DJI Mini 3 Pro is the latest edition in DJI lines of mini drones that are less than 250 g and don’t need registration. It’s a small but very capable drone that can fly in tough windy conditions but can you fly DJI Mini 3 Pro in rain?
DJI Mini 3 Pro is not a waterproof drone, so you cannot fly it safely in the rain. There are a few open ports and vents through which rainwater can get inside the drone and shortcircuit its electronics.
That being said, there are ways to make your DJI Mini 3 Pro more resilient to water damage and fly in rain relatively safely.
In this blog post, I am going to discuss how susceptible Mini 3 Pro is to rainwater and how to make it more water-resistant.
How rainwater can damage Mini 3 Pro?
We all know that water and electronics don’t play nice. Delicate electronics are prone to shortcircuit due to the presence of dissolved salts and ions in water.
When exposed to water, the electronics get fried instantly and damage the entire circuit board.
Rainwater is rich in such current-conducting ions due to the presence of different pollution particles in the air.
When the rainwater gets inside your Mini 3 Pro through different ports and vents, it can easily damage the circuit board and sensors.
However, the drone motors are not very prone to water as the wiring used in the brushless DC motor is insulated and can work even if they get wet.
You can even run the motors fully submerged in water, and nothing will happen. The wires are insulated, and the bearings are self-lubricating and sealed.
However, water with salts and fine sand particles can still get between the rotor and stator and clog the motor.
In such a case, you will have to thoroughly clean your drone motor.
How water gets inside the Mini 3 Pro?
At this point, you might be wondering if the drone circuits are so much prone to rainwater, why is your drone not waterproof?
Wouldn’t it be great if your drone could fly in rain and crash into the water without any significant water damage?
The issue is that it is quite hard to waterproof a drone that has too many moving or removable parts.
Also, drones are air-cooled, so it is necessary to leave air vents open, making the whole waterproofing impossible.
Water can get inside your Mini 3 Pro (or any other drone) through the following points:
- Battery Terminals: All drones have removable batteries and the Mini 3 Pro is no different. The battery port is one of the main areas where the water can seep into the battery compartment and short the battery terminals.
- Power Button: The power button located on the top of Mini 3 Pro is also prone to water. The loosely fit button can easily let the water in and damage the delicate PCB board right beneath it.
- Air Vents: Mini 3 Pro has air vents behind the camera on the front. The vents are covered with perforated mesh, but the not-so-fine mesh size can easily let water in under fast-blowing wind pressure.
- USB-C & SD Card Ports: Lastly, there are two ports on the rare of the drone for USB-c and SD card. These are also prone to water.
Does water damage vision sensors?
The Mini 3 Pro has two IR sensors on the bottom that are used to detect the ground distance during landing.
Although they are not directly prone to water damage from outside, the rainwater has an interesting effect on them.
When the drone get wet and the water from the top slides to the bottom and form droplets on the sensors, it essentially blinds the sensors and renders them useless.
When you fly and try to land in rainy weather, the wet vision sensors can cause a fatal crash.
How to make your Mini 3 Pro water resistant?
Although your DJI Mini 3 Pro is not waterproof, you can still make it water-resistant up to some extent by using either DIY seals or by using some third-party wet suits.
Remember, I used the word ‘water resistant’ and not ‘waterproof.’ These measures will make your drone less prone to water and condensation but won’t fully protect it, so fly with care.
Also, note that rain is not the only thing that can get your drone drenched during a flight. Atmospheric condensation can also wet your drone.
On a cloudy day, if you fly too high among thick saturated clouds, your drone will be fully drenched in water due to surface condensation.
DIY – Use tapes
Since you know which areas let water inside the drone, you can just put plastic tapes over them before flying and your drone will be relatively safe during rain.
Before flying, cut small pieces of polyethylene film tape and put them over the power button, rare USB & SD card ports, and around the battery compartment.
The film will prevent water ingress during light rain and high-altitude condensation.
As this is a DIY fix, there is no guarantee the tape won’t come off during flight so make sure you use a good quality tape and pressure set it well before taking off.
Wet suits are special masks made from rubber that goes over the vulnerable areas like the battery port, power button, and rare end.
These rubber suits create a pressure seal that provides excellent water protection even in very high rain.
The best wetsuits (and probably the only company) are made by Phantom Rain. They make excellent products and have a cult following in the DJI community.
Here is a video demonstrating a Mini 2 flying in high rain without any issue at all.
The wet suit is by far the most effective method of making your Mini 3 Pro water-resistant. It covers all the essential areas where water can ingress into the delicate circuitry including the battery cover, the landing gears, power button, and the USB & sd card ports on the back.
Can you fly DJI Mini 3 Pro in rain – final words
To summarise the discussion, you cannot fly your Mini 3 Pro in the rain as it is not protected from water ingress.
There are multiple areas on the Mini 3 Pro where the water can get inside and short circuit your PCB. If that happens, your drone will drop dead from the sky.
To make your drone water-resistant, the best way is to use a wet suit that can cover all weak areas and give your drone a good level of water sealing.
Even with the water suit on, there is still a tiny chance of the drone sucking in air through the air vent that cannot be covered fully.
I hope this article will help you decide whether to fly in bad weather or not. If possible, always fly in bright sunny weather to ensure nothing happens to your expensive drone.
But if you still want to fly in bad weather, take the necessary precautions. Happy flying!