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Are DJI Drones Waterproof? (Explained)

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Water and electronics have never been a match made in heaven, but with the way technology is evolving to the point that now some phones are waterproof or water-resistant, you may be wondering “is my DJI drone waterproof?”

After all, you can get some pretty stunning and dramatic shots in rainy landscapes, so I’m sure you’ve asked this question before.

**The answer is no, DJI drones are not waterproof…yet! There are a few models of DJI drones that are water-resistant, however, but most of these are not for the average drone enthusiast.**So what’s the difference between waterproof and water-resistant anyway? What models of DJI drones are water-resistant? And what’s the danger of flying in the rain or getting your drone wet in general?

I’ll cover all these topics and more right here!

Waterproof vs. water-resistant #

Merriam Webster defines waterproof as “impervious to water”. What that basically means is that water cannot penetrate or leak through the surface of the material. It is sealed.

For example, a wooden boat treated with a waterproof coating will not allow water to enter the boat or be absorbed by the wood. This coating is waterproof.

Water-resistant, on the other hand, means that it slows the penetration of water for a short time, but ultimately, water will seep in.

For example, you could have a bag that’s water-resistant that can shelter your items from the rain for a small amount of time, meaning they will not get soaked as if you just left your items outside, but eventually, water will seep into the bag and moisture can damage your items.

It is considered the lowest level of water protection.If you want to get fancy and technical about measuring the protection a device has against water, you can use the Ingress Protection Code.

The IP Code (what I will call it from now on) measures the protection of a device casing against the intrusion of external substances, such as dust, or water.

What we’re interested in when we’re looking at water is the second number in an IP Code (ex: IP67: we’re interested in the 7). This rating is from 0-8 with 0 being the lowest amount of protection against water and 8 the highest.

Although there is a 9K measurement for a device that can withstand pressurized steam cleaning (Now that’s durable!).

Water-resistant DJI drones #

DJI’s consumer drones are definitely not recommended to fly in wet weather conditions, but there are certain DJI commercial drones that are considered water-resistant and can withstand a splash or light rain temporarily.

For example, the DJI Matrice series, like the 300 model or the new 30 series have some level of water resistance. The 300 model has an IP rating of 45 and the Matrice 30 series has an IP rating of 55, which means it is protected from water spray in any direction.

Of course, this does not mean you can submerge the drone in a body of water (it’s still not waterproof).

Another water-resistant drone is the DJI Agras, which is spray-proof as well (this drone is used for spraying in the agriculture industry).

Most likely, you’re not using one of these drones unless you work in a specialized industry, so what about DJI’s more popular drones like the Mavic series or the Phantom? How are they affected by water?

Water and your drone #

Okay, so you’re flying your drone, it’s about 500 meters away and suddenly, almost out of nowhere, it starts to rain. What will happen and what should you do?

The danger is that water can come in contact with the electronic components of your drone, such as the battery, circuit boards, motors, etc. Water can enter through small spaces in the casing or vents and, in some cases, short circuits may occur.

Water can also burn your ESCs (electronic speed controllers) which directly affect the power of your drone’s motors.

Usually, the drone will be able to hold up for a short period of time in light rain, so you’ll have to hurry to make it back and land as soon as you can.

Even if there were no risks to the electronic components of your drone, as soon as a rain droplet falls onto the camera, since you can’t wipe them off mid-flight, your footage is, well, ruined.

So you’ve flown your drone back and safely landed in the rain and everything seems to be working okay, what a sigh of relief! Not so fast, you’re still not out of the woods.

There may not have been immediate damage, but the water that has seeped through can now cause corrosion over time, not to mention a battery that has been water damaged is no longer safe.

Corrosion will break the electronic components of your drone beyond repair.

The best thing you can do if your drone gets rained on is to disconnect the battery, dry the components off and, if needed, do the old rice trick (but make sure not to get the rice stuck in small components or holes where you are unable to get it out).

For a full in-depth description of what to do if your drone gets wet, you can visit this article right here.

Salt water damage and your drone #

So we’ve talked about the dangers of your drone in the rain and how over time, this water damage can cause corrosion on the electronic components of your drone.

Saltwater damage is even more dangerous when it comes to corrosion. Why? Well, here’s a little chemistry lesson:

As we know, saltwater has salt in it (go figure), or sodium chloride (NaCl). NaCl acts like charged ions when separated by water, which means they have a strong enough bond to attract electrons that were otherwise needed in the original electronic component to conduct electricity.

In simple terms, this mineral present in saltwater has a charge strong enough to mess with the balance of the electronic components of your drone and fry them. This interaction can also cause an electrical fire, so you need to be really careful!

What should you do if your drone is damaged by saltwater? Well, although this may seem counterintuitive, you need to wash your drone with deionized or purified water.

If any sodium chloride remains on the drone even after it dries, it will still cause corrosion, so you need to clean it off.

And, since it’s not actually the water, but the minerals or chemicals present in water that will corrode your electronics, using deionized water is safe and will not short circuit your electronics if they have not already been fried by the saltwater.

Keep in mind though, that your regular tap water is not deionized, so it’s best to leave that cleaning process to the professionals.

Now you may be thinking, hey, rainwater is not saltwater, but it has the ability to corrode my electronics. How is that?

Rainwater is not purified or pH balanced. It is not deionized and is usually full of contaminants and minerals that will cause corrosion over time.

Maybe not as fast as saltwater, but it’s just best to stay away from any water in general when it comes to keeping your drone safe from corrosion because you just never know what’s in it.

Can I make my DJI Drone waterproof? #

There is currently no way to completely waterproof your drone, but you can make it more water-resistant using a silicone conformal coating. This coating will protect the parts of your drone most vulnerable to water damage, but only if you apply it correctly.

For a step-by-step on how to safely coat your DJI drone with silicone conformal coating, please refer to this article.

For now, and probably for the foreseeable future, most consumer-level DJI drones are not waterproof. They are not advertised with an IP rating, which would normally determine their water resistance, like with the DJI Matrice series and DJI Agras.

Although some people may swear by certain models’ durability in the rain, if the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it, it’s best not to test the waters if you are uncomfortable with possibly breaking your drone. Test the waters, get it?

I think everyone can agree it would be very cool to be able to fly a drone into a body of water and then use it as an underwater camera. I can just imagine what kind of possibilities that would open up, but DJI has yet to release a drone like that.

Will waterproof DJI drones exist in the future? I don’t see why not. Only time will tell.

Reference:The GPS Store (link)


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