Batteries are life

Three tips for maximising your drone battery life, by Dan Parker, industrial services manager for Skyfire Consulting

If you’ve been flying for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that one piece of equipment on your UAV is the literal lifeblood of the entire system: the batteries. Batteries may seem simple enough; you charge them, and then use the juice. Basic, right? In reality, properly maintaining your drone batteries can mean potentially hundreds of extra hours of flight time.

That’s why we’ve put together these three tips for maximising the life of your sUAS batteries.
Don’t give 100%
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually best for your batteries to store them as close to 50-per-cent charge as possible. Then, when you’re ready to fly, charge them to 100 per cent and go. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but it is ideal for maximising battery performance over the long term.
Don’t turn up the heat...or the cold
Heat and freezing temperatures are the enemy of long-lasting batteries. That’s why you always want to keep your batteries at a stable temperature when storing and transporting. A great insulated carrying case is an important investment as it will keep your batteries safe and at a stable temperature when sitting in a hot or cold environment.
Don’t drain them
As a general rule, try to always keep your batteries above 20-per-cent charge. Here at Skyfire, we always ground our UAVs at around 25 per cent to ensure longer battery life, but the rule of thumb is 20 per cent.
So, the recap: you should start flying with your batteries at 100 per cent, end your flight with them at about 20 per cent, and store them in a stable environment as close to 50-per-cent charge as possible. 

Author Dan Parker

Dan Parker is the industrial services manager for Skyfire Consulting, a division of Atlanta Drone Group. He is an FAA-certified commercial drone operator with over five years’ experience building, testing, tuning, and operating drones primarily for industrial applications. He’s focused on expanding drone capabilities for emergency response as well as managing projects for Aevius, another division of the Atlanta Drone Group.