Released in November 2021, the DJI Mavic 3 is one of the most advanced consumer drones from DJI. The 20MP and 5.1K resolution make it a great photography tool.
In addition, the all-direction obstacle avoidance and intelligent flight modes make it even easier to take high-quality photos and videos.
But what if you want to film when it’s raining or snowing? Is the Mavic 3 waterproof, and can it handle any wetness?
The Mavic 3 is not waterproof. Its design and build enable it to achieve some water resistance, but water can still manage to get to the internal parts, exposing it to damage. The best you can do is use a wetsuit or Silicone conformal coating to mitigate the damage caused by moisture, but that’s still not 100% foolproof.
Keep reading to learn more about protecting your DJI Mavic 3 from water damage.
Is the Mavic 3 waterproof?
The DJI Mavic 3 is built to be more water-resistant compared to the Mavic 2, but it’s not waterproof.
The design, such as the rear-entry battery and the switch-on battery at the rear, may prevent water from getting into the internal parts, but this doesn’t make it foolproof against water damage.
Also, the fact that it doesn’t even have an IP rating shows it wasn’t designed to be used in any wetness whatsoever. But there are some ways you can go around that, as I’ll discuss later in the article.
Can you fly the Mavic 3 in rain?
You could theoretically fly your drone in slight rain but be prepared for potential damage since the drone isn’t waterproof. The same is true for most DJI drones.
But you can mitigate the amount of water that gets into it by waterproofing it using the methods I’ll discuss further down.
How does water get into the drone?
Drones aren’t completely sealed. Otherwise, the internal parts would overheat and get damaged. That’s why they have vents, which enable air circulation and enhance cooling.
But these vents also let water into the drone, especially when there’s too much wind, when the drone is submerged, or when the drone comes into contact with rain in a slanting or inverted position.
The Mavic 3’s vents are at the side, which means raindrops still have a chance of getting into the internal parts of the drone.
What happens when you fly a DJI Mavic 3 in the rain?
Once water is inside the drone, it could cause short-circuits or corrosion. Short circuits are more instant, but corrosion can take a few weeks or months before you realize its effects.
The effects can be even worse if you expose the drone to salty water since it conducts electricity better, causing sudden death to your drone.
Other effects of water damage include:
- Damaged sensors
- Damaged batteries
- Foggy cameras
Can you fly the Mavic 3 in the snow?
Flying a drone in the snow isn’t advisable since freezing temperatures present their own challenges.
For starters, some drones will not start when it’s too cold, and for those that manage to start, the battery gets depleted faster than when flying in normal temperatures.
But if you want to take some shots during winter, below are some ways to mitigate the risks:
- Ensure the drone batteries are fully charged.
- Make sure the drones are warmer than the winter temperatures outside.
- Keep your batteries as dry as possible when in storage.
- Once the drone takes off, let it hover for about 2 minutes to warm up.
- Observe the flight time. The Mavic 3’s battery should last for 46 minutes in ideal conditions. But in winter, this can be reduced to 35 minutes or less. So, make sure you consider this when flying away from the home point.
- Avoid placing the drone directly on the ground or snow when taking off. Instead, use a landing pad or use your hand when taking off and landing.
How to waterproof your DJI Mavic 3
If you need to take some shots while it’s raining, foggy, or snowy, below are some ways to protect your drone.
Wetsuits and Rescue Jackets
As the name suggests, these are suits made of water-resistant material, allowing the drone to fly in the rain without getting water into the internal parts.
Phantomrain.org is one of the most popular companies manufacturing custom wetsuits, among other safety gear, for various drone models, including the DJI Mavic 3.
And if their product videos are anything to go by, it seems you can fly the drones in pretty heavy rain without damaging them.
Better yet, their cost ranges between $100 and $200, which is a reasonable cost to protect a $2,000 drone.
Besides the wetsuit, you can also get the rescue jacket, which allows the drone to float on water.
If you’re flying across a water body and can’t fly the drone back in time, the rescue jacket enables you to land the drone on water.
It’s light enough not to slow down the drone but strategically designed, so the drone doesn’t tip over.
And in case the drone crashes into the water body, chances are it won’t get submerged due to the floating capabilities.
A silicone coating is one of the cheapest ways to waterproof your drone, and you can do it by yourself.
However, since it involves opening up your drone, you need to know the various internal parts and external parts of a drone, how they work, and where they should be.
Below is a simple process of coating a drone ahead of flying in snow or rain:
- Dismantle the drone starting from the rear sensing module, the upper shell, the camera, etc., as shown in the video below.
- Once you have access to the circuit boards, spray some Isopropyl alcohol and use a toothbrush or paintbrush to clean any corrosion, dirt, or debris.
- You can also clean the carbon-fiber frames with a wet paper towel.
- Next, get some Silicone Modified Conformal Coating.
Excellent corrosion resistance—tested in salt spray environment with no oxidation or coating damage. Easy rework and repairs: Solder through the coating or remove with MG Cat. No. 8309 Liquid or 8310A Gel stripper formulations.
- Use the brush provided by the manufacturer to apply the silicone coating to the internal parts.
Make sure you cover the connectors, ports, buttons, and other areas that need connectivity or pass a current.
Manual covering, such as using paper or inserting something else, can work.
Still, Silicon Dielectric Grease or Corrosion X (or any other anti-corrosion materials) are better since they prevent the Silicone coating from interfering with the connectors.
- Apply the coating thoroughly on both sides of the circuit boards, then let it dry and cure for at least 12 hours.
- Once everything has dried up, you can reassemble your drone.
- To ensure effectiveness, apply two or more coats of Silicone coating, especially on the ESCs, which are often the first to get damaged by water.
A black-light or UV Flashlight can also help show areas that didn’t get the coating. Make sure one layer dries completely before adding another one.
- Spaces, like those around the camera, can be sealed with hot glue.
Note: As you can see, applying a coating can be pretty invasive. As a result, you may void your warranty with DJI.
How cold is too cold to fly a drone?
For DJI drones, including the Mavic 3, avoid flying in temperatures below 32ºF (0ºC). DJI also recommends you use landing pads and other protective gear to prevent snow from getting into the drone.
What wind speeds can the Mavic 3 handle?
DJI recommends a maximum wind speed of 27 MPH (43 KMH) for the Mavic 3.
Whether you choose a wetsuit or a Silicone Conformal coating, it’s almost impossible to 100% waterproof the DJI Mavic 3.
But these waterproofing tips can reduce the chances of damage when you decide to fly the drone in snow or rain.
But if you can’t afford to lose your drone or to pay for numerous repairs, it’s best to just use the drone when it’s dry outside.