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Batteries Last Only 50 Cycles
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ianwood
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Once you get in the range of 50 power cycles, the "intelligent" battery begins to fail. The primary symptom being shortened flight times and sudden drop in battery percentage on the newer firmware. There's also slight puffing.

I have purchased 7 batteries over the past year labeled 1 through 7. A few months ago, batteries 1 and 2 started to go bad right at 50 cycles. Now battery 3 with 55 cycles has exactly the same problem. And it's not for the lack of taking proper care of them!


This is a trend for most every Phantom 2 battery. If you plan on buying batteries, be aware that they only last for 50 cycles.

If you have the same issues as many do, register your bad batteries here: http://www.phantompilots.com/threads/the-dji-bad-battery-registry.26733/

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Gerry1124
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Have you drained them and recharged after 20 cycles?
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ianwood
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Gerry1124 Posted at 2015-4-8 11:40
Have you drained them and recharged after 20 cycles?

Yes, that re-calibrates the percentage calculations but does nothing for sagging voltage after only 7 or 8 minutes of use. You will see that there are several hundred people who have the same problem if you follow the link above.
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droneflyers.com
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I think that is about right - that is, that is about the number of cycles I have gotten out of many of my other LiPo's - I know DJI claims more but they tend to exaggerate about everything (flight times, etc.).

At a battery cost of about $110, that's about $2 per flight which is not to bad in my book.

I never expected to get the 100-300 cycles claimed, so this is not news to me. DJI should probably change their marketing materials and manuals to reflect reality.
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Gerry1124
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ianwood Posted at 2015-4-8 11:42
Yes, that re-calibrates the percentage calculations but does nothing for sagging voltage after only ...

Nothing will last forever.  That would equal about .17 cents per minute for flying.
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gnixon2015
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very true df and gerry... my car gets 8.3 cents per minute of driving at 60mph based upon 2.50/gallon of gas and 30mpg.  and i payed tens of thousands of dollars for it.  for something i spent 1000 on to get 17 cents per minute on fuel costs seems pretty reasonable to me.

is it not even less?  50 cycles at 20mins of flight time per cycle is 1000 mins of flight time.  at a cost of $125 that is 12.5 cents per minute, no?
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gnixon2015
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i guess it depends upon what you pay for your battery and your avg flight time used.  df says 110 per battery so that would be only 11 cents per minute at 20 mins of flight time.  not to nerd out on it but hadnt actually thought about the fuel cost at a unit level yet, so im pretty impressed that it is only 50% less effiecient than my 6sigma manufactured automobile with billions in R&D.
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kirk2579
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I guess maybe the issue is that DJI says 300 cycles

50 vs 300

that is it , very straight and simple , the numbers, real vs advertised

ill give you 50 dollars for 300 , any takers.  nope ....

however you feel, these batteries are NOT living up to and performing as stated they would.

never mind any other battery , we are talking the smart dji battery period, others do NOT have the smart board so they don't count

they say it will last  x and it only lasts y

x=300
y=50

y= x div by 6
real use is 1/6 of advertised
big darn difference in my math book

in other words they are not even CLOSE to being correct in the figures used to sell these items

Maybe 50 is all they ever can be used by design or whatever , then  SAY THAT,  not 300

its misleading and wrong and I don't care the ave cost at 50 , I bought an ave cost at 300, so did you!

again very simple!   

words have meaning!
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Gerry1124
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kirk2579@aol.co Posted at 2015-4-8 13:58
I guess maybe the issue is that DJI says 300 cycles

50 vs 300

Do you have a link where it says 300 cycles on the battery?  I looked on the battery page for the store and didn't see any mention of 300 cycles.
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memelivorno
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Gerry1124 Posted at 2015-4-8 14:08
Do you have a link where it says 300 cycles on the battery?  I looked on the battery page for the  ...

On the manual is clearly readable
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Ploug
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I am on 79 cycles now and still get about 16 - 18 minutes flight with fpv equipment on works like new for me, but then again i got one of the older batteries i think
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Daninho
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Most ppl handle them wrong. I always charge them at the same day i want to fly and never store them for a day fully charged
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memelivorno
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I don't think the problem is to store them fully charged, the problem is to store them almost fully Discharged...
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Daninho
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memelivorno@gma Posted at 2015-4-8 18:19
I don't think the problem is to store them fully charged, the problem is to store them almost fully  ...

store them fully charged is much worse. Fully discharged dosnt matter because the battery is dead if you fully discharge it.
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adrianjacobs
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Daninho Posted at 2015-4-8 18:01
Most ppl handle them wrong. I always charge them at the same day i want to fly and never store them  ...

yep, but that's a pain in the @rse.  i have 3 batteries and a single charger and it takes well over an hour to charge each battery form 50% to full (not to mention the charge time for the wifi extender which takes hours and hours to charge from 50% - and it's also a lipo which shouldn't be stored fully charged).

So, I get home from work, think "it's a nice evening, I'll go flying" and 3 hours later I'm charged and ready, and it's dark :-)

I guess i need to get me a multi charger board.  Are these any good?  or does it mess up the charging time/circuit if you charge multiple batteries at a time through a single charger?
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Daninho
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adrianjacobs@nt Posted at 2015-4-8 18:26
yep, but that's a pain in the @rse.  i have 3 batteries and a single charger and it takes well ove ...

I dont like the multi boards, i just bought another charger, i fly only two batteries
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adrianjacobs
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kirk2579@aol.co Posted at 2015-4-8 13:58
I guess maybe the issue is that DJI says 300 cycles

50 vs 300

I agree 100%.  We all know that manufacturers are gonna exaggerate the performance of their products;  buy a car that should do 40mpg, and you'll be lucky to get 30mpg.  But the manufacturer can at least prove 40mpg under ideal conditions.

but claim 300 uses to 50 actual (less than 20 some people claim)?  that's just wrong!
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Gerry1124
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memelivorno@gma Posted at 2015-4-8 16:02
On the manual is clearly readable

What it says in the manual is to dispose of the battery if over 300 cycles.  It is not a guarantee every battery will last 300 cycles.
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Gerry1124
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maximum usage.  Same as car tires, they say a tire should last 50,000 miles, some will, some won't depending on operators driving.
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i_anderson
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Hi,

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but those battery info shots you posted don't seem too bad to me....... Says you've lost ~5% of total capacity, which I think is reasonable after 50 cycles.

Also says they've got "83% life remaining", which again seems reasonable.

Finally, the cells all appear well within balance tolerance.

Why do you say these are "failing"? I'm not trying to be argumentive here, just understand the issue.

Cheers,
Ian
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yorlik
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my question too - why say they are bad?  because you only get 6-7min flight time?  I assume your 2 batt pix shown in first post were indeed only charged 40% (2000mah) and so showed only 2 green bars at time of printing those results?  because it states that each still has 4968mah avail when fully charged...  that is 4968/5200=95.5% capacity when fully charged.....

so if you used to get 15 min flight time, I would expect now you get 14 minutes if that data is correct.  But instead you say you 6-7min?  then capacity should show 1/2 of 5200, not 4968mah?  What does not jive?
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rdc4444
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I use to keep my batteries stored at 100% but now after every flight I charge them to 50% or 3.8v per cell. Appears if treated and stored properly they should last 300-400 cycles according to the pdf guide posted below...I'm keeping a record of all my batteries. My four 2200mah phantom 1 batteries have 29 full cycles and have already dropped from about 13 mins to 11 mins of flight time but then again I use to keep them fully charged between flights which is a bad idea. I have five Phantom 2 batteries but all have about 20 cycles each and I have't noticed a drop in performance yet.  

http://www.rcaces.org/RC%20Aces% ... _LiPo_Batteries.pdf

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droneflyers.com
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My guess is that these problems are due to the relatively intense battery drain of a quad. In a computer or smartphone the battery discharges at a relatively low level. But the quad makes real use of the full power of the battery, while at the same time having the disadvantage of having to haul the heavy battery around the sky!

I think some of this will improve as the years go by - that is,  up until now most batteries and flight systems have been fairly dumb and not properly (perfectly) matched. Maybe the new P3 will improve upon this?

I agree that DJI and other makers should stop playing the exaggeration game. In a bare P2 or one with a gopro and no gimbal the battery may last longer.....but they should probably just state the truth as being "the battery should be carefully monitored after 50 cycles as power and flight times will start to wane - pilots should consider replacing their batteries at or before 100 cycles".

I don't think many pilots would hold this against them. Heck, if I flew each battery once per week (weather will often no allow), that would be two years.
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Bobcat90
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I looked at the link that was suggested, but I did not see several hundred people as mentioned.  Maybe I am wrong, but there might be quite a few of us out there who are not experiencing the same problems after 50 or more cycles.  Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part.
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rdc4444
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Bobcat90 Posted at 2015-4-8 23:16
I looked at the link that was suggested, but I did not see several hundred people as mentioned.  May ...

It is on the very first page..I've highlighted the passage assuming you are referring to my link below..

But, just as a coin has two sides, there are some drawbacks to LiPo batteries as well.

1. LiPo batteries have a shorter life span than NiMH/NiCd batteries. They average only 300 – 400 cycles if treated properly.


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i_anderson
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Bobcat90 Posted at 2015-4-8 23:16
I looked at the link that was suggested, but I did not see several hundred people as mentioned.  May ...

Yep.

I could also be wrong, but after struggling thru 3-4 pages it seems to me the OP is simply searching for people who's batteries haven't lasted as long as expected..... "Come on people, post up your crappiest experiences" over and over got old and I gave up. [An attorney looking for a class action suit maybe? ;)]

These things store an incredible amount of power compared to what we had just a few years back. Conversely, they're also pushing the envelope and *need* to be looked after "properly" - Fully (dis)charging them and then stashing them in the cupboard *is* a recipe for disaster IMO. These same folks then bitch & whine that they're only getting "50 cycles", DJI sucks, and everything in the world sucks. [Although, again, I don't see any evidence from the data posted that either battery was "trashed" as claimed.]

Sorry people, and again this is just my 02c - You play with high tech stuff you've got to look after it - Calibrate the compass, check GPS status, check the RTH point etc etc and she'll do just fine. Then "nursemaid" the batteries with a good (dis)charger.

Cheers,
Ian
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gnixon2015
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rdc4444@hotmail Posted at 2015-4-9 00:25
It is on the very first page..I've highlighted the passage assuming you are referring to my link b ...

rdc, thanks for sharing that link.  it looks like that site is also quoting 300-400 just like DJI, so perhaps the OP should consider that maybe DJI isnt spouting something THEY made up, but using something that is a common industry spec.  i mean, i get that if something only lasts 50 cycles and the manuf says they last 300 is misleading, but if the industry says they should last 300 and someone's is only lasting 50, i dont know that i would say that is JUST dji misrepresenting.  also, just because 1 person has this problem doesnt mean that there arent plenty of other people that are getting way more than 50 cycles out of it.  either way, i dont see enough evidence at this point to say dji is blatently misrepresenting its product.
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uptowndisco
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Might have made replacements cheaper if the smart part of the battery pack was detachable so that only a new lipo  was needed when it came time to replace a worn out battery.
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yorlik
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Might be interesting to look at typical cycle life based on charge or discharge rates..  Example from batteryU:

(http://batteryuniversity.com/lea ... _lithium_ion_to_die)

Our 5200mah batteries are subject to 30amp every time we full throttle rise, so about 6C rate...  So the lives being 50-200 makes sense - depending on how you fly.  I have never seen a real max discharge rating on our batteries so have no idea what they are 'rated.'  

As an example, my 100% EV had 35kwh battery, 350v, 100ah cells.   For 2 years I limited peak accel current to 300amps, but after talking to the PHD designer of the batts in China, he said I should be fine and not harm life much upto 5c discharge.....  So 2 years into it I increased my peak to 450amps.  FUN! Unfortunately 6 months later I had killed about a dozen of my 108 cells....

SO, if someone wants to try to extend their batt lives MORE than the fun of going up like a bat out of he11 like we enjoying doing, they COULD keep climbs to say 1/2 throttle (3m/s rather than 6m/s) and they MAY double the batt life since this limits discharge peak from 6C to about 4C like the chart attached....


What causes Lithium-ion to die – Battery University - Google Chrome.jpg
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gnixon2015
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im with yorlik on this one.  this chart clearly shows how dramatic of a factor discharge rates affect cycle totals.  we're not talking by 10%, we're talking by double, triple or more.  that means that simple things like flying often in wind could take dozens of cycles off of your battery.  

it also proves that under warehouse conditions, DJI (or anyone for that matter) COULD get 300+ cycles in if they hovered for 25mins for all of those 300 cycles.  in fact, it is no different from 'specs' like the point above about car MPG ratings being done in totally ideal conditions (even if that isnt realistic) just to give you a baseline to judge from.  

to me, seems like based upon yorliks info, that is very possibly all DJI did here was use industry standard specs to publish.
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kirk2579
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yorlik Posted at 2015-4-9 08:51
Might be interesting to look at typical cycle life based on charge or discharge rates..  Example fro ...


this is reasonable and logical . push anything to limits and everything works harder and uses more energy, whatever the source.

I actually for most part speed up gradually and don't do sudden direction changes etc with the plus . still have now had warning with 2 batteries that are less than 3 months old with 15-20 cycles. I fly at least 3 or 4 times weekly with 2 quads snow on ground (not snowing) or cold so batteries are not sitting idle and some days its charge and fly , wait charge and fly, I also stop about 50% the last month or so since warnings began and I am worried about fast drop in levels I saw once.

however the p2v1 gets a little more on everything...lol
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Bobcat90
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rdc4444@hotmail Posted at 2015-4-9 00:25
It is on the very first page..I've highlighted the passage assuming you are referring to my link b ...

I was referring to the link suggested by Ianwood.  He said there are hundreds of people  complaining, but all I saw was him begging us to post there.  
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yorlik
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I was not trying to say for sure that our dji batteries follow that same lithium-x 'typical' curve!  Please understand that there ARE things battery mfgrs can do to allow a design to handle 6C, 10C, 20C, 40C peaks better by beefing up stuff inside the battery (beefing=higher cost).....  So in all honesty, dji may NOT act exactly like this chart - I am sure their mfgr has similar chart for THEIR design, but that is not published for us to see.    That said, I am not aware of any reality to someone advertising a 40C battery other than marketing hype, but I may just be behind the times.
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atcosby
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Ok so after every flight I usually will charge my batteries to 100 percent and then 4 days later I will break the phantom out to go fly her with the batteries that I charged 4 days ago.  So is that a bad idea?  After I get done flying should I charge all the batteries to 50 percent and then the day of when im planning on flying top them off at 100%?
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gnixon2015
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atcosby, that is what i do.  keep/store them at a 50% charge and top that off the day of (or day before) i fly.  i typically do the day before because who wants to wait around on the day of and sometimes my flight 'timing' changes with my daily schedule and weather and such.  so if i think im going flying, i top them off between 24 and 48 hrs prior to flying.  there is NO harm at all for keeping it at 100% for a few days.  
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i_anderson
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FWIW, I agree with gnixon. Seems like a "best practice" to me too.

Having said that, it's worth noting that DJI sets them to begin auto discharging after 10 days. I would assume (always dangerous as we know ;)) they know what's going on better than us and feel 10 days is OK. (Unless they just want us hurting our batteries of course!)

Cheers,
Ian
2015-4-9
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gnixon2015
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ian, 10 days really is 'ok', i just err on the safe side with 2days to be brutally protective of my investment.  but the research ive seen indicates that a week or so is really no concern so i think their choice of 10days is appropriate.  there have also been posts (i havent confirmed) that pressing the button once to see the 4lights level 'resets' the 10 day counter.  if that is true, then it is possible you could go beyond 10days without knowing it so folks should be aware of that unknown (unless someone can confirm it isnt true).  i havent tested it.
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ianwood
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If DJI wants to ignore these bad batteries as a warranty issue, then at a minimum they needs to institute a buy back program whereby they give you 50% off on a new battery when you supply a defective one in exchange. There are simply too many examples of batteries that only last 6 or 7 minutes after 40 - 60 cycles even when properly taken care of.

This is not only a customer satisfaction issue either. It is a safety and environmental issue as well. It would not be good to hear of someone getting hurt as result of a crash or battery fire caused by these defective batteries. Similarly, it is very bad environmental practice to use batteries that only last a couple of months and then require disposal. These batteries need to be taken back by DJI and then recycled into working batteries that last.

BTW, don't store batteries either fully charged or discharged. I keep mine between 35% and 65% between flights.


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droneflyers.com
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Well, I think we all learned something here - it's probably the high discharge rate and the need for such a high % of the battery power that makes them less useful after 50 cycles or so....

My Macbook air battery is rated for up to 1,000 cycles - but it was down to 90% of capacity after 100 cycles - now it's down to 85% at 300.

But unlike a Phantom, the macbook is not going to drop from the sky into a pond due to the weaker battery.

I suspect there is a lot lost in translation at DJI. The engineering dept. and the specs from the battery vendors probably accurately state that the battery is designed for up to 300 cycles. BUT, they are not doing real world tests.....

I don't see the advantage to all the exaggeration in the entire industry. One company does it and then they all feel they have to. It would be a breath of fresh air for a company to state the plain facts...even like "up to 22 minute flight time - up to 15 minutes when using camera and gimbal equipped models".
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4hotoddi
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When I received my new DJI Phantom battery is showed 2 charges on it before I charged it myself...is this normal?
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