Picture this: after a long day of excellent drone flying, you go to charge your DJI’s battery. Something is off, though, as the charger lights won’t stop blinking. What could the reason for this be?
A DJI charger’s LED lights blink to indicate numerous problems, including overheating, the battery being too cold, the charger’s voltage or amperage being too high, an overcharging warning, or simply an indication of the battery’s current power.
This article will look at each of these potential reasons individually and the way a DJI battery charger uses LED lights to indicate various issues. Read on to learn why your DJI batter is blinking!
1. The Charger Is Indicating Battery Level
A DJI charger’s battery level indicator will blink according to the power level of the inserted battery and the percentage it’s at from when it starts charging to when it’s fully charged.
There are four LED lights. In the DJI Spark user manual, they’re referred to as:
So, for the sake of this article, they will be referred to as such. Each LED light pattern corresponds to a different level of charging:
- LED1 and LED2 are blinking: This indicates the battery level is 0% to 50% charged. The other LEDs are off.
- LED1, 2, and 3 are flashing: The battery is 50% to 75% charged.
- LED1, 2, 3, and 4 blink: This indicates 75% to 100% battery power.
- LED1, 2, 3, and 4 are off: The battery’s fully charged and ready for use.
How To Fix
The battery level indicator is supposed to blink to indicate the battery’s charge level, so there’s nothing to worry about in this case.
However, there are many ways that the LEDs indicate something is wrong with the battery, in which case, you should investigate further.
The LEDs indicate a problem by flashing a certain number of times, and each LED and number of flashes represent a different issue.
2. The Battery is Short Circuiting
A short circuit usually happens because of overheating in a cell. The separators inside the battery melt, causing a short circuit, which causes more damage, and the cycle of short circuits continues.
This is frequently the case with LiPo (lead polymer) batteries that short circuit and can be a real issue if you allow your DJI drone battery to overheat.
Luckily, DJI technology includes Short Circuit Protection that automatically cuts the power supply to the battery when it detects a short. Unfortunately, the technology can’t avoid a short altogether.
How To Fix
You’ll be alerted when there’s a short circuit by LED2, which will blink three times a second. A short circuit is typically a result of a manufacturing error, so contact a DJI manufacturer or DJI Support to resolve the issue.
3. The Battery Is Overcharging
Many consider a permanently full battery a good thing, the tech in question has a higher capacity. However, this is not the case with a DJI battery.
Fully charged batteries need to discharge, meaning they need to remain outside the charger to deplete until you’re ready to use them again to avoid overcharging.
DJI drones have an auto-discharge mechanism that controls the battery life. Leaving the battery out for a certain amount of time equates to a certain percentage of battery depletion. For example, the battery discharges 72 percent when idle for five days.
The catch is that a battery cannot auto-discharge while stored in the drone or charger. If a fully charged battery remains in a charger or charging hub, it could swell and become unusable or a genuine danger.
Watch the video below for more information on using the DJI two-way charging hub with DJI’s intelligent flight batteries.
How To Fix
If you suspect that your battery is being overcharged, all you need to do is remove the battery and leave it in a safe spot to discharge it until you’re ready to use it again. A sign that the battery is overcharging is LED3 blinking twice per second.
4. The Charger’s Voltage Is Too High
A DJI charger’s LED2 will blink twice per second if there’s a discrepancy between the battery’s and the charger’s voltage. More specifically, the LED2 light will do this if the charger’s voltage is too high for the battery.
A DJI’s battery voltage depends on the drone’s size, as well as the energy requirements of that drone according to the motor and other electronic systems.
Larger drones have heavier setups and use larger batteries with higher volts. The maximum voltage is usually around 17.5 V, whereas smaller drones operate around 7.3 V.
Storing and misusing DJI batteries can shorten their lives significantly, so it’s crucial to properly maintain and store batteries. To check your DJI battery’s health, place the battery in the drone and check its cell voltage in your DJI app.
As with over-charging, the DJI charger will alert you to an over-voltage charge by blinking the third LED light, but in this case, thrice per second instead of twice.
Drone Flying Pro details the current DJI range and the voltage each battery operates at. The consequences of charging a battery at a higher voltage than needed are premature aging and potential overheating.
How To Fix
The solution to overcharging is to stop charging as soon as possible. Chances are, the damage will be minor. Purchase a new charger with the correct voltage and use that going forward.
If the damage is already done, you may have to buy a new battery and dispose of the old one. Learn more on safely disposing of batteries here.
5. The Charger’s Current Is Too High
Usually, charging a device with a higher amperage isn’t a problem. In fact, it’s even encouraged sometimes. Drone batteries, however, shouldn’t charge with a higher current than they should.
DJI batteries have embedded amperage sensors that detect when the amperage is too high and set LED2 to blink twice per second.
How To Fix
The solution is to remove the battery and use a different charger with lower amperage. If you continue using that charger, the batteries could sustain long-term damage.
LiPo batteries’ capacity is measured in mAh (Milliampere Hour), which is distinctly different from voltage. Voltage shows how many cells are in your battery. Meanwhile, mAh tells you how much power your battery can hold.
If you feel you need more information on voltage, amperes, cell count, and other battery terminology, you can find it here.
6. The Charging Temperature Is Too High or Too Low
A DJI battery will have trouble charging if its temperature is too high or low. If drones are flown or the batteries are stored in extreme temperatures, the battery could be severely damaged.
DJI drones shouldn’t fly in temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius, as they risk exploding and/or causing a fire. This would be disastrous for the DJI drone and its surroundings and could even put you at serious risk of injury.
DJI batteries are lithium polymer (LiPo), a material that is highly vulnerable to unstable chemical reactions when exposed to high temperatures.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the necessary safety precautions to maintain the lifespan of your LiPo batteries and avoid damage or injury.
You should keep DJI drones and batteries far away from sub-zero temperatures. As well as causing permanent damage to the DJI battery, below-zero temperatures can freeze and crack the battery, reducing its storage capacity significantly.
These tips and tricks will help you to cool down or warm up a DJI battery and detail drone temperature warnings and how to identify them.
The most important tip is to store batteries in dry and temperate conditions and avoid exposing the LiPo battery to the following:
- Water and other liquids.
- Household chemicals.
- Direct, prolonged sunlight.
- Direct, prolonged contact with indoor heating or cooling mechanisms.
- Flying the drone in extremely hot or cold conditions for extended periods.
How To Fix
The solution for both of these problems is–as you can probably imagine–to keep your drone batteries out of extreme temperatures. Stay mindful of the ultimate goal: to keep your drone batteries healthy and operational for as long as possible. Avoid anything that could potentially damage or shorten the battery’s lifespan, like exposing them to extreme weather.
The particular LED light blinking and the pattern that it flashes in is a way for your DJI drone to diagnose and communicate a problem regarding its charger. These issues are almost always relatively easy to solve so long as you’re diligent.
Sometimes, your charger is just trying to tell you what percentage your battery is at, letting you know when you can go back out there and shoot more footage.