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New Drone Owners: Battery management is important
1803 32 2020-5-15
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ICDroneSE
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I've owned a number of DJI drones and have spent countless hours in the past couple years learning the ins and outs of the drones, and I've got to say that one of the most important things is definitely battery management. It's so easy to overlook but could be fatal in the future. So for any new users who have picked up the MA2 or will pick it up as their first drone, this is for you!

First of all, the batteries are intelligent, meaning that they will regulate all cell voltages and discharge in 5 days to around 65% if unused. This is done to improve battery health as storing a battery with 100% for a long time isn't good for it. It could cause swelling and decreased capacity.


The main thing that YOU have to do as a pilot, in my opinion, is this:


1. Never fly beyond the operating range of temperatures. If you haven't noticed, the batteries get really hot after a flight and if you think you can push it by a couple of degrees, just don't The battery temp when you take it out will probably increase by 2 or 3 times that amount since the heat sink on the drone can radiate so much heat. Similarly....

2. Don't fly with warm batteries. Fly with room temperature batteries. You don't want to risk overheating the drone/battery. This means that you should not charge a battery and immediately put it in the drone and take it up. No matter how cold it is (unless it's like close to freezing), your battery will only increase in temperature during flight.


3. Never charge batteries immediately after a flight. Notice how batteries warm up after a charge? You want to wait until the batteries reach room temperature before charging. And remember, even if the outside is cool to the touch, the inside might still be warm. I would recommend a good 1 hour at least before you charge up your batteries.

4. If you don't plan to use a battery within 1-2 days, I would recommend charging it to 50%. No swelling and in case you don't fly it for longer, you won't have to worry about it. Furthermore, you can just top it off to 100% the morning or night before you want to fly, and since you're only charging it for 50%, the battery won't heat up as much.



So why is this important?


Battery swelling. I've done a bunch of research and watched videos of Mavic batteries becoming unusable after it starts to swell, causing it to pop out before flight, or god forbid mid-flight. These batteries are rated for 200 cycles, and you wouldn't want to not be able to use them after 70-80 cycles.


If you want to check this yourself, you can actually place a battery at room temperature at 50% charge on a desk, with the info (black label) side down. It sits flush with the table and does not wobble at all. Immediately after charging, try to do the same thing. Since the batteries are new, it's obviously not bad at all, but if you're careful, you should be able to feel a difference. It'll have a tiny tiny tiny bit of wobble. This comes from the heat and having a full charge, expanding the cells.


If any information I have here is wrong, let me know! Otherwise, fly safe!


2020-5-15
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Vlas
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Great points.
2020-5-15
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DJI Mindy
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Very informative post, thanks for sharing.
2020-5-16
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Wildwillis
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I’m by no means implying I’m any more than a novice on this, but I have a question.  I believe the Mavic Air 2 batteries are Lithium Ion and not Lithium Polymer (LiPo).  Can anyone confirm this?

Please don’t get me wrong - I know the advice above is very good regardless.  I know LiPo batteries were common in DJI drones, but I believe the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air now use Lithium Ion (maybe others as well, not sure).  I know the charging guidelines above are VERY important for LiPo batteries, and I have seen them swell rather quickly when not followed (on an older drone - not a DJI).  I’m hoping the Air 2 does indeed have Lithium Ion batteries instead of LiPo as I believe I read.

Again, definitely not suggesting not to follow the advice above.  I’m simply just hoping/expecting the Mavic Air 2 batteries to be a little more forgiving if they are indeed Lithium Ion and not LiPo.
2020-5-16
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Geebax
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Wildwillis Posted at 5-16 20:31
I’m by no means implying I’m any more than a novice on this, but I have a question.  I believe the Mavic Air 2 batteries are Lithium Ion and not Lithium Polymer (LiPo).  Can anyone confirm this?

Please don’t get me wrong - I know the advice above is very good regardless.  I know LiPo batteries were common in DJI drones, but I believe the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air now use Lithium Ion (maybe others as well, not sure).  I know the charging guidelines above are VERY important for LiPo batteries, and I have seen them swell rather quickly when not followed (on an older drone - not a DJI).  I’m hoping the Air 2 does indeed have Lithium Ion batteries instead of LiPo as I believe I read.

Not quite. While the Mini is Lithium Ion, the Air 2 is Lithium Polymer just like all the other DJI flight batteries.
2020-5-16
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Doryphore
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Geebax Posted at 5-16 20:38
Not quite. While the Mini is Lithium Ion, the Air 2 is Lithium Polymer just like all the other DJI flight batteries.

One thing that seems crucial to me but that nobody talks about: does the DJI charger balance the charge of the batteries?
For example with the brand parrot it was not the case .. So I used a specific charger  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx0tZSdaPUI ou  ici : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9MtlGILXVs
2020-5-16
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Smashey1
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Thank you - I've a lot to learn but tips layed out in a simple way like this - with explanations mean the learning curve isn't so steep!
2020-5-16
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Earth_blazing
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Nice thanks
2020-5-17
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Wildwillis
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Geebax Posted at 5-16 20:38
Not quite. While the Mini is Lithium Ion, the Air 2 is Lithium Polymer just like all the other DJI flight batteries.

Thanks.  I had read that the Mini had switched to Lithium Ion.  I looked a little more thoroughly into the batteries for the Air 2 and I see they are indeed Lithium Polymer.
2020-5-17
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Blellow
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What is the normal operating temperature of the Mavic Air 2 battery?  
2020-5-17
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Dronie2
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Thank you very much.
2020-5-17
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Geebax
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Doryphore Posted at 5-16 22:37
One thing that seems crucial to me but that nobody talks about: does the DJI charger balance the charge of the batteries?
For example with the brand parrot it was not the case .. So I used a specific charger  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx0tZSdaPUI ou  ici : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9MtlGILXVs

The first thing to get straight is that the DJI 'chargers' are not chargers at all. The batteries themselves have all the charging and management facilities built into them, so you are simply connecting them to a power supply. This is why the use of an external charger is a waste of time, as it has no control over the charging process at all. As for a balancing charge, I have never seen any evidence that DJI employ a balancing charge regimen.
2020-5-17
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ICDroneSE
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Doryphore Posted at 5-16 22:37
One thing that seems crucial to me but that nobody talks about: does the DJI charger balance the charge of the batteries?
For example with the brand parrot it was not the case .. So I used a specific charger  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx0tZSdaPUI ou  ici : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9MtlGILXVs

I believe that the computer in the battery balances the cell voltages! (i'm just checking in right now, so ignore if someone else has answered the question)
2020-5-17
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ICDroneSE
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Smashey1 Posted at 5-16 23:26
Thank you - I've a lot to learn but tips layed out in a simple way like this - with explanations mean the learning curve isn't so steep!

No problem! Glad to help-it's painful to watch youtube videos of swollen, unusable batteries.
2020-5-17
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ICDroneSE
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Blellow Posted at 5-17 10:47
What is the normal operating temperature of the Mavic Air 2 battery?

I believe that it says 40F-104F (outside temp), but I'm not sure about the battery itself. It's definitely rated for more than that though!
2020-5-17
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HereForTheBeer
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bit overly strict IMO, but better to be safe than sorry.     but i wanna make  few point incase people are worried:

1. the batteries arent stupid (mostly), they know what temperature they are and if too hot or cold and if too much power draw and ll tht, and will try their damnest to adapt and adjust.. if you get any power related warnings, take them seriously unless you wanna risk total loss.  

2. batteries about to fly, better that are slightly too warmvs slightly too cold.  warm less likely to cause damage vs a battery too cold.  when draining at high amperage a hot battery will more likely delivery power thats being damanded much easier (lower resistance) vs a cold battery (higher resistance).  cold battery can much more easily see large and unsafe voltage ag and suddenly powr down from cells being way to low in votage and below cut off range or trigger failsafes like auto landing.   obviously if battery is way too hot let it cool first but if just warm to touch i wouldn't be too concerned..
3.  chargers should prevent you from charging batteries right after flight as it is, should stop you, temperature sensor and smart systems SHOULD stop you, doesnt mean its fool proof, but i never had issues snapping a battery into charger after a flight and letting it handle itself, usually wont start charging for at-least half hour when battery is cooled way down..

4.  as for discharging batteries if not gonna be flying for 1-2 days then dont worry about iti countless times left batteries at 100% for longer than 2 days..its once start doing it for a week + is when things get more iffy..   sure again better to be safe vs sorry but if you are like how i am and are a day to day flyer, dont worry about it, only worry about it  if you wont be touching it for a week or longer (or think you may not be)  ..if thats the case then partially discharge it between 30% - 50% reamining..


my biggest tip is to program a fn key to battery info so you at anymoment can take a quick glance at battery info and stats aytime get a message about power (or wind on a clam day, hint hint) and see if maybe any trouble if one of the cells is weaker thn rest or if getting too hot or cold or maybe notice that says 80% remaining but you know from way voltage is sagging more liekly 30% and can make a ssafe landing or bring the drone back before something fails.  


2020-5-17
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Doryphore
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Geebax Posted at 5-17 13:56
The first thing to get straight is that the DJI 'chargers' are not chargers at all. The batteries themselves have all the charging and management facilities built into them, so you are simply connecting them to a power supply. This is why the use of an external charger is a waste of time, as it has no control over the charging process at all. As for a balancing charge, I have never seen any evidence that DJI employ a balancing charge regimen.

Thank you for these details, knowing that it is very important that the charge is balanced, this strongly influences the life of the battery.....
2020-5-17
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ICDroneSE
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HereForTheBeer Posted at 5-17 20:36
bit overly strict IMO, but better to be safe than sorry.     but i wanna make  few point incase people are worried:

1. the batteries arent stupid (mostly), they know what temperature they are and if too hot or cold and if too much power draw and ll tht, and will try their damnest to adapt and adjust.. if you get any power related warnings, take them seriously unless you wanna risk total loss.  

Hey, thanks for the corrections/advice! Good to know!! I guess if you're in a hurry it's nice to know that they are smart enough.. I guess I'm a bit paranoid so I try to overdo it when taking care of them haha.
2020-5-17
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HereForTheBeer
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ICDroneSE Posted at 5-17 20:57
Hey, thanks for the corrections/advice! Good to know!! I guess if you're in a hurry it's nice to know that they are smart enough.. I guess I'm a bit paranoid so I try to overdo it when taking care of them haha.

like  i said, better to be safe than sorry, nothing you said that is wrong or invalid.   just i like striking a balance and good for people who may not know to know that these batteries for most prt will take care of themselves.
2020-5-18
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Blellow
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ICDroneSE Posted at 5-17 20:05
I believe that it says 40F-104F (outside temp), but I'm not sure about the battery itself. It's definitely rated for more than that though!

After my disaster with the M2Z.  I haven't let the battery go over 50F.  I limit how much sport mode I use.   But when I'm working for real, it might be harder to monitor.

2020-5-18
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djiuser_wEJMIbrw59Qe
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The Mavic Air 2 is my first drone so yes, I am very much a novice and may ask foolish questions.

The manual says, at least, once every three months charge the battery to 100%. The manual also says"To prevent swelling, the battery automatically discharges to 96% of the battery lvel when it is idle for one day, and automatically discharges to 60% of the battery level when it is idle for five days"

Does this mean that DJI has already looked at these issues? Are we okay to charge to 100% and have they cool down a bit store them?
[I added the underline for emphasis]
2020-5-18
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ICDroneSE
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djiuser_wEJMIbrw59Qe Posted at 5-18 10:18
The Mavic Air 2 is my first drone so yes, I am very much a novice and may ask foolish questions.

The manual says, at least, once every three months charge the battery to 100%. The manual also says"To prevent swelling, the battery automatically discharges to 96% of the battery lvel when it is idle for one day, and automatically discharges to 60% of the battery level when it is idle for five days"

Hey, no problem! No dumb questions here. While that is put in as a sort of failsafe, it's still not that good to keep doing that (at least imo). Once in a while, if you forget to discharge it, then it's chill and the battery will do it its thing.

I would not recommend charging it up to 100% and consistently letting it discharge by itself to 60%/65%. Plus, you're just expending battery cycles for no reason. Don't want to decrease your battery health when you could have just charged it up to 50%, right?

I feel like the most important thing about my post was definitely the battery temp. Definitely cool to room temp before you fly, and cool to room temp before you charge.

2020-5-19
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ICDroneSE
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Blellow Posted at 5-18 08:44
After my disaster with the M2Z.  I haven't let the battery go over 50F.  I limit how much sport mode I use.   But when I'm working for real, it might be harder to monitor.

Yikes.. I hope you had DJI Care Refresh with you. Yeah, I also rarely use sport mode. I definitely never fly in sport mode right away.
2020-5-19
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fans86f5feca
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So I’ve noticed my battery swell yesterday when I tried to put it in and wouldn’t snap right.  Crap. Haven’t flown drone much. So i figure ok. Dead battery from no use.  No worries. I have a brand new one in the box sealed I bought about 2 year ago. Same time for backup.  Didn’t want to crack it open to keep it fresh since I don’t need two concurrent batteries.  Opened it up and it’s swelled as much as the current one.  DJI customer response was I have to maintain the battery.  How I’m gonna maintain a battery that is still factory sealed. ????  So now I’m two batteries dead.  Useless support imho.
2020-5-19
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Blellow
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ICDroneSE Posted at 5-19 08:26
Yikes.. I hope you had DJI Care Refresh with you. Yeah, I also rarely use sport mode. I definitely never fly in sport mode right away.

I took it on the head, but sold all my accessories on ebay and bought the MA2.

Fans86f5feca, what drone did this happen to? I assume the Mavic Pro.  Sorry for the loss, but thanks for the info.
2020-5-19
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dronespilot
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Good to know these tips. Thanks for sharing
2020-5-19
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Savage3006
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Good info live and learn.
2020-5-19
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ICDroneSE
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fans86f5feca Posted at 5-19 10:37
So I’ve noticed my battery swell yesterday when I tried to put it in and wouldn’t snap right.  Crap. Haven’t flown drone much. So i figure ok. Dead battery from no use.  No worries. I have a brand new one in the box sealed I bought about 2 year ago. Same time for backup.  Didn’t want to crack it open to keep it fresh since I don’t need two concurrent batteries.  Opened it up and it’s swelled as much as the current one.  DJI customer response was I have to maintain the battery.  How I’m gonna maintain a battery that is still factory sealed. ????  So now I’m two batteries dead.  Useless support imho.

Yikes.. unfortunately, these batteries need constant use (1 cycle every three months, at least) or else they will swell.... Factory sealed means nothing after 2 years I guess the only thing you can do is ask for a discount on a new battery.
2020-5-19
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fantobe
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I just received my Mavic Air 2 today. This is my first drone. Thank you for the pro tip!
2020-5-19
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Daniel Mitrea
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Thanks for the info!
2020-5-20
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Daniel Mitrea
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Thanks for the info!
2020-5-20
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Ken at Sunrise
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ICDroneSE Posted at 5-19 08:25
Hey, no problem! No dumb questions here. While that is put in as a sort of failsafe, it's still not that good to keep doing that (at least imo). Once in a while, if you forget to discharge it, then it's chill and the battery will do it its thing.

I would not recommend charging it up to 100% and consistently letting it discharge by itself to 60%/65%. Plus, you're just expending battery cycles for no reason. Don't want to decrease your battery health when you could have just charged it up to 50%, right?

Thanks for answering. No I didn't intend on charging it only to let it discharge. But it is possible to charge it thinking you can fly only to have bad weather and other events cause you to change your plans. So having it automaticaly discharge to 60% isn't bad I guess. I think after the novelty drops off a bit I won't be flying it every week, maybe once a month or every couple of months.
I know you said there are no dumb questions so I hope this won't set a record. I've seen those small safes like the one from Office Depot. Would it be safe to keep the batteries in there? That last thing I need a house fire.

Thanks again for your help,
2020-5-27
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ICDroneSE
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Ken at Sunrise Posted at 5-27 17:02
Thanks for answering. No I didn't intend on charging it only to let it discharge. But it is possible to charge it thinking you can fly only to have bad weather and other events cause you to change your plans. So having it automaticaly discharge to 60% isn't bad I guess. I think after the novelty drops off a bit I won't be flying it every week, maybe once a month or every couple of months.
I know you said there are no dumb questions so I hope this won't set a record. I've seen those small safes like the one from Office Depot. Would it be safe to keep the batteries in there? That last thing I need a house fire.

Yeah, 100%! Letting it discharge on its own is totally fine. For drones that used to use DJI Go, you could set the discharge timer to 1-2 days, which I used to do. But since this is set at 5 days, it's definitely fine once in a while.

I know of people that keep their batteries in bags, but I personally have had no problems leaving it in the Fly More Case (or whatever case you have). I just make sure that the contacts on the battery are hidden in a corner so that they don't spark on something.

2020-5-27
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