Taking care of the drone batteries:
Flying drone is not just a hobby anymore but a profession. Statistics shows a huge increase in drone professionals over the last two years. As more and more people are getting drone pilot licenses and drone are finding new applications, the opportunities are available in many fields. Drone flight time is mainly dependent on the capacity of drone batteries and one should pay a close attention to the status and maintenance of drone batteries. Following are some of the important points one must know and implement in order to get most of the drone batteries:
1. Understand the battery specifications:
The capacity of the battery is normally given as Ah (or mAh) which is a basically current unit (Ampere) multiplied by the time unit(hour). If capacity is 20Ah and the drone draws a current of 1A, this battery should theoretically be good enough for 20 hrs. But in practice, a battery lasts for 80% of the theoretical time so in this situation, the battery may last for roughly 16 hrs. But there are few other factors which could also affect this time.
Once you know the Ah value of the battery, now you can go and look at some other things which you might be doing while working as a drone enthusiast. One of the things would be traveling on an airplane. There are limitations on which battery you can carry on the airplane and which you can’t. Any battery having more than 160Ah falls in dangerous goods category (in Australia) and you can not carry this. Similarly, you can carry a battery equal to 100 or less Ah but there are some packaging requirements. If you want to carry a battery between 100 and 160, you must contact the airline and they will let you know what to do. So these are kind of things you should be taking into consideration as a drone enthusiast. If you own a license then during training you will learn all this stuff. So enjoy your drone and stay safe.
2. General care of drone battery:
When putting or removing the battery, make sure that you are not putting too much pressure. The battery should go in and come out with an ease and if it’s too hard then you are doing something wrong. If the battery is hot at removal, place it in an airy environment, so that it could cool a bit before putting it on the charger. Most batteries have the connector which can be put into the charger either way but still just double check. Do not leave the battery inside the charger unattended. Fully understand the status lights on the charger and also on drone battery. Read the manual and learn how to charge the battery 100%, because some charger can not differentiate the charged battery between 95% to 100% region and the status shows that the battery is fully charged but actually it is just 95%. Use only high-quality cables as recommended by the company. Reading the battery user manual is time well spent.
3. Pre-flight and during the flight:
Always check the drone batteries before starting to fly a drone. The best way to do this to place this in your pre-flight checklist. Every drone software (at least which I have seen) shows the battery time left in its software. Keep an eye on it so that you don’t end up in loosing your drone. Although there are alarms at battery low and also a critically low battery alarm but sometimes you could easily miss this due to noise in the environment or when enjoying a sports flight. Make sure as soon as you get the “first” low battery alarm, your only job is to do the landing immediately whatsoever.
4. Spare batteries:
If you are going on a project, make sure that you have at least 2 spare batteries with you. Although it depends on the type of project and the flight time requirements but you don’t want to be without a battery when you have put a lot of effort to make a setup etc. Be careful about the storage and charging of the spare batteries. As soon as you come back, put all the discharged batteries into the charger.
5. Time to discharge:
Most batteries discharge after a few days if not used. There is normally few days period, after which batteries start to discharge every single day and discharged to a final 50% or so value. This “time to discharge” is shown somewhere in the software. You should be aware of this functionality and always keep this in your mind.
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