DJI drone batteries are very sensitive to temperature. They have a very strict operating range of between 0 and +40° C. However, many drone pilots have been able to fly their drones outside this range with no short-term issues.
The official response from DJI is that drones should not be flown in temperatures outside 0°C to 40°C. If the outside environment is above 50°C it is not recommended that you fly as it could lead to a fire or explosion.
Even though the drone should not be flown outside these temperatures, there are plenty of examples where drone pilots have flown successfully in higher temperatures.
For one, I often fly outside in Australia. At the height of the summer heat, the drone can easily reach 50° C plus. However, there are some important steps that I take to minimise the risk of a drone overheating and you can read about them in the next sections.
Unfortunately, DJI has decided that some of their drones will primarily be a dark colour which will absorb the solar radiation and cause excess heating.
Here is everything you need to know about DJI battery temperatures and mitigating the risks associated with a hot or cold battery.
Safe maximum temperature for DJI batteries
The safe offering temperature reported by DJI is an air temperature of between -10 and +40° C. However, the drone battery should be stored between 22 and 28°C.
The internal lithium polymer chemistry of the DJI batteries is also a factor that determines the maximum and minimum operating temperature.
According to recent publications, operating a lithium polymer battery in extreme temperature conditions results in uneven chemical reactions and unexpected problems with the battery.
For lithium polymer batteries 60°C is the critical limit where the internal chemistry starts to become unstable and you start causing irreversible damage to the internal components of the battery.
The official response from DJI errs on the side of caution and this is what official representatives of DJI say:
Official response from DJI
Temperature hacks for a DJI drone battery
If your drone battery temperature is either too high or too low you risk irreversibly damaging the battery. However, some easy hacks will help you warm up or cool down a battery before use or charging.
Some batteries will not charge if they are too hot which will require you to cool them down before attaching them to external power.
TOO COLD: Use hand warmers
One of the best hacks that I have seen in the field is a pilot using simple hand warmers to warm up their drone batteries.
Simple hand warmers do not get too warm and will sit in your pocket with your drone battery whilst you are flying. A simple but effective way of keeping your batteries warm on the coldest of days.
TOO COLD: Place them in your pocket
Placing your drone batteries in a pocket next to your skin is also another fantastic way of keeping your drone batteries warm and ready for your flight.
I often place my drone batteries in my rear pocket under my coat jacket while flying.
TOO HOT: Place them on a cold metal surface
Cooling down a hot drone battery is much harder and requires a little bit more patients.
Metal is a fantastic heat conductor and, if I find my drone batteries too hot, I can find a piece of metal in the shade to cool down my warm drone battery quicker.
TOO HOT: Place them in a cool/AC breeze
If you are flying your drone in a location where you have access to air-conditioning (like in a car), placing the drone batteries in front of the air-conditioning is one of the fastest ways to cool it down.
Alternatively, any place where there is a strong breeze will also conduct the heat away from the battery.
Ensure that you never leave your batteries in direct sunlight and keep them away from hot places such as cars or bags left in direct sunlight.
Battery temperature warnings
The DJI GO and FLY app can detect the temperature of the battery’s surface. There will be warnings for both high and low battery temperatures to keep your battery safe.
One of the common low battery temperature warnings is:
Battery temperature below 15° C (59 F) warm battery to above 25° C (77 F) before flying.
In this instance, it is recommended that you heat up the drone battery with a hand warmer or by placing the drone battery in a much warmer environment.
Flying your drone when it is too cold can easily damage the internal lithium polymer composite.
High-temperature warnings also tell you when the drone is working too hard or has reached an unsafe working temperature.
These are particularly damaging to lithium polymer batteries and it is recommended that you land as soon as possible.
Getting airflow through the drone is the number one priority if you are seeing maximum temperature warnings. Avoid hovering and aggressive flying and return to your safe landing spot as soon as possible.
What should the battery temperature be after a flight?
Even though DJI recommends that you should fly the drone between zero and 40° C air temperature, your drone will naturally heat up while it is flying.
A battery temperature of between about 40 and 45 degrees during or after a flight is normal.
However, pilots have reported temperatures of up to 64 degrees.
The take-home message from this section is that you should always try to minimise the operational temperature of your drone as anything above 60° C will start to thermally degrade the internal components of your lithium polymer drone battery.
Avoid flying on really hot days, in direct sunlight, or hovering for too long in very hot conditions.
Here are all of the ways that you can ensure your battery is not get too hot whilst flying, irreversibly damaging your drone battery.
How to ensure your battery doesn’t get too hot
A hot drone battery is one of the most damaging situations for the longevity of your battery. Here are several ways how to make sure your battery doesn’t get too hot including avoiding flying on a summer’s day, fitting the drone with a white decal, ensuring maximum airflow and minimising your aggressive flying on hot days.
Should you fly your drone on a hot summer’s day?
Flying on even the hottest summer’s day hasn’t been an issue for me in Australia. I avoid flying in any temperatures above 45° C as it is a horrible temperature to be out anyway.
However, there are some ways that you can minimise your drone battery getting too hot.
Fit a white decal
Some drone pilots like to increase the reflective nature of their drones by fitting a white decal. The Mavic Air and Mavic series drones are black (or very dark grey). These drones absorb a lot of solar radiation and can become very hot very quickly.
Fitting a white decal can help with the absorption of some of the solar radiation and reduce your drone operating temperature by up to 5° C.
hovering is one of the most dangerous activities to do on a hot day. The transfer of charge from the battery to the drone is a very energy-intensive process and can cause a lot of internal heating.
Drones generally have grills on the front and sides of the drone to help increase the airflow over the hot components.
Maximising the amount of airflow over the internal moments on a hot summer’s day will help you keep your drone as cool as possible.
A summer’s day with a nice strong breeze can also help keep the internal components of your drone from getting too hot.
Minimize aggressive flying
Minimise the amount of aggressive flying during your flight. Quick changes of direction at high speed causes the motors to spool up to their maximum power output to overcome the momentum generated.
Slow cinematic flying is the best way to minimise your drone battery overheating on hot summer days.
How Can I Avoid Damaging The Battery?
Now you know that there are temperature limitations at play when you use a DJI drone. However, there are ways to mitigate this risk and keep your drone and the battery safe. There are a few steps you can take to avoid damaging the battery:
Follow Manufacturer Guidelines When Charging
When charging the battery, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Overcharging can damage the battery and lead to a fire. For example, you should charge the battery for the listed amount of time and avoid using third-party chargers. These can cause serious damage to the battery in the long run and can bring down the expected lifespan of your DJI drone.
Don’t Charge At Extreme Temperatures
Avoid charging the drone in extreme temperatures. This can damage the battery and lead to a fire, especially at higher temperatures. Charging when the temperature is too low can also damage the battery and reduce its lifespan. The ideal temperature to charge the battery is between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use A Protective Cover
When transporting the drone, be sure to use a protective cover. This will help keep the battery at a stable temperature and prevent it from being damaged by extreme temperatures. Try not to keep the battery next to heat-producing devices and products, such as a laptop or other electronics that are running. Instead, use a separate bag to keep the battery safe.
Keep The Battery Cool During Use
When flying the drone, try to keep the battery cool. This can be done by avoiding direct sunlight and flying in the shade whenever possible. If you must fly in direct sunlight, take breaks often to allow the battery to cool down.
Do not let the DJI drone stay in warm areas for too long, and make sure that the battery doesn’t overheat. If you notice signs of overheating, cease using the drone at once and let it cool down before using it again.
Don’t Fly In Extreme Temperatures
Flying in extreme temperatures can also damage the battery. Not only will the battery be working harder to keep the drone in the air, but it will also be subject to temperature changes that can damage it. If possible, avoid flying in extreme heat or cold, as mentioned in the first section above.
Take Off And Landing Carefully
Be careful when taking off and landing in extreme temperatures. The sudden change in temperature can damage the battery. If possible, land in a shady area to avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
Monitor The Battery Temperature
Keep an eye on the battery temperature while flying. If it starts to get too hot or too cold, land immediately and allow the battery to cool down or warm up gradually.
This article is covered everything you need to know about DJI battery temperature and keeping your drone battery as safe as possible.
Very high and very low temperatures result in inefficient drone battery chemistry and can result in irreversible damage.
Always treat your drone batteries with care and keep them at a safe operating temperature at all times. Whether storing, flying, or transporting – take great care to minimise the amount of thermal shop your drone batteries receive.
I have found that I can extend the lifetime of my batteries up to 3 times if I look after my drone batteries particularly well. Well worth the effort in my opinion.