Maintenance Question for Gulf Coast Pilots

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Anybody who has spent time along the Gulf coast during the summer knows very well how hot and humid the air is. And sooner or later they figure out the air carries salt. Just go out late in the evening or early in the morning when the dew has set and check how salty the water is on your car - or look at what’s left on your car when the dew evaporates.

In December I had two pilots from Cozumel bring in drones they had flown around the beach taking tourist pics. Both drones were purchased new, never crashed or repaired (screws had DJI plugs intact), and suddenly malfunctioned after 6 months. When opened up I found corrosion had gone to work on the circuit boards and efforts to clean them up were futile. Bummer.

So what preventive maintenance steps do pilots use that fly near the Gulf coast? Hose everything down with 100% Isopropyl Alcohol spray?

Thanks for your input!
 
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ianzone

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Anybody who has spent time along the Gulf coast during the summer knows very well how hot and humid the air is. And sooner or later they figure out the air carries salt. Just go out late in the evening or early in the morning when the dew has set and check how salty the water is on your car - or look at what’s left on your car when the dew evaporates.

In December I had two pilots from Cozumel bring in drones they had flown around the beach taking tourist pics. Both drones were purchased new, never crashed or repaired (screws had DJI plugs intact), and suddenly malfunctioned after 6 months. When opened up I found corrosion had gone to work on the circuit boards and efforts to clean them up were futile. Bummer.

So what preventive maintenance steps do pilots use that fly near the Gulf coast? Hose everything down with 100% Isopropyl Alcohol spray?

Thanks for your input!
Yeh I'm getting to that stage with a fairly new p4 just from flying our coast and out over water,,screws on back of my camera are going rusty,I hate to think what's on the inside,I might use one called WD40 or mayby a silicon spray to help repel any salts and just looking that time be very soon or I wont be able to undo a screw cause its getting bad
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dronesky

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Yeh I'm getting to that stage with a fairly new p4 just from flying our coast and out over water,,screws on back of my camera are going rusty,I hate to think what's on the inside,I might use one called WD40 or mayby a silicon spray to help repel any salts and just looking that time be very soon or I wont be able to undo a screw cause its getting bad View attachment 116956
Ian you might want to replace those screws before they get any worse if you can find any around still wont help if any moisture is getting inside
 

ianzone

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Ian you might want to replace those screws before they get any worse if you can find any around still wont help if any moisture is getting inside
Yes agree the whole thing needs good clean after further inspection, I got grit and dirt in everywhere,its been busy lately ,the coast is hard wearing on these all the dirt and salts in the air..lucky I have dead p4 I can get some off
 
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Anybody who has spent time along the Gulf coast during the summer knows very well how hot and humid the air is. And sooner or later they figure out the air carries salt. Just go out late in the evening or early in the morning when the dew has set and check how salty the water is on your car - or look at what’s left on your car when the dew evaporates.

In December I had two pilots from Cozumel bring in drones they had flown around the beach taking tourist pics. Both drones were purchased new, never crashed or repaired (screws had DJI plugs intact), and suddenly malfunctioned after 6 months. When opened up I found corrosion had gone to work on the circuit boards and efforts to clean them up were futile. Bummer.

So what preventive maintenance steps do pilots use that fly near the Gulf coast? Hose everything down with 100% Isopropyl Alcohol spray?

Thanks for your input!
WD-40 then give it a canned air bath??? 🤷🏼‍♂️IDK 🤷🏼‍♂️ would Love to hear from DJI .......
 
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As much as I like to use WD40 (Men’s Cologne) around the shop, I hesitate to use it around electronics. It has a tendency to retain dust and particulates on surface areas. Perhaps flushing it off with 100% IPA would solve that problem, but that starts sounding like an irrigation project in a drone.

Anybody else?
 

dronesky

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As much as I like to use WD40 (Men’s Cologne) around the shop, I hesitate to use it around electronics. It has a tendency to retain dust and particulates on surface areas. Perhaps flushing it off with 100% IPA would solve that problem, but that starts sounding like an irrigation project in a drone.

Anybody else?
I agree wouldn't want to use it in any electronics
 
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I have had boats in saltwater since 1952. From the early 60s they have had vhf radios, depthfinders and other electronics as time went on. When my first vhf radio "died", I took it apart and saw the fine salt crust on the circuit board and transistors. Ever since then I have opened up any new electronics, and sprayed/misted the guts with a light coat of electronic displacement aerosol (like CRC) before I bring it aboard. It has worked well for me, and extends the lifetime of the instrument a lot. I did the same with my Phantom 3 when I got it 4 years ago, and the insides looked pretty good when I opened it up last month. Just an observation, from an old salt who flies his quad over Long Island Sound much of the time.
 
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Ever since then I have opened up any new electronics, and sprayed/misted the guts with a light coat of electronic displacement aerosol (like CRC) before I bring it aboard. It has worked well for me, and extends the lifetime of the instrument a lot. I did the same with my Phantom 3 when I got it 4 years ago, and the insides looked pretty good when I opened it up last month. Just an observation, from an old salt who flies his quad over Long Island Sound much of the time.

DUUUUUUUUUUUUDE: Helluva comeback.....exactly what I was hoping for. Can you fill in the blank and tell us which CRC product you use? I’m familiar with Caig’s DeoxIT D5 series, CRC’s QD, and CG’s De-Ox-Id, none of which convinces me they’re intended to protect electronics from the corrosive effects of salt air.

A ham radio buddy uses this stuff on his fresh water boat. NOT a salt water environment but sure looks interesting:

CorrosionX
 
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CorrosionX is what you've been looking for, I'm surprised no one in this thread mentioned it before you found it... it leaves a thin protective layer on circuit boards and electronic connections. Deoxit D5 does leave a thin layer of dielectric 'lubricant' behind, but it's not designed for your use case.
 
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I'm born and raised on salt water and Louisiana Gulf. I always remove screws from new electronics that I purchase and replace with stainless steel. This is absolutely necessary. Then, if the case is removeable, as they are on the DJI birds, I have always removed the cases, sprayed (very lightly)with the above noted spray, then I take a next step:
BEFORE---I put the case/covers back together, I very lightly coat the seams with silicone gel with Q-tip. Don't put much, but just enough to make a light seal. Don't worry, you will be able to separate the shells when needed. This gives an added protection that lasts up to a year or so. If flying near salt air constantly, remove the shells every three months, check electronics then reseal.
Safe Flying.
 
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What has the wet suit org to say about this. Being water protective should be the same for the salt.
 

ianzone

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Are these screws zinc plated or are they stainless?
If you do replace the screws, try to find 316ss as it is more resistant to corrosion than 304ss.
I do have some other from another p4...all phantom screws look chrome plated and are highly magnetic not stainless,,presume it keeps the cost of production down
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Capt KO

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I do have some other from another p4...all phantom screws look chrome plated and are highly magnetic not stainless,,presume it keeps the cost of production down View attachment 116959
They are stainless but a low grade with lots of carbon and not a lot of nickel. Even my stainless fishing knives are magnetic. I also replaced the camera screws but the insides were fine. At least you got the wetsuits.
 
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Are these screws zinc plated or are they stainless?
They are cheap, Chinese stainless. (less chromium). A salt air environment is hard on delicate electronics. Haagar13 is spot on. I worked in the marine industry for 30 years and learned how to defend equipment from the harsh salt water elements. Many years ago I took my Yamaha 250 Enduro to the beach for a "play day". After I got it home I had mild rust stains on EVERYTHING, plastic and all.

When I check out a camera to purchase on eBay, I do NOT even consider water damaged units, no matter how cheap they might be. It just ain't worth it.
 
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