The DJI Air 2S is my favorite drone. Very small, extremely rugged, easy to fly, super maneuverable, and it takes awesome video. Even though it’s rugged I treat the drone with kid gloves – I never fly in the rain. But I got to thinking, which is always dangerous, can this drone fly in the rain? After some research, I found the answer was mostly yes if you take precautions.
The DJI Air 2S is neither water-resistant nor waterproof. If water gets inside the drone it can cause serious short-term and long-term damage to the internal electronics. Water creates short circuits in the internal electronic control circuitry causing short-term loss of control and long-term corrosion damage. Batteries can short-circuit and create a fire hazard. However, you can decrease your risk by taking some precautions.
The DJI Air 2S is a great drone for both beginner and experienced users alike however, it does have limitations when it comes to water.
I usually give my personal experiences. However, there’s no way I’m flying one of our Air 2S drones in the rain, so you’ll have to rely on the research.
What Is Water Resistance vs Waterproof
We will assume in this article that you do not want a drone that operates underwater, so we’ll focus on water-resistant drones. See our article on waterproof drones to find the best underwater drones on the market for your needs.
Water resistance means that the drone can withstand some exposure to water, but it is not designed to be submerged. Waterproof drones are built to be used in wet conditions or underwater.
What Are The Different Levels of Water Resistance?
Water resistance is indicated by an ingress protection (IP) rating. The IP rating of a product indicates its level of resistance to ingress by solid objects and water. When deciding whether or not to fly your drone in the rain, it’s important to keep your drone’s IP rating in mind.
How Does IP Rating Work?
An IP rating, or Ingress Protection rating, is technically used to specify the environmental protection of enclosures around electronic equipment. The ratings are determined by specific tests that measure the ability of a device to resist water and dust intrusion.
The first number in an IP code (e.g., IP23) refers to the level of protection against solid objects, such as dust. The second number (e.g., IP23) refers to the level of protection against water. Here are the different levels of protection:
Why Fly In The Rain?
Besides getting caught in a sudden rainstorm, why would you ever fly your drone in the rain?
Drones like the Air 2S can help first responders during weather emergencies, and they are sometimes used by law enforcement. In these cases, your drone may need to fly in bad weather whether it’s rain or high winds.
Flying in rain may allow you to get some unique images or videos that would not be possible in fair weather. for example, if you are taking location photos in all four seasons, you may want to fly in the rain or snow to show seasonality.
These are two scenarios where flying in the rain would make sense.
How Does Water Get Into The Drone
Generally, water needs to get inside the drone frame to do any damage. There are several ways water can get into a drone. Drones rely on air intakes to cool internal components, this is the most common path for water to get inside. Water can also enter through cracks or openings in the drone’s body.
Water can also condense inside the drone if there is a temperature difference between the drone’s internal components and the outside air. This can happen if the drone is brought into a warm room after being flown in cold weather.
Flying Air 2S in Fog
Fog is less dense than rain so there’s less risk of water damage when flying in fog. But you can expect your drone to get wet if you spend a significant amount of time flying. So it may be OK to fly for a short time in the fog. The major challenge with fog will be maintaining line of sight with the drone. Also, the drone collision sensors often react to the fog and this can make it hard to maneuver the drone.
Flying Air 2S in Snow
Because snow is solid, it generally creates fewer problems than rain. The drone propellers will tend to create an airflow that moves the snow away from the drone. As with fog, maintaining a visual line of sight to your drone can be a problem.
Most Sensitive Parts of The Drone
Water and electronics do not mix. Water conducts electricity, which leads to short circuits and even fires. Drones contain a number of sensitive control electronics that are vulnerable to water.
Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
The ESC is one of the most important components of a drone. It regulates motor speed which keeps the drone stable. When water gets into the ESC, it can cause a short circuit. This can lead to the loss of drone control.
Flight Controller Board
The board contains a GPS module, compass, gyroscope, and other sensors that all work together to accurately determine the drone’s location and orientation. This information is then used by the drone pilot to control the drone and keep it on course. The flight controller board also provides a number of safety features like return-to-home (RTH). Water damage to this board will be catastrophic.
Drone batteries are made of lithium-ion, which is highly combustible when exposed to water. When the drone battery gets wet, it can cause a fire and in some cases, the battery may even explode.
How To Waterproof Your Drone
Drone Wet Suit
The most common and effective way to protect your drone from ran is a wet suit or skin. There are a variety of drone suits on the market. The Air 2S is a fairly common drone so these are not hard to find. Here are two companies that sell them: Phantom Rain and Sideline Power. Prices vary so shop around.
Sealant For Internal Electronics
There are two main types of sealants: silicone and acrylic. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
We definitely recommend using a brush-on applicator versus a spray-on. We also recommend purchasing some isopropyl alcohol for cleanup or in case you want to remove the sealant.
Silicon sealant is a clear, waterproof sealant that can be applied to electronics as a barrier against water and moisture. It’s also resistant to temperature changes, so it can also protect your electronics from extreme temperatures as well. To apply silicon sealant, first, clean the surface of the electronics with a lint-free cloth.
Then, apply a thin layer of silicon sealant to the surface with a silicone brush or applicator. Allow the silicon sealant to dry for 24 hours before using the electronics. If you need to remove the silicon sealant, simply use a razor blade to scrape it off. Be careful not to damage the surface of the electronics while you’re doing this.
Acrylic sealants are less flexible than silicon, but they’re much easier to remove and won’t damage most surfaces. They’re also not as resistant to heat, so they’re not ideal for use in high-temperature electronics. However, acrylics are a good choice for electronics that will be handled frequently, as they’re less likely to cause damage if they’re accidentally bumped or rubbed.
Ceiling your electronics will require that you access the internal components of your drone. Be warned that this may invalidate your warranty. We recommend you check with your warranty provider before breaking the frame seals on your drone.
What To Do If Your Drone Gets Wet
If you believe water has gotten inside your drone you need to take it seriously. There are several things you should do.
Turn the drone OFF. Remove the battery and the SD card. Removing the SD card will help protect your footage from water damage.
Use compressed air or a hair dryer to blow to dry the components. Be careful not to use too much force or too much heat, so you don’t damage the internal electronics.
Blot inside and out with a paper towel to remove as much remaining moisture as you can.
If you feel comfortable opening the frame, then wrap the drone in a thin towel, and place the whole thing in rice. Rice acts as a desiccant to draw water away from the drone.
After all, this place the drone in a warm, dry place (not in direct sunlight) and allow it to finish drying for a minimum of 24 hours. Then test the drone operation with a few simple test flights.
If you observe problems then it’s time to contact your drone repair service.
Does DJI Warranty Cover Water Damage?
The DJI Drone Warranty covers manufacturing defects and faults for your DJI Air 2S. This includes any problems that occur with the Drone itself, as well as any issues that arise from normal wear and tear. The warranty does not cover damages that occur due to misuse or abuse of the Drone, such as crashing it into objects or submerging it in water.
Items #5 and #6 suggest that damages from flying in rain are not covered under your warranty, because the user manual expressly recommends against flying in rain.
The following situations are not subject to warranty service conditions:
1. Crash or burning caused by non-manufacturing factors.
2. Damage caused by unauthorized modification, disassembling, or shell opening which did not follow the instruction of official manuals.
3. Damage caused by improper installation, or incorrect use or operation stated in the guidance of manuals.
4. Damage caused by unauthorized modification of circuit, mismatch or misuse of battery and charger.
5. Damage caused by any flights which didn’t follow the instructions of the manuals.
6. Damage caused by operation in bad weather (i.e. strong wind, rain, sand/dust storm)
7. Damage caused by operating the unit in an electromagnetic interference environment (i.e. mining area, radio transmitting tower, high-voltage wire, substation).
8. Damage caused by operating the unit in a known environment with interference with other wireless devices (i.e. transmitter, video-link, Wi-Fi signals).
Remember, it is not recommended to fly your DJI Air 2S in the rain. However, with a few precautions it is possible to fly your Air 2S in the rain for short periods of time. For more details on starting your business see our article “How To Start A Drone Business (Part-1)“
Lightwave Aerial is a professional drone service company based in Northern Virginia. Our pilots are all FAA Part-107 certified. We offer a full range of aerial photo/video production services, aerial mapping, and aerial inspection.
At Lightwave Aerial, we are dedicated to providing professional drone services that help our clients achieve their goals. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you with your next construction project!