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P3 Batterys and use - A users guide to their use
480 14 2017-12-5
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solentlife
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So you have just bought your first DJI Phantom - with proper setup and care - you will be amazed at its video and photographic possibilities.
Lets go through various aspects of this new acquisition.

Many people new to Hobby Battery systems wonder how to treat these battery's. They are used to charging computers / mobile phones but when it comes to hobby batterys such as LiPo - the rules change.
DJI battery's,  while they are supposedly intelligent batteries, they fall short on various.

I hope the following can dispel some of the myths and misinformation that has grown up around the Phantom 3 battery series. Note this only applies to P3 batterys and do not suggest applies to other.

But first we have to consider opening the box and putting into service the whole system/

New Purchase:
You open the box and in eagerness want to get out and there and fly ! Please don't. Please resist that urge. There are a few items you need to do first.

a) Have latest DJI GO to register with DJI to activate the Aircraft (we shall call this AC).
b) Fully charged battery to ensure any updates / activation has sufficient battery power to complete.
c) Checked level floor for IMU calibration and identify a nice clean outside area for Compass calibration. I suggest taking a hand held compass outside .. walk around and see where needle gets deflected - that is a spot you should stay away from. It could be pipes, cables, rebar etc. under the ground, overhead etc.

Follow the DJI tutorials for initial setup and calibrations. Youtube search will point you directly.

OK - you have setup your P3. I will not go into flight as that is something that you should practice and develop your own skill at. Just note that it is worth once reasonably happy with P-GPS mode - to swap to ATTI mode and fly manually to get used to a less stable AC. This skill will save you later when things start to get out of hand.

OK - the most misunderstood aspect of models such as these - Batterys !

a) Never fly with a partial discharged battery.
b) I strongly suggest that the default 10 day discharge setting of GO be changed to 2 - 3 days for start of auto-discharge. Please resist temptation to check battery level within this period - as that will reset the timer !
c) Do not deep discharge batterys every 20 flights or so - only do this rarely - as it accumulates damage to a LiPo. Even DJI themselves advise against it now. The claimed re-calibration is purely a mA in vs mA out counter in the battery control board.
d) Try not to fly into the low battery warning zone. I leave my warnings at default - 30% low and 10% critical. I plan to land with about 30 - 35% battery level - which gives me a good storage level to bench my batterys.
e) Resist temptation to keep checking batterys - this resets auto discharge timer.
f) If you plan to not fly for significant period - then charge batterys fully. Place into storage and leave them alone. After a couple of weeks - check levels. If down to 2 led's - then charge again. Let auto discharge do its job. This way you will not enter hibernation mode and have any problems to use batterys months later.
g) A lot of talk about battery temperature - LiPo batterys are fine from 10C upwards. For some reason DJI decided to program the system so that we need to have a 'warm' battery. That is easily accomplished by placing battery inside your coat ... warmed in the car driving to site ... LiPo warming bags ... picnic bags with warmers in ... Many ways to accomplish this. It is a myth that you need to hover the AC if it is cold. If the AC powers up and takes off - that means battery is at working level and will fly. DJI AC do not fall out of sky for this !

Let us move on to after flight.

Batterys warm up when used. So it is good practice to allow the battery to cool before recharging.
Note that being a 4 cell pack and inside a case - the inner cells will take longer to cool down.
If you are not planning on flying for a while - then refer to point f) above. Some will advise charging partially etc. But the easiest and best way is via f). Charge up and let auto-discharge do its work. Note that the LED's are representative of 25% increments .. when flashing 12.5% - this means you are not that sure of what it really means when you see the LED's. But if you use the auto discharge system - you then know your batterys are being looked after. You just need to check every week or so.

Summary :
1) Always fly on a fully charged battery and land when your battery level is around 30%.
2) Have auto discharge set to 2 - 3 days maximum and plug in every battery you have to AC to make sure Battery FW is updated to this setting.
2) Let your battery cool down before charging—somewhere around 30 minutes or until it is around room temperature.
3) If you fly and land to 30% - after about one week - charge your battery fully and let auto-discharge do its job to avoid battery entering Hibernation mode. Check each week or so for level and recharge is it falls below 2 LED's and let auto discharge work again.
4) Always top up charge before flight if battery stands for more than one day after charging. Switch on battery - then plug in charger to make sure top-up occurs.

I accept that this may disagree with some peoples views on the matter - but I base my suggestions on many years of LiPo use and a significant period of DJI ownership. My batterys perform ... and keep performing.

I wish all good flights and long battery life.

Nigel

2017-12-5
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RedHotPoker
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You seem to have a greater knowledge of regular RC batteries, than the actual intelligent flight batteries we are all familiar with here.

What else about the Phantom series can you enlighten us all about? ;-)


RedHotPoker
2017-12-5
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Nebuchadnezzar
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Thanks for share , Great Info
2017-12-5
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solentlife
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2017-12-5 10:21
You seem to have a greater knowledge of regular RC batteries, than the actual intelligent flight batteries we are all familiar with here.

What else about the Phantom series can you enlighten us all about? ;-)

RHP .. you never fail to amaze me with your insight and knowledge - yet again you post such valuable ******

I have actually dismantled DJI batterys ... used them for significant time and maintained them. I post what I believe is useful.

If you think you can do better - Please be my guest - I am sure I will not be only one to want to read your P3 Battery User Guide....

Honestly - please take my post and add your version to each section / part ... make it identifiable - so we can see your valuable input.
But please don't just make a remark and do your usual ... do something useful for a change !

Nigel
2017-12-5
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solentlife
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For those who are new to LiPo batterys ... particularly DJI packs ....

DJI use a High Voltage version of a standard LiPo - which conforms to 4.35V per cell.

Standard LiPo is 4.20V per cell.

It gives approx 10% increased power for a short period - then reverts to standard LiPo performance.

DJI have put a control board on the front end of the 4 cell pack. This has FW that is reported to :

a) Control discharge routine. This can be altered within DJI GO.
b) To balance cells when charging. This has been proved ineffectual and inadequate due to boards FW shutting of charge based on total voltage.
c) To put battery into Hibernation mode when battery left significant period. This has led to batterys failing to resurrect.
d) To check individual cell voltages - it is necessary to power up all items and view via GO.

I can go on ... but what do I know ?

Nigel
2017-12-5
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RedHotPoker
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solentlife Posted at 2017-12-5 11:05
RHP .. you never fail to amaze me with your insight and knowledge - yet again you post such valuable ******

I have actually dismantled DJI batterys ... used them for significant time and maintained them. I post what I believe is useful.

When you release your drone and battery version, I will be the first to stand in line...



RedHotPoker
2017-12-5
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solentlife
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2017-12-5 11:34
When you release your drone and battery version, I will be the first to stand in line...

Oh please ...

Is that your reply to my offer for you to append to my Battery summary ?

I am waiting your valuable contribution to battery information and maintenance that I am sure you can make - if you take some time to write.

C'mon RHP - please do not disappoint, we all wait your infinite wisdom and insight in this vital subject.

You threw down the 'gauntlet'  - I am just picking it up and calling your bluff ...

Nigel
2017-12-5
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RedHotPoker
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I gave you an up vote.  For effort...

When are you starting your new forum? ;-)



RedHotPoker
2017-12-5
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solentlife
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2017-12-5 11:34
When you release your drone and battery version, I will be the first to stand in line...

I suspect you would not realise whether its good or bad !

I would need to construct and program it to accept your strange sense of humour.

Actually on thinking about it - it would be impossible to program a unit to work by understanding your  strange attitude and use of emoticons !

Nigel
2017-12-5
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RedHotPoker
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solentlife Posted at 2017-12-5 11:59
I suspect you would not realise whether its good or bad !

I would need to construct and program it to accept your strange sense of humour.

What will you call your forum.

RC battery info for Dummies?

That would help others understand..



RedHotPoker
2017-12-5
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solentlife
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You are a one of RHP ....



I am waiting your post on battery use and maintenance ....

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wake me up when you have something worthwhile to contribute ....

Nigel ....
2017-12-5
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solentlife
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RHP - I am calling you out ..........

Please show where I am wrong in my opening post ..............

If not - then go away and annoy someone else.

Nigel
2017-12-5
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RedHotPoker
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We already have a DJI battery intelligence on the forum.
https://forum.dji.com/thread-38174-1-1.html
Perhaps you would like to coauthor with Tim, another intelligent flight battery leaflet.

The authoritative manual...  ;-)

You are a bright individual, but you waste your energy.  Haha


RedHotPoker


2017-12-5
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DJI Susan
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Hey Nigel, it seems that there still many arguments of battery maintainance. Thanks for sharing your opinions as well.
2017-12-6
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solentlife
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Hi Susan ... yes - until the powers that be in DJI actually release all the info - unlikely because of proprietary copyright etc. - the arguments will continue.

What I can say is that my info is based on dismantling and checking packs, not only by myself but also others I was in daily communication  with comparing results. Plus the use of LiPo's for many years along with well over 50yrs modelling.

I accept majority of Tim's old post of some years back - despite it beding written for a different DJI product - but some of it has been disputed and DJI themselves deleted from their advisorys - regular Deep Discharge being one.

At the end of the day - we all arrive at our preferred systems to maintain  our batterys - some good, some bad. If Tim's or my posts can help people extend the life of their batterys - then for me that is the reward.

Nigel
2017-12-6
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