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Mavic Air 2 water survival...
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K3v1n
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I have a mavic air 2 which crashed into a lake and was completely submerged in about 1 foot of water for approximately 7 minutes.  When I retrieved the unit from the lake the lights were still on.  I immediately removed the battery and let the unit / battery sit outside in the sun to dry.


After drying, I put the battery back on and powered the unit up, the DJI Fly app indicated Gyro failure (return for service) and IMU failure.  I "re-flashed" the firmware utilizing the DJI Assistant 2 and the Mavic air now appears to operate normally with no displayed errors.


I opened a service case prior to taking these steps.  I do have DJI Care.  


My question is if I send this unit in and it is functioning like it is now (no errors) is there anything more DJI service does to check this unit (i.e. for any water issues internally?) or will they just do a function check and if everything functions properly it will be sent back?


I'm a bit paranoid that the water may have done something that either isn't showing itself now or will affect something that will suddenly manifest itself in the future. I'm also paranoid about doing a range test with it to see if the radios were affected.  I am absolutely shocked it is working as well as it is after what it went through.


I plan on putting together a youtube to put some of the footage up and discuss what happened and how this was fixed on my own for the benefit of others....


Thanks







6-16 01:27
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DJI Mindy
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Hi K3v1n, sorry for the accident, for the water-damaged drone, its performance may be severely affected, and the aircraft will be beyond repair. So a replacement service is provided, instead of repair services, if the product is sent in.
I managed to get your case number, it seems you didn't apply the data analysis, if you believe the accident has nothing to do with pilot's operation, the data analysis could be applied, our team will help check what caused the crash and then provide the proper resolution.
6-16 03:27
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K3v1n
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DJI Mindy Posted at 6-16 03:27
Hi K3v1n, sorry for the accident, for the water-damaged drone, its performance may be severely affected, and the aircraft will be beyond repair. So a replacement service is provided, instead of repair services, if the product is sent in.
I managed to get your case number, it seems you didn't apply the data analysis, if you believe the accident has nothing to do with pilot's operation, the data analysis could be applied, our team will help check what caused the crash and then provide the proper resolution.

Pilot error (aside from the fact the rear sensors didn't seem to pick up the tree prior to impacting). So even though it seems to function fine you are recommending send it back in for replacement?  Will the battery also be replaced?  I read somewhere I shouldn't mail damaged batteries is that true?
6-16 03:46
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A J
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K3v1n Posted at 6-16 03:46
Pilot error (aside from the fact the rear sensors didn't seem to pick up the tree prior to impacting). So even though it seems to function fine you are recommending send it back in for replacement?  Will the battery also be replaced?  I read somewhere I shouldn't mail damaged batteries is that true?

Whatever you do never use that battery again and never dry out a battery directly in the sun. Whilst the drone may appear to be functioning now corrosion could have already started and you may be flying happily in a month or two only to watch the drone drop like a brick from altitude due to a critical error. The Mavic series are not waterproof drones - they can handle light showers so have a degree of resistance to water penetration but they are not designed to be flown in the rain and if fully submerged in water they should be returned and not flown again. Open a ticket and be guided on how the battery can be replaced and you will more than likely need to have it professionally disposed of - don't throw it in the bin whatever you do - these batteries can set on fire and even explode!
6-16 04:17
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Rustic17
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As a devil's advocate, if you send it back to DJI whether it's working well or not they will probably issue you a replacement and you pay the $69 replacement fee and you're down to one Care Refresh replacement left on the contract.  I would go do some heavy flying in a non-populated area for 20 flights or 5 hours of flight time...really wringing it out and trying all the modes/functions.  If after that you have no issues, I would feel the problem is resolved.  Worst case, the MA2 crashes and you're back to where you are now.  Best case is it's fine and you still have two replacements.  I had a Spark that fell into water very similar to your scenario.  I have gotten 150 flights on it since the dunking and have had no issues.  I even used the same battery.  All of this discussion is based on a fresh water dunking...a salt water dunking is a definite return to DJI.
6-16 08:33
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K3v1n
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Rustic17 Posted at 6-16 08:33
As a devil's advocate, if you send it back to DJI whether it's working well or not they will probably issue you a replacement and you pay the $69 replacement fee and you're down to one Care Refresh replacement left on the contract.  I would go do some heavy flying in a non-populated area for 20 flights or 5 hours of flight time...really wringing it out and trying all the modes/functions.  If after that you have no issues, I would feel the problem is resolved.  Worst case, the MA2 crashes and you're back to where you are now.  Best case is it's fine and you still have two replacements.  I had a Spark that fell into water very similar to your scenario.  I have gotten 150 flights on it since the dunking and have had no issues.  I even used the same battery.  All of this discussion is based on a fresh water dunking...a salt water dunking is a definite return to DJI.

How long ago did that occur? Was yours totally under water?
6-16 08:53
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Rustic17
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It happened in April of 2019 in Lake Garda, Italy in about 2 feet of water.  Like you I let it set...blew a hair dryer over it...rotated it around with obvious air vents down (like the fan vents and the air opening behind the gimbal).  I waited a day as I had a spare Spark with me.  And it flew great...got some good shots of Neuschwanstein Castle. Flew it just yesterday.  If you have any of those little dehumidifier packets that came with it, you can stick it in the box it came in with the packets.  I've heard of covering the MA2 in cloth and then submerging it in rice, but most of the experts say that doesn't do anything.  I feel that if anything bad is going to happen, it will happen sooner than later.  Doesn't corrosion stop when the metal is dry???  I live in Arizona so I don't worry about corrosion...this is where they store all the "real" aircraft!!!
6-16 09:00
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djiuser_qJ2Nel9tl9Gk
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Rustic17 Posted at 6-16 09:00
It happened in April of 2019 in Lake Garda, Italy in about 2 feet of water.  Like you I let it set...blew a hair dryer over it...rotated it around with obvious air vents down (like the fan vents and the air opening behind the gimbal).  I waited a day as I had a spare Spark with me.  And it flew great...got some good shots of Neuschwanstein Castle. Flew it just yesterday.  If you have any of those little dehumidifier packets that came with it, you can stick it in the box it came in with the packets.  I've heard of covering the MA2 in cloth and then submerging it in rice, but most of the experts say that doesn't do anything.  I feel that if anything bad is going to happen, it will happen sooner than later.  Doesn't corrosion stop when the metal is dry???  I live in Arizona so I don't worry about corrosion...this is where they store all the "real" aircraft!!!

Corrosion can continue for long after the drone has dried out if there are minerals in the water which have dried on the metal inside the drone.

The "right" thing to do, to prevent this, is to open the drone up and clean it off using isopropyl alcohol to flush out all the minerals and water, and then dry the alcohol off.

Of course, that's advice that would be commonly applied for something like a smartphone, which does not fly. A drone, since it flies, has additional risk -- if it suddenly fails while flying, it may cause property damage, injury or death.

I'd want to be very certain about something I was flying, but, each will have their own level of risk tolerance.
6-16 09:38
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ET214
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Return the drone. You paid for the Care refresh, get a new drone. That way you won't have to worry
6-16 09:41
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Dave In NH
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I had a similar issue with my Mavic Pro a couple years ago. I dropped it into a fresh water stream where it sat for about 5 minutes until I could recover it. I immediately removed the battery and set the drone into a box of crystal kitty litter (silica gel is a much better desiccant than rice). After 2 days, I put the battery back in and tried to start it up. Nothing happened, so I assumed the drone was dead. I sent the unit to DJI for repair (I hadn't purchased DJI Care because, you know, I'm so good that I'd never crash). They said they couldn't fix it, but they would send me a new drone for $799 (brand new, with controller and battery, the Mavic Pro was selling for $999). If I paid for the new drone, they would NOT send the crashed unit back, which was unacceptable, so I had them send the carcass back to me and I went to Best Buy and purchased a new Mavic Pro with controller and battery (bought DJI Care, too. Lesson learned). Just for laughs, when the drowned drone arrived from the DJI service facility, I threw in a new battery to see what would happen. It booted up as if it were brand new. I took it out and flew the hell out of it before I was sure everything was OK, but I've been flying it for 2 years with no issue. DJI didn't fix anything - the drone simply dried out and a new battery was all it took to get it running again. I have to hand it to DJI, they know how to make a good, robust drone!

I doubt DJI would do any additional checks or repairs to your drowned unit. They probably wouldn't even look at it too closely before tossing it into a pile and sending you a refurbished unit (DJI Care gives you a refurb, not a brand new unit).  The only advantage to keeping the drowned unit would be that you won't have the down time, waiting for DJI to get the refurb out to you. If the down time doesn't bother you, I'd probably go with the replacement, just so you'll never have to wonder about the water damage.
6-16 10:37
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Matthew Dobrski
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Only relatively simple, primitive by todays standards DJI Phantom 3 drones may survive short fresh water bath. Still, only skilled DIY person can attempt to completely disassembly the drone and remove all traces of moisture from critical parts. Bottom line: even if rescued aircraft is seemingly in fully working condition for now, it may fail later due to moisture still trapped inside. Risk not consideration worthy ...
6-16 10:56
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MisterFrag
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Even if nothing corrodes from the exposure to water, small amounts of water somewhere can cause shorts that will cause errors or even damage if too high a current from an adjacent circuit leaks to one designed for a lower voltage.

One thing to try it to displace and dilute the water by submerging the drone in alcohol. The alcohol will dry without leaving behind salts and other minerals, whereas the water will not.
6-16 12:37
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A J
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K3v1n Posted at 6-16 08:53
How long ago did that occur? Was yours totally under water?

Kevin - everyone on this forum will offer you advice and personal opinions with their best intention and often based on their own experience but nobody on here will be stood next to you in court if your drone falls out the sky and crashes into someones head, roof of their property or windscreen etc...

You have a legal responsibility as a drone operator to ensure that your aircraft is totally fit for purpose and that any risk of failure is minimised to the best of your knowledge. You now own a non waterproof drone that has been completely submerged in water and a number of experienced drone pilots, not to mention an official DJI Administrator on this thread have advised you to return it.

Keep it and take your chances but remember this is an aircraft and the risks don't just involve losing a drone. You have care refresh - is $69 worth not returning it? I for one need to feel 100% confidence in my drone - you never will with this one now - it will always be in the back your mind and if it does fall you are totally and utterly responsible and directly liable for any third party claim and if your registration number is on the drone as it should be then they will find you!
6-16 15:09
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Mr. Motta
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A J Posted at 6-16 15:09
Kevin - everyone on this forum will offer you advice and personal opinions with their best intention and often based on their own experience but nobody on here will be stood next to you in court if your drone falls out the sky and crashes into someones head, roof of their property or windscreen etc...

You have a legal responsibility as a drone operator to ensure that your aircraft is totally fit for purpose and that any risk of failure is minimised to the best of your knowledge. You now own a non waterproof drone that has been completely submerged in water and a number of experienced drone pilots, not to mention an official DJI Administrator on this thread have advised you to return it.

We have to pay an additional  69 dollars on top of the the "refresh" cost?
6-16 18:30
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GaryDoug
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Any perfectly operating new drone can fall on somebody's head. It just takes one wayward bird to do it. If your drone is apparently working perfectly, it is probably safer than 10% of the new ones, judging by the many complaints.
6-16 18:59
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GaryDoug
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MisterFrag Posted at 6-16 12:37
Even if nothing corrodes from the exposure to water, small amounts of water somewhere can cause shorts that will cause errors or even damage if too high a current from an adjacent circuit leaks to one designed for a lower voltage.

One thing to try it to displace and dilute the water by submerging the drone in alcohol. The alcohol will dry without leaving behind salts and other minerals, whereas the water will not.

OK, but..... that alcohol can do some damage by itself in dissolving some adhesives. If you are concerned about deposits, use distilled water. Most grocery stores sell a gallon for about $1 or less.

Also, cleaning alcohol is very conductive but distilled water is not. We almost never used alcohol to clean the circuit board assemblies in our manufacturing factory, only water.

6-16 19:09
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MisterFrag
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Even distilled water will be conductive as soon as it is contaminated.

I have a can of electronic circuit board cleaner sitting here at home. Guess what’s in the can? 99.9% isopropyl alcohol.

Fair point about adhesives, though I haven’t seen any in the iFixIt video. The thermal compound would need to be replaced though since the alcohol would dissolve the grease used in most of those products.
6-16 20:06
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K3v1n
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So this raises a question... what does DJI do with a unit like this when they get it back? Do they refurbish and use to replace future DJI care claims or just trash it?  When DJI replaces a drone are you for sure getting a brand new drone with never used internals or a refurb?
6-16 20:11
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A J
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It is about omitting risk and flying a drone with water contamination is not safe - period!
6-16 22:24
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A J
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K3v1n Posted at 6-16 20:11
So this raises a question... what does DJI do with a unit like this when they get it back? Do they refurbish and use to replace future DJI care claims or just trash it?  When DJI replaces a drone are you for sure getting a brand new drone with never used internals or a refurb?

They send you one that has been previously returned and fully restored and quality control checked. Yours will probably be stripped down and used as spare parts. That way you wont have to wait as long for the replacement. I don't believe DJI even attempt to repair drones that have been submerged in water which says it all on how much of risk it is to keep flying it.

The only time they will send you a brand new replacement is on a rare DOA claim i.e. the drone was already broke when it was shipped to you due to poor quality control and you make the claim under warranty within the first 14 days of receiving it having never flown it.
6-16 22:27
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A J
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K3v1n Posted at 6-16 20:11
So this raises a question... what does DJI do with a unit like this when they get it back? Do they refurbish and use to replace future DJI care claims or just trash it?  When DJI replaces a drone are you for sure getting a brand new drone with never used internals or a refurb?

**Double post**
6-16 22:27
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A J
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-16 18:30
We have to pay an additional  69 dollars on top of the the "refresh" cost?

It’s called an excess. Care refresh is essentially an accidental damage insurance policy so when you claim you make a contribution toward it the same as when you claim on a car or home insurance policy. I believe it is $99 on the second claim but still better than paying $799 for a new one.
6-16 22:35
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GaryDoug
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MisterFrag Posted at 6-16 20:06
Even distilled water will be conductive as soon as it is contaminated.

I have a can of electronic circuit board cleaner sitting here at home. Guess what’s in the can? 99.9% isopropyl alcohol.

Yes, you can use alcohol for minimal repair cleaning. But it is not recommended for thorough washing or pretty much any surface mount technologies. I worked as an engineer in a factory that produced about 1 million printed circuit board assemblies each year. Alcohol was never used except when a high strength industrial flux was involved, usually for soldered connections to a steel chassis. Normally we used water with a forced hot air drying station afterwards.

I personally use alcohol too except for fine work. I use the MG Chemicals 99.9% stuff. If you don't think it is very conductive just stick a couple of meter leads in it and see.
6-17 18:44
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Mr. Motta
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A J Posted at 6-16 22:35
It’s called an excess. Care refresh is essentially an accidental damage insurance policy so when you claim you make a contribution toward it the same as when you claim on a car or home insurance policy. I believe it is $99 on the second claim but still better than paying $799 for a new one.

I was under the impression that the Refresh payment covered all accidental damage for a year. Now I know.
6-17 19:10
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GaryDoug
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-17 19:10
I was under the impression that the Refresh payment covered all accidental damage for a year. Now I know.

Yep, there is a "penalty" for actually using it ;-)
6-17 19:55
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DJI Mindy
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K3v1n Posted at 6-16 03:46
Pilot error (aside from the fact the rear sensors didn't seem to pick up the tree prior to impacting). So even though it seems to function fine you are recommending send it back in for replacement?  Will the battery also be replaced?  I read somewhere I shouldn't mail damaged batteries is that true?

The aircraft is consists of a large quantity of sensitive electrical components and after it water-damaged, electrical components may be corroded, thus affecting its overall stability and security. Therefore, we advise that water damaged units are ineligible for repair service but the replacement.
When sending back the drone, our repair center will evaluate the drone, if the waterproof labels inside of the drone are red, which indicates the drone was water-damaged and you will be advised to replace the drone. DJI Care Refresh would be a better choice.
It is not recommended to send back the damaged battery, but please send pictures of the damage to our support if you would like to use the DJI Care Refresh service.
6-18 00:15
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K3v1n
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DJI Mindy Posted at 6-18 00:15
The aircraft is consists of a large quantity of sensitive electrical components and after it water-damaged, electrical components may be corroded, thus affecting its overall stability and security. Therefore, we advise that water damaged units are ineligible for repair service but the replacement.
When sending back the drone, our repair center will evaluate the drone, if the waterproof labels inside of the drone are red, which indicates the drone was water-damaged and you will be advised to replace the drone. DJI Care Refresh would be a better choice.
It is not recommended to send back the damaged battery, but please send pictures of the damage to our support if you would like to use the DJI Care Refresh service.

pictures won't show anything.. the battery was submerged in water.  You don't recommend using the battery still do you?
6-18 00:30
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A J
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-17 19:10
I was under the impression that the Refresh payment covered all accidental damage for a year. Now I know.

It does but you have to contribute toward the claim and it also does not cover total loss so if the drone is not recovered and unable to be sent back then thats a total loss and not covered i.e. if it lands in the sea never to be seen again.
6-18 01:10
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Mr. Motta
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DJI Mindy Posted at 6-18 00:15
The aircraft is consists of a large quantity of sensitive electrical components and after it water-damaged, electrical components may be corroded, thus affecting its overall stability and security. Therefore, we advise that water damaged units are ineligible for repair service but the replacement.
When sending back the drone, our repair center will evaluate the drone, if the waterproof labels inside of the drone are red, which indicates the drone was water-damaged and you will be advised to replace the drone. DJI Care Refresh would be a better choice.
It is not recommended to send back the damaged battery, but please send pictures of the damage to our support if you would like to use the DJI Care Refresh service.

Lets say that I am flying over a lake. The drone falls from the sky and I cannot recover it. Whats happens?
6-18 18:56
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GaryDoug
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-18 18:56
Lets say that I am flying over a lake. The drone falls from the sky and I cannot recover it. Whats happens?

Nothing happens. It is lost and the insurance won't cover it. That is why I am still searching for a survival floation/recovery technique that works.
6-18 19:01
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Mr. Motta
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GaryDoug Posted at 6-18 19:01
Nothing happens. It is lost and the insurance won't cover it. That is why I am still searching for a survival floation/recovery technique that works.

Well the the Refresh was a waste of money then...
6-18 19:16
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GaryDoug
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-18 19:16
Well the the Refresh was a waste of money then...

Well, In some circumstances maybe. But that is only if you cannot return it to them. Otherwise you could just claim to have lost it into a lake and they would have to replace it and then you have two drones at their expense. The term "Refresh" strongly suggests they take your damaged one and make it like new again, one way or another.
6-18 19:33
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Rustic17
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-18 19:16
Well the the Refresh was a waste of money then...

Losing your drone in water is only one of many ways to destroy your drone...and in my case I was able to wade out and get it.  Most other issues like trees, buildings, boulders, and ground contact you will have drone remains to return and get your replacement after paying $69 the first time and $99 the second.  It does pay to read the coverage before purchasing...the short promo they show even mentions a small fee for replacement drone.
6-18 20:42
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ET214
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-17 19:10
I was under the impression that the Refresh payment covered all accidental damage for a year. Now I know.

yes but just like car insurance there is a  smalll deductible...

6-20 10:29
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ET214
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Mr. Motta Posted at 6-18 19:16
Well the the Refresh was a waste of money then...

you can always get personal property insurance. State Farm offers a good one for a drone, but even then there is a deductible.
6-20 10:31
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MavGuido
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DJI says, don´t fly over water.
I never fly over water, even not for money.
6-20 10:58
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K3v1n
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MavGuido Posted at 6-20 10:58
DJI says, don´t fly over water.
I never fly over water, even not for money.

Where does DJI say that?  Their own promo video has them flying over water.
6-20 18:39
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GaryDoug
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See this interesting topic about this: https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... p;extra=#pid2193406
6-20 19:17
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David Martin Graff
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Sorry about the accident and it would be interesting to see the video footage.
6-20 21:11
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K3v1n
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David Martin Graff Posted at 6-20 21:11
Sorry about the accident and it would be interesting to see the video footage.

Yeah... I’m working on putting something together.
6-21 00:49
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