Waterproofing Electronics

by FliteTest | December 24, 2014 | (29 Ratings) Posted in How To

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Water proofing your ESCs, your reciever, servos and other water sensitive parts is not near as comlicated as you might think. If you are flying in humid areas or even on snow for an example—taking a little bit of time to do some water proofing is time well spent. 

These techniques for water proofing use a pretty small combination of products. The ones that Peter uses in this video are called Corrosion X, Corrosion X HD, various epoxies and TechSpray.

 

Corrosion X HD worked great with servos. You'll need to open up the housing and spray inside all of the components. When you're finished, be sure to clean the outside with isopropyl alcohol, otherwise the hot glue won't stick!

This is an extreme test that we are showing you (completely submerging our electronics) but we wanted to show you how effective these sprays can be at protecting your electronics from moisture.

In some situations, you can even spray your electronics after exposure to moisture. 

These sprays can even work in salt water! 

Epoxy is the best way to seal your ESC, hot glue will not work.

Thanks to everyone who submits articles and shares knowledge in our Forums. We learn great tips like these from viewers like you, so thank you for your feedback and interaction!

 

Comments

emi83ro on December 31, 2014
Hi!
Can you use that spray on cameras? I'd like to use it on my Mobius.
Also, can it be used on barometers? Doesn't it damage the membrane?
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emi83ro on January 1, 2015
i used NanoProtech Electric. i just tried it on a keychain camera. it still works but the mic is out (i think it might still have some oily substance on it, maybe it will work when it dries out completely). and it won't film ok when it's submerged (i didn't cover the lens glass). after i got it out of the water and shook off the water it worked fine, except the mic. so, in conclusion, don't cover the membranes with the substance (instead i'd cover them with a water resistant tape when you spray them, remove the tape after).
if anyone else tryed it, please share the results, maybe we'll find a way to save our expensive toys :D
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HilldaFlyer on January 23, 2015
Great information - Do you think the CorrosionX or liquid Electric tape work as well?
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nasir on February 18, 2017
I hv nano protect electronic please let me know if it works?
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jerimiah85 on December 25, 2014
SWEET
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王师傅form Beijing on December 25, 2014
For motor ESC,I think 705 RTV is better than hot melt glue。。。
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dthomas122 on December 24, 2014
Hey Guys looks like fun in the tub lol , Hey you need to go to your local hardware store and get a bottle of Liquid Electric Tape and a small tube of clear silicone, coat your boards with the tape and use the clear silicone for LED's so you can still see them much faster than epoxy and looks cool too...around $10:00 for everything..keep up the great work oh yeah L,E,T, works great on the leads for Dean's plugs.......


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vontugboat on January 1, 2015
For aircraft electronics that don't get doused regularly, liquid electrical tape is good, but a little heavy relative to a thin layer of epoxy (kind of a poor man's conformal coating). The epoxy also won't get soaked and admit water if you REALLY get a dunking (like a crashing in a lake where it takes a little while to get to the aircraft).
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sailorJohn on December 24, 2014
Doesn't silicone have some corrosive properties? I do notice when Peter refers to the cost of components he usually states half of what I pay, maybe he gets a discount.
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Racer46 on December 24, 2014
Could I use silicone RTV instead of epoxy on the ESC? Would the silicone RTV stick to the silicone heat shrink?
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tinkerbill on December 24, 2014
Silicone to silicone works great if both are uncured material. In this case the heat shrink, if it is silicone, would be already cured and the fresh probably would not bond so good. That is just hypothisis at this point so why not run a small test? I know the fresh silicone stuck really well to some pre-cleaned pvc I used as a outer shell once. It was a 220vac connection I planned on burying so I slipped a piece of pvc pipe over the connection then encased it by filling whole pipe with silicone. I let it cure in the sun couple days then buried it 3ft deep. That was 10 years ago and it's doing fine!
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T-Richard on December 25, 2014
Great article, I fly over a lake frequently. I worry constantly and was about to experiment with different methods myself. You just made it eassy for me. Thanks Peter and the Flitetest crew!
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Yogenh on December 25, 2014
This is great if I had known this I could have saved a ESC on my Icon 5.

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Crack the Sky on February 16, 2015
How do you like the Icon 5? On the Phoenix flight sim, it seems severely under powered.
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Yogenh on February 16, 2015
I liked it a lot. It had good power for all the flying I did with it. I lost it when the wing folded when flying. It would take off rom the water in a short run. I would do loops and rolls with it. it was a good flyer but in a fast turn it would wag.
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Crack the Sky on February 21, 2015
Okay thanks, sounds like fun. How did the wing fold? Was the spar not in?
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Yogenh on February 21, 2015
the spar broke. I was always flying it hard. I had crashed it be for and may have cracked it.
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RickPeck on December 25, 2014
Thanks! I'll be doing this to my Snoball. It's nice to see that Peter seems to be a little more relaxed in front of the camera. He's really improved his "stage presence". Keep up the great video's and thanks again.
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nasaguy86 on December 26, 2014
Has anyone tried a hydrophobic coating? There are a few on the market recently....
Here's Rustoleum - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZrjXSsfxMQ
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Young Flight on December 24, 2014
LOL Josh's face in the last photo
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Drizzt on December 27, 2014
LOL thats gold!!
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menachg on December 29, 2014
i don't understand if peter puts the corrosionx on connectors (like in the receiver servo plugs and in the battery connector)so it means that its not an insulator so how is it protecting the electronics?how do they survive after a short circuit and work afterward?
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Jusn on January 27, 2015
It's a little weird, but you can put insulators on electrical connections... as long as they're liquid/gel-like. If you have a good connector, it will essentially squish the insulator (dielectric) out of the way when you make the connection. I discovered this after shattering an old light bulb in a basement bathroom fixture. It had corroded into the socket, and I was trying to find ways to remove the corroded base without destroying the fixture. On the home-improvement forums, a few guys recommended putting dielectric grease on the bulb threads in environments like that, and I had the exact same reaction you did. Did my own research and experimentation, and I learned what others learned long ago -- you can (and sometimes should) use insulating grease (or in this case, spray) on electrical contacts. Now, a firm insulator, like heat-shrink tubing, or Plasti-Dip (same thing as "liquid electrical tape") will obviously NOT simply squish out of the way.

People use dielectric grease on car battery terminals too, to prevent that white corrosion from forming... but some also say you should only grease it AFTER the connection is made, because unlike a screw connection, car battery terminals aren't good at squishing grease out of the way when you tighten them down.
A bullet connector shouldn't have any problem. I know from experimentation and experience that screw connectors, as on light bulbs and flashlights have no trouble with an insulator (I use SuperLube synthetic grease, myself).
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Jusn on January 27, 2015
Oh, one other thing -- at first I thought, "Surely a conducting grease would be better!" You could still get the lubricating/protective properties without worrying about conductivity at all. Well, it turns out there is (or at least a few years ago, was) not a practical, effective conductive grease. None of them were very good conductors! Furthermore, you'd have to be VERY careful about applying them... that squishiness again. On a car battery terminal it's relatively easy to keep clean, but on a circuit board? Or a ribbon cable connector? You'd be shorting out EVERYTHING.
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KuManChu on December 29, 2014
This is now one of my favorite episodes. I shared it with friends at work and they were impressed as I was. I loved the heli-sub!!
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PropSpinner on December 30, 2014
Peter needs to make an underwater vehicle that flies. Maybe a flying sub.
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Dan-27 on January 3, 2015
Would this work on a flight controller? I'm using a kk multicopter board and have some concerns about spraying the LCD and covering the barometer. Thanks for the great tips and vids.
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dflash on January 16, 2015
Barometer on KK board? Where? -
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FliteGreg on January 18, 2015
This episode was amazing. Good job Pete putting all this together! It reminded me of some of David's best work (we miss the swede) and that is no small compliment. That demonstration with the flying submarine-helicopter was eye-opening. Now I need to find some CorrosionX in Canada!
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HilldaFlyer on January 23, 2015
What a great combination with waterproof foam core board! This is the most useful and informative article yet! - Way to go Flite Test! I'll be pre-treating all my electronics to protect them from accidental dunks.
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MOcchionero on February 6, 2015
Has anyone tried this on a barometer yet? I see the question posed but no direct answer.

I am a 4 month old noobie with a RC Eye One Xtreme Quadcopter (being modified to carry a Phoenix Flight Gear Frame shortly). This has a Barometer for altitude hold. I don't use this attribute much (at all), but being a flier in the Massachusetts (SNOW) I would like to have a little more electronics protection.

Please note i started out like you suggest with a toy - then i was hooked the Xtreme is my second step. Got it because it looked like the barrier to entry to have a quacopter (i hate the word and connotation DRONE), where i can turn off the stabilization. I will be doing this as soon as i have a stronger stiffer air-frame.

I have yet to get the nerve up to purchase a Versa. I want to make sure that all the components work correctly together, including the radio and such as a starter. I know the information is all here, but it is in many different places.

It would be nice if you could have a parts list for beginners for a "RTF Versa" including your recommendations for a radio (Spectrum DX6i) and such but as a build. My other complaint is that there is no "One Stop Shopping" source to buy all the components in ONE CLICK. That would be great for a noobie like me. I am like Josh - I am cheap - but when i purchase something I want it to be correct the first time.

By the way I love your videos (I am an Ohio Boy myself), love the camaraderie and everything about you guys. Keep up the good work and God Bless.

Peter - i love your insights and the things you try - you are one crazy dude.

Next time I get back home I will look you up.

Mark Occhionero (aka Floyd the Owl)
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MOcchionero on February 6, 2015
Also is the GoPro in the tank treated the same way? or is it in a case?
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zanthor on February 8, 2015
So I used CorrosionX on my quad, I hit every part before I shrink wrapped them, and hit the boards that were exposed before my test flight this weekend. After multiple crashes in the snow and slush and water and a little flying in the rain everything was running tip top except my PowerOSD which would lose vHold like an old TV. I used compressed air to blow the water off of it and it would behave again.

So my question is do I need to reapply the corrosion X and if so how often?
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Papajeff on February 11, 2015
Hey Peter, great article and video on waterproofing electronics! I love Josh's expressions of amazement as you dunk the electronics in the tub of water! Corrosion-X is not readily available im my area, but WD-40 "Specialist" Long-Term Corrosion Inhibitor is, so do you think that this product will work as well as the Corrosion-X?
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Crack the Sky on February 16, 2015
Because I frequently fly out in snowy conditions, I was inspired by this video and went out to buy corrosion x. It wasn't available so I bought a similar product: "Fluid Film". Tried it out on my OrangeRX Flight Stabilizer/receiver...which is now toast.
Thanks for the tip, he said sarcastically.
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bluetear000 on February 16, 2015
B'laster Aerosol Corrosion Stop wondering if this product will work like the corosion x
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ZEPHYRECAINE on February 20, 2015
Should this be used on metal gear servos?
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Crack the Sky on February 21, 2015
If it's good enough for plastic servos, it should work even better on metal gears.
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Grant9 on February 22, 2015
hello flite test guys !!! as another person was saying i live in a cold climate ....canada! and deal with a lot of snow and would love to know if this stuff is safe on a flight controller . i have a 250 quad with cc3d board and have purchased some corrosion x from my local hobby shop Great Hobbies but can find no definitive answers to this being safe. i dont really want to ruin the board by just spraying it on, if you could do a test or episode on waterproofing quad electrics that would be awesome !!!

keep up the good work !!! what you are doing helps so many people in so many apects of this great hobby !!!!

Grant Williams

EDMONTON ,AB
CANADA
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awesomebilities on April 9, 2015
You rock Peter, I miss the sweed but FT couldn't have found a better replacement.
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Pancho1 on June 3, 2015
Great video. Small correction, the WD in WD40 is not Water Dispersable, it is Water Displacing - meaning it keeps water away. Granted, it's effectiveness compared to what you use in the video is probably on the bottom of performance, but Peter said it will make stuff rust, when it will not, it will protect. If people think WD40 caused rusting, then they came to the wrong conclusion. More than likely, the WD40 probably didn't last long in their application and the rusting was a natural occurance of lack of protection. We use WD40 to protect our motorcycles in storage in San Felipe, Mexico as there is tremendous moist salty air from the Sea of Cortez. We've been keeping them down there for nearly 20 years, and rusting is not an issue when we spray everything down with WD40 when prepping them for storage. We have neighbors who almost ruin bikes in less than a year down there because they put their bikes in storage and didn't spray them with anything, come back a 6 months later and find their new toys are super rusty. We even ride the bikes in the ocean and definitely down the beaches with moist salty sand, and it works well. For our application, WD40 works great. We buy it by the case in Mexico, and it makes for really cheap protection - and we can apply liberally. I think this is the only use I have for WD40! Everything else, I tend to use silicone or higher quality CLP type lubricants.
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jskimer on June 13, 2015
Hey guys Awesome video! Seeing this stuff reminded me of a product that I've seen showcased a gun shows. It's is called Strike Hold. I've seen the Reps demonstrate this stuff by spraying it on cordless drills ( the whole Drill) the plug and extension cords. Placing everything in a tub of water and plugging it in. And it works! I've also seen them do the same with a light bulb and socket. I have used it on firearms it does well to clean and protect. I have cystic fibrosis and with that I have a high salt content in my sweat. For example when it comes to regular blued or browned firearms, due to the high salt in my sweat and oils I leave a rust shape finger or hand print after just one handle. However with the strike hold being used it protects it from the high salinity of my sweat. So I wonder how well would this stuff work for water proofing electronics? Also I can leave a link to amazon where you can find strike hold at the end of the comment.Thanks guys for awesome awesome videos you do. http://www.amazon.com/Strike-Hold-Metal-Conditioner-SHL8oz/dp/B0045KDWK6
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BirdMan9876 on June 17, 2015
What is that amazing looking plane in the background (Behind Josh) with a circle of futuristic lights in the middle?

-Thanks!
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gromitvt10 on August 21, 2015
Hi, what clear heat shrink are you using on the ESC? Where do you get it? Thanks

Kyle
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jonathan75 on September 1, 2015
How do people find corrosionx in terms of inhalation/irritation over time? I would like to waterproof certain electronic parts of my electric bike but it has to be stored near where I sleep in my apartment, and I'm worried about respiratory irritation. I'm quite sensitive to that and it can keep me awake, make me feel pretty bad - partly because of a nerve condition I have which amplifies existing pain/irritation. Thanks.
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Robofan on October 28, 2015
Is it possible to use these things to completely waterproof a 55lb RC plane for extended underwater testing?
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magic_marty on July 2, 2016
Has anybody tried Fluid Film for water proofing there electronics? It is readily available at Lowes and other hardware stores and the website states it is safe for electronics and is very popular in boating applications..
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FlyJDFly on December 14, 2016
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FlyJDFly on December 14, 2016
These methods look great. Invaluable list! I am curious how comparable makeshift solutions like this are to more commercial (and costly!) waterproofing options like this ( https://powerbyproxi.com/waterproof-connectors/ ) on the cabling side of things? i.e. would these sprays etc work for cabling and the like, or is it strictly electronics? Obviously there's a gulf in tech etc, but I wonder how reliable stuff like this is? I have soooo many projects on the go that would benefit from stuff like this. Just trying to weigh up my options. I'm guessing hobby or low-impact projects are great for these methods? If so, sign me up!
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