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Will flying at the beach cause damage from salt spray/mist?
2952 18 2015-9-14
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Kit Walker
lvl.4

Australia
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Not worried about any legal issues with various countries. And I'm sure sand will do damage.

I see images on the DJI website of drones at the beach, although I've seen a guy skiing with a remote in his back pack.., yet apparently (unverified) DJI says you must have remote in your hand at all times (for safety). So I'm not very trusting of the DJI advert images atm.

They may be hypocritical. (I.e. Advertise drone at beach. Manual says don't fly at beach. Voids warranty)

So, what do you think?
Have you flown at the beach?
Is there perhaps a way to figure out the height of the salt spray/mist.., and simply fly above it?

2015-9-14
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DJI-Tim
DJI team

Hong Kong
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Kit Walker,
it's not really possible, I used to fly in dusty place, over the sea, and i'm living in super humid city on a seaside... nothing happens...  it just keep flying perfect
2015-9-14
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Kit Walker
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Australia
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DJI-Tim Posted at 2015-9-15 16:27
Kit Walker,
it's not really possible, I used to fly in dusty place, over the sea, and i'm living in  ...

Did you ever fly at a beach? Where the waves create a very thick mist of sea water and salt.
2015-9-14
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DJI-Tim
DJI team

Hong Kong
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Kit Walker Posted at 2015-9-15 15:42
Did you ever fly at a beach? Where the waves create a very thick mist of sea water and salt.

ooh I got it,  no i haven't been ever flying above that big waves.  but i know just a small amount of water like a little rain, won't influence motors.
2015-9-14
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Phuglie
First Officer
Flight distance : 45226 ft
United Kingdom
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DJI-Tim Posted at 2015-9-15 08:49
ooh I got it,  no i haven't been ever flying above that big waves.  but i know just a small amount ...

Hi Tim, Are you saying that we can fly in the fog, mist, light rain?
2015-9-15
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Kit Walker
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Australia
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Phuglie Posted at 2015-9-15 18:03
Hi Tim, Are you saying that we can fly in the fog, mist, light rain?

I have a few vids flying through fog on my DJI page. Very scary, because you can't see anything. You have no line of sight, and sometimes no camera image to get your bearings.

Completely relied on the GPS and map when the camera view was pure white. But it's usually thin, and low so just fly above/below the thin cloud layer.
But yea, choose a remote place, with no other aircraft, or people below and have a try. Give it 2 mins, and check the camera for moisture, depending on fog thickness.
My P3 pro Has been fine since and was kinda fun.

Sprinkle/very light rain seemed ok too. Where you feel a drop here and there, every 10 seconds or so.
I've done a good 5 mins with no problems.
2015-9-15
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DJI-Tim
DJI team

Hong Kong
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Phuglie Posted at 2015-9-15 16:03
Hi Tim, Are you saying that we can fly in the fog, mist, light rain?

I wouldn't recommend you to fly in the fog cause you cant see it, but the humidity itself won't influence your flight so far
2015-9-15
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rehan2haque
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Flight distance : 84898 ft
United Kingdom
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didn't I read something about salt water causing damage over time? I'm sure it could be countered with care.
2015-9-15
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Kit Walker
lvl.4

Australia
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Some images of mist/spray from beaches
2015-9-15
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P3PO
lvl.4
Flight distance : 16083 ft
United States
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DJI-Tim Posted at 2015-9-15 05:23
I wouldn't recommend you to fly in the fog cause you cant see it, but the humidity itself won't in ...

I disagree with you second statement about humidity, Humidity (especially fog which is a very dense form of humidity) is water as well is mist wether fresh water or salt water. if you fly in it it will penetrate the bird and even though you may not notice anything now, corrosion will se tin unless DJI has seal coated the electronics. Are motor bearings sealed???Everyday normal humitity should be ok, what I am talking about is the thick fog type where when you fly in it and land your bird and it's dripping wet, not good. Just my opinion.
2015-9-15
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ag0n
Captain
Flight distance : 700846 ft
United States
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Flew in fog one time.  That was enough to keep me from doing it again.  Bird was soaking wet when it came down.  It was dripping.  As for sea fog, I would to a complete wipedown after flying anywhere near the beach.  I used to live near the ocean.  When fog rolled in, things were covered with it.  If you drove very close to the beach, salt would build up on the surface of the vehicle.  If you park on the beach, you build up a visible layer of salt that you can actually chip away.  I would worry about salt water conduction on the controller causing problems, and who knows what kind of long term wear and tear on the motors.  Fun but costly.
2015-9-15
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capbat
Second Officer
Flight distance : 52726 ft
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Canada
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Phuglie Posted at 2015-9-15 04:03
Hi Tim, Are you saying that we can fly in the fog, mist, light rain?

I would NOT recommend it.
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2015-9-15
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toddf.perkins
lvl.4

United States
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I would like to fly mine at the beach as well. I'm probably most worried about sand because it seems to just get on everything. I also worry about how to keep my batteries out of the heat. Probably have to put underneath some sort of shade.
2015-9-15
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Phuglie
First Officer
Flight distance : 45226 ft
United Kingdom
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Kit Walker Posted at 2015-9-15 10:35
Some images of mist/spray from beaches

I love the mystery of the second image.
2015-9-15
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LICENSED PILOT
First Officer
Flight distance : 644833 ft
United States
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rehan2haque Posted at 2015-9-15 17:25
didn't I read something about salt water causing damage over time? I'm sure it could be countered wi ...

You are right, common sense. Salt will eventually cause corrosion. If you regularly fly in a salty environment expect problems over years.
2015-9-15
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dji.blitzk
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United States
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LICENSED PILOT Posted at 2015-9-15 14:59
You are right, common sense. Salt will eventually cause corrosion. If you regularly fly in a salty ...

Absolutely!

Flying in a salt air environment will 100% for sure cause problems.  Maybe not today or tomorrow, but soon enough it will.  Salt air/spray corrodes like crazy and there is no real way to clean it off.

I live by the beach and still fly at the beach, but to say that it is completely without worry is irresponsible.
2015-9-15
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Kit Walker
lvl.4

Australia
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Thanks for all the great replies everyone.

P3PO asks a good question about coating over the Phantom's PCB's. Surely there would be some basic protection, and it might be informative to know for ourselves.

The Phantom's may have already been dipped or sprayed with a type of varnish, however this will maintain heat within the components longer, which will shorten their lifespan.
Apparently this is a big difference between commercial and industrial electronics.

Apart from that, you can purchase "conformal coating" in a can.., which just air dries over time and doesn't require a baking oven.
http://www.masterbond.com/indust ... m_campaign=bing_anz

Not sure how well it will work, and how much extra heat it will cause. But people with other electronic gadgets talk about fully sealing up the device, and adding internal cooling systems. But weight is our problem.

Other people recommend blowing the system out with compressed air. I'd assume you would want to watch the pressure around joints/connections however. The theory is based on dust particles accumulating inside, which attracts moisture and salt against the components. I guess it may help to dislodge dry salt.
2015-9-22
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Xazoola
lvl.1
United States
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This is a question more for the DJI team. That is the question of salt in air at the beach. The first thing I noticed was a thin white substance coating the leading edge of the propellers. I wondered what that was so I scraped it off and tasted it. It was salt! so, yeah my my main worry is when the fan is running it must suck that salt air into the Mavic. I also know, growing up in Florida, that when a Hurricane comes through and if your house gets hit, roof ripped off, all the electronics in the house are done. I used to repair video recorders and TV's for a living. I could tell right away if the device was exposed to salt. The copper traces on the circuit boards, and the solder joints would be corroded. Even the traces that had the green coating over the foil paths did not protect the board. I guess time will tell and if my Mavic fails I will look at the circuit boards , if they show signs of corrosion, lesson learned.
2017-9-27
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DB123
New

United States
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Just don't torment the fisherman!
I have a sad story to relate.   I was out on California's Capitola pier a few weeks ago, where a drone was buzzing the pier for half an hour.  A fisherman on the bench next to me was complaining to his buddy how annoying the drone was so he took a 50 foot (15 meter) cast upward and snagged the drone on the second try.  It fluttered a few seconds and then dived right into the ocean.   Almost immediately, the drone's operators appeared out of nowhere, and a fight ensued.  There were threats of "you're going to pay me $4000 for that drone!"   And, the bride-and-groom-to-be whose proposal surprise was ruined by the commotion were not happy campers.   The brother of the groom was a 300 pound bouncer guy, who I thought for sure was going to throw the fisherman over the edge.   The police needed to come to break it all up.   It's a miracle that the guy's fishing knife or gun didn't get introduced into the tangle.   

But suffice to say that by the time the $4000 drone was reeled in on the fishing line, you can be sure that the salt water had permanently corroded all of the metal parts.    So, my message to you is that if you're going to fly over idiots in a public beach/pier setting, do it at a height that avoids anything that can be thrown that will put your drone (or youself) in harm's way.   Be safe!
2018-3-12
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