Drone battery care is important. In contrast to the numerous batteries scattered round our houses, (the usual and generally discovered dry cell battery), drone batteries are Lithium-ion batteries, which include a specific set of processes and procedures for getting essentially the most out of them, whereas remaining secure.
In a typical week, as drone operators, we’re storing, charging, transporting, and discharging our batteries regularly, which quickly works in the direction of our batteries’ “finish of life”. With drones and drone batteries being as costly as they’re, it’s important to train correct care, to guard our drones and their batteries.
Under are a number of steps outlining easy methods to care on your drone batteries, which is able to extend the lifetime of the batteries.
Learn the drone producer’s handbook
At first, this would possibly look like an appalling thought! “What, take out and skim the drone handbook?” “My drone doesn’t also have a handbook within the field!” Whereas this would possibly look like a international idea for many people, the producer’s documentation gives a wealth of essential data on easy methods to use and cost the batteries, in addition to upkeep, and storage, and in addition one thing we many occasions overlook, correct battery disposal.
In case your drone doesn’t have an included working handbook, it could be on-line as a downloadable file. Verify your drone producer’s web site for particulars.
Replace your battery’s firmware
This would possibly come as a no brainer for the plane itself. Nevertheless, it’s also crucial to do that step for all of the batteries in your fleet as properly. For a lot of drones, if the batteries aren’t all on the identical firmware, the drone may not take off in any respect.
How would one replace their batteries to the latest firmware? If there’s a battery firmware replace included within the present drone firmware replace, it is so simple as accepting the firmware replace with one set of batteries, working the replace, then putting in the following set of batteries and working the firmware once more (as soon as prompted,) and repeating this course of for as many batteries as you may need for every of your plane.
In case you have any batteries that aren’t updated, usually as soon as you place them within the drone, your drone’s flight app will provide you with a warning with an inconsistent firmware message, with a immediate to replace the battery. Fortunately many drone producers observe this course of for updating firmware, making it straightforward to maintain all of your batteries updated.
Be aware of utmost temperatures
Dwelling in Central Florida, the one temperature extremes I fear about is excessive warmth. Many different operators worldwide should cope with extraordinarily low temperatures within the winter and excessive temperatures in the summertime.
No matter geographical location, excessive temperatures are detrimental to a drone battery’s well being. Due to this, at all times ensure that to not retailer, cost, or function your drone batteries in extraordinarily sizzling or chilly temperatures. You’ll find the advisable ranges (in Fahrenheit and Celsius) outlined by the drone producer in your operator’s handbook.
It was talked about that excessive temperatures are detrimental to drone batteries. How? Batteries which were left in or utilized in areas which can be too chilly or too sizzling, can completely lower a battery’s capability, lifetime, and stability. An instance of this may be leaving batteries in a car throughout winter or summer season.
For tips about flying a drone in chilly or sizzling climate, see our submit right here »
Use producer battery chargers
There are numerous third-party charging options accessible for all kinds of drone producers. Though these appear to be a preferred selection, particularly as a result of their low-cost pricing, manufacturer-specific expenses are designed to particularly work with that producer’s drone batteries.
Concern with utilizing third-party chargers come into play when the next are thought-about:
- The drone charger could have a greater charging fee than what the batteries require.
- The third-party charger would possibly cost the batteries quicker, nonetheless, this quicker cost fee could create excessive inside temperatures which might harm the battery parts and result in a lowered battery life.
- A 3rd-party charger may not have guides or alignment with the battery, which might harm the terminals of the batteries.
- Many drone producer battery chargers have protections constructed into their chargers and batteries, thus making certain the battery life falls inside producer specs, whereas the third-party charger could not.
Comply with charging greatest practices
To greatest care on your batteries, batteries needs to be allowed to return to the producer’s advisable inside temperature earlier than charging. If the batteries have been left in a summer season sizzling or freezing car, it’s best to allow them to return to shut to room temperature earlier than charging.
Additionally, let the battery settle down after a flight earlier than placing it on the charger. Nevertheless, as we all know generally within the discipline, it could be of utmost significance to get our batteries recharged as quickly as potential after simply discharging them in flight. With some producer chargers, it’s secure to plug in a battery even when nonetheless sizzling, offered the charger and battery are in a well-ventilated space.
Most occasions, nonetheless, the battery will postpone charging (whereas on the charger) till the inner temperature has cooled all the way down to a really perfect temperature. All that stated, it’s nonetheless extremely advisable to let the battery settle down first, earlier than putting it on the charger.
Comply with battery storage greatest practices
The place to retailer the batteries
The best temperature to retailer most drone batteries is between 71° and 86°F (22 and 30°C). Storage between these temperatures can assist reduce battery capability loss.
Whereas it is suggested to retailer batteries at these temperatures, this may not at all times be potential. If that is so, when potential, keep away from storing batteries in autos or storage items that may get extremely popular or very chilly, in order to not harm the batteries.
Partially discharge batteries earlier than storage
Though all of us want to be in “prepared state” or “rapid Go state”, you shouldn’t cost batteries to 100% earlier than storage, desirous to be prepared “simply in case”. Many producers’ batteries are of the clever sort, that means they are going to routinely discharge after a sure time-frame. Batteries that don’t self-discharge, or which can be saved with a full cost for a protracted interval will incur harm to the battery cells.
Within the drone’s working app, usually you may set the variety of days for the battery to self-discharge to the advisable storage degree (in DJI drones this may be 60%). If there isn’t any choice so that you can set the times your self, the battery ought to start self-discharging at 10 days or so. Should you plan to retailer a battery and it’s beneath 60% it needs to be charged as much as the 60% vary first.
Keep away from flying to 0%
Identical to storing batteries at 100% can harm the battery, flying to 0% likewise may cause everlasting harm to your battery. I counsel that you simply land your drone when the battery has reached 15% to maximise battery life. Nevertheless, many drone operators really feel extra snug with touchdown across the 25% mark, as a precaution. If for some purpose your battery(s) has been depleted past 15%, it’s advisable to right away recharge the battery as quickly as potential.
Rotate battery utilization
This would possibly look like a international idea to some. However rotating out batteries assist to increase their well being and life. For instance, let’s say you could have 3 batteries included in a “fly-more” bundle. Label the three batteries (1,2,3) and use them in that order. If you’re not flying all of the batteries in a single session, you’d use the following one in line, so as. This helps in stopping the mistaken use of 1 battery, repeatedly over time, over the others, thus extending every battery’s life.
Drone battery upkeep
Upkeep is important if you wish to preserve your batteries in prime working order and able to go for every flight. Under are a number of steps to help within the course of.
- Make sure that the cell voltage distinction is lower than 0.1V after the battery is totally charged and left stationary for six hours. This may be checked within the drone’s flight app.
- Make sure that the battery just isn’t swollen, leaky, or broken.
- Clear the battery terminals with a clear dry fabric and ensure they’re totally clear earlier than every use and earlier than charging.
- Make sure that the battery firmware is up to date to the most recent model.
Battery points to concentrate on
If any of the next points are noticed along with your batteries, it’s essential to retire them and eliminate them correctly. Earlier than you begin complaining about the price of changing your battery, keep in mind that utilizing a broken battery can lead to harm to your drone.
- The battery is noticeably swollen. You’ll be able to typically see this when the battery seems to be “puffy” or will now not snap in or sit flush inside the drone.
- The battery is leaking or has visible harm (reminiscent of cracks, tears, dents, or scorch marks).
- The battery has bent terminals.
- The drone’s working app notifies or prompts you relating to battery cell harm.
- The battery has gone by way of 200 charging cycles (the conventional life expectancy of a LiPo battery).
- The battery is exhibiting errors even after correct cost and discharge procedures, twice in a row.
Retiring batteries and secure disposal
As was talked about above, batteries which have reached 200 cycles needs to be retired. That is to make sure the protection of the drone and others close by, because the battery might in the end undergo failure. You’ll be able to perceive a drone battery cycle to imply each time the battery is charged. Many drone flight apps (ie: DJI Fly or DJI Go 4, Autel Explorer) give display screen readouts of the presently put in batteries’ cycle and voltage.
Correct battery disposal contains discharging the battery totally and immersing it in saltwater for 8-12 hours. Alternatively, you might have a neighborhood outlet that accepts Lithium-ion batteries for disposal. It’s advisable that you don’t ship your batteries to a disposal facility.
For extra recommendation on easy methods to safely eliminate your LiPo battery, learn our submit right here »