It’s pretty common for a drone pilot to leave their drone on charging, only to later find out that it never started in the first place. And usually, it’s because they forget to turn the switch on.
But this isn’t always the case, sometimes the problem runs a bit deeper. So, what’re you supposed to do to fix a drone battery that seemingly won’t charge? I’ve got the answers.
You can fix a drone battery that won’t charge by identifying, and then addressing, the cause itself. Possible reasons include a faulty charger, outdated software, high amperage detection, and problems with the battery itself. A smart feature, like hibernation mode, might be to blame as well.
It can get a little overwhelming to look at everything at once, so I’ll be helping you determine what cause might apply to you the most.
And since charging errors in drones differ from model to model, we’ll also be looking at a few of the most popular ones in particular.
To get to the bottom of your charging error, you’ll have to start ticking off the boxes. And this can take ages if done the wrong way.
So, I’ve put together the most common reasons that cause a drone to not charge - based on my experience and user reports.
Your drone battery may not be charging due to outdated software, a damaged battery, or a faulty charger, with perhaps bent pins. It may also be the result of protective measures put in place by the drone’s manufacturer, which mainly refer to overheating and overcurrent.
Let’s take a look at each of these reasons in a bit more detail.
Before we get to the technical bits, it may be smart to rule out a simple incompatibility.
This issue is generally prevalent for those pilots that use their batteries interchangeably between drones. If one of the drones is operating at a more recent firmware and you switch out its battery to the other one, it won’t charge.
So, make sure the drone’s controller app is completely updated to maintain firmware consistency; you might have already received a notification to prompt you to do so.
The charger provides the connection between the battery and the power source. This makes it incredibly important, but it’s also the easiest to troubleshoot.
You start off by plugging it into a pre-tested power outlet and connecting it to the battery. If the battery is turned on and continues to flash red, this means the charger may be the issue.
One way to confirm this is to check for damaged charger pins or exposed wires. If you find the latter, the charger might be detecting a short circuit - which automatically stops the supply of current.
Speaking of automatically stopping the charge, the same thing happens here.
If the amperage of the current supplied is too high, the sensors make the detection and stop the flow of current to protect the battery.
To fix this, you can try unplugging the charger and replugging it after a minute or so. If the amperage still doesn’t regulate, the power outlet might be the culprit instead.
If you plugged in your drone’s battery straight after a flight, or just left it out in the sun, it may be too hot to charge.
Make sure the battery is within operational range, which is generally between 5°C and 40°C. You can do this by letting it sit at room temperature for an hour to two.
Once the temperature regulates, you can try plugging it again - but make sure it doesn’t get too hot while it charges.
It’s important to note that the range goes both ways. The battery, though uncommon, can be too cold to charge as well.
If none of the protective measures are to blame, then the battery might already be completely damaged.
How does this happen? Well, it boils down to poor maintenance.
If the drone battery has been improperly stored away for a long period, it can lose its capacity to hold a charge.
But don’t worry, there’s a fix for this too! We’ll be getting into it in the next section.
Drones mostly use Lithium Polymer batteries. They’re lightweight and provide long flight times. But as I mentioned before, they’re not immune to damage.
So, how’re you supposed to recover a flat LiPo battery? Here are the basics.
You can fix a drone LiPo battery that won’t charge by using a multi-function battery charger. Start by charging the battery at 0.1A using the NiMH charger. Once it’s recovered to around 2-3 volts per cell, you can switch to the LiPo setting and balance charge the battery until it’s fully recovered.
It’s super important to ensure safety when you’re trying to fix a LiPo battery. Before you get started, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
If you’re looking for a hands-on explanation for the process, the YouTube video might help you out.
We’ve talked about the reasons in general terms, but let’s take a look at a specific model - the Phantom 4. What are the most common fixes for one of the best-selling DJI drones?
You may fix a DJI Phantom 4 battery not charging by updating the drone firmware using the DJI Assistant 2 software or the DJI GO 4 app, since inconsistent firmware is most often the cause. Another commonly reported fix is to check and, if needed, replace the charger itself.
DJI’s controller app does a good job keeping the user in the loop, as it sends out a notification for “inconsistent firmware” should such a case arise.
It’s also possible for a Phantom 4 battery to go into hibernation if it’s been stored away, though this is more common for other DJI models.
While on the subject, let’s take a look at another super popular drone from DJI. Things with the Mavic 2 Pro tend to be a little different.
You may fix a DJI Mavic 2 Pro battery not charging by bringing the battery out of hibernation mode, which involves leaving it plugged in for a long duration. Once the red light goes out, the drone battery should be able to charge. In severe cases, the battery may require a complete replacement.
You might be wondering: where exactly does this issue come from?
Well, it’s a deliberate feature of DJI’s Intelligent Flight Battery. Hibernation mode prevents the battery from discharging completely. And while I’ve already stated the simple fix, we’ll get more into it shortly.
For those looking for a quick run-down of how the Mavic 2’s battery works, this YouTube video might help.
If the solid red light never appears in the first place, then the battery may actually be damaged. In that case, I recommend contacting DJI’s customer support to perhaps arrange a replacement.
There’s a little more to waking up a DJI battery than mindlessly charging it. Take a look.
You can wake up a DJI battery from hibernation by leaving it turned on for a few minutes and then plugging it in using a DJI charger. You then let the battery sit until it eventually wakes up, which can take anywhere from an hour to an entire day depending on the battery’s overall condition.
It’s important to ignore the LED indicators and actually let the battery sit, instead of pressing its power button in an attempt to force it out of hibernation mode.
Similarly, make sure you’re using an approved DJI charger as incompatible devices really won’t help your case.
If the above process doesn’t seem to work, try repeating it all over again. And if your battery still doesn’t respond, you might want to look into other possible causes.
As a side note, hibernation mode isn’t a feature that is exclusive to DJI batteries. However, the process of forcing it awake may differ based on the manufacturer.
The Parrot Bebop 2 has been one of the best budget-friendly drones for a while now, but it’s another model that’s often brought up on the topic of charging issues.
But don’t let this scare you. Troubleshooting a Bebop 2 battery only involves looking at two problems.
You may fix a Parrot Bebop 2 battery not charging by replacing the battery charger. A faulty charger’s light does not illuminate or change colors during the charging process. Another common fix is to replace the battery - slide a new one into the compartment and secure it using the strap.
If you want to be absolutely sure about the charger being the problem, you can try using a voltmeter to test its functioning.
And since the Bebop 2 also uses LiPo batteries, the process of recovering them is also applicable. So, you might want to reread that section if you’re looking to save a few bucks on a new battery.
This process can get technical, but you might want to stick around if you’re looking to reset your battery’s firmware without contacting customer support.
You can reset a drone battery by unclipping its cover (using a flat tool) and disconnecting the balancing plug from the internal circuit. Once it has stayed unplugged for an hour or so, reconnect the plug. You can then fully charge the battery and condition it to finalize the process.
Needless to say, this may not be a good idea for someone who’s never tried their hand at repairing drone hardware before. Still, this YouTube video may give you a slight idea of what the inside of a battery case looks like.
You’ll need to be extra cautious when working around the wires so you don’t end up with a short-circuiting device.
We’ve talked about everything to do with increasing a drone’s range. But to be honest, those were all things you won’t have to worry about if you break the bank for the right drone.
These drones come with an exceptional range straight out of the box. Let’s take a look at which one tops the leaderboard.
The consumer drone with the longest range is the Mavic 3.
To wrap it all up, there’s no guarantee a battery can be made to work again. This is because there definitely are cases that are beyond saving.
But as long as you haven’t been completely careless with a drone battery’s maintenance, you may have a fair chance at fixing it.
You can make a drone battery work again by ensuring there aren’t any restrictions, like overcurrent protection, halting its operation. You can recover its flat cells using a NiMH charger and a LiPo balance charger. In other cases, you may have to reset the battery firmware by disassembling it.
Regardless of the fix that may work for you, I recommend ensuring the battery is properly maintained the next time around. This includes keeping it at an optimal temperature, inspecting it often, and removing it from the drone when storing.
which is capable of a remarkable 12km. On the other hand, the Albatross has a whopping 100km of range which makes it the longest-ranged fixed-wing drone. Military drones, like HALE, trump both and have an indefinite range.
Drones that use a frequency of 1.2 GHz can fly further than the Air 2s, but those fall under the commercial category and are even illegal in some states.
If you’re interested in more detail, you might want to check out my article on the best long-range drones sorted by their price and max range.