Lost control of my Quad a couple months ago and it landed in a nearby pond, me and my kid(pictured) spent like 20 minutes in a cold 4 ft deep body of water looking for it. I really thought that I had lost everything. We finally found it and it was still beeping, we pulled off the battery plug immediately and just could not believe how in the world this happened. Anyways, got home and placed all the electronics in a container full of rice to suck the humidity off, after a few days we decided to turn the power on and see what kind of damage had occurred, to our surprise the only thing we had lost was 2 ESCs..(very lucky)..  

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3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on April 15, 2012 at 7:17pm

Congrats! If it's fresh water (not salt) it usually will do little damage to electronics if you can rinse it and dry it well afterwards. Salt water is another matter, however -- it kills electronics dead. 

Comment by Ellison Chan on April 15, 2012 at 7:21pm

I think they proved it on Mythbusters that low voltage, like 12V, does not short in fresh water.  I think the ESCs have high voltage.

Comment by Luiz Miranda on April 15, 2012 at 7:27pm

I really thought that water was a number one enemy of any electric stuff, learned one more (not so bad for low voltage) ...

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 15, 2012 at 7:36pm

Yep.  Same thing with cars.  Usually soon as a car gets submerged/flooded, it's an insurance write-off.  Most people think that the electronics are destroyed.

Couple years ago I got my Land Rover a little bit stuck...

The transmission computer and radio amplifier were submerged.  After getting the truck out, I immediately removed them, and dried them out.  Then cleaned them with some electronics cleaner.  No problem, they still work to this day.

I think the reason cars are normally a write-off is because nobody touches them for a few days.  They sit around behind some garage somewhere for at least a week before anybody touches them, they don't even disconnect the battery.  It's stupid really.

Comment by Guy Van Rentergem on April 15, 2012 at 11:26pm

My quad dived in a mountain river this week. 30 cm of fast streaming water. Some of the props where still spinning giving an aquatic spectacle. After disconnecting the battery, drying with a towel and some sun bathing it flew again as before. Though beasty :-)

Comment by Ellison Chan on April 16, 2012 at 8:33am

Robert, "off-road" doesn't mean, "under water".  Didn't someone walk that trail before letting people drive it or was it an adhoc thing?

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on April 16, 2012 at 10:19am

There are schools where you pay to learn to drive in those conditions.

Even today there are places in Haiti, called 'roads', that can look like that in the rainy season. It is really odd to hear water sloshing against the bottom of a Toyota 4WD.

What is hilarious is that the drivers there don't even use 4WD unless they are going *up* a river bank. Otherwise they just stay 2WD and keep moving.

We never got quite that deep though there was water seeping under the door.

I am glad I was a passenger... well that is after I got over my motion sickness. =(


Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 16, 2012 at 11:28am

@Ellison, this was an organized trail run, and it had already been driven by the organizers and I was told it was fine.  I even drove it the year before without issue, but conditions changed.  That event cost me my transmission.  And that's the sort of irony of the situation, is most people talk about new vehicles with all their electronics, and how unreliable electronics are and things were better in the good old-days when everything was mechanical.  The electonics were fine!  But the trans failed mechanically.  And I have to constantly tow old mechanical trucks.  I didn't even have to get towed here.  Drove home on my own, I was just stuck in 3rd gear.

It's an unfortunate fact that you can't go anywhere off-road in Ontario without going in water.  I've actually restricted my trail runs because the trails are just getting more and more chewed up by ATV's and monster Jeeps.

Comment by Cliff-E on April 16, 2012 at 11:42am

We had a hexa (not APM) fall into fresh water for about 20-30min, 12ft. Had it sprayed with conformal silicon. Survived fine aside from the crud on the silicon. Blew a couple of on-board ESC fuses, but the flight computer, GPS and nav hardware all powered up and was able to read the firmware. Motors still work fine too.

Put it in a sealed box of rice or silica. for 2-3 days. We choose the silica route.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 16, 2012 at 11:57am

Yeah, one of my IT guys hoards every silica packet he can get his hands on for the inevitable day when he drops his iPhone in the toilet.

I just avoid using mine in the bathroom. ;)


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