to acknowledge a couple other types of drone, waterproofing materials. So, for example, heres fpv worry, free, high performance, blah blah coat king water resistant electronics and not all of them are fpv specific heres, just good old, liquid electrical tape, the fpv specific ones uh. In my opinion, they often dont really perform better than silicon conformal coating. I know the manufacturers will tell you that they do and maybe theyre right, but silicone conformal coating performs, as i think it performs, as well as the specialized ones, and it is usually way way cheaper. You get a whole giant bottle of it for ten dollars, whereas then they give you a little vial for the same price. If we look at consumer stuff, like liquid electrical tape, its not actually intended for waterproofing and water can still get up underneath it, although its better than nothing and some of the other sprays out there and the name isnt coming to me, maybe its corrosion x, they Actually, dry to this really gummy texture that attracts dust and is impossible to clean. The bottom line is that i just think that conformal coating is the first place. You should go if youre thinking about waterproofing for all the reasons that ive talked about here, but i do want to acknowledge, especially the fpv specific ones, a small company trying to make a living. You should look at those products but theyre, just not the ones im.
Focusing on in this video – well, i guess theres nothing to do now. Ill go outside and take my medicine so heres. What im gon na do im gon na plug in a battery im gon na dunk the quad into the water and were gon na talk about what needs to happen next pot is on and into the water. We go now at this point. The next thing, youre, probably thinking is, oh, my god, get the damn thing out of the water, but you should not rush to get something out of water as fast as possible. The first thing you should actually do is unplug the battery. While it is still underwater because while the quad is under water, the electricity is going well kind of everywhere into the water, its in nowhere in particular, but as soon as you lift it out of the water. If the battery is still plugged in then it will just it will go potentially places its really not supposed to go and things can get damaged so number one unplug, while the quad is still under water, number, two get it out of the water and then then You got some decisions to make. You see the water itself. Fresh water is not actually very conductive, it is somewhat conductive. Salt water is more conductive and, most importantly, salt, water will corrode and oxidize in the presence of electricity way way more than fresh water. The fresh water isnt going to actually do that much damage to this thing.
The main thing that fresh water is going to do is leave minerals behind so theres minerals in this water, its not distilled water and as long as we thoroughly dry. This, then probably no harm will be done as long as we unplugged it while it was still under water, but then a thing that happens is a few weeks later. It just dies – and we are like why and its because there was leftover corrosion from minerals that were left on so whether youre in salt, water or fresh water. The very next thing youre going to want to do is rinse this with. Ideally distilled water is one of the best. If you have electronics spray, cleaner, fluid that works really well, but you may not have that alcohol isopropyl alcohol will work pretty well too. Although isopropyl alcohol will attract some moisture and then, if you dont dry it thoroughly, you can get yourself in trouble. You want to rinse this to get any leftover, minerals off thats, true for fresh water, and it is especially true for salt water once youve rinsed off the quad. The next thing you need to do is dry it off and despite what you may have heard, no the best way to do it is not with a bag of rice. I know thats commonly done, and sometimes it even works, but the professional electronics restorers theyre, not using bags or rice what they say. The best thing to do is is to use moving air.
So we got a fan here and were just gon na set this on a fan and were gon na turn the fan on and were gon na. Let it sit im not going to do that, because itll blow on this microphone itll ruin the audio but were going to let that sit until it is well and truly dry and sit. Let it sit longer than you think you really want to make sure it is thoroughly thoroughly dried, flip it over etc. Like a day, maybe, and then, when its fully dried will come the moment of truth, i told you it would ruin the audio right. The moment of truth is here: we plug in a battery and we see if she flies. How do how good did my water protection do? Did you hit the like button yet just saying these things are like 120 bucks and theyre out of stock everywhere, and if i ruined it, im going to be very sad that doesnt, surprise me very much it. No, it basically oh turned on telemetry is working thats, a good sign, uh rssi looks normal. Wouldnt have expected the receiver to be damaged, but you never know the real test will be when we arm it do all the motor spin three two one. It worked. Oh im so relieved. I cant guarantee that if you follow the steps in this video that your electronics will work, anytime, electronics go in water, theres a chance of them being damaged, and that is especially true if you go in salt water.
But i hope that by following the steps in this video, you can maximize your chances of recovering stuff that goes in the water. If that ever happens to you, you might be wondering why i was so freaking anxious about damaging this mo beetle. I mean its a tiny whoop right, its not like. I dont have a tiny whip i can fly, but the mo beetle is pretty special. Its got a flight controller with built in express lrs and a 400 milliwatt video transmitter, so it has longer range than just about any other tiny whoop out there and uh its also super super light uh. I still havent decided if its my favorite but its very hard to get in stock and even the flight controller alone is really desirable. So i really didnt want to just destroy one for no freaking reason. If youre interested in checking out my review of this thing, ill put a card on screen and well, you can see how it stacks up against the venerable mobile 6, which has been the favorite of many people. In fact, the creator of the mo beetle kind of came out and said he didnt really like it. Well, you watch the whole video and see what i mean cards on screen.