Phantom 3 Battery Not Charging (Reasons, and How to Fix It)

Drone batteries are made of lithium polymer and utilize advanced technology, requiring rigorous maintenance and storage routines. Most of the batteries are light and easily rechargeable. This is why drone manufacturers find it appropriate to use them in aircraft. However, Phantom 3 batteries can sometimes let you down by refusing to charge. So, what are some of the reasons these batteries may fail to charge?

Phantom 3 batteries may refuse to charge after many hours of use or when there is a faulty or broken charger.  It may refuse to charge when it bricks as a result of poor maintenance or poor storage which damages the cells. Also, when the battery goes into deep discharge mode, it may not charge.

Unfortunately, when your Phantom 3 battery stops charging, you cannot get outdoors and enjoy flying your drone. Such a battery may charge after a little bit of finagling, or it may never charge again. In the latter case, you will have no option other than to buy a new battery. Read on to see why the Phantom 3 battery may refuse to charge and what you can do to fix the problem.

Poor Storage and Maintenance

Typically, Phantom 3 batteries consist of a lithium polymer composite that requires proper maintenance and special storage. One aspect of this is that they should never be allowed to drain beyond the 5% level. If they do, the battery cells can be permanently damaged. 

Similarly, the batteries have smart flight features which may prevent them from charging. The features include the hibernation mode found in intelligent battery systems. In that case, it may be necessary to maintain the battery regularly, including ensuring that its voltage does not drop below 3.7 V, to prevent the battery from entering hibernation mode.

Luckily, you can jump-start a battery out of hibernation mode. However, you will need a bunch of different tools to do so. Some of them include a LiPo balance charger, and a Nickel Metal Hydride charger (NiMH).

To fix the problem, connect the LiPo battery plug to the NiMH charger and charge the battery using about 0.1A current. Select a voltage matching the LiPo battery nominal voltage. It should take between 1-2 minutes for the battery to recover up to 3.3V in every cell. You can confirm this by reading your Phantom 3 battery’s total voltage and dividing it by the total number of cells.

As soon as the voltage of your Phantom 3 battery rises to above 3.3 V per cell, you can move it to a Lithium Polymer balance charger. Here, you should be able to balance the battery charge at a 0.5 C rating. As soon as the balance charge completes balancing, the battery will be fully recovered.

Alternatively, you may need to reset the battery. Notice that any Phantom 3 battery that is not in use will always self-discharge. LiPos will also discharge but at a slower pace. As such, if left unused for a while, it may discharge to zero and go into hibernation mode. So, you need to reset it to get it back to life once more.

To reset it, you need to have the DJI charger on hand. Press the ON button two times and ignore any of the lights that may flicker. Do not press any other button but let the battery rest for another 5 minutes and plug in the charger but don’t press any button this time around. You may leave the battery to charge for a few minutes. It is likely to get back to life after a few minutes, or it may take even longer.

Broken or Faulty Charger

If your charger is faulty or broken, it will not charge. So, you may need to troubleshoot it to confirm any broken wire. The easiest way to do this is to plug it into a wall socket that you are sure is working, and connect a battery. You will then need to turn the battery on to see how it behaves.

Inconsistent Firmware

The Phantom 3 battery may refuse to charge if there is a problem with the firmware that needs to be updated. Therefore, to fix the problem, you will need to update the drone’s firmware. But ensure the battery is in the drone when doing this, and not in the separate battery charger. Also, you may need an appropriate app to fix the drone’s firmware.

Hot Battery

When the battery’s temperature rises above a certain level, the sensors will detect it, and eventually, the battery will refuse to charge. One thing that can raise the battery’s temperature is when you leave it in the sun or in the car. Similarly, if you have been warming the battery in the previous flight, the chances are that it may still be warm. In this state, it may not charge.

Notice that the batteries will only charge when the temperature is between 5° C – 40° C. If it is too cold or too warm, it may refuse to charge. To fix the problem, leave it at room temperature for a period of 30 minutes or one hour. You can then plug the battery into the charger and allow it to charge.

Short Circuit

If a short circuit causes a high amperage, the battery may stop charging as well. This may happen when parts of a wire are in contact with each other either within the charger or outside the charger. As a result, it may be necessary to inspect the charger for exposed wires which may make the Phantom 3 battery not charge. To fix this, identify the damaged wires and replace them. Alternatively, you may opt to buy a new charger.

Damaged Pins

There are linings between your battery and the charger that can either get bent or break. Also, the pins may corrode as they come in contact with corrosive substances or moisture. It may result in a leaking battery which may make the battery refuse to charge. To fix the issue, clean off the corrosion using isopropyl alcohol. But if the pins are damaged, consider buying a new battery. 

Bad Battery Cell

A lithium battery contains several cells. When some of the cells die, it may make the battery refuse to charge. Look at each of the cells closely to see the dead ones. To fix the problem, you may need to buy a new battery and maintain it well. Also, some of the cells may be damaged. So, ensure to check the health of these individual cells and see if they are responsible for the battery’s refusal to charge.

Hibernation Mode

When the battery is in hibernation mode, it may not charge. One of the reasons why it can enter the mode is when it has been in storage for a few months.  If the battery discharges to zero, it automatically enters a hibernation mode, making it difficult for the battery to charge.  Luckily you can fix the problem through this process:

Power on the battery and keep watching it until it displays a solid red light. Wait for the light to go off, then plug it into the charger. Let it stay plugged in for a few hours until it comes out of hibernation mode. Also, before you store the battery, ensure that the charge stays up to at least 50% if it stays in storage for a longer period. Ensure to check and charge it regularly.

Not Taking Good Care of The Battery

Taking care of the battery is not difficult. But if you don’t do it correctly, it is unlikely that the battery will last very long. Firstly, avoid using the battery if it shows signs of damage. The swelling sign is a definite indicator of a problem since it shows that the battery is leaking. 

Also, it’s important to never let your battery get or stay wet. If it accidentally gets soaked in water, make sure to dispose of it right away. Do not attempt to charge a swollen battery because it can explode and cause an accident.

Note that it is necessary to ensure that you only use an official charger for the Phantom 3 battery. Also, ensure that you check the temperature of the battery before you charge it. Anything below 22 or above 28 degrees Celsius is not acceptable. Do not start charging the battery immediately after the drone returns from the sky. Let it cool down to the desired temperature before plugging it into the charger.

Do not plug the battery in the charger and go to attend to other business. Ensure that you keep your eye on the chargers’ status bar. It will always indicate the charging level. Keeping an eye on it ensures that you don’t overcharge the battery.

Lastly, store the battery when it is 60-80 percent charged if you will use it in a couple of days. But if you plan to use it after ten days or more, it should be stored with a 40-60 percent charge.

When making drone batteries, manufacturers use different materials, and so you need to treat the battery well and store them in particular conditions. Also, the battery needs to be maintained regularly to give you service for a longer time. But if you don’t check and maintain it, it is likely to get damaged and be unusable. 

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

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