Is The DJI Mavic 3 Waterproof?

My first DJI drone was the DJI Spark, which was recommended by friends. And since then, I’ve become a brand loyalist for the fabulous picture quality, ease of use, and sturdiness. 

My latest purchase is the DJI Mavic 3. Being an avid aerial photographer, I found the drone’s professional video features and image quality quite attractive. But is it an all-weather drone?

More specifically, is the DJI Mavic 3 waterproof? The answer, unfortunately, is NO. The Mavic 3 is not waterproof but more water-resistant than the Mavic 2.

Let me take you through the DJI Mavic 3 water resistance in more detail.

Understanding Waterproofing in Drones

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If you read the drone manuals, most (including the Mavic 3) advertise their drone as water-resistant. And this is different from waterproof.

A true waterproof drone can be submerged in water without facing any internal damage.

Waterproof drones use special materials and coatings to prevent the water from entering inside. If you want to know what happens if moisture enters a drone, read my previous blog.

What does it mean for a drone to be water-resistant? Water-resistant drones are designed to withstand only mild water splashes. While they can resist water infiltration to some extent, they cannot be plunged into water.

There are some water-resistant features in DJI drones, given their thoughtful design. Like providing the rear-entry battery and the switch-on battery at the rear. Or placing the vents on the sides rather than at the top.

But that does not mean it can be flown in the rain or landed on a water body. In fact, the Mavic 3 does not even have an IP rating. Thus making it unfit to fly in high humidity conditions.

Real-World Testing and User Experiences

Is The DJI Mavic 3 Waterproof?

Image Credit: Phantom Rain

I found some YouTube videos when researching the Mavic’s ability to withstand water. It seems many people are successfully using DJI Mavic 3 in wet conditions.

Some Quora threads have also discussed this issue at length. I read about someone who claims to have flown it in a storm! The catch was that they had customised wetsuits for the drone.

Based on my experience and research, flying the Mavic 3 in rain, fog, or snow is not recommended. I’ll discuss the experience first.

Can the DJI Mavic 3 handle water splashes without damage? I was once flying a drone on a cloudy day, and suddenly, there was a downpour. I immediately retracted the drone. 

I noticed water dripping into the drone through the vents while drying it. This was enough to give me a scare. Luckily, the exposure was very limited, so my Mavic survived.

The  DJI Mavic 3 specifications for water exposure in the DJI manual clearly say that the drone must not be used in adverse weather conditions.

This should be enough to deter any sensible pilot. After all, if the drone gets damaged, it won’t be covered under warranty if moisture is inside!

I’m not sure what happens to the drones one sees on YouTube videos after the video is shot.

But I’m certain that it does affect the drone’s performance in the long run (if not immediately). It is simple logic that water does not bode well for any electronic gadget. And a quadcopter is no exception!

Official Guidelines For Using DJI Mavic 3 Near Water

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I spoke at length with the DJI sales rep when buying the Mavic 3. The idea was to clear my doubts about official guidelines for using DJI Mavic 3 near water. This is what they told me:

–       Not to fly the drone near reflective surfaces like snow or rain. This may hamper the drone’s Vision System.

–       Avoid using the aircraft in adverse weather conditions like snow, rain, or fog. 

–       The camera must not come in contact with water or any other liquids.

–       If the craft ever gets submerged in water, it must not be powered on immediately. This could cause permanent component damage.

Now you know the answer to what precautions I should take when using the DJI Mavic 3 near water? The message is pretty clear! Keep your Mavic 3 away from moisture if you care for its well-being.

How do user experiences vary when using the DJI Mavic 3 around water?It depends on a few factors. Firstly, the water surface. If it is very reflective, then the visual positioning system will malfunction.

Secondly, the height at which the drone is flown also matters. For those flying too close, the VPS functioning is affected. But if you soar high above the water, the VPS is not used.

Lastly, frequently flying over salty water bodies is known to have caused corrosion to the drone components. The same has not been found in drones that fly over freshwater bodies.These sum up the user experiences with DJI Mavic 3 and water

Water-Resistant Drone Accessories

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It is clearly established that the Mavic series is not meant to fly in the rain. But are there accessories to make the DJI Mavic 3 more water-resistant? Yes! If flying in rain is unavoidable, there are ways to minimize the potential damage.

You can use these accessories listed below and add-ons that will help water-proof your drone to a large extent.

i.               Wet Suit

Wet suits are easy to install and grant water resistance to the drone. They cover the battery, power buttons, sensors, and the drone’s underside.

While the wet suit effectively keeps the drone safe and dry, the cameras are still at risk. Water droplets can affect the performance and clarity of your camera.

ii.             Silicone Conformal Coating

A silicone coating is the cheapest and most effective way to waterproof your drone. However, it is also the most complicated!

The silicone coating is applied to internal parts, primarily the circuit board. This means you must dismantle the drone, put on the coating with precision, and reconfigure the drone.

For most people, this is a very complex procedure. And since it involves opening up the drone, it could void your warranty.

iii.            Water-Repellent Sprays

Using water-repellent sprays is another cost-effective and easy method to protect your drone. With a spray coating, your drone will acquire more water resistance.

However, the protection is limited to minimal water exposure. I’d recommend this if you live in a humid place. But definitely not for flying out in incessant rain.

Alternative Water-Resistant Drones

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Most DJI consumer drones are not waterproof. Waterproofing a drone is capital-intensive and adds to the price of the drone. 

The regular DJI drone models lack this feature to keep prices affordable. But are there alternative drones with better water resistance than the DJI Mavic 3?

However, there are options if you are willing to spend for professional aerial photography in adverse weather.

The M300 RTK drone is industrial-grade and has an impressive IP rating of 45. This means it is protected from low-pressure water jets from any direction.

When comparing water-resistant drones, you can also try the PowerVision PowerEgg X.

This quadcopter comes with waterproof housing and water-landing floats. The drone’s housing is capable of protecting it from heavy rain.

Future Developments In Drone Water Resistance

As the drone market grows, so does the drone technology. Manufacturers are improving waterproofing techniques and testing drones under harsher conditions.

For now, rains are a concern, but drones will soon dominate the seas. Photographers are keen on using drones for stellar underwater footage as well.

This will require cutting-edge tech that can protect from the corrosion caused by salty water.

Not just for photography, the development of all-weather drones is also necessitated by other factors. Aerial mapping, military application, scientific research, and logistics are all areas where drones have proved useful.

It would be safe to say that we can expect more rugged drones in the future that can withstand the effects of water.

Conclusion

Now we know the answer to the query – can I fly the DJI Mavic 3 in the rain? For now, the DJI Mavic 3 drones are not waterproof and, hence, not safe to fly in the rain. Their design does offer some water resistance, but it’s best not to test the limits!

There are some questions about what advancements can we expect in future DJI drone models regarding water resistance. We can definitely expect more advancement in this area as the drone market grows.

But at present, I hope we all agree that drones and water (in any form) don’t go well together!  

FAQ

1. How does the DJI Mavic 3 perform in humid conditions?

While flying the Mavic 3 in dry weather is best, the drone fares well in humid conditions. Of course, prolonged exposure to moisture does impact performance over time.

2. Is 100% waterproofing possible with wet suits?

No, neither wetsuits nor conformal coatings offer 100% waterproofing for your drone.

3. What is the IP rating for drones?

The IP rating of a drone measures the amount of protection the drone has against liquids and solid objects.

4. What is the IP rating of the DJI Mavic 3?

Per the manufacturer’s manual, the DJI Mavic 3 has no IP rating.

5. Why should drones not be flown over salt water?

Saltwater is highly corrosive and can permanently damage the drone’s electronic equipment.

Author
Diptesh Das

Diptesh Das is your friendly ‘content maniac’ and drone enthusiastic! Being passionate about content writing. He is a firm believer of the power of words and thereby ended up leveraging them to create an impact by sharing his drone knowledge and experiences.

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