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Old Feb 11, 2008, 04:35 PM
I have to land it where?
mokimakana's Avatar
Joined Jul 2005
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Catalina's over Dutch Harbor/How bad is salt water?

Hello all-

I work on a NOAA research ship, and we pull into Dutch Harbor, Alaska, fairly frequently. I'm considering getting one of those Great Planes PBY's to fly in Dutch on those (rare) windless summer mornings. I figure since so many PBy's operated out of Dutch during WWII, it'd be kinda neat to see one flying out there again! I'm an intermediate RC pilot, but this would be my first foray into float flying...

My question is, does anyone have experience float flying in salt water? It sounds sketchy to me. I figure I could waterproof the reciever and keep the servo's pretty dry, but I'd imagine the brushless motors would suck up some salt water. PBY flyers, do your motors get wet frequently? Can one put ESC's in plastic bags, or do they get too hot?

Any thoughts or suggestions? Rinsing the motors with a mist of freshwater after each flight?

Thanks
Bill
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 12:52 AM
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Trois-Rivieres
Joined Oct 2006
251 Posts
Hi.

Water proofing your rc equipment is required...salt-water or not...this is the base, or you run VERRRRY quick toward the problems. hahahahah

For sure, the brushless is more of keen to ingest H2O, but should do fine if you put some (soak it) hi-temp varnish on the windings prior to wet it. Only the bearings will require more frequents changes than usual (not that frequent).

The ESC can be completely sealed. You will have to fit a heatsink that will protrude thru the "new" ESC heatshrink tubing (longer one) that will be well sealed on both ends with hot glue or silicone. Put some to the shrink/heatsink junction too. And put a drop of cyano glue to the end of your antenna, or the water will sneek into it.

That should do it.

Keep posting updates on your project !

Youppi !
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 01:05 AM
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Trois-Rivieres
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Also, see http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=372092

You have pages of tricks there.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 08:56 AM
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Mark Wood's Avatar
United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
Joined Feb 2000
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Salt water and electric/electronic components = a lousy mix, IMO.

mw
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 09:58 AM
Dave
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Putnam Valley, NY
Joined Sep 2007
672 Posts
I think it's worth the risk. RC flying is always worth the risk. Do it.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 04:11 PM
I have to land it where?
mokimakana's Avatar
Joined Jul 2005
14 Posts
Thanks for the feedback and tips. I agree that saltwater+electronics is a very dicey relationship, so I'll probably go a bit overboard on the waterproofing. I like the tips on the high-temp varnish and the protruding-heat sinks for the esc's. The esc's and motors were my big concerns. thanks! Now all I need is a plane, motors, radio, ESCs, and (most importantly) weather in Dutch that isn't 45kts and freezing....
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 05:12 PM
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lowdive's Avatar
anaheim, ca
Joined Apr 2005
2,542 Posts
prolly noted in that waterproofing thread but use something called corrosion x or, if you can't find that, inox. waterproofing spray that i use on all my boat gear. i've had everything under water before, dumped the water out of the boat and tossed it right back on the water for more fun. without it i'd either get a screwy receiver or servo twitching. i've yet to have that problem again.

i'm looking to get a float plane or two at some point and you can bet they'll be dripping inox on take off.
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Old Feb 12, 2008, 09:22 PM
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Charlotte, NC
Joined Jan 2004
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Bad idea. Rinse often and use cheap Chinese motors.
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 02:29 PM
Gonna need a bigger plane . .
FlopGun's Avatar
Kitsap County, WA, USA
Joined Jul 2007
2,951 Posts
Great idea. Flying in Dutch on a calm morning makes it all worth it. Another option is a foam type Catalina that you could just land on the boat or shore.

No reason to think rc gear can't last a reasonable amount of time in the saltwater if properly treated.

Seems there isn't a lot of experience with saltwater and a lot of fear.

I crashed my Extra into saltwater and immediately flushed with fresh water and then applied WD40 to the electronics. They work!

I now have CorrosionX and will be doing some more flying (and probably crashing) over saltwater. It is just too fun to fly across a calm saltwater bay. I usually land on the beach though!

I'd be interested in hearing some first hand experiences as I think this can be done without that much risk. I suspect its a lot like boating, stuff just doesn't last as long in saltwater but it still works. You just seal stuff off, keeping an eye on heat issues. And maybe buy a few extra servos.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Manhattan
Joined Dec 2006
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I fly a Catalina off mountain lakes in Colorado in July, I love it . . . and I'd been wondering what kind of seaplane I could bring to my family's house in Greece, which is right on the very salty water of the Med.

The Catalina sits very low in the water when idle, and as you apply power water will often wash right over the nose. In the process, the twin props kick up a lot of spray, which gets everywhere. No matter how much I try to seal it, there's water to drain from the fuselage after every flight. I put a dry sponge on the inside of the step, so the water weight stays there and the CG, this works nicely.

I totally agree it would be fantastic to see the Catalina flying in her native habitat, so yes, go for it, but be prepared to change out those motors, or more if you have mishaps! The rest of the electronics are easier to protect because inside the fuselage. (But of course better protected is also harder to rinse)

CorrosionX - I've been using it, but I find the smell in the shop annoying, and I think probably mineral oil will accomplish the same thing. Electronics are perfectly happy to function while submerged in oil. A friend of mine knew someone that got more power out of a PC buy putting the motherboard in an aquarium of mineral oil, allowing it to run hotter because the oil draws off the heat.

For the salty Mediterranean, I'm thinking of bringing my SS seaplane, which is a slow stick converted into a flying boat, with the motor up on a pylon, where the spray will be minimized.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...=418145&page=5

Jim Spencer (jimsp) sells the foam parts or you can cut them yourself. His threads are great and he's very generous with help and advice if you choose to go that route.
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Old Mar 04, 2008, 05:04 AM
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Xiaoshan, China
Joined Jun 2006
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These may not be seaplanes but it does show that, if given proper preparation, one can certainly play in saltwater. Several of my Hong Kong buddies routinely take their model ships & subs out on Repulse Bay; most of the fleet shown below is 1/200 scale & several have sunk to see another day.

Chuck

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Old Mar 04, 2008, 06:29 AM
We shall serve the Lord
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United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
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Rather than repaint the windings in varnish, I'd recommend soaking the motors in CorrosionX. In brushless motors, the windings are not the problem, the bare steel stator laminations are the problem, and they will rust in salt water pretty quickly. Just give the motor a good spray of CorrosionX and you should be good to go.

I've found that no matter how well you wrap your RC gear, it will get wet. Either from direct water contact, or from "condensation" from temperature changes. I don't even bother to wrap my water RC gear anymore, I just treat ot with CorrosionX.

In salt water, I'd recommend a good fresh water rinse and then treat with more CorrosionX after any underwater excursions.

CorrosionX website Here: http://www.corrosionx.com/marine.html
Use the Marine/General purpose type (Red Can)

Here is a test of CorrosionX in salt water:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...33#post9213546
Servo still worked once it was removed from the water!

Mike McD
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Old Mar 04, 2008, 03:01 PM
Gonna need a bigger plane . .
FlopGun's Avatar
Kitsap County, WA, USA
Joined Jul 2007
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Kingsflyer, do you soak your servos in corrosion x? My reasearch says some people do this and some avoid it as it can damage servos?
Seems like the servos have their own special lube and the corrosion x might affect that?
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Old Mar 04, 2008, 06:40 PM
We shall serve the Lord
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United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
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I don't "soak" the servos. I spray some CorrosionX in a cup and wait for the propellant to flash off. I then bursh the liquid on the servo PC board to protect the electronics.
Mike McD
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 08:46 AM
Registerd Beaver
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Australia, WA, Warwick
Joined Jul 2003
3,573 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
Rather than repaint the windings in varnish, I'd recommend soaking the motors in CorrosionX. In brushless motors, the windings are not the problem, the bare steel stator laminations are the problem, and they will rust in salt water pretty quickly. Just give the motor a good spray of CorrosionX and you should be good to go.

I've found that no matter how well you wrap your RC gear, it will get wet. Either from direct water contact, or from "condensation" from temperature changes. I don't even bother to wrap my water RC gear anymore, I just treat ot with CorrosionX.

In salt water, I'd recommend a good fresh water rinse and then treat with more CorrosionX after any underwater excursions.
Mike McD
I concur exactly.
I'd also add - make sure your Battery & ESC's are at least double rated, i.e if you draw 10 amps per motor - make sure your battery rating is 20C continuous discharge (or more) & each of the ESC's rating is a 20 Amp minimum.
Being sealed in the plane & with no cooling - the equipment must be able to operate for the flight duration without air flowing over them.

Happy landings
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