Did you know they finally made a drone that can fly forever without needing to recharge the batteries? Oh wait, no they didn't. We wish! The sad fact is, we will always have limited flight time due to the nature of battery operated drones.
However, we've pulled together 6 great ways to extend your flight time.
Oh, and this is different from our recent article: 5 Ways To Extend Your Drone's Battery Life. That article was all about how to maximize the life of your battery so that it lasts for more charges and doesn't wear out prematurely and need to be replaced.
Now, here's how to lengthen your flight time…
1. Get A Bigger Battery
This may not be an option for every drone out there, but we've found that many can be modified to take a larger battery (some don't even need to be modded, you can just slip a bigger battery in!).
First, you need to find out what your current battery is rated for, measured in voltage and mAh. What's mAh you ask? It stands for milli-Ampere-hours, which mean the higher the number of mAh, the more power. The more power, the more flight time.
You need to be sure you are matching the voltage of your current battery. Most of the little drones use a 3.7 volt battery. And typically we've found that most small models use the same connection between the battery and the drone.
If you are not sure, make sure you look closely at pictures to see if the connector looks like it is the same as your current battery.
The next thing to check is the physical size of the battery. Check the battery compartment of your drone while your current battery is installed – does it have a little wiggle room? Or can the compartment be modified (cut out) to make a little more room?
Or get creative! We've been known to strap a bigger battery to the outside of a drone because it wouldn't fit in the battery compartment.
Finally, consider the weight. Bigger batteries weigh more. You don't want to burn out the motors of your drone by stressing it out trying to lug around a bigger battery. A 10-20% increase in weight is typically fine.
2. Watch the Weather
If you're flying outside, the weather can have a major affect on how your drone and battery perform. The more power it needs to fight wind, the faster the battery is going to drain (and the increased possibility of the wind taking off with your drone!). Plan to fly on nice calm days with little to no wind.
Oh, and most drones are highly allergic to water (with the exception of this waterproof one!). So make sure there is no chance of rain. Nothing will bring down a drone faster than getting it wet while in mid-air!
3. Remove the Attachments
Most drones come with optional attachments that can easily be removed to lighten the load and increase flight time. Cameras are a big one here. If you're not using your drone to film your friends rope swinging into the water, then consider taking it off.
Something like a camera not only adds to the power drain by needing power itself, but the extra weight makes a difference too.
Other accessories to consider removing are prop guards and landing gear. Obviously there is a trade-off here. Prop guards are excellent for protecting your props from collisions and rough landings. And landing gear protect the bottom of your drone.
However, the better you get at flying, the less you need to rely on prop guards and landing gear to protect your drone.
4. Try Low Mode
Most drones come with different flight modes (low, medium, and high). The higher the setting, the faster/more responsive the drone is, but the more power it consumes. Choosing the most conservative flight mode will conserve the battery life.
5. Get Bigger Props
If you're feeling bold, you may want to check out different propeller size options, as this can have an effect on the amount of power that's used. A larger prop creates more lift and typically means the drone doesn't have to work as hard to stay in the air.
You may need to do some research (do some googling and check youtube) to see if other's have reported success using a bigger prop.
We've heard of DIY drone modders out there who've found ways to make harnesses on their drones to have a secondary battery running in tandem with the original battery.
If you're an advanced flier and not afraid to experiment, this or other things along these lines could be a great and creative way to get more power. Let's not forget that you could always build your own drone!
How about you guys? What crazy mods have you come up with to extend your flight time? Have you had success trying any of these methods?