One thing you may have noticed from reading my reviews is that many drones have extremely limited flight times. In this article, I will provide you with 6 practical steps you can take to extend your drones flight time and in the process have more fun.
With toy drones coming in the lower end of flight times this guide is targeted towards them, however, you can take many of the tips and apply it to more advanced drones.
Although drone manufacturers are improving and flight times are getting better as technology advances, for many the flight time is something that can be frustrating.
There are ways you can extend flight times yourself, they will not drastically increase flight times but they will likely provide a few extra minutes of aerial fun.
Here my tips for extending flight times.
1.Purchase extra batteries
I always say this on all my drone reviews, buy extra batteries, charge them all before any flight and this will mean more flight time without having to wait around to charge your original batteries.
The drawback is that with the more expensive drones like those from DJI, the drones are only compatible with their own batteries.
Most of the lower end drones do not have this kind of drawback since you can purchase batteries that are compatible with multiple other drones.
For example, these batteries are compatible with many low-end Hubsan and Syma drones.
So, whatever type of drone you purchase, buy extra batteries for extended flight time.
2.Reduce the weight
If you have a drone with a camera and are not going to make much use it, take the camera off, this will reduce the weight.
Less weight means less power used by the motors to life which results in extended flight time.
You should also consider taking of any unnecessary accessories like propeller guards and landing gear.
This has obvious drawbacks like damaging your propellers should you crash or having a rough landing without the landing gear.
However, as you become a better pilot, these shouldn’t be an issue
3.Buy larger Batteries
Now, this option may not be viable for all drones but there are times when you can connect larger third-party batteries into your drones battery compartment. This may give you a few extra minutes of flight time.
Look for batteries that have the same voltage as your current battery but a higher mAh (milli-Ampere-hours). The higher the mAh the longer your battery will last.
There is a caveat to this however and that is since the battery will be larger, this will add more weight to your drone, if the increase in weight is too much, then the flight time may be reduced and sometimes it can destabilise the drone.
To get maximum range and flight time from your drone, you should really only fly when the weather is good.
Not everyone will follow this advice, but flying in windy conditions will mean you battery uses up power much faster and hence the reduced flight time.
Flying in optimal conditions is especially recommended for light drones as you can easily lose control of these drones in windy conditions and crash them.
This only applies to lightweight drones, your more sophisticated drones like those from DJI range can handle strong winds but flight time will still be affected.
Also, you should never fly drones in the rain, unless it has been made waterproof or it’s a DIY drone and warranty isn’t an issue.
5.Don’t fly aggressively
A lot of high-end drones come with different flight modes, the mode where you have more control is when the battery will use more power.
Drones fly much quicker in this mode (usually called expert mode) and so flight time will be reduced.
If you are a new flyer, it is good practice to use flight modes where the controls are not as sensitive and the flight is more stable and not so fast.
This will increase your flight time and reduce the risk of crashing.
You will usually find it is easy to switch between easy and expert mode and so if you ever have trouble controlling the drone or you notice the battery is being drained too fast, changing flight modes is as easy as pushing a button
6.Look after your batteries
There are a few measures you can take to maintain the lifetime value of your battery.
Store batteries as recommended by the manufacturers, this usually requires storing them in room temperature and where humidity isn’t high.
You should also charge your batteries just before you fly, do not charge batteries days before you fly your drone. This is because batteries that are charged and used right away perform better than those that have been charged for days and not used.
Never fully drain your batteries during flight, wait until they are near 20%-30% capacity and then begin charging them again. Draining batteries usually reduces lifetime value of the battery
One piece of last advice on battery maintenance, never overcharge your batteries, what I mean by this is, as soon as they are fully charged, disconnect them from the charger.
This is because overcharged batteries can lead to a shorter lifespan and many li-po batteries (most drones come with li-po batteries now) can be dangerous if over charged.
Although the tips in this guide will not drastically increase flight times, even a few minutes of extra flight time is better than none. These tips will not just see increased flight time but proper battery maintenance will also see a longer shelf life of these batteries.
I hope this guide was helpful and if you have any more suggestions on ways to extend flight time or any other drone-related questions please free to leave a comment.