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Spark in Cold Weather?
21750 35 2017-7-17
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QuadBart
Second Officer
Flight distance : 252405 ft
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United States
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I live in the Northern Hemisphere.  Its still Summer around here. BUT I can start seeing snow in September. Just  a couple short months away...

I've not seen any info on how the Spark handles cold weather.  I've got other DJI drones that have gone through at least one winter, so I know what to expect in battery life, warnings, and behavior...  

But what about the Spark?  Any Southern Hemisphere, Spark flyers have any info to share?


2017-7-17
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Thor1
First Officer
Flight distance : 196837 ft
Canada
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I do not know exactly how it handles in cold weather from experience. but DJI states it is good for temperatures between 0-40 degrees Celsius(32-104F).
2017-7-17
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Cravenfan
Second Officer
Flight distance : 125256 ft
United States
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You must live on Mount Washington in the weather center?  I live in Maine...snow possible end of November, early December.  I'll be using the Spark when snow comes to track my snowmobile...keep the batteries warm on your body, in a pocket of your bibs, etc.  We won't know until we get there...so enjoy the summer and fall now and don't fret.  
2017-7-17
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Andesclimb
lvl.1
Flight distance : 370007 ft
Chile
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Hi, I live in southern Chile. First when flying in cold weather (below -3 degrees celsius) I made a few mistakes:

- No pre warming the batteries (like in your pockets)
- Using sports mode

Doing that my Spark fell off from the sky after less than 2 minutes.

Now I don´t use sports mode and put the batteries in my pocket. Yesterday I reached 500 m  altitude, with -3 degrees celsius reading in my garden´s thermometer without problems.
Hope that helps...
2017-9-5
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Sparky_17
Captain
Flight distance : 62349 ft
Canada
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Thanks for the post, you beat me to it .. LOL

I live in Canada and snow and cold weather is to come

So things to consider:
  • Keep batteries warm
  • don't fly in Sport Mode
  • don't crash in snow
  • don't fly below 0 degrees C


Anything else I should consider.
2017-9-5
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 1915335 ft
Netherlands
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And make sure your spark does not take too big temperature changes for condensation risk (mostly coming from cold to warm, but the effect is not good for your device)
I like to keep my camera in my bag for a good while to let it get used to the new temperature.
2017-9-5
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Andesclimb
lvl.1
Flight distance : 370007 ft
Chile
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Hi, I think (despite what the manual says), that you actually can fly in temperatures below zero, starting with fully charged and prewarmed batteries in no sports mode. Sometimes I got the warning that the battery should be above 15 degrees so it is impossible to take off, and in fact the temperature of the battery was 17 degrees, but with a low battery level. In other cases, I started flying with a battery temperature of 8 degrees, but with newly charged batteries and there was no warning and I could take off without trouble.
Yesterday I could reach 500 m altitude without problems like I mentioned, but I experienced troubles descending when the drone reached the mist level! The sensors did not allow me to descend, stating that there where obstacles on his way (that makes sense because the sensors look down). I did not want to put the sports mode on (and disabling the sensors) because of my past experience in cold weather, and after a few minutes I could pass through the clouds but with a battery level so low, that the engines stopped turning (for protecting the battery) and the drone fell off from the sky from around 30 m high, luckily I live in a farm with tall grass everywhere ;)
I have landed over snow without problems, but crashing over snow is (still) a mistery to me
I think next time if I experience the clouds/mist sensors problem, I will switch to sports mode, but only  for descending!
Fly safe and let us all know, greetings from Patagonia!
2017-9-5
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DJI Elektra
Administrator
China
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Andesclimb Posted at 2017-9-5 09:57
Hi, I think (despite what the manual says), that you actually can fly in temperatures below zero, starting with fully charged and prewarmed batteries in no sports mode. Sometimes I got the warning that the battery should be above 15 degrees so it is impossible to take off, and in fact the temperature of the battery was 17 degrees, but with a low battery level. In other cases, I started flying with a battery temperature of 8 degrees, but with newly charged batteries and there was no warning and I could take off without trouble.
Yesterday I could reach 500 m altitude without problems like I mentioned, but I experienced troubles descending when the drone reached the mist level! The sensors did not allow me to descend, stating that there where obstacles on his way (that makes sense because the sensors look down). I did not want to put the sports mode on (and disabling the sensors) because of my past experience in cold weather, and after a few minutes I could pass through the clouds but with a battery level so low, that the engines stopped turning (for protecting the battery) and the drone fell off from the sky from around 30 m high, luckily I live in a farm with tall grass everywhere ;)
I have landed over snow without problems, but crashing over snow is (still) a mistery to me

Sorry for your sad experience. But I would not recommend you fly the drone during snowy day.
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2017-9-8
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heliman
First Officer
Denmark
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Why not sports mode?
2017-9-8
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Sparky_17
Captain
Flight distance : 62349 ft
Canada
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because of the cold air.  When you fly at a fast speed, your spark and battery would get colder faster and this could cause your spark to shut off mid flight.  Fly with caution in cold weather and don't fly too quickly.
2017-9-8
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Sparky_17
Captain
Flight distance : 62349 ft
Canada
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Andesclimb Posted at 2017-9-5 09:57
Hi, I think (despite what the manual says), that you actually can fly in temperatures below zero, starting with fully charged and prewarmed batteries in no sports mode. Sometimes I got the warning that the battery should be above 15 degrees so it is impossible to take off, and in fact the temperature of the battery was 17 degrees, but with a low battery level. In other cases, I started flying with a battery temperature of 8 degrees, but with newly charged batteries and there was no warning and I could take off without trouble.
Yesterday I could reach 500 m altitude without problems like I mentioned, but I experienced troubles descending when the drone reached the mist level! The sensors did not allow me to descend, stating that there where obstacles on his way (that makes sense because the sensors look down). I did not want to put the sports mode on (and disabling the sensors) because of my past experience in cold weather, and after a few minutes I could pass through the clouds but with a battery level so low, that the engines stopped turning (for protecting the battery) and the drone fell off from the sky from around 30 m high, luckily I live in a farm with tall grass everywhere ;)
I have landed over snow without problems, but crashing over snow is (still) a mistery to me

Thanks for sharing your experience.  
2017-9-8
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kn0xster
lvl.3
Flight distance : 266198 ft
Switzerland
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didn't realise that about the sports mode. Interesting.
2017-9-8
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Mamo Air
lvl.1
United Kingdom
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Hi all. Yesterday it was snowing here in London, UK and I wanted to take some shots with Spark. It didn't even take off as a warning message came on screen saying that temperature was too low. I wouldn't fly in those conditions anymore. Too risky. Pity though
2017-12-11
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SeanGalbraith
Second Officer
Flight distance : 213753 ft
Canada
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I was flying a bit today in about -2C and light snow. Drone handled as expected. The video quality on my phone was definitely degraded. Not sure if it was freezing or if it was due to transmission difficulty. Still... was able to fly and do what I needed to do.
Edit: I had my 3 batteries in an inside jacket pocket so didn't run into battery temp warnings.
2017-12-11
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Jezmo
Second Officer
United States
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I recently flew in sub 0-C temps to get pictures of the snow at my house. My estimate is probably a loss of about 25% duration of flight time. I did NOT try to fly in sport mode and it flew very well other than the slight loss of flight time. The batteries came straight off the charger inside the house and I went outside and immediately began the flight. I did not get any warning on the first battery at  ten minutes but the second battery was warning me to land roughly at the ten minute mark.
2017-12-11
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Vampichoco
lvl.4
Mexico
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So how long should one prewarm the batteries or keep them in pockets? Do you have to start the motor without taking off and let it sit first?
2017-12-11
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SeanGalbraith
Second Officer
Flight distance : 213753 ft
Canada
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I started flying asap after taking the batteries out of my pocket so that they would still be warm (as long as possible).
2017-12-11
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Jezmo
Second Officer
United States
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Same for me. ASAP. I got it in the air quickly while the battery was as warm as possible.
2017-12-12
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JKL3
lvl.3
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Slovakia
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Sparky_17 Posted at 2017-9-8 06:32
because of the cold air.  When you fly at a fast speed, your spark and battery would get colder faster and this could cause your spark to shut off mid flight.  Fly with caution in cold weather and don't fly too quickly.

I fly in sport mode only. In cold too (-5°C). With no problem.
Battery its warm. Flight time approx 13min

Photo maked after flight in cold weather
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2017-12-12
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Chris Doa
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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I made a mistake flying my Spark in 0 celcius. The drone was fine but my phone battery plummeted from 63% to 0 in 30 mins as I'd been camping and the phone was very cold. Being a beginner I panicked as it hovered 2.5m,  just out of reach and out of phone power. I pressed the RTH on the controller and it rose 15m, just clipped a outlying tree branch and flipped on its back and it came to rest in the palm like twigs of the branch. This was all next to a small sandstone cliff about 3m high. When i climbed the crag the spark was still 11m away and overhanging a path!!
I wound up buying 2 5m extension poles and taping them together with duct tape and then adding 2 meter of bamboo cane expecting to flip the spark to its death on the rocks below or if really lucky maybe into the bushes. BY sheer luck the drone flipped out of the branches, landed onto the poles and slid down to me at high speed with a thump but otherwise undamaged. This was after 3 hrs sitting in a light drizzle. Boy this drone is tough.
2017-12-12
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fans70980e35
New
United States
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Heading to Utah ski resort for holidays. Forecast is for 0 - 20 F for the whole week.
Is that too cold or will I be OK with keeping batteries warm before flying?
Guess I'm reading to fly slow and take it easy at best.
2017-12-17
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djiuser_H7cnGpP
lvl.2
Flight distance : 165269 ft
Poland
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temperature -6 ,  some strong wind , flying over an hour , 4 battery swaps. no errors or accidents

all ok
2017-12-18
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Bing Err
Captain
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United States
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Jezmo Posted at 2017-12-11 17:48
I recently flew in sub 0-C temps to get pictures of the snow at my house. My estimate is probably a loss of about 25% duration of flight time. I did NOT try to fly in sport mode and it flew very well other than the slight loss of flight time. The batteries came straight off the charger inside the house and I went outside and immediately began the flight. I did not get any warning on the first battery at  ten minutes but the second battery was warning me to land roughly at the ten minute mark.

I agree with your 25% estimate of loss of flight time. Temp was in the teens the other day and I was getting about 8-9 minutes flight from each battery.
2017-12-18
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fans98344e99
lvl.1
Flight distance : 2241 ft
United States
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I was just flying mine in -10.  Had issues with my phone (S8) getting too cold and shutting down.  So I plugged the S8 into a power supply in my pocket.  Got some good flights that way.  However, the plastic becomes much more brittle in the cold.  Nicked a branch while flying (very light contact) and it broke the plastic gimbal mount.  Always get the insurance with crash protection!
2017-12-26
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fanscb4c0f78
lvl.1
Flight distance : 15853 ft
United States
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Andesclimb Posted at 2017-9-5 09:14
Hi, I live in southern Chile. First when flying in cold weather (below -3 degrees celsius) I made a few mistakes:

- No pre warming the batteries (like in your pockets)

When I got my drone I went to Vermont for a week. The temperature was below 0*F. My drone flew perfectly fine and it was snowing. I would say to turn off your sensors when descending and grab the drone from the air so it does not have to touch the snow. I would also say don't fly the drone to far because it may lose connection from the falling snow. I have flown my drone tons of times in the cold. After each flight warm up the drone so nothing gets damaged.
2018-1-2
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fans205b06e5
lvl.1
United States
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I live in North America and today was the perfect extreme weather situation for me to test. Spark did well - Here is the sneak peak of the flight if interested.
2018-1-6
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dj_dread
Captain
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Romania
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fans205b06e5 Posted at 2018-1-6 12:58
I live in North America and today was the perfect extreme weather situation for me to test. Spark did well - Here is the sneak peak of the flight if interested. https://youtu.be/hRJTF1w_lh0

The lowest temperature i flew my Spark was +2 degrees Celsius. After an hour walking to the designated spot, with batteries in the Spark shoulder bag. I mounted the battery, started up the spark, on the DJI4 app the display said the battery does not have the correct temrepature (or something like that). So i switched to the Battery view in the app and it showed like 12 degrees Celsius. I had the Spark hovering for like two minutes while the battery reached the 25 degrees Celsius. Then i sent it away and took the shots.

My point, the app noticed me about the battery temp and told me i should not do anything until the temperature goes to 25 degrees Celsius.

I concur with the guys replying before, if the batteries are kept in the pocket their temperature may be higher, thus no notification from the app.

What i would recommend is before flying in cold weather try to have the Spark hovering for 1-2 minutes. If nothing happens then is most likely to be ok.

Take care!
2018-1-6
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Newbiesparker
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Flight distance : 13245 ft
United Kingdom
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dj_dread Posted at 2018-1-6 13:07
The lowest temperature i flew my Spark was +2 degrees Celsius. After an hour walking to the designated spot, with batteries in the Spark shoulder bag. I mounted the battery, started up the spark, on the DJI4 app the display said the battery does not have the correct temrepature (or something like that). So i switched to the Battery view in the app and it showed like 12 degrees Celsius. I had the Spark hovering for like two minutes while the battery reached the 25 degrees Celsius. Then i sent it away and took the shots.

My point, the app noticed me about the battery temp and told me i should not do anything until the temperature goes to 25 degrees Celsius.

I shot this in -6 Celsius, with wind chill to -12 whilst in Iceland - I kept the batteries and Spark in a warm car, then the batteries in my pocket while setting up and doing pre-flight checks.  No issues.  Well there was an issue - how cold my hands got during the flight as I had to take my thick gloves off to control the RC correctly!!

2018-1-6
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Samuel Bona
Second Officer
Flight distance : 236102 ft
United States
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I am in Utah (Albeit we are having a really warm winter) I fly in 1-4c weather and get about 12 minutes of flight time, keep the spare batteries inside your thermals and don't fly fast. The denser air in the winter should help negate some battery loss, although I have no real evidence supporting it aside from humble observation.
2018-1-6
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GS Wing Nut
lvl.1

United States
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Andesclimb Posted at 2017-9-5 09:14
Hi, I live in southern Chile. First when flying in cold weather (below -3 degrees celsius) I made a few mistakes:

- No pre warming the batteries (like in your pockets)

Well you know the temperature becomes much colder as you gain altitude right? On your Go 4 app there is a reading for battery temperature. What was your battery temperature when you reached high altitude? And why don't you fly in sport mode when it's cold?

2018-1-13
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Steppen wolf
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United Kingdom
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JKL3 Posted at 2017-12-12 12:12
I fly in sport mode only. In cold too (-5°C). With no problem.
Battery its warm. Flight time approx 13min

This is (so far) my experience too. Spark was a few deg. below body temp when I picked it up after the flight. I'd say sport mode 'keeps' it warm, but this might only be the case for a new battery and I've not seen what impact that might have had yet.
2018-11-3
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Flighty
Captain
Flight distance : 1977175 ft
Croatia
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If I had white Spark I would change the skin to a nice red or bright orange,, otherwise reading all the above it seems feasible to fly in cold conditions over snow,,
2018-11-3
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Mhinc
Second Officer
Flight distance : 96421 ft
Canada
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The coldest I have flown is 36C.  The spark seemed to perform fine, but battery life/flight time was reduced, for sure.
2018-11-3
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Steppen wolf
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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Mhinc Posted at 11-3 02:14
The coldest I have flown is 36C.  The spark seemed to perform fine, but battery life/flight time was reduced, for sure.

Er...36c is hot!
2018-11-6
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Natalia Che
lvl.2
Flight distance : 148409 ft
Russia
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fans98344e99 Posted at 2017-12-26 08:54
I was just flying mine in -10.  Had issues with my phone (S8) getting too cold and shutting down.  So I plugged the S8 into a power supply in my pocket.  Got some good flights that way.  However, the plastic becomes much more brittle in the cold.  Nicked a branch while flying (very light contact) and it broke the plastic gimbal mount.  Always get the insurance with crash protection!

Finally I found a practical tip what to do with the phone in the cold! Thank you!
That was a real problem, I had to land my spark being "blind" (I mean, having no idea where it was or what it was "seeing" without the app) so many times in winter. Once I even had to organise a rescue expedition to the middle of half-frozen river to find where the drone landed...
2019-1-6
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gmozo
Second Officer
United States
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Interesting...but the dji spark intelligent batterie...what i think it will act different as in flight time cuz its cold...so i would try to see if it handles in cold weather.
2019-1-6
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