The DJI Spark drone is a powerhouse beginner drone that is still very popular today despite being replaced and superseded by the Mavic Mini.
While flying my drone, I noticed some important steps to ensure the battery is well maintained and will charge reliably. Some people find that the drone battery is not charging when they come to fly their drone, and this article will go through all of the easy fixes to look for.
The most common reason for DJI Spark batteries not charging is because of the complete depletion of the battery after long-term storage. Hibernation mode, a damaged battery or metallic contacts can cause issues when charging.
The DJI spark has an intelligent battery system based on a lithium polymer composite that requires much more care than a typical lithium battery (like that found in laptops).
The intelligent battery system means that the drone battery will do its best to protect the internal components of the battery by entering different modes (such as hibernation mode) and refusing to be charged when temperatures are high.
Here are all the common reasons your DJI Spark battery may not be charging and the easy fixes for resolving the issues.
DJI spark battery not charging
Activation is required before using the intelligent flight battery for the first time.
All batteries are in hibernation mode before shipment to ensure safety during transport. Activating the intelligent flight battery is very simple. Use the USB charger to charge and activate the battery as soon as you receive the drone.
It is highly recommended that you fully charge the drone battery before each flight to ensure that the drone will have a maximum flight time, and it also protects the lithium polymer battery.
Battery has been left for a long time
If your battery has been left without charging or used for a long time, it may have been fully depleted.
Smart batteries have an internal logic that protects the sensitive lithium polymer batteries from over and undercharging. Unfortunately, this does not allow the drone to be stored indefinitely.
There is a limit to how long your battery can look after itself – and you may have gone past it.
My drone battery will start to automatically discharge itself to a lower (65%) level charge so that it can be safely stored for a longer time.
Lithium polymer batteries contain up to 8 cells. Typically for a DJI drone, there are four cells. You can look at the health of these individual cells on the DJI GO 4 app.
Open the DJI Go 4 app > click the three dots in the top right-hand corner > and select the battery icon.
This screen will give you all of the information you need to know about each of the individual battery cells. The green bars for each cell should be close to the same height – which indicates healthy cells.
Sometimes I have left my drone battery for many months without charging and I have worried that they will not be able to be revived.
DJI recommends that if your batteries are dead due to long-term and incorrect storage, you should buy new batteries to ensure the safe operation of your drone.
However, people on online drone forums are able to revive dead batteries by using unofficial workarounds such as:
- using a high amperage charger
- connecting the battery to your laptop to revive the battery
- leaving the battery charging for a very long period of time to overcome any hibernation mode features that may have been activated alongside depletion protection.
The battery is a very important part of flying a drone, and the energy transfer from the battery to the drone needs to be as efficient as possible – any issue can severely impact the safety of your flight.
Battery storage is very important, and you must take care when storing for long periods of time.
The battery will enter hibernation mode if it senses that it is close to being fully depleted and stored for a long period. Hibernation mode prevents the battery from over discharging and you will not be able to see any LED flashing lights when you press the power button.
You can usually bring the battery out of hibernation mode by simply recharging the battery overnight or for up to 8 hours.
Do not be tempted to interrupt the recharge and let the battery fully recharge.
Once the battery determines that it is safe to come out of hibernation mode, you will see flashing lights.
To stop the battery from going into hibernation mode, you should consider fully charging and discharging the battery at least once every three months to maintain battery health.
Charger is faulty
Always use an official DJI charger for charging your DJI drone. Never attach the batteries to wall outlets or car charger sockets directly.
The charger is something that quite often gets overlooked and because you carry it around while travelling – it can become damaged.
I know that when I travel, I chuck my drone charger in my bag without a second thought; however, you should never place heavy objects on top of the charger and avoid dropping both the battery and the charger to avoid damage.
If you are using a third-party charger, you must ensure that it provides 3A at 5V to your drone. Otherwise, you can seriously damage the lithium polymer composite by overcharging.
Cables are also treated relatively badly when you are travelling or storing your drone.
I know that I often cram, coil, and fold the cables in ways that I shouldn’t to get them into a travel bag.
Sometimes the table can be broken without you seeing any obvious signs of separation.
Check over all of your cables and ensure that each important one is not obviously damaged.
One of the most damaged parts of cables comes from their connection points to different adapters and connectors. Check the contact and connection points of the cables as this is an area of high damage.
Purchasing new cables for your drone battery is a way of ensuring safe charging. Also, you may already have many of the cables you need from other gadgets lying around.
Drone batteries should never have anything dropped on top of the casing, and you should try not to drop them from any significant height.
Crashing your drone may be another cause of damage to the battery.
Inspect your drone battery for any obvious damage, including:
- swelling – is the casing of the drone battery bulging?
- cracking – are there any obvious cracks in the body or seams of the drone battery?
- discolouration – fading of the case and any chemical stains can be seen on the surface of the drone casing.
Even if you don’t see any clear signs of damage, there might be internal electronic damage and cracked circuit boards.
It would help if you replaced the battery as soon as possible when you see any signs of damage and do not use it anymore.
The battery is protecting itself
DJI’s spark smart battery is always trying to protect itself. It may be avoiding charging because it detects an anomaly.
The intelligent flight battery is specially designed to stop charging when it is full. It prevents overcharging, and monitoring the charging process and disconnecting the batteries when fully charged is good practice.
The intelligent flight battery will also avoid charging when the temperature is too hot or too low.
The DJI Spark battery will only charge when the cell temperature is between 5 and 40°C.
By looking at the LEDs, you can see that the DJI sparks battery is not charging from self protection. The LEDs of the battery will show you the battery protection item activated. This includes overcurrent, short-circuit, overcharge, charging temperature, and overvoltage. You can see all of the linking patterns in the table below.
Charging a battery relies on lining up a series of metallic contacts between the battery and the charger.
Because these metal pins get used often, they can easily become bent out of shape.
Also, the pins can become corroded through contact with moisture or other corrosive material – like a leaky battery.
Take a look at the metallic contacts in the battery and also in the connector from the charger. They should look shiny and have regular spacing with no obvious curves or bumps on the surface.
You can clean off the corrosion with a little bit of isopropyl alcohol to see if you can restore the metallic finish to the contacts.
Do not jam any other metallic contacts or implements into the battery compartment to fix any bent pins. You could end up damaging the battery even further and causing a fire.
If the battery pins look particularly damaged, the best thing you can do is buy a new battery. Make sure you buy a new battery or charger from a reputable reseller or directly from the manufacturer.
While using the DJI GO 4 app, you may get an “inconsistent firmware” notification. That means the firmware on the battery needs to be updated.
The confusing aspect of this is that you cannot just update the firmware on the battery. You need to update the aircraft firmware while the battery is in the drone.
So, head over to the aircraft firmware using your DJI GO 4 app and select your aircraft’s firmware update.
After updating the aircraft’s firmware, the notification should disappear.
It is important to ensure that:
- the intelligent flight battery has at least 50% power, and the remote controller has at least 30% power
- do not disconnect the aircraft from the remote control during the upgrade
- The firmware upgrade will take around 15 minutes. It is normal that the gimbal goes limp and the aircraft stators blink abnormally. Please wait patiently until the update is fully complete.
DJI Spark battery safety guidelines
The best way to ensure your DJI Spark battery remains as healthy as possible is to follow all intelligent battery safety guidelines.
For battery charging, these include:
- never leave the battery unattended during charging
- do not charge the battery near flammable materials or flammable surfaces
- do not charge the battery immediately after a flight
- do not charge the battery in. Doing so may lead to leakage, overheating, or battery damage.
- Disconnect the charger when not in use.
- Examine the charger regularly, including the court, plug, and enclosure and do not clean the charger with denatured alcohol or other flammable solvents.
This article has covered everything you need to know about a DJI Spark battery not charging and how you can fix it.
There are many easy fixes that you can attempt before replacing your drone, and it is most likely that your drone battery has entered hibernation mode, which is easy to get out of through charging.
Drone batteries are becoming smarter and more intelligent, meaning they will do things to protect themselves.
Reading the Spark user manual and the intelligent flight battery safety guidelines will help you understand exactly how to look after your drone and troubleshoot any issues that may occur during charging or flying.