“If the planet is 70% water why don’t people fly their quadcopters in the water?”
“Because quadcopters are not water proof ?”
Oh Well, think again.
With the help of a water proof quadcopter frame, flying (or swimming if you prefer) under water is entirely possible without too much hassle, such as the Dex frames (I’m sure there are others).
This project was shared with us from SeekND FPV. Check out his video of the result below.
Water Proof Quadcopter Frame
Built to last (if you pick the carbon version) and as small as 300mm these things are waterproof and more importantly buoyant!
They even have a smaller racing frame but it’s neither of the above (waterproof or buoyant).
I purchased the 300mm Mini Dex quad for myself and was amazed on how strong this thing is. I’m not afraid to drop it in the floor or concrete as I’m sure it will take the hit well (or even worse ones) without a scratch.
Unfortunately the frames lack the foresight or usability for FPV. Even worse, if you pick the carbon version and have all antennas inside the frame you will be hard pressed to get a proper signal (video or control) past 20 meters.
Also, the frame is bowled at the bottom and offers no internal or external mounts.
Luckily this is a simple DIY job if you are not afraid of drilling stuff and using hot glue.
What I did was to simply use a plastic FC mount and hot glue the hell out of it to the curvy bottom of the frame. Then I simply attached my ESCs that I forcefully inserted into the arms and soldered all remaining cables.
I didn’t even care to use a PDB. I simply soldered all negative cables and positive cables together together with the power connector.
Don’t forget to connect a Bluetooth cable to your FC or an angled USB connector as it’s pretty hard to access your FC otherwise.
I’m using 1400KV motors capable of spinning 9″ props without issues. The best way of securing your motors is to use motor mounts and secure those with wood screws.
These grab on into the frame without the possibility of leaking. Don’t worry about the motors, they are waterproof!
With this setup, It’s weights around 470g without battery and GoPro camera. With everything it weights 850g. I managed to do a 18 minute flight using 2200mah 3S battery.
FPV and Video Recording
Attach your favourite curved mount at the bottom (i used gopro mount and waterproof case) and you’re already half way there in order to at least record some proper underwater footage – LOS.
It gets a bit trickier when it comes to the FPV counterpart.
You will need to find an appropriate place to place your lens and drill a hole that is the exact size (slightly smaller is better) where you can screw your lens in and plug it to the inside.
Make sure to get the lens as close as possible to the frame as to create the least possibility for water to go in.
Also, if you put the lens below the buoyancy point you will be able to FPV UNDERWATER!! :O
You should also consider adding silicone gel to any orifice that will be exposed to water.
- Lens that is in contact with the outside part of the frame
- Holes you will need to need to drill for the motor wires
- any other holes that you drilled to get the VTX or control antennas exposed outside the frame
As for the lid, if you are not planning of going to the water a simple velcro or even elastic bands will suffice to keep the lid in place and the electronics away from the rain.
For watery adventures you will need to waterproof it in case it lands upside down on the water (which it will on your very first try according to Murphy’s Law).
My answer to this was to create a layer of silicone gel goo on the frame and on the bottom of the lid where they both meet and then use a velcro strap to secure the lid.
Another alternative would be to use some sort of o-ring in between the lid and frame.
Water is terrible when it comes to VTX signal propagation and if your antenna goes in the water you will be sure to lose all signal.
As long as your craft is well sealed it IS possible to flip it upside down as long as you still have control of the craft (and your FC allows it).
That’s pretty much all.
Have fun exploring the murky depths of your local lake but please don’t go upsetting any ducks!
Ducks are necrophiliacs and you don’t want to mess with that, do you???