When driving in wet conditions it’s good to remember that although the electric parts are waterproofed, the other parts necessarily aren’t. Driving in wet conditions requires proper preparations and careful maintenance after driving. In this article, we’ll go through some basics of how to protect the electric parts of your RC vehicle and what to do after driving.
Waterproofing has become more common in the products of electric component manufacturers. Even so, it is good to keep in mind that water and electricity do not go well together. Water conducts electricity and speeds up oxidation on contact surfaces, which is why it’s recommendable to make sure you won’t accidentally break the electrical components of your car even if they are waterproof. For example, a waterproof ESC will break if the BEC circuit of the receiver or the servo is repeatedly short-circuited because of contact with water. If you want to play it safe, keep in mind that the electric components must be properly waterproofed when driving in wet conditions.
You can use the following example methods for waterproofing electric components.
A balloon: a traditional and easy way to protect the ESCs and the receivers. The object is put in the balloon so that all the cables come out of the mouth of the balloon. The balloon mouth is taped shut with electrical tape or a zip tie.
Rubber paints: When the new rubber paints came to the markets, RC hobbyists soon started using them for waterproofing electrical components of their RC vehicles. You can easily waterproof a receiver, an ESC and the servo with rubber paint. The point of using rubber paint is that you can easily remove it by peeling it off without damaging the component’s surface. When you use rubber paint, remember to plug up those spots where you don’t want the paint, for example the holes of the programming button in the receiver or the ESC. You can simply dip the component in the paint or use a brush or a spray.
Taping: Simple rectangular components (mainly receivers) can be waterproofed with electric tape. Tape the whole component so that the cables are left out.
Protect the servo from splashing: you can improve the waterproofing of a servo by applying waterproof Vaseline on the servo gears below the top case . Waterproofing of the servos in which the case consists of (top-frame-bottom), can be improved by opening the case so that it is possible to spread a little bit of Vaseline on the rubber seal at the joint. After re-tightening, you can just wipe off the extra Vaseline. It’s also good to put a greased O-ring on the servo axle before installing the servo horn.
Before driving, it’s good to protect the bearings with bearing oil and the metal parts with for example WD40 oil.
After driving, it’s important get rid of all the loose dirt/snow on the car before bringing it inside and then dry the car as fast as possible. You can use compressed air and a brush to clean the car, after which you can take the car inside where it’s warm. When the car is dry (usually it takes a couple of hours after bringing it indoors) you should oil the bearings again and rub WD40 on the metal parts. After these steps you can store the car to wait for the next drive.
Keep in mind that driving in wet conditions wears out the bearings of the car at an increased rate and increases the need for maintenance. This is why we don’t recommend driving in wet conditions without preparing for maintenance. Same applies to electric components. Even when the components are waterproofed, when they get in touch with water the components wear out at an increased rate and the risk of oxidations increases. ESC’s heat up while driving and the condensed water often causes malfunctions and in the worst case, damage the electric components.
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