DJI drone batteries are the most consumable part of an entire drone set. It is for that very reason that it demands all your attention.
Whether you are charging, discharging, storing, transporting, or even disposing of a drone battery, it's important to stick to the manufacturer's recommendations. By doing this, you can make the most out of a single charge while keeping your battery healthy at the same time.
Regardless of your experience level as a pilot, figuring out the right way to maintain your DJI drone batteries can be quite a challenge.
In this post, I'll help you do just that — as well as walk you through some important aspects along the way. These aspects will also tell you everything you need to know about a drone battery as a pilot.
To say the very least, DJI drones batteries offer a unique flight performance. Here's why.
Most DJI drones use Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. Aircrafts with such batteries offer greater flight times — thanks to the battery’s higher capacity and discharge rate. Together, the LiPo batteries and DJI drones make a dynamic duo offering maximum power delivery and great flight experience.
It’s clear to see that DJI drones are designed for duration. They all feature high-capacity batteries that are also lightweight.
You’ll find DJI’s camera drones topping most leaderboards on flight times because they’re powered by superior battery cells. These cells offer more energy capacity per unit mass.
The exact number of cycles a battery can deliver depends on you. The better care you take, the longer a DJI battery will take to retire. We will talk more about that in the later sections of the post.
For now, I will focus on the basic functioning of these drones batteries.
You already know that DJI batteries are unique in many ways. Whether or not they come pre-charged is yet another interesting mystery.
When you get a new DJI battery, it will already be partially charged. Generally, LiPo batteries tend to degrade with time. However, at a particular voltage (approximately 3.8 volts), a LiPo battery is the most stable. Storing it at this voltage allows it to remain charged for a longer interval.
In other words, when it is charged at this particular voltage, it is the least prone to discharging. This voltage is called the storage level.
Therefore, each cell of a new battery is pre-charged to 3.8 volts. You can also say that at this point, the battery level will be around 60%.
It is worth noting that when you use a new battery for the first time, you may notice a different battery level. This does not necessarily mean something is wrong. It's just a matter of how long the battery has been shelved away.
I have already alluded to this in the last section. But here’s more to know.
DJI batteries do lose charge overtime. That’s because the chemical composition of the LiPo batteries is unstable. They automatically discharge to reach the storage voltage of 3.6 volts when they haven’t been used for a long time. Therefore, you should charge it only when you are going to fly.
Thanks to the auto-discharge feature of the drone, the battery level automatically drops down to 60% if not used for 10 days — thus reaching storage level. You will notice the battery getting a bit warmer when this happens. Don't worry, it's completely normal!
If you charge a battery and not use it, let's say, for a month, you are simply damaging the battery in the long run. When this is done repeatedly, your battery gradually loses its performance.
No doubt, DJI batteries losing charge can be both good and bad for your drone. All you can do is minimize the effects of the latter by following the precautions.
So far I have been discussing how a DJI battery loses its charge. Let’s move on to what to do when your battery needs a recharge.
DJI batteries, when charged the right way, promise longevity and efficiency. It is the very reason why you need to pay attention while charging one.
There are two ways to charge DJI batteries: either by using a DJI approved charger or a DJI battery charging hub. As the battery is connected, the LED indicator will help determine the charging status. Once it is fully charged, the battery must be removed from the power port immediately.
You’ll continue to come across creative tricks every now and then. Ones that improve your drone’s battery life just a tad bit more.
However, there are some aspects that DJI deems necessary to consider. Here’s brief information on the three most important ones:
In case you’re super new to drones and just getting the hang of things, check out this tutorial for charging a DJI Mavic Pro for a general idea.
It’s pretty simple to figure out the charge level of your DJI battery while it's charging.
The battery level LED indicators will tell you if your DJI battery is fully charged or not. During charging, the LED lights will be blinking. Once done, all the battery chargers will turn to solid green. That means it's time to unplug the charger and carefully remove the batteries from the port.
Here’s what these lights are trying to tell you:
Like I said, it’s literally that simple. All you need to do is keep the battery charger under close supervision.
It's a general belief that charging your batteries overnight is not a good idea. But the same can't be said about the DJI drone batteries. In fact, here’s a fun fact about them.
As long as you are using a DJI approved charger, there’s nothing to worry about even if the battery charges overnight. Its intelligent features stop drawing current once a charge is complete. However, this may not be the case if you are using a third-party charger.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t recommend purposefully charging your battery overnight. It's not a good idea to leave it unsupervised for so long.
Instead, just to be extra careful, charge the DJI battery when you can keep a close eye on it.
As you already know, using a DJI charging hub is one way to charge your batteries. In case you're wondering how it really works, this section might help.
DJI has always focused on making things easier for its users. A DJI charging hub is quite an example to prove this point.
You can connect upto four batteries in the DJI charging hub at the same time. Here, the LED indicator will be a solid yellow. The battery with the highest power will be charged first, gradually followed by the rest. Once all of them are charged, the indicator turns to a solid green.
And just like that you can charge all your batteries with it. In fact, that’s the advantage of using a charging hub, rather than charging individual batteries with a charger.
It works by taking power from the main plug and distributing the charge to the batteries. By using this, you won’t have to wait too long to charge them all. The two-way charging hubs can also be used as power banks!
One thing you should know is that a charging hub generally doesn't come with the drone. You need to buy it separately. It varies in pricing, depending on the model type. For instance, you can get a Mavic Mini Two Way Charging Hub for $39. If you need one for DJI FPV, it costs around $49.
If you ask me, I’d say this investment will come in pretty handy. Especially if you are a frequent drone user.
If you are concerned about your DJI drone battery firmware, here’s what you need to do.
To update DJI battery firmware, you need to update the drone's firmware. It is done either by the DJI mobile apps (GO, GO4, Fly) or by using the DJI Assistant 2 on PC. If you are using a drone that requires more than one battery, the firmware of both batteries must be the same.
If the battery needs an update, you will get a ‘firmware inconsistent’ notification. This is your sign to initiate an immediate update. Not getting this notification can only mean that the firmware is already on the latest version.
As a side note, the update will not proceed if the battery level isn’t above 50%. In case it’s not, all you have to do is at least charge it until the three LED lights are flashing. Once done, you're ready to make the upgrade.
This part can be a bit tricky to understand. But I have simplified it for you to fully grasp the concept.
Some drones use the same batteries. But that does not always mean that they are interchangeable. That’s because older versions just have lithium ion batteries instead of the polymer ones. Also, drone models differ in shape which means that a battery fitting in one model might not fit in another. .
For instance, Mavic Mini has Li-ion batteries while the Mini 2 has Li-polymer ones. Even though the slight difference between the two lies in their chemical composition, it changes the whole deal of compatibility.
Therefore, it's important to cross-check the specifications of a particular battery before you interchange them.
But that’s not all.
The Mavic Mini battery, for example, is compatible with Mini SE. Still, I wouldn’t recommend you to use it. For starters, it will decrease the power output. Another reason is that it will increase the overall weight of Mini SE by over 250 grams.
This means getting FAA registration in some regions. I don’t think the hassle is worth it when you can simply get the original battery instead.
On the brighter side, some batteries are easily compatible. For example, you can put a Phantom 4 battery in Phantom 4 Pro. In fact, a Phantom 4 battery is compatible with any model of the series.
It ultimately goes without saying that you need to make sure the batteries are compatible before interchanging them between different models. Just because a battery fits the frame doesn’t imply that it's meant to do the job on an incompatible drone.
So far, I am sure you must have guessed that maintaining the DJI drone battery is the key. Here's how you can go all in.
The best way to maintain DJI drone batteries is to fully charge and discharge it once every three months. They should be placed in a well-ventilated space and kept safe from over-discharging as it can completely deplete the cells. It’s also recommended to clean the battery terminals.
While the closing point may seem pretty simple, the concept of fully charging and discharging the drone battery might be new to you. Allow me to walk you through this procedure.
The repeated charging and discharging gives you an accurate digital readout of the battery percentage of your drone. For instance, if you need the battery level to be at storage voltage, you’ll need the displayed battery percentage to be accurate. Only a healthy battery can deliver this.
Coming back to how you can actually do this, here are the simple steps:
Like I mentioned earlier as well, you need to repeat this once every three months.
You need to take extra caution when storing batteries for a longer period. Here's what you should know.
Your DJI batteries should be stored long-term at storage level. This refers to a battery percentage of around 60%. Other magnitudes should generally be avoided to ensure your DJI battery doesn’t discharge to the point of no return. Alongside that, a storage temperature of around 25℃/77℉ is ideal.
If the battery is stored long term at 100%, it can cause abrupt discharge. This may result in a bricked (permanently nonfunctional) battery.
On the other hand, long term battery storage at 10% is also damaging. Your batteries will over-discharge and enter hibernation mode. This means you will most likely have to charge it for a long time before you can try reusing it.
Whether the battery technically works or not can be attributed to luck. The battery may not come back to life following a great deal of damage or it may start recharging if the cells manage to recover.
Nevertheless, the damage would be done. It will make the DJI battery super unstable and you would possibly require a new one after some time.
Therefore, when you are done flying and ready to store your battery for a long period, charge it up (or allow it to auto-discharge) to the storage level.
It goes without saying that your batteries shouldn’t be exposed to harsh temperatures for a prolonged period. It’s never a good idea to store your battery in a hot car.
More or less, this section follows the same concept as the previous one. Let's have a look at whether you can take the DJI battery on a plane.
Taking a DJI battery on a plane is possible. To do so, you must discharge it to the storage level. Keep in mind that batteries with 100 Wh or less can be packed in baggage, only if they are placed inside the drone. Anything with a higher Watt-hour requires airline approval.
If you are carrying spare batteries, they should be packed in the carry-on rather than the checked baggage. It is also recommended to place the battery in a LiPo-friendly bag before storing it in a transportation box.
During the transit, make sure that the battery remains protected from any external hazards; such as collision, squeezing, and puncturing.
And just like that, you can carry your DJI drone batteries anywhere and capture your travels in the best way possible!
This is something many people often neglect. I believe that when you own a drone battery (or any battery for that matter), you must know how to dispose of it. Here’s how you can do it the right way.
The first step of disposing of a DJI battery is bringing its power down to 0%. As long as the battery cells have no charge, they won't be dangerous. Once discharged completely, put the battery in a particular recycling box. Strictly follow the local disposal guidelines.
If you’re wondering how to discharge a DJI drone battery, I have a pretty simple hack for you.
The easiest way to fully discharge the battery is using it in the aircraft itself. Simply place it in the drone, take the propellers off, and turn the power on. Allow this to continue until the power drains out and the battery successfully discharges.
No matter what you do, do not throw a LiPo battery in your trash can. This particular thing is strictly off limits!
To conclude, here’s the answer to a very valid question that refers to the durability of a DJI battery.
As a general rule, a battery lasts for 100 cycles. This is an estimate for a battery that’s used normally. LiPo batteries degrade overtime but with a little care, their lifespans can be increased to well past 100 cycles. Most DJI drones require battery replacement after 2-3 years.
It is pretty obvious that the longevity of DJI batteries depends on maintenance during usage and storage.
And as I’ve emphasized before, storage level is key to proper battery maintenance.
The main idea is to keep the battery stable, as well as charged for a long while, by retaining it at a level that doesn't compromise overall performance.
Besides, good battery maintenance also goes hand in hand with keeping your drone flights (and investments) safe.