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Ways to Extend Your Quadcopters Flight Time: Get More Fun With Your Favorite UAV

Ways to Extend Your Quadcopter'\s Flight Time
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

The number of people who are using quadcopters is increasing by the day. This has led to a subsequent rise in the number of drones in the market which come with different specs and price tags appropriate for different categories of users. Flight time is one of the features which differ from one quadcopter to another which is why today we are going to focus on learning about ways to extend your quadcopter’s flight time.

For instance, you will see drones which can stay in the air for close to half an hour while some can only be flown for just a few minutes. On the other hand, quadcopters that have relatively longer flight times are also more expensive while those with shorter flight times are the hobby micro drones and are easily affordable.

Due to the price difference, many drone pilots chose the less costly drone – this is the case especially for beginner quadcopter drone pilots. Not quite fair, right?

Beginner quadcopter drone pilots

There are a number of factors which can reduce the flight time of a drone and, just to mention a few, we could include the camera (external or inbuild) or the quality of the battery. The camera usually affects the battery due to the added weight or the fact that it uses the drone’s battery to function.

It goes without saying that many of us desire a quadcopter that has a longer flight time. Since the cost can be a hindrance to many of us, let’s see a few tricks that could help you in increasing the flight time of your quadcopter drone. In this article you will be provided with workable solutions that will help you extend the flight time of your quadcopter drone.

How to keep your quad in the air longer

The following tricks are easy to perform and while some only require removing certain items from the drone, others are a bit more advanced. If you’re curious, continue reading.

You can do away with the camera

While having a camera attached to your drone during flight might seem like a cool idea, it will do you more service if you choose to ditch it during flight times that don’t necessarily need taking photos. This can significantly increase your flight time leading to an extension of the time that your drone spends in the air.

Quadcopter without camera

Cameras have the effect of increasing the weight of your drone and this leads to consumption of more energy to support the extra weight. Some cameras (usually the inbuild models) could also lead to shorter flight time as they have to be powered by the drone’s battery.

If you are not so much into aerial photography or cinematography you could do away with the camera to enjoy longer flight times. So, next time when the camera is not quite essential in your drone, it will be prudent for you to reduce the amount of energy that it is draining from your battery. This way you dedicate more energy in powering the drone during a given flight to enjoy a longer flight time.

It is wise to choose a battery with a higher amperage

For the less costly drones it will not be a surprise that the battery is one with a relatively lower amperage than the more costly types. This significantly lowers the flight time as this kind of battery cannot support relatively longer flight times.

If you desire to have longer flight times it will be wise for you to get a battery that has a higher amperage. Upgrading your battery will enable your drone to be powered for long which in turn increases your flight times. Extra time for more fun.

Batterries with higher amperage

But as much as a higher amperage might be beneficial it will be wise for you to bear in mind your limits as a heavier battery might mean an extra weight to carry around and this might inadvertently counter your efforts.

It is thus good to keep in mind that you need to check the weight of the battery with a higher mAh to make sure that it is of the right weight for a given quadcopter. And, for a better understanding of this particular matter, we suggest reading our article about the drone batteries.

Experimenting with the propellers

The size of your drone’s propellers can have an effect on the flight time. The choice of the propeller to use will be determined with whether you will be using your camera or not. Before trying out this trick you need to use the propellers that came with the drone and then use this as a baseline.

Then you can try out using relatively larger propellers when the camera is attached to the drone. On the other hand, you can try using relatively smaller propellers when the camera is not in use. Many who have tried this have reported an increase in their quadcopter’s flight time.

Carbon Reinforced Propellers

This should be tried using different propeller sizes which will help you identify the size that gives you the longest flight time.

Learn to fly your quad in the right conditions

You need to identify the appropriate times of flying your drone as some conditions might lead to consumption of more energy consequently leading to a shorter flight time. The best place to fly hobby micro-quads is indoors as this provides a calm environment that will not lead to more energy demands than normal.

Fly your quad in the right conditions

You need to avoid outdoor flying of quads during windy or rainy conditions as more energy will be drained from your battery as the drone tries to maintain its stability as it hovers around. Additionally, windy or rainy conditions significantly affect turning off your drone, which leads to your battery being drained even more than usual.

It is best if you develop the habit of flying your drone during fair weather conditions when there is a slight breeze. By doing this you will be better served by your battery. And, to learn a few tricks of using the battery in the proper way, we suggest checking out our article about extending your battery life and getting the most out of it.

Adopt the 40-80 rule

This rule is in reference to charging your quad’s battery. For instance, a while back it was advisable that you use your battery till it is completely drained before you could recharge it. Well, times have changed and this might only lead to your battery being weakened with time. This is especially the case if you are using a Lithium-ion battery in powering your quadcopter drone as this could end up significantly shortening the battery’s fly and consequently lead to shorter flight times.

It is good to note that a Lithium battery can be fully charged and drained for about 300 to 500 times before you consider replacing it. It should also be appreciated that each time that you drain your quadcopter’s battery it becomes weaker and its battery life also reduces with time.

Charging drone batteries

You can overcome this by recharging your battery before it is completely drained, it is a good practice to refill the battery when it is half-way drained or if the charge is between 40 and 80 percent. While doing this you should watch out on overcharging your battery as this could counter act your actions.

The temperature at which you charge your quadcopter’s battery could have an effect on its life time. It has been shown that charging your battery in a room whose temperature is above 100 degrees F could consequently lead to its weakening by about 35 percent.

It thus recommended that you charge your battery when it is half way empty and this should be done in a cool environment.

Charge the quadcopter at the right time

If you are fond of charging your battery days before you use it, you should desist from this habit since this has also be shown to reduce the battery’s life time. It is recommended that you charge your quadcopter drone’s battery just a few hours before you fly it.

Charge the quadcopter at the right time

By charging your battery a few days in advance, the battery life will be reducing during those times that it will be off the charger.

Remove the extra elements

If you are an experienced drone pilot you can choose to do without the protective elements as this will help reduce the weight of your quadcopter. These elements could be the propeller protectors and they only lead to consumption of more energy if they are not of use for safety.

You can also adopt the habit of flying the quadcopter in open areas that won’t lead to your quadcopter crushing against other objects.

Removing extra elements

The sticker and the skin of the quadcopter for sure add some eye candy to your drone but they could also be an unnecessary burden that could be reducing your flight time by leading to the consumption of more energy.

In conclusion

These are just some of the few ways that you could employ to increase your drone’s flight time. Though they could help improving your flight time, don’t expect to register a dramatic increase. For instance, it will be nearly impossible for your drone’s flight time to increase by twice the initial value.

It will be prudent for you to get extra batteries which have a suitably high amperage to be used once the ones in place are used up. Even though these tricks won’t give you hours of fun with your drone, they are worth exploring. Also, if you know others, please don’t be shy! Let us know in the 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.

  • Emily B.

    I like your ideas and thanks for the 40-80 rule. It seems that using this rule has improved my battery life for almost 5 minutes.

  • We’re glad it helped you.

  • Jonathan Richardson

    Thank you DroneLab for the tips and tricks that will help me improve my flying time. Everything you say is true but i could not agree more with the charging tip. Keep in mind to always charge it until it is full and use the whole energy before charging it again

    • You are more than welcome 🙂 Thanks for agreeing with us, and thanks for your opinion.

  • Phil Nelson

    My secret is to lower the weight for as much as I can. Starting with the camera, pick a lighter camera. Also the overal weight of the body should be lightened as much as you can by using lighter materials

  • Leo Horfilla

    Flight time is mainly a battery issue. Most lithium batteries just don’t store that much energy. Energy density is just quite not there for drone batteries. The thing about drones, they can’t use bigger batteries or they’d be too heavy to fly.

  • Jack Brown

    Well, we are all hoping that the battery technology will develop soon enough and that soon we will have batteries that will deliver more flight time. But, in the meantime, all we can do is to follow the tips you read here and try to have as much fun as possible during those “short” flights 🙂

  • Trevor Nel

    Thanks for the tips Jack Brown. Quite an informative article. But is not easy to lighten the weight of my 3DR Solo drone. Perhaps I should consider looking for the more powerful batteries to extend the flight time. But I chose it based on its current flight time of over 20 minutes, maybe I can do more as you recommended in the article.

    • Jack Brown

      I would suggest following the 40/80 rule as that will make your batteries well balanced and healthy. You have to keep in mind that if you use higher capacity batteries, you will not gain that much flight time as these batteries are much heavier, thus, reducing the flight time.

  • Good. best of luck…

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