How to waterproof your electronics.

By: Matthew Horsley

Insight on how to waterproof your scalers and various other r/c vehicles

Battery Connections/Exposed WiresMost battery connections such as Deans and XT60 an EC45s are already waterproof Tamiya plugs are also waterproof so no need to worry about them.

MotorBelieve it or not, a brushed motor setup is an area that requires very little attention when exposed to the elements. You don't really need to worry about keeping the moisture away from the elements as water will not affect it's operation. As a matter of fact, in some cases hobbyists run a motor underwater as a way of breaking the brushes in which will give you more torque and a higher rpm in most cases. The only thing you'll need to do is disassemble  the motor after running if you have a rebuildable motor and clean it well if it's not able to be rebuilt, then take it out of your truck and run it for a couple of a little while in fresh water to clean the brushes off. Make sure you re-lube your motor's bearings or bushings when putting it back together with some bearing oil that's available in your local hobby store

Receiver/Receiver Pack - The receiver is generally one of the most expensive components on an RC truck, so you want to make sure you provide it plenty of protection from the elements. Many RC vehicles already have the receiver protected with some sort of cover or plastic box to avoid damage . However this does not mean that the receiver is fully waterproof the way  I prefer to waterproof mine is by placing it into a balloon with all wires attached and put a blob of silicone in the top of the balloon then put a zip around the neck of it and pull it tight.

Servos - Servos are another item that should be protected from the elements. Some servos, such as the Hitec 5625MG and 5645MG, and Savox SW-0231MG and SW-0230MG are water-proof and need no further attention. However most servos do need to be protected from the elements. There are 3 widely used methods to accomplish this, balloons and silicone. Using a balloon is pretty straightforward. First remove the servo horn or servo saver, and then simply encase the servo inside a balloon. Leave the wires sticking outside the mouth of the balloon, and close up the mouth of the balloon with a ziptie. You can also seal up the mouth of the balloon with some grease or silicone to help seal up any leftover gaps after the ziptie is pulled tight. Then use a pin to place a small hole in the balloon where the servo output shaft is located, and pull the balloon so that the shaft slides through it. Then you can reinstall your servo horn or servo saver.

Another method of protecting your servo from moisture, is to use some silicone sealant. This results in a stock-like appearance, as you can't really tell that anything has been done to the servo. Take the servo case halves apart, and apply a small bead of silicone where the they connect. Then simply reassemble the case and allow the silicone time to cure. To protect the area around the servo output shaft, use a small o-ring coated with some grease to form a seal when you install a servo horn or servo saver. Finally use a item called Plasti-dip this is basically a rubber coating that can either be applied by brush, spray can or dipping the item in a tub of it I personally prefer doing it this way as you no you have a good coating of rubber all over the hole servo.

Speed Controller (ESC/MSC) - Protecting your speed control is a very important, yet difficult, step to undertake. I often hear of people encasing their ESC inside a balloon, but that's often a dangerous idea. It severely hampers the ESC's ability to cool itself, which could lead to the ESC overheating and damaging itself. At the very least, you might experience the balloon the ESC is encased in melting. So if you choose this method of protection, I would encourage you to frequently monitor your ESC's temperature to avoid such problems. Small plastic project boxes like they sell at radio shack can be used to seal up the ESC or ESC and Receiver too.

The only 2 good solution for a MSC, would be to make a shield to protect the electronics from the elements. You can fabricate something out of scrap Lexan, or simply carve up a 2-liter drink bottle. A few pieces of duct tape will hold the shield in place and help prevent any moisture from finding it's way inside. then you have the Plasti-dip method which involves taking the ESC out of its case and putting some duct tape over the cooling fins and dunk the ESC in the tub of Plasti-dip once this is done leave it to dry for around 12 hours and it will turn into a skin tight film of rubber around the hole ESC thus making it waterproof this really is my preferred method but upon doing this it will void any warranty completely that you have on your items.

It's also possible to buy waterproof ESC's for use during wet and snowy conditions. MTroniks is one company that is well-known for this. Also LRP and Etronix makes water proof ESC's.

Misc. Tips:

Here is a link for the right Plasti-dip products to use:

Last but not least, put a thin coating of oil on the outer motor bearing to help prevent water intrusion.  WD-40 can be used on the motor, but use it sparingly, but spray some on a cloth and wipe down your metal chassis parts just like you'd oil a gun and the water will bead right off and it makes clean up a snap.

Armor All works also, some people use Armor All on the plastic parts. I use Rain-X on the outside of the body or wipe it with a thin coat of Armor All the help make clean up easy.

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