Handy Tips for Extending Your Drone’s Battery Life

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Learning how to fly a drone and using it to capture stunning aerial photos and videos is a thrilling experience. Far less thrilling for most users, though, is the short flight time of most drones. Beginner quadcopters (such as the Hubsan FPV X4) can stay airborne for a paltry 7 minutes, while more expensive quadcopters meant for advanced users (such as what they claim as the smartest flying camera to date) can stay airborne for about 28 minutes. These short flight times can be a real bummer for hobbyists who want to spend the afternoon racing their drones or recording aerial videos. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to extend your drone’s battery life and keep it airborne for a longer period.

1. Remove the camera from the drone if it’s detachable. While drone cameras may seem lightweight, they actually add significant weight to the drone, draining precious battery life. Many cameras also link directly to the drone’s battery. Unless you’re really serious about recording aerial photos and videos, remove the camera to increase your drone’s flight time.  

2. Fly your drone when the weather is favorable. Avoid flying your drone outdoors when weather isn’t good. It will be very difficult for your drone to maneuver, hover, and remain stable when there is a strong wind or heavy downpour. The power will also drain from your battery more quickly. 

Aside from the extra strain on your battery life, flying your drone in unfavorable weather is extremely dangerous. You may end up trespassing or damaging private property, injuring others, or flying into no-fly zones such as airports or government facilities. 

3. Charge your battery properly. To avoid shortening the lifespan of your battery, don’t allow your battery to completely drain itself during flight. You wear out your battery each time you do this. It’s recommended that you fly your drone or quadcopter with no less than 20% battery capacity. Once the battery capacity dips below 20%, stop flying. Give the battery a few minutes to cool down and then recharge it. Users can easily extend the lifespan of their batteries by charging it between 40% and 80%.  On the other hand, you should also avoid overcharging your battery. LiPo (lithium polymer) batteries are extremely volatile and could explode and combust if left to charge for too long. 

4. Charge your battery at the right time. While you may think it’s wise to plan ahead and charge your drone’s battery days before your next flight, doing so will actually shorten the lifespan of your battery. Plus, rechargeable batteries lose a percentage of their power each day they’re left off the charger. It’s best to charge your drone’s battery a few hours before your flight. This will not only ensure longer flight times but will also prevent your drone’s battery from wearing out prematu rely. 

5. Buy a larger battery. LiPo batteries have become the universal power source for remote controlled drones and quadcopters because they are lightweight and can store and release energy at high rates. Just make sure it comes with LiPo bags for safety. Most drones come with mid-range batteries that don’t give users the longest flight times possible. Thus, you should consider upgrading to a battery with higher mAh.

Check your drone’s manual to find out the maximum mAh it can handle. Generally, bigger batteries with higher mAh means increased drone battery life.

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