DRONE-RETRIEVER Water Recovery is Assembled in the USA with US, EU & Asian components

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LIFE-PRESERVER
Water REscue ACCESSORY
FOR YOUR DRONE

  

Automatic accessory device that is attached to your drone when flying over a water hazard to facilitate a water rescue

Featured Products

Drone Retriever Videos

Activation Video showing a DRONE RETRIEVER dropped into water with activation time less than 1 second. Also shown is slow motion of same activation. 

DJI Mavic Pro - Water Activation

Water Deployment Video of DJI Mavic Pro w/o camera.

DJI Phantom - Water Activation

Water Deployment Video DJI Phantom w/o camera.

What actually happens to a drone after a water event

DRONE-RETRIEVER KEEPS DRONE AT THE SURFACE


This post is to educate and correct many incorrect assumptions made by individuals that don’t know about electricity as it relates to a drone making contact with water.


Drone-Retriever.com products are designed for drone Rescue, NOT Recovery.

Rescue = save 

Recovery = retrieval 

Many people incorrectly assume that a drone that lands in water is destroyed due to the effects of electrical shorting. That is not the case and it will be explained below.

Additionally we will address what to do after a water event.

When a drone lands in salt water there are FIVE concerns a drone owner needs to be aware of:

DIRT and DEPTH - SALT WATER -  TIME -  CLEANING.

DIRT & DEPTH

Ocean water and lake/river water is not clean. There are many small particles of various organic and inorganic matter that will find its way into moving parts like motors, gimbals and fans. The biggest negative effect will occur if a drone sinks to the bottom where the point of impact will stir up everything at the bottom. Keeping a drone at the surface eliminates this issue.

As the drone sinks the water pressure will dramatically increase. This pressure will cause water and dirt to enter every microscopic opening as the air is forced out or compressed due to the increased water pressure.

Seals that are designed for normal operation will maintain their integrity when the drone is kept at the surface however this is not the case as depth increases. The greater the depth the greater the negative effects of pressure.

The pressure at the bottom combined with the stirred up dirt will facilitate the dirt being forced into smaller and smaller areas of the drone’s moving parts like motors, gimbals and cooling fans.

The effects of dirt is further addressed in the cleaning section below

SALT WATER:

Salt water IS NOT an ACID it is a MILD corrosive liquid. 

Salt water or fresh water will not cause anything to electrically short out as the voltages within the drone electronics are too low to conduct through water. 

Circuit Boards:

Most products like drones that are designed to operate outdoors have their electronic circuit boards protected with a thin blanket conformal coating on the entire circuit board and then an extra thicker coat on the soldered connections. This clear conformal coating protects the electrical circuits from high humidity and condensation. Additionally it protects the electrical system from salt water.

When flying near a coastline or over water the air is usually very moist and salty. Keep in mind that most high quality drones are designed to operate in moist environments without any issues.  

Motors: 

The motors that operate the props are made with anodized aluminum housings and copper wires along with bushings. The anodizing process creates a protective coating on the surface of the aluminum. The motor is made with a copper wire which is also coated with a protective coating primarily to keep it from shorting as it is wound very tight. Finally the motor is made with bushings at the top and bottom of the motor that allow it to spin freely. These parts are typically plastic and metal such that they do not need lubrication. 

The motors are well protected such that when a drone lands in salt water that protective layer will protect the motors from short term corrosion. Keeping the motors at the surface will eliminate the issue of dirt and sand getting into the motors between the moving parts

Battery:

Most if not all drones operate with Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. These batteries are constructed with multiple flat cells stacked on top of each other. Each cell is 3.7vDC. The battery cells are sealed in a plastic envelope. The only exposed metal parts from each cell are the leads. Most batteries consist of multiple cells connected in series and then sealed into an outer plastic envelop.  This battery assembly is then installed into a hard plastic housing which makes up the battery pack. Water cannot get into the individual batteries but can get into the battery pack. Inside the battery pack is usually a circuit board that is used to control charging and monitor each cells voltage and temperature. Battery packs are usually sealed and may not fill with water if kept at the surface, but if allowed to sink to the bottom of the ocean then water impregnation into the battery pack circuitry will occur due to the higher external pressure.

Cameras:

The camera on a drone is a sealed unit which is required to keep it from experiencing condensation on the lens when moved from warm to cold environments or vice versa.

That seal is not designed to withstand the water pressure that would be found at the bottom of the ocean. However, if the drone is kept at the surface of the water the seals will be fine.

Gimbals: 

Gimbals are made with electromagnetic motors. Like regular motors the components used are similar to those used for the propeller motors, keeping these at the surface and not exposed to the water pressure and dirt at the bottom of the ocean will help them survive a water event.

TIME & CLEANING

If a drone is recovered within hours not days and Cleaned according to this procedure everything should be fine. If it takes days or weeks to recover the drone then the corrosive effects from salt water will be evident. 

If drone has been on the bottom even for a short time then cleaning the movable parts will be critical and may not be possible. 

Immediately upon removal from the water:

1. Remove the Battery & SD card.

2. DO NOT spin the props or move the gimbals.

3. You must keep your unit wet with salt water until you can get to a bucket or plastic bag of fresh water.

a. Reason is that when salt water dries it will leave a residue that will not come off without scrubbing. That residue will be corrosive over time and it will have a negative effect on performance.

4. Put all parts into bucket of fresh water and aggressively shake the parts while they are under water. While shaking ensure that you rotate the drone under water so that every internal surface of the drone points upward while shaking. Then removed from water and allow the water to drain while rotating the drone. This will insure that fresh water gets into every open air pocket inside the drone. Additionally it is recommended to do this with at least 2 buckets of fresh water. Second washing is needed to insure that all salt water has been diluted and removed.

5. Fill a spray bottle that will shoot a stream of liquid with fresh water. Use this spray system to clean the motors by spraying between the stationary and moving parts of the motor. After spraying slowly turn the prop motor while spraying. Do this also for the gimbals. Also spray the USB port and any other electrical connector ports. Suggest using a vacuum cleaner to suck any water out of these ports.

6. Battery Cleaning: Submerge battery and look for a point where air bubbles rise from an edge. Mark that edge. Turn battery such that the edge with bubbles is pointing downward and look for bubbles on the now top edge. Mark that edge. Submerge the battery holding it so that either surface with bubbles is pointing up and hold in that position until no bubbles are seen (battery housing is full of water). Shake battery then drain from either edge that had bubbles coming from it.  Repeat filling and draining procedure.

7. Using the spray bottle clean the battery contacts. 

8. Drying.

Method #1: Heat your kitchen oven to 100°F (37.8°C) place drone in oven for 4-6 hours. Turn the drone so that all surfaces point upward. Battery will take much longer (days) to dry due to the relatively sealed nature of the battery housing. It is recommended to retire this battery for several months finding a place where the battery will be kept warm to facilitate thorough drying. You can discharge and recharge the battery which will assist in drying. 

Method #2: Procure enough Isopropyl Alcohol 99.9% about 2 quarts and submerge the drone in the alcohol rotating the drone so that every internal surface becomes wet. Remove and let alcohol drain from the drone. The drone will quickly evaporate the alcohol if placed in a warm environment. As for the battery you will need to fill the battery with alcohol and then drain it. Heat an oven like Method #1 and place the battery in that oven with the fill edge pointing up. Allow it to heat for 2-4 hours to evaporate the alcohol.

Batteries from a water event should not be used until it can be determine that the battery charges and discharges safely.  

  

COMPETITIVE DISCUSSION

GetterBack

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  •   Description: Fishing Rod retrieval system. Device attached to fishing rod via Velcro strap. Recently rebranded for drone recovery.
  • Activates when fishing rod is submerged at bottom of water hazard.
  • Small plastic “bobber” floats to the surface.
  • Depth maximum of retrieval line is 100 feet
  • Weight capacity of line is 10 lbs
  • Product cost approximately $40.00


PRODUCT ADVANTAGES

for DRONE Applications

  • Low Cost
  • Small
  • Easily Mounted
  • Lightweight
  • NO negative effect on flight duration and stability


PRODUCT LIMITATIONS/CONCERNS

for  DRONE Applications

  • ONLY activates at 10 feet below surface or greater!!! Thus if water is less than 10 feet it does not activate!!!
  • Allows drone to make contact with bottom, stirring up dirt and other matter that will contaminate moving parts.
  • By allowing drone to drop to bottom the negative effects of water pressure will effect sealed components like camera and motor seals.
  • Fishing rods usually are dropped within short distance of owner. Retrieving the floating “bobber” is easy. However a drone that is flying over a lake, a river or the ocean coastline will prove a challenge to locate the “bobber”. Once located positioning oneself above the drone to facilitate lifting straight up will definitely be difficult.
  • Most water hazard do not have smooth bottoms. A drone that is caught on something will more likely require a pulling force greater than 10 lbs. NOTE: the line used is rated for 10 lbs.
  • In a water hazard with a current the “bobber” most likely will be a considerable distance from the device as the 100’ line will determine the location of the “bobber” not the drone.

PONTOONS

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  • Description: A set of Foam cylinders attached via a mechanical mounting system designed to keep a drone floating at the surface of the water. 
  • Have not found any that are rated for retrieval in the event of a water event.
  • Passive activation as it is always in active protection mode.
  • Product Cost: approx $15 to 30 USD
  • Weight: approx 8 oz 227 g


 PRODUCT ADVANTAGES

for DRONE Applications 

  • · Low cost


 PRODUCT LIMITATIONS/CONCERNS

for DRONE Applications 

  • Negative effect on stability due  to large size and the effect on drone from wind.
  • Negative effect on range as added battery energy will be needed to overcome effects of large pontoons wind      resistance
  • Do not appear to be structurally sound so as to survive a water crash. 
  • Mounting system is aircraft  specific. No universal mounting application.


WHY Us?

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  • Within 5 seconds of contacting water the device deploys a bright colored air bag buoy that keeps the drone at the surface while providing an easily identification that facilitates tracking and recovery of your drone.
  • Product Cost: <$80 USD
  • Product weight: 4.8oz/136g


 PRODUCT ADVANTAGES

for DRONE Applications  

  • Keeps drone at the surface such that negative effects of dirt and water pressure found at the bottom are eliminated
  • Moderate Cost
  • Universal mounting system that allows for quick and simple attachment when needed to any drone.
  • Reusable by replacing CO2 cylinder and trigger bobbin.
  • Lifting Capacity: 
    • 9 lb [4 kg]
    • 15 lb [6.8 kg] "Coming Soon"
    • 18 lb [8.2 kg] "Early 2020"
  • No negative effect on stability as long as unit is attached so as not to negatively effect center of gravity of drone. (Mount in center of drone top or bottom)


 PRODUCT LIMITATIONS/CONCERNS

 for DRONE Applications  

  • Range will be negatively impacted by additional weight of this device. It is difficult to project as flight time of your drone is effected by many factors including air density, air humidity, air temperature and wind. (example: a 1.8 lb drone with a specified flight time of 31 minutes in ideal operating conditions will have a  projected decreases in flight time to 26-28 minutes) 


SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

UNCONDITIONAL 100 DAY FULL REFUND ON ALL PRODUCT

If for ANY reason you are not satisfied with your purchase during the first 100 days from the day we process your order you can return it for full refund.  Just follow these instructions.

  • Send email to returns@drone-retriever.com  
  • In subject line type "SATISFACTION GUARANTEE  SS# XXXXXXX"   Where XXXXXXX is the Items serial number.
  • In the body of the email please provide your order information.  If your reason is a fit issue please provide information about your drone make and model number so that we can add your input to our compatibility list, so other potential drone customers will not have to experience the same disappointment.
  • Upon receipt of your request,  we will verify your order details and you will be provided an RMA number to facilitate return processing.
  • Ship your unit back.  Suggest using a method with tracking.  
  • Upon receipt you will receive your refund back to your PayPal account.
  • International orders refund does not cover original shipping.

WILL "Drone-Retriever" Fit on My Drone?

If you have concerns about the DRONE RETRIEVER fitting on your drone we have these options to help


OPTION 1

Download our COMPATIBILITY & PERFORMANCE list and see if your drone is listed

  • Note: this download file is a work in progress and we are adding Drone Models as customers take advantage of our free offer.
  • If your drone is not listed then you have the following options:
  • You can determine acceptability based on FORM & FIT section below.
  • Purchase a unit and determine Fit according to Fit Guarantee [see criteria below].
  • You can participate in our “HELP US HELP OTHERS & EARN A FREE DRONE RETRIEVER REFUND" [see program listed on website below].


OPTION #2. FORM & FIT 

  • LIFTING CAPACITY: [Payload] Can my drone carry the weight of a DRONE RETRIEVER
  • DIMENSIONAL FIT: Is there a place on my drone that I can mount the DRONE RETRIEVER such that Center of Gravity is not adversely affected while maintaining clearance from propellers and camera gimbal movement.


  • LIFTING CAPACITY:
    • Need to determine if your drone can handle the added weight of the DRONE RETRIEVER unit.
    • Do the manufacturer’s specifications list a payload weight? If that weight is less than that of the DRONE RETRIEVER (4.8 oz 136 g) If yes you are good to go. 
    • If no payload weight is given you need to determine the Take-Off weight of your drone. (From manufacturer’s specifications or by weighing the drone.
    • Small to medium low cost drones have little to no payload capacity and will not be compatible with DRONE RETRIEVER. Also these type of drones usually have rated flight times of <10 minutes.
    • Medium size drones and larger drones should have the ability to maintain steady controlled flight with the added weight of a DRONE RETRIEVER. 
    • Find something that is small and weight 4.8oz - 136g attach it with tape and fly your drone.  Verify that your drone has no adverse flight effects.
    • Due to the numerous different drones models on the market it is our goal to develop a COMPATIBILITY & PERFORMANCE list which can be found on the download page of this site.
    • Drone flight time will be reduced due to the added weight of the DRONE RETRIEVER. No other negative performance factors have been reported.


  • DIMENSIONAL FIT:
    • Simply put, can the DRONE RETRIEVER be mounted on my drone such that it does not negatively impact center of gravity, propeller operation, gimbals operation, and vision system sensors?
    • To facilitate this you can download a dimensional fold up [DR-Model-CUT-OUT.pdf] model which can be cut and folded to make a 3d space model of the DRONE RETRIEVER unit.
    • Or purchase a unit and determine Fit according to SATISFACTION GUARANTEE. 





Help us ... help others & earn a free unit refund

Our Offer

Presently there are many different drones on the market. We do not have the resources to evaluate our product on each. We are attempting to develop, with the help of folks like you, a comprehensive compatibility and performance list. In appreciation for your help we will provide a full refund of your purchase for your help.

This program requires prior approval from "engineering@drone-retriever.com"

How it Works:

  • Contact  "engineering@drone-retriever.com via e-mail.
  • Provide the following drone information in the SUBJECT LINE of your email request Manufacturer -  Model# - Description 
  • In the body of the email please attach a photo of your drone.
  • Upon review you will be approved, differed or denied for this program.
  • If approved purchase a DRONE-RETRIEVER.
  • To receive a purchase price refund you must provide the following information within 30 days:
    • Your order information from when you purchased your DRONE RETRIEVER
    • Your Drone Retriever Serial Number.
    • 5 Pictures of your drone with the DRONE-RETRIEVER attached. Place drone on flat surface
      • PHOTO SHOWING UNMOUNTED LOCATION
      • Photo of unit mounted taken form above with props pointing toward drone retriever
      • Photos from front, side and back of drone.
    • Hovering Test Data: 
      • This requirement is to determine how much the added weight of the DRONE-RETRIEVER will reduce flight time. 
      • 1st with a fully charged battery operate your drone in a hovering mode until battery is depleted or drone auto lands. Record: Start time: End time: Date: and battery information if your controller provides that information.
      • 2nd Recharge that same battery. Attach the DRONE_RETRIEVER to your drone and repeat the same hovering test. Record: Start time: End time: Date: and if battery information if you controller provides that information  
      • Notes: Try and do this test in sequence on the same day to minimize variables like wind, temp, and humidity.
  • Provide any additional information on additional items that we could provide to make installation easier for the next purchaser of a Drone Retriever as it is our goal to have a universal design that can easily be mounted to any drone.  

Presently we plan on providing this offer to the 1st person per model number provided. Additional offers may be made to 2nd, 3rd and 4th requests at later dates. If you are differed you will receive notice stating differed plus a number 2-4. This means we may contact you later to participate in this program.

As we secure good data we will add your information to our COMPATIBILITY & PERFORMANCE.pdf file.  It is our goal to provide help from fellow pilots to fellow pilots to make the decision about compatibility easy for all. 

Specifications

Dimensions: Box: 83 mm x 40mm x 32mm

Cylinder Activator: 28mm Diam x 145mm long.

Weight added to drone:  4.8oz/136g

Activation time: < 5 seconds.

Maximum water lift capacity : 9lbs [4kg]


 

About "drone-retriever.com"

Our Background

  • Drone Retriever products are the invention of an avid drone pilot who has experienced water events in the past few years.  
  • After determining that there is no high quality product to retrieve a drone after a water event, he developed this product.  
  • The 2nd benefit to this device:  It virtually eliminates all the stress associated with flying a drone over water.
  • The Drone Retriever water recovery device is USA Patent Pending
  • We welcome any and all input to improve the design and add mounting hardware to facilitate easy mounting to all drones.
  • Summer of 2019 - The initial product offering that will lift and maintain a drone weighing up to 9 lbs (4Kg) at the surface.  
  • Fall/Winter of 2019 - Introduce a Drone Retriever capable of lifting and maintaining a drone weighting 15  lbs (6.8Kg) at the surface.
  • Spring of 2020 - Introduce a Drone Retriever capable of lifting and maintaining a drone weighting 18 lbs ( 8.6Kg) at the surface



Contact Us

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