Everybody knows that water and electronics don’t go good together. This can get really annoying when you live in a place that gets a lot of snow or rain, because you can’t fly your FPV drone!
There’s a really easy way to waterproof your FPV drone so that you can fly in snow, rain, or even crash into puddles and be just fine.
Here’s how you can waterproof your FPV drone in less than 30 minutes, and what to do if your FPV drone gets wet.
All you need to waterproof your FPV drone is the tools to take it apart, and silicone conformal coating.
You can buy silicone conformal coating from Amazon for about $13 a bottle. You don’t use much to waterproof a drone, so a small bottle will last a long time!
We recommend the MG Chemicals silicone conformal coating. It’s made for protecting electronics, you can solder through it easily, and can even shine an UV light on it to see if you’ve missed any places.
How to Waterproof your FPV Drone
Most of the damage from water happens either from shorting your electronics, or rust.
Silicone conformal coating puts what’s very similar to a coat of clear nail polish over your electronics, so water can’t touch them.
Applying silicone conformal coating is the same as nail polish as well. You use a small brush, and spread it over your electronics. A thick layer isn’t necessary, and can take long to dry.
Your drone won’t work if you put silicone conformal coating over everything though, especially the plugs, so make sure to keep reading to find out where to not put conformal coating for each part.
The FPV camera is the hardest part to waterproof on your drone, so we’ll cover it first.
Even if your FPV camera is fully enclosed and you can’t see your electronics, water can still get in so it’s recommended to take it apart and waterproof the board.
Once you have the main board of your FPV camera taken out, it’s really important not to touch the image sensor or get any conformal coating on it.
Silicone conformal coating can be applied everywhere except for the image sensor and the plug on the back of your camera.
The ESC is pretty easy to waterproof.
Apply conformal coating everywhere, but make sure not to get any in the plug otherwise the pins in the plug might not make contact with each other, and your drone won’t work.
Remember that you can solder through the silicone conformal coating, so don’t forget to put conformal coating on the motor wire solder as well.
The boot button and the USB ports are the only places not to conformal coat on the flight controller.
It’s a good idea to put conformal coating on your flight controller once you’ve soldered the receiver, FPV camera, and VTX on so you can put conformal coating over the solder joints.
Many VTX’s come with heat shrink covering them. Heat shrink is actually really bad if your drone gets wet at all, since it traps water.
Take any heat shrink off your VTX so that the conformal coating can be applied everywhere.
The settings button and microphone are the only places to avoid getting conformal coating on.
If conformal coating gets in the bind button of your receiver, you won’t be able to connect it to your controller, so make sure to avoid the bind button.
What to do After Drone gets Wet
Even though most of your drone is waterproofed, water can still get into the plugs.
To make sure the pins in the plugs don’t rust, just prop the drone up sideways and point a fan at the drone to force some air inside.
I used a cheap USB fan from Amazon that I can easily clip anywhere and point wherever I want.
Optional Silicone Waterproofing
Using conformal coating on your electronics is very reliable.
However, if you want to go the extra mile to make sure your drone is 100% waterproof, you can buy silicone in tubes and put them over the buttons and around all the plugs.
Silicone is nice for the buttons, because it’s flexible and the buttons can still get pushed.
Every time you need to unplug one of the plugs or use the USB port, you’ll need to reapply the silicone though.
I’ve used this waterproofing method and flown my drones in snowstorms, rain, and crashed into countless snow drifts over the years with no issues.
Even if you don’t fly in an area with lots of rain or snow, it’s still suggested to waterproof your FPV drone.
Waterproofing your drones protects against more than just water, such as accidentally shorting your drone, and even helps when you’re cleaning your drone.
You can buy the silicone conformal coating from Amazon.
Comment with any questions, and let us know if you waterproof your FPV drone or not.