Fished out my P3 from the flood. Need some advice.

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Well the great flood of the Kankakee River got my drone. Short story is that I took it up in some unfavorable weather to get some footage and paid the price.. Didn’t have enough battery to get back and she landed in a corn field that was flooded. About two feet of water..

Took down the last know GPS coordinates and waited for the water to recede enough to go looking for it. That took about two weeks.

Using the IPhone and the coordinates the sucker was sitting in the mud right where the GPS said it would be. Pulled it from the mud and took it home. Pulled the battery out.. Needless to say there is mud in the battery compartment..

Need some advice on how to approach cleaning this thing up and trying out..

My plan was to disassemble the housing and let it air dry. It’s not soaked anymore, but I want to make sure that it’s dry before going on with anything else. I want to blow it out with canned air after it dries and start cleaning any debris from it.

Don’t want to put any power to it until I got cleaned and dry..
Any suggestions would be helpful. I have have one apart before to change a ESC board before so I am familiar with disassembly of the craft.

Just checking for any help from people that have had this happen to them.

Thanks for and advice and help in advance..

Mike
 
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My experience pales in comparison to what you've gone through but, yes, mine went for a short swim in a freshwater lake last summer. The good news (if I can call it that) is that your drone was in fresh water versus salt water, so that improves your odds of it surviving. I fished mine out of the water after a couple of minutes. I pulled the battery out immediately, took the drone inside, gently shook out as much water as I could, then used canned air to blow out any remaining water that I could. I put large silica gel packs in the battery bay, then let it dry out for a week sitting next to a dehumidifier. At no time did I power up the drone until the end of the week. The good news is, my P3S survived and performs as good as new. Unfortunately, the battery did not survive. It never swelled but it would not accept a charge. I suspect the water shorted out the internals, so I set it aside to monitor it periodically. It eventually passed away quietly. A small price to pay for having my drone flying again. Some people recommend placing the drone in rice to absorb the water, but then you've gotta get the rice out of the drone. Others in this forum can probably add some advice. You've had one apart before, so that's a plus. Still, you've got a much bigger job ahead of you than I did, so good luck.
 
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Well a little bit of my background....
I am an Electrical, Process Control, and Instrumentation Supervisor at a very large steel mill. Been doing that line of work for 39 years. Hopefully all the experience along with the added insight of others here on this forum I will be able to resurrect this old bird back to what she once was.

Tomorrow I will begin the task of taking her apart.
I will take pictures of the whole thing as I go along. This way if anyone sees something I may have missed they can shout it out. My eyes are not what they used be when I was younger. So this will be a slow process for me..

But I can see already that the folks in this forum are will info to help. Just like they always do.
This is why I brought this to the forum. This could end up being a learning experience for us all.

I will post some pictures tomorrow of the bird as I found her and with the battery pulled out.
She has a lot of mud....

Thanks guys for your input.

Mike
 
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This is where she landed.

IMG_0601.jpg


This is what I saw when I came up on her. She was 1900 feet away from the location I took off from. She landed perfectly.

IMG_0598.jpg


This is what she looked like when I got her home. Props and guards removed.

IMG_0602.jpg
 
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The battery had swelled a little bit. It was tough getting it out of the bird. This is what the battery compartment looks like after I pulled the battery out. Mud.
IMG_0604.jpg


IMG_0605.jpg
 
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This is the front of the bird. Camera don’t look too good..

IMG_0607.jpg



IMG_0606.jpg
 
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I was gonna suggest a car wash, but never mind. You've definitely got your work cut out for you. I hope you're able to get it cleaned up and flying again.
 
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Hardest part will be getting the mud out from the inside as it will be dried onto everything on the motherboard. Not sure if using warm water to soften the mud will help or make it worse. Hopefully someone with experience will chime in
 
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Toothbrush and a isopropyl alchohol as clean as you can get. Rip it in pieces and brush and flush again and again.

I recovered a mavic from few hours dive into salt water. (I had to wait to go and pick it up until the sea level had gone lower) I almost did not try to save it because I thought it was beyond repair because of salt. But the bastard are still flying now almost a year later.
 
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I am an electronics engineer for over 40 years now. Many PC Boards are coated in a lacquer type finish to help protect from condensation. Alcohol is also a solvent, which is both good and bad as it may end up deteriorating seals and in some cases components. I would recommend first washing the craft in distilled water to remove the heavy dirt and other substances. It was already soaking in water so no harm in cleaning with pure water. Don’t use tap water as the minerals in it can dry and become conductive. Take the unit apart and clean with a stiff brush, being careful not to bend or disturb any components. Allow the unit to dry while disassembled for at least a week. Taking pictures of the disassembly can assist in reassembly too. After the unit has completely dried, you will probably still see impurities left by the dried water showing as colored spots on the PC boards. This is where a light solvent like alcohol comes in. Clean all boards with solvent (sparingly) and allow to dry completely. Reassemble the unit and apply power, being ready to pull the battery if you see or smell smoke. You should be able to get it working this way as I’ve read others have tried to drown their drone and a drying period restored operations. I’ve not had the privilege yet but I’m sure it’s coming. Best of luck, take your time and don’t have any parts left over .
 
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Having resurrected some pretty sensitive electronic equipment that has been soaked or sunk in the past, and being asked to do it again and again from friends and relatives that know I can do it with a high degree of success, I can tell you that most of what everyone is saying on this thread is correct. The trick is to disassemble the bird right down to the very last screw. Even if the screw is holding together two pieces of plastic, you don’t know what kind of moisture is at the bottom of that screw hole. Using isopropyl alcohol to wash equipment may seem like a good idea, but it can become quite expensive. Distilled water works just as good, and it costs about 1/4 of the price. You probably aren’t going to be able to save the battery. But if nothing has shorted out, and you do a good enough job washing it, you could probably resurrect the bird in its entirely. Once you have thoroughly washed every millimeter of the bird, it must be dried thoroughly. Using canned airmight be good for a start, but you won’t be able to get into every single crevice. I have tried using the rice in a bag trick, and it does work. But there are better methods of drying the bird out. One method I like to use is placing the bird in an oven. Of course, the oven can’t have even as much as a pilot lit. Place in the oven a big jar of chem-dry or something of that will remove all moisture from the inside of the oven. Then leave it there. The longer the better. Two or three days and you’re risking shorting the bird out when you put a new battery. Every time I need to wash electronics, I leave it in the oven for at least a week with the chem-dry in there. Any container that it’s big enough for the bird and a can of the Chem-Dry will probably work just as well too. I like using the oven because it is convenient for me. Just be sure that no one lights the oven while your bird is in there!
 
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After my inspection of the craft this evening, I noticed that the "mud" is not quite mud at all. The farm fields out by me are very sandy and river brought up alot of silt. touching the mud after it has had time to dry a bit I found that it is very easy to remove.

So, I am going to let her set until Friday. I will break out my horsehair brush I have for cleaning dirt and the such from electronics at work. That should remove the bulk of the mess as I take it apart. Canned air should also work well with this stuff. The least amount of "liquids" would be most beneficial. I know I will have to use something at some point.

My biggest concern is if any water has penetrated any of the components like the IMU or GPS modules. Personally I think the camera will end up being a piece of **** because I am sure water got into it through the vent holes. I'm still going to try it anyway.

The battery did expand and was a ***** to remove so I am just going to toss it. I'm afraid to try and charge it. LOL

Disassembly will begin on Friday. Got my jewelers glasses ready to go.
I will take pictures of it as I take it apart and post. I have watched a bunch of different videos to refresh my memory on how to take the case apart. It's been a couple of years since I last did it. I had to replace the ESC Board and one motor on my sons bird.

I have quite a few spare parts if needed. I know I definitely have four new motors if I need them. Although the motors turn pretty free and may still be good. Don't know if I want to take a chance with them if this thing fires back up. I might just change them if it works.
We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for all the replies. The help you guys have given most appreciated.

Mike
 
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Just a question , where did you get the gps information to find it ?
I took a screen shot of the tablet when i lost connection after it went down. At the bottom it gave me the Log and Lat of the birds last know position. Litchi uses the decimal version of longitude and latitude.
Put those numbers into google maps and looked at where it said it was.
Since my iphone compass used the minutes/seconds version of longitude and latitude I had to use google to convert the decimal into minutes/seconds.

Then i went back to where i was flying and based on the google picture and the compass I started walking to the area. Once the compass agreed with the numbers got from google, I started to look around, and not 20 feet from where i was standing the bird was setting upright in the mud.

It was right where it said it was. It was almost too easy. The farmer probably thought I was nuts walking out there in the mud.

Here is a picture of the screen shot I took after I lost connection. Notice the LON and LAT at the bottom.
bird.jpg
 
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OK
Started to disassemble the bird today. She is totally stripped down to nothing.
Started with the gimble and landing gear.
IMG_0613.JPG
IMG_0617.JPG
 
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