Checking your DJI battery health will provide you with the confidence that you need to fly your drone in a range of challenging conditions. Drone batteries are made of a lithium polymer composite and are the best combination of lightweight and energy density. It’s only been in recent years that this technology has evolved beyond lithium batteries that you find in your laptop. Because these batteries are very different to other consumer batteries on the market you have to make sure that they are maintained in a very specific way which keeps the battery healthy and able to perform at its optimum level.
There are a range of ways that you can check your DJI battery health – you can go into the DJI GO4 app and specifically check the battery condition. On some models of DJI drones you can hold down the battery button for five seconds to get an indicator to show the battery health and you can also monitor things like how easily it holds and discharges its energy and monitor things like overheating during charging and discharging.
In this article, we’re going to go over all of the ways that you can check your DJI battery health and also the best ways to keep your DJI drone battery as healthy as possible.
Check the DJI GO4 app
DJI have made incredibly simple for you to check the health of your drone battery in the GO4 app.
How to check DJI battery cycles
In the DJI go four app you can click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner to be taken to the main menu. Clicking on the fifth icon down will reveal the battery options:
By clicking details you’ll be able to find out how many times the battery has been charged and its status and health. The page you are looking for is like the one, below.
The DJI app is an incredible resource for a range of things and while you are flying you can see the discharge rate of the battery in real time. I would also keep an eye on how to much flight time you have and if you notice a significant difference or decline you may have an unhealthy drone battery.
Hold down the button for 5 seconds
Some DJI drone batteries have the ability to tell you the health status of the drone without having to go into the app.
My DJI Mavic air is not have this ability but some older models of the DJI Phantom, inspire, and Mavic pro series can display the battery health after pushing down the battery button for more than five seconds.
In the manual you can see that the battery life section refers to how many times the battery can be discharged and recharged before it must be replaced. After you push the battery button for five seconds the battery level indicators would light up and/or blink for two seconds in a number of patterns as shown below in the image.
Once a battery life which is not percent it can no longer be used to fly and I would recommend starting to replace the battery as soon as you have less than 50% of the battery life remaining. This means that you will not be caught out if the battery fails suddenly for another compounding issue.
Is it holding charge?
Another way to monitor battery health is to check that it is holding charge for as long as you expect. DJI’s have smart batteries which behave a little differently to other types of drone batteries. You can expect that the DJI smart battery will start to discharge while it is in storage. This is because the ideal storage charge for a lithium polymer battery is approximately 40%. This is the batteries own way of making sure that the batteries are maintained as well as possible.
A full run down on the DJI smart battery and how it works is shown in the video, below:
If you notice a significant decrease in how long you can store your DJI smart battery it may be an indication of a health problem which you can then investigate using the solutions above.
As you are flying your DJI drone you will notice that the battery level depletes at a relatively even rate. On the DJI Go4 app the total amount of charge is shown just under the top bar of the apps interface.
For some reason it always depletes far faster than you think but as you are flying more and more you will get a feeling of whether or not the drone flight is getting shorter.
A short drone flight on its own may not mean anything as batteries can be easily depleted if they are struggling against strong winds or if there are other factors at play. However, if you notice that your flight time is significantly lower for a number of consecutive flights under different conditions it may be the first indication that your battery health is starting to decline.
Is it overheating?
Another aspect of battery health is how you easily and resistance free the drone battery can charge and discharge. If the battery is able to discharge quickly often there is a slight increase in the temperature of the battery as some of the energy transfer is lost in the generation of heat. This is completely normal and an expected part of drone flying.
This is what you should look out for…
If your drone battery is heating up significantly to the point where plastic parts are walking or changing colours or it is hard to touch the surface of the battery it is an indication of something which is much more serious.
It is expected that the drone battery heats up as there is a very fast discharge of electrons during use and charging. However, if it becomes excessive your battery health has been compromised and you should consider changing the battery as soon as possible.
The above options are the best way for checking your drone battery health. But also keeping a track of things like him many times your drone battery has been charged as well as how long you have had it will also give you the ability to determine whether or not it is time to replace your battery.
How long do DJI batteries last?
DJI batteries last for anywhere between 300 to 500 flights – you can track this via the recharge cycles – all for approximately two years. Whichever of these come first will determine how long your DJI batteries last.
I have had my drone for approximately one year and therefore I’ve got another two years of flight time before I need to consider replacing my DJI batteries.
How many times can a LiPo battery be charged?
Lithium polymer batteries can be charged up to 500 times. However, there are a range of different factors which determine whether or not you get the maximum number of times the battery can be charged.
- storage – has the battery been stored correctly?
- heat – has the battery been through extremes of hot or cold temperatures?
- discharge rate – have you done excessively aggressive missions or loan at high speeds regularly?
Lithium polymer batteries, because of their high-tech internal components, you need a little bit more care and attention than the typical lithium battery. Here are all of the things that you should consider while looking after your DJI drone battery.
How do you take care of a DJI battery?
Taking care of a DJI battery will ensure that it lasts for as long as possible. They take a little bit more care and attention because of the lithium polymer composite used. It’s not hard to enact these different health interventions and spending just five minutes making sure that you satisfy the basic ones will mean your battery will last much longer.
Don’t charge until you are going to fly
One of the first things that you should do is only charge your drone batteries when are going to fly. For some reason there is something inside me which always wants to keep the drone batteries charged at 100%. Maybe it’s because I like the idea of simply grabbing my drone and the batteries and flying quickly without having to give a second thought or plan to much around the charging.
Your drone batteries will also automatically discharge while they are in storage. The smart batteries will discharge to a 40% capacity which will protect the internal components and keep them healthy. So, there is no point charging up your drone batteries for storage unless you are storing them for a long period of time.
Never leave your drone batteries fully charged if storing for long periods of time – like over a month. It is best to leave your batteries at 3.9 volts per cell if you are not planning on using them within a week. 100 % charges LiPo batteries are much more unstable than when at 50 % – increasing the lieklyhood of a short.
Some of the smart batteries will also discharge themselves so that they reach about 3.9 V per cell. Here are some basic rules of thumb if you want to store your drone batteries for various lengths of time:
- Short-term Storage – Batteries should be discharged to between 60 and 80% if you’re not using them for between one and ten days.
- Long-term Storage – If storing for more than ten days, store the battery between 40 and 60%. Batteries should not be left for over three months without being charged as the battery life will be reduced.
Never let the battery discharge to 0%
you should never completely discharge your drone battery. Every lithium polymer batteries made up of individual cells – between 18 of them. Each of these cells are rated at 3.7 V and are considered fully charge when they reach 4.2 V. If you let the battery voltage drop below 3.7 V you will permanently harm the battery.
Never completely discharge your battery as you will permanently incapacitate the ability for it to pick up or retain any charge.
Store at room temperature
The lithium polymer internal components of drone batteries are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. It’s always very tempting to leave your drone and the accessories in the car but if it is a particularly hot day this can damage the health of the batteries.
Likewise, very cold temperatures will also damage the polymer internal components and so the best option is to always store your batteries at room temperature. Find a place in your house where the temperature stays relatively constant such as a spare bedroom. Never store your drone all the batteries in a hot shed or anywhere which experiences extreme fluctuations in temperature whether hot or cold.
Store at 50% charge
Never leave your drone battery is fully charged if storing for long periods of time – for example a month or more. Batteries which I charged up to 100% are much more unstable than when they are stored at 50%
Don’t charge in hot or cold
Keeping with the theme of temperature, you should also not charge up your drone if it is particularly hot or cold. For example, your drone battery will be relatively warm after the completion of a flight and so you should wait for it to completely cool down before charging.
Likewise, if you are flying in very cold conditions and you find that you have left a discharge battery in a cold climate for a bit and the battery temperature has dropped significantly you should move it to a warmer place and wait for it to warm up before charging.
Warm up in cold weather
If you are flying in cold weather regularly you should consider allowing your drone to holler at head height for a minute or so before going on your mission. Allowing the electronic components and the batteries to warm up slightly from sub zero temperatures will allow the battery to perform optimally when you are asking it to provide a lot of power to the drone.
Don’t get the metal contacts wet
The metal components of the battery should be protected at all costs. If you get any corrosion on the metal fins which connect the drone battery to the drone body there will be significant resistance and could significantly harm the health of your drone battery.
Buy a drone battery protector
drone battery protectors come in a variety of different shapes and sizes for different uses. Drone battery protectors will keep your battery served by you are flying and secure during transport and charging. They come in a wide variety different forms such as silicon covers, 3D printed fasteners, and explosionproof bags. There are even some really cool DIY methods for protecting your drone batteries and you can read all about them in my other article the best drone battery protectors money can buy – click here to be taken to article.
Because you are in possession of a DJI drone you need to be careful with your DIY options but the good news is there are tons of different third-party options for protecting your drone battery and keeping it healthy. Make sure that you purchase a drone battery protector which is specific to the model of drone that you have for secure and healthy transport of batteries.
Cycle the LiPo batteries for first use
If you have purchased a new battery you can cycle the battery a couple of times to help increase the longevity of the battery. after an initial couple of cycles, you can repeat this every few months. That is combat something referred to as “battery memory” where the battery remembers how far it was last discharged and causes it to artificially shrink its capacity.
Can you overcharge DJI battery?
Because DJI batteries are smart batteries is very hard to overcharge them. They know the recent charge state and it won’t let you charge it into you actually use it.
The only way that you can overcharge DJI battery is if there is a fatal error in either the charger or the smart battery. As long as you replace your drone battery after 500 recharge cycles all after about three years you’re almost certainly not have any issue with overcharging your DJI battery.
in this article, we covered all of the ways that you can check your DJI battery health. It’s very simple and as easy as going onto the DJI app or checking the health of the battery from the indicators directly on the battery itself.
As you are flying, you should keep notes of all of the different changes to flight time and heat which may be an early indicator for you that your battery is not as healthy as it could be. Also, looking after your battery will mean that it will last much longer and in every case with DJI batteries prevention is better than cure. Keep them dry, keep them a reasonable temperature, and never allow them to fully discharge in between uses – do this and you cannot go wrong.