DRONES ACCESSORIES

Drone Batteries: Everything You Need to Know About

Drone batteries
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

One of the biggest innovations of this century has to be drones. They became so popular, so fast, that nowadays, they are being used in almost every sphere of life. From security to entertainment, drones have become an integral part of our life. Just like any other thing, it also needs a food source to keep on going and herein comes the beating heart of this device: the drone batteries. They are responsible for feeding the drones the power to perform.

Still, one thing that you need to remember is that like humans, every drone is different from the next one. This is why we need to check out some parameters on which we can choose these all-important batteries.

Choosing a battery

The size does matter

There are a number of criteria that the battery needs to fulfill before being eligible for the drone you are using and the first one on the list has to be the size. Now, when we talk about the size of the battery, you need to understand that it is not just the physical size of the battery but the capacity as well.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone battery

For now, let us concentrate on weight and size. It is true that when we are striving for longer flight time for our drone, we usually go for the batteries with the highest capacity. But, here you will also need to check whether such battery is compatible and is not causing any problem during the take-off of the drone. The weight of the battery is a deciding factor as far as the maximum take-off weight of the drone is concerned.

Moreover, the battery that you choose must be such that it can fit into the drone with ease. Herein, you need to check the length and breadth of the battery compartment of the drone carefully so that you get the dimensions accurately. Lastly, to ensure you get the right battery for drone it would be prudent to check the maximum weight of different drones thoroughly to know which one to choose for your product.

The cell count

One of the most important aspects that need to be covered when choosing a battery is its cell count or battery voltage. The reason why you cannot overlook this particular feature in your battery is because of the simple fact that the voltage is directly proportional to the power generated by the motors. It is because of this, you will find batteries with substantial or higher voltage assist the motors to provide more power. Still, you should know that these batteries are usually heavier than usual.

If you are looking for a particular way of choosing batteries in terms of voltage output then there is none. Although one prudent way of choosing the correct voltage required by your drone can be achieved by the comparison of efficiency with the motor thrust tables of your drones.

One thing we can tell you for certain is a battery with better cell counts is sure to provide better voltage but the negative that comes with it is higher cost as well as the augmented weight of the batteries.

Drone battery

At the end, the biggest question you need to answer when choosing the voltage of the battery is the number of motors your drone has. Moreover, a fact which you should stress on is whether the electronics and the motor of the drone you are using can support the voltage you are choosing for it.

It is imperative you know that some drone motors are pretty particular about the voltage and any changes there can be detrimental for it.

How many batteries?

One of the questions which should come to your mind when looking for the batteries is how many batteries your drone actually needs. It is a pertinent question and one you should answer with tact as it has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, if you are thinking of installing some extra batteries then you are basically providing additional protection to the drone in the case one of your batteries fails mid-flight.

Therefore, in such a scenario you will be able to land the drone with the other battery until you manage to find out what went wrong. In addition, it gives the option of replacing your old batteries which is a definite advantage for you. Here using two chargers would be a better idea as you will be able to charge both the batteries at the same time which means you will be saving the overall charging time for the batteries.

Batteries for drones

Now let us look at the negatives of this arrangement and the first issue you will face here has to be the complexity of it. The complexity we are talking about is the mounting and wiring of the battery onto the drone which is something you should carefully check out.

Secondly, there is no doubt that buying two batteries at the same time is definitely expensive as compared to opting for a single battery. Lastly, it must be said that if are thinking of using two batteries then it is highly possible it can create an issue with the maximum take-off weight of the drone which is not good news for you.

At the end, we can tell you that choosing the number batteries will ultimately depend on the type of drone you are using or going to use.

The connectors

If you have ever tried to install a battery in a drone then you must know what a pain it is. It is for this particular reason you will see people trying to find a good battery connector which you can use for your drones as well. These connectors are known to provide you dual advantages.

Cables for Drone Battery

Firstly, not only does it help you to change your batteries pretty easily but it also gives you the option of using the same batteries if you ever think of creating a new drone in the future. There are quite decent connectors in the market so choose wisely when deciding which one to choose for your drones. But one thing you should remember is to stick with your choice and don’t change these connectors unless you absolutely have to.

The discharge rate

Not many people know that the performance of the drone is dependent on the discharge C rating which is why most of them tend to overlook this particular feature in the battery. 9/10 experts will tell you to check it to make sure that you only buy those batteries which have optimum discharge C rating.

For example, if you are using a battery with low discharge rate then it is highly possible that your drone will underperform because the motors will not be able to generate optimum power for it. At the same time, you will also find that it is damaging the battery which is something you would want to avoid.

On the flipside if you have installed a battery with higher discharge rate then your drone will be carrying extra weight while it is in the air which in effect will definitely reduce the overall flight time of the drone.

Battery Charging Rate

Assessing the kind of discharge rate for your battery is a tricky job but there are steps which might help you find the way to do so. The first way in finding the right discharge rate is by checking the specifications of the motors and assessing the maximum current draw. A simple way of calculating the continuous draw is as follows:

Maximum Continuous Amp Draw = Battery Capacity X Discharge rate.

Battery capacity

The next specification of your battery that needs your attention has to be the battery capacity. A lot of things depend on this capacity including the total flight time of the drone. So what the apt battery capacity one should look for?

Battery capacity

We believe that it would be best to choose the one with the highest battery capacity. But one thing that you will need to keep in mind is that even if you choose that battery with the highest capacity you still have to make sure its weight coupled with that of the quadcopter won’t exceed maximum take-off weight. In addition, it is also advisable to go through the specifications of your drone especially the motor thrusts to choose the right product for it.

Always remember that the discharge rate of the battery depends on the capacity as it denotes the life of the battery.

The brand image

When we are talking about the brand of the battery, it would be wise to let you know that both the brand of the batteries as well as the brand of the drone is important.

First up let us talk about the batteries. If you ask any drone enthusiast they will tell you how important the brand is. There are a number of branded batteries in the market which are known for their performance and quality. It is true that these batteries can be a little expensive but to buy cheaper means to compromise on the safety of the drone.

Use only quality batteries

This is definitely an amateur mistake and I believe you wouldn’t want your drone to fall out of the sky because of faulty batteries. Moreover, these cheaper batteries have a tendency to reduce the overall performance of the drone and reduce the flight time substantially.

Now let us focus on the brand of the drone you are using. After a bit of research, you’ll find that some drones have the tendency to use specific batteries as designated by their manufacturer. These proprietary batteries primarily give the drone a more exclusive feel. The problem here is that it can restrict your choices as far as batteries are concerned which might create a negative market for the drones.

Therefore, it is your duty to find out what kind of batteries is required by your drone to get the best out of it.

Replacing the batteries

The reason you should be aware of replacement possibilities is to make sure that, if for some reason you are not able to find your usual batteries, you’ll know the next best option.

Moreover, you will find that these replacements are usually cheaper than the branded ones and they even manage to offer quite a great performance. Still, keep in mind everything we talked about up until now and don’t be to stingy about this.

Replacing the batteries

Now that you are aware of the things you should check before choosing a battery it would be a good idea to know a few tips and tricks to extend the battery life of your drone.

Tips and tricks to extend the battery life

The right conditions

It would be a good idea to try and fly the drone in the right weather conditions. The reason we stress on the conditions is because, if you fly the drone in adverse conditions such as cold or rainy weather there is a chance that it can put a stress on the battery.

The drone will take more effort to fly which can compromise the battery life substantially. It would be wise to fly your drone during fair weather as it allows you to both enjoy the experience and fly for a longer time.

Leave the camera

It is true that the camera on your drone does help you record the flight and the surrounding area but unless you absolutely need it, we would recommend you to ditch it from time to time. Not only does it reduce the added weight on the drone but it also releases the pressure on the battery.

You have to understand that the camera on board the drone derives its power from the battery. So by removing it you will get more time to fly the drone.

Charging

One very clever way to conserve the battery is by charging it at the right time. If you are using rechargeable batteries then you should know that they have a tendency to lose charge even when unused, so you should charge them every other day to keep it in shape. One thing you should keep in mind is that you should only charge the batteries for a few hours before you put it into action.

That’s all folks! Got any query? Write to us in comments.

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Andrew Miller

    There is one more thing I’d like to add: it’s extremely important to check the manufacturing date on the battery. In many stores they are often 6-10 months old and not as powerful as they can be.

    • That is an excellent suggestion! Thanks for that! 🙂

  • sarah spencer

    Solid tip about the battery. I found this article to be helpful, but it definietly made me hesitant to try out different batteries. Anyone else have some insight here?

  • Frendrick Anderson

    By my opinion, batteries are one of the most important features in a drone nowadays because they are the most infamous parts of every drone. Extending the battery life will forever change the way the drones are used.

    • We believe that, as the technology develops, so will the batteries as well, and that we can expect much better batteries in the near future.

  • John Whitehouse

    I think charging and using the batteries properly is the key point in your batteries duration. I also agree that by putting a camera on the drone, you will lose a couple of valuable flight minutes. By attaching an additional battery to your drone you have a back up in case of an unplanned battery crash but you will also slightly decrease the life of the main battery because of its weight.

    • As they say: “You have to lose some, to gain some” 😉

  • Jason Mendez

    How can I maximize my drone’s battery life? And are there other factors aside from the the batteries that can help increase flight time? Do lightweight drones have longer flight time? Does motor performance affect flight time in any way?

  • Jack Brown

    For starters, using good, high-quality chargers will prolong your drone’s battery life. Second, if you take, for example, two drones that have the same motors and the same battery, but one has more additional equipment than the other, the one that is “naked” will have a longer flight time. And finally, the more high-quality the built of a motor is, the longer the battery will last.

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