Just like every other kind of accessory in the drone industry, drone batteries have improved significantly in recent years. Drone batteries only recently have begun to be able to self-regulate their charge, and notify you about their health, status and potential warnings. But even with these developments, the question remains. Do drone batteries auto-discharge if they are left unused for long periods?
If a drone battery is left unused, it will automatically begin discharging to protect the integrity of the battery cells. DJI drone batteries, for example, will automatically discharge to 60% if they are not used for 10 days.
In this article, we will discuss all that relates to discharging of drone batteries and much more.
Does a drone battery discharge when not in use?
It’s obvious that the densely packed power housed in your drone’s LiPo battery is essential for flight. If you speak to any drone enthusiast out there, they’ll tell you just how much they value the health of their drone batteries. No drone pilot wants to have a faulty battery that keeps on losing its charge, thus limiting flight. That’s why most drone owners take seriously the maintenance of their drone batteries to opitmize flight times and performance.
If you are reading this article, then the chances are that you may have observed something peculiar with your drone’s battery. You charge it to full capacity and then store it for a day or more, and then when you fit it back into your drone ready for another flight, you find out that the battery level isn’t full anymore. Understandably, this may have confused you, and you’re wondering whether something is wrong with the battery.
Basically, you want to know whether it’s normal for a drone’s battery to discharge when it isn’t being used.
The answer is yes! If not used for a day or so, drone batteries will automatically begin discharging. This doesn’t mean that the battery is faulty, however. Drone batteries automatically discharge when not in use to protect the integrity of the battery cells. You see, if the batteries do not self-discharge when not being used for several days, they begin to swell up over time. This makes the battery cells deteriorate, and if this happens, the battery’s health will be compromised.
If you aren’t going to use the battery for a while, it’s usually recommended to discharge it to 60% before storing it in a cool, dry place. The auto-discharge feature of many drone batteries ensures that the optimal level of battery charge remains in the battery during periods of disuse.
Is it a bad idea to leave drone batteries charged?
When you finish flying your drone on any given day, it only makes sense to make sure it is fully charged for the next time you decide to fly it. Just as is the case with laptops and smartphones, no one wants to have low battery power when they most want to use their drone.
This can be a frustrating occurrence which is why most people opt to charge their drone batteries fully before storing them for use the next time. But while this sounds convenient, it’s actually not a good idea to try to leave your drone batteries fully charged.
It’s best NOT to leave your drone battery fully charged when you are not planning on using it any time soon. Drone batteries are usually LiPo batteries and leaving them fully charged increases the risk of swelling.
To counteract this tendency to swell, most drone manufacturers have a built-in auto discharge cycle for their drone’s batteries. But what happens if this failsafe doesn’t work? The chances are that if batteries are left fully charged, swelling will occur, and this swelling will deteriorate the integrity of the battery cells. This in turn significantly reduces the overall battery life.
Leaving a battery fully charged accelerates its aging. This is why it’s recommended to discharge the battery to 40-65% if you leave it idle for 10 days or more.
How do I store drone batteries when not in use?
Here are several tips on storing your drone’s batteries when you are not using them, to ensure they last longer:
- Store them in a cool, dry place at a temperature range of 71-82˚F (22-28˚C).
- Keep the batteries away from any liquids and do not place them close to a heat source.
- If you don’t plan to use the batteries for 10 days or more, discharge them to 45-60%.
- Don’t store the batteries with lower than 10% of power as this may over-discharge them and destroy the cells, which is irreparable.
- Remove the batteries from the drone if you are going to store them for an extended period.
Why do drone batteries die so fast?
The reason drone batteries die so fast is due to the amount of energy required to fly a drone. The blades of drones are usually very short, and this means that they must rotate at a high RPM to generate the lift required to fly. This requires a lot of energy, and quickly drains the battery.
With this huge energy requirement to fly a drone, you also get a build-up of heat in the batteries, which effectively depletes the energy that the batteries have stored. This is another reason your drone’s batteries may not last as long as you’d like.
Can you overcharge a drone battery?
Some people overcharge their drone batteries either by mistake or to try and squeeze as much flight time out of the drone as possible. But is this a good idea?
You can overcharge a drone battery, but the effect is that it could significantly shorten the battery’s life span. Overcharging it could also cause it to overheat and potentially catch fire. So overcharging isn’t a good idea.
Unless your drone comes with an intelligent flight battery that can cut the power from the battery once it’s fully charged, you should never keep the battery on the charger after it indicates that it is full.
To sum up, if you aren’t going to use your drone battery for a while, it’s important to store it properly. Follow the tips in this guide to keep your drone battery healthy and functioning properly for the long term.