Core Electronics Forum

Water proof and electrical conductive?

Hi everyone,

I am relatively new to “understanding” electronics, and have been building my own racing drones, it’s recently been extremely wet here for quiet awhile, witch prompted me to look into water proofing against complete destruction if I land in a puddle, I have come across acrylic and silicone conformal coating as a preventative measure but also found a product called “Corrosion X” and “Dry Drone shake and Bake” witch offer protection against water shorting but will allow electrical conductivity for USBs, plugs, buttons etc

My question to everyone is, has anyone used these to clarify their validity or know of anything that has similar properties?

This is where i have seen it supposedly used, https://youtu.be/s4z8QMgTEA4

And in Joshua Bardwells youtube video, "silicon confromal vs dry drone shake and bake, were he claims to put the entire flight controller with USB plugs, boot button and all, in a bag with the liquid shake and bake, rendering it water proof and electrically conductive at the same time, this video seems to have been made private now and is unavailable.

Thank you kindly for any words of wisdom.

Cody

Hi Cody,

Welcome to the forum, a super interesting topic you’re getting into!

I haven’t done anything similar before, so can’t give you any direct feedback.
Although, I have also heard of people using hairspray or resin/epoxy as alternative solutions.

I was able to view the video that you linked from my work computer, thats odd.

Cheers,
Liam.

Hi Liam,

Thanks for your reply, glad to be here,
It is very interesting, I’m trying to understand how it would work aswell, to me I see it like a musical noise gate, for example: a predetermined amount of volume can be ignored and once it passes that threshold it allows sound threw, I wondered if these chemicals worked similarly to this, gating the electricity till the threshold was broken, A threshold of witch Fresh waters conductivity can not break and only the other side of the connection with the chemical on it can break, excuse the music reference I don’t know exactly how to explain it with electricity

Hairspray and Epoxy interesting, I’ll have to definately test that, in that video link he uses epoxy and heat shrink to water proof the esc’s, basically making a sealed tube.

Did you mean you couldn’t open the link? If so this may help, https://www.flitetest.com/articles/waterproofing-electronics
The video title is “Flight test | Water Proofing Electronics” a quick google of that will bring it up.

Regards Cody

Heyya Cody,

Very good analogy! Although I would say that in order to keep the pins isolated they should have some arbitrarily high resistance.

Another solution that may work (although not very aerodynamic) would be 3D printing or using a Tupperware container to create a watertight seal.

I could see the YouTube link that you provided, cheers for providing another link though. That was a really good watch!

Cheers,
Liam.

Glad you got it, interesting isn’t it!
Yes it would have to have some high resistance for sure.
Good idea printing some protection, I’ve been planning on doing this just to avoid stray water droplets or bits of wet grass

Hi Cody
Good luck with spreading or spraying these concoctions all over the place. It’s a wonder your drone rotors spin.The idea would be to put all the bits that can be affected in a sealed box then use waterproof connectors.
By the way, distilled water is a very good insulator. It is the impurities that allow it to conduct.
Cheers Bob

Hi All,

I have a little Emax quad that has seen quite a bit of dew, no puddles though and it has held up fine.
After use, I immediately remove the batteries and blow the components out with some compressed air to remove the droplets on the components.

Bob makes a very good point with getting the waterproofing chemicals everywhere, depending on your flyign style the coils in the motor might heat up the chemicals you use to waterproof them. The ESC’s and motors require the most power.

Regards,
Liam.

Was thinking of gunking up the moving parts with all that goo. Mechanical problems more than electrical.
Historically Conformal Coating has been used more for tropic proofing where the very high humidity does not go away and things never dry out. Fungus and all sorts of nasties get into everything.
I think with the low voltages involved and the fairly high resistance of most water there is very little chance of any catastrophic short circuit and all should be ok as long as common sense prevails and everything id dried out at the first opportunity.
Don’t muck about with wet 240V though. The water resistance will be low enough to pass enough current to do very serious damage to humans and most electrical equipment.
Getting back to tropical fungus, I lived in PNG for a few years and in Lae we had to clean everything in the wardrobe every few weeks as everything made of leather (belts, shoes etc) turned a pretty green colour in a short time.
Cheers Bob

G’day , good advice Bob, with water proof connectors, that might be ok on this, I’ll have to consider that if it doesnt build up to much heat,
Conformal coating has been fine so far at coating the appropriate parts, hasn’t hurt anything or effected performance in the slightest, it’s seen about 20hrs flight this week and hasn’t showed any negative signs yet,
That’s good that theres a low chance of it dieing if I go in the water because of its resistance,
So I probaly don’t have to push it too far is what I’m gathering, I am near the beach, so I guess my property might have more contaminants, but it should hopefully be fine still I doubt there’s that much, the grass isn’t inhibited at all unfortunately haha

Probably no need to spray anything in moving parts on a drone, Brushless motors are water proof anyway arnt they? Apart from the bearings

And a great idea blowing it off with air, that’d be my go to aswell if I got it soaked, I’ve got a couple of those emax ones, freestyle 2 and tinyhawk2s, Ive seen good stuff about them surviving after drowning aswell

So it’s sticky stuff is it Bob, I’ll keep that in mind if I use it, the way im planing to I’ll be injecting it in place, rather than spraying it, it’s not a beauty contest either just has to work if I land in water, they can be washed with isopropyl if it gets to bad, so it’s probably not an issue with this as far as I can see, we’ll see about that tho, it could be annoying more than it helps

Also I emailed the company of the product I mentioned “corrosion X” and they got back to me saying it’s fine to use in a USB and no need to remove it to use the usb, along with a link to the video I linked above, saying I think you’ll be interested in this, so I guess I’ll see what it’s like

In the mean time I’ve come up with another way I thinks not bad Mabey better, a tiny square of electrical tape over the parts then a tiny dot of e600 glue, as crazy as it sounds I’m pretty sure it’s sealed now, or at least fairly water resistant, Im happy with it like this, it’s relatively easy to replace when I have to aswell, I can’t see a need for going to extra lengths, this was too easy and clean,

The resistance of water, what I’ve done and being smart about drying and restarting it, well, I have good confidence I definately won’t have bad failure if I go in. Id like to make a drone that can fly in rain next

Cheers Cody

G’day fellas, The corrosion X came today, it’s quiet fine it has perfect viscosity for what I’m doing, I will be able to apply this with a fine brush easily, and I actually forgot to wash it off, usually if i get any type of oil on myself the first instinct is to wash it off, I’m really surprised how non greasy, non sticky this actually is, feels like a very fine oil like what you use in clippers or a sowing machine, smells like petrol for about a minute then disapates

Cheers Cody

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G’day, more to report on that, first test I did was spray it in a drone that has been waiting to have it’s connectors changed due to corrosion inhibiting electrical flow, and what do you know it bloody works now haha kinda amazing, I think im gonna close this thread as I think Ive answered my own question now testing all of these first hand, you just have to discover it for yourself instead of being stuck in history, not all electrics are the same you’ve taught me, not everyone is rite or knows what you need to know , it’s best to test,
Good luck
Cody

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A valuable life lesson! Simulations, mathematical modelling and predictions from experience can tell you a lot but they can never tell you everything.

Glad to hear it’s working, and thanks for posting! I’ve no doubt it’ll help someone else out in future.

Regards,
Oliver
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