Tips for buying, storing, and maintaining your drone batteries
Batteries have come a long way in a short time. If you’re new to drones, chances are you’ve got a few questions about batteries. How many do I need? How do I store them? Do they require maintenance?
Today’s drones run on lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries, and require management to ensure safe flight and storage. The logistics of transporting, storing, tracking, and replacing your fleet’s batteries can prove to be a challenge for a growing team. And batteries are often overlooked by program coordinators just getting started. The cost of purchasing, maintaining, and replacing batteries is something you’ll want to consider from the start.
Here are some battery tips and best practices to help you set-up and scale your drone operation.
This is the second installment in our two-part series on drone maintenance. If you missed part 1, read it here.
Buying Drone Batteries
Each drone usually comes with 1–2 batteries at the time of purchase. However, we recommend you buy additional batteries to meet the flight demands of your industry and projects. For reference, each manufacturer lists flight time for drone models in the hardware specifications.
Some jobs may require multiple flights to map large areas, which means additional batteries are needed. We recommend purchasing a minimum of 4–6 batteries for each drone in your fleet. Having 4–6 batteries per drone translates into 2+ hours of flight time in the field.
Keep in mind external factors such as temperature and wind can affect flight time and should be taken into consideration when planning a mission.
Storing Drone Batteries
So, you have purchased your drone batteries, but how do you charge and store them safely?
Here are some tips to avoid potential issues such as a fire in your office:
- Store batteries in a cool, dry place away from flammable objects or liquids
- Don’t overcharge batteries, leave batteries charging overnight, or without observation
- Keep batteries in a room that has a functional smoke detector, fire extinguisher, or sprinkler system should a fire occur
- When traveling, keep your batteries safely nestled in a travel case. If you’re traveling by plane, check with your airline beforehand for the latest policy. Drones and batteries are allowed on planes in accordance with TSA guidelines. Lithium-ion batteries must remain under 100 watts and be stored in carry-on luggage.
Maintaining Drone Batteries
Batteries, like the drones themselves, require maintenance over time to ensure they are in proper working condition. Before and after each flight batteries should be inspected for signs of damage. If batteries suffer from any damage, they should be disposed of properly and replaced.
Use the AirData UAV Sync App available in DroneDeploy’s App Market to understand your battery health. Detect deviations in battery cells that could lead to issues down the line, and gain insight into when you should consider retiring and disposing of a battery.
Batteries should also undergo testing and diagnostics throughout their lifecycle. There are a variety of tools that can analyze battery data to provide you with insights into battery health. Using these tools, you can take a look “under the hood” and get a better idea of when it may be time to replace your fleet’s batteries.
Where to Learn More
- Interested in getting more information on fleet maintenance and repairs? Check out our free eBook to learn more about drone repair and battery maintenance.
- Read part one in this blog series to learn more about drone repair.
- Just getting your in-house drone program started? Read this post and learn 5 tips to get your operation off the ground.
- New to drone mapping? Read these 10 tips for success during your first flight with DroneDeploy.
- Print off our pre-flight checklist to make sure you never miss a thing during your next pre-flight inspection.
Get Started with DroneDeploy
Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.