Drone Maintenance Tips
As fun as a drone can be, most popular drones today are not toys and can cost a pretty penny. This is why you should always do your best to maintain your drone to the best of your ability. We all know you shouldn’t fly with broken propellers or with low battery but here are some tips that you may not have thought of to help keep your drone in tip top condition for the duration of it’s life.
1. Plan Your Flight
You don’t always know when you’re going to take your drone out for a fly but when you do, you should always be checking things beforehand to ensure you a prepared for when you get out there. Things to check beforehand (even the night before) include:
- Weather forecast
- Appropriate app is up to date (DJI Go, DJI Go 4, DJI Pilot)
- Firmware is up to date (On the craft and remote)
- Batteries are charged (and up to date)
- Flight permissions
- SD card formatted and ready
- First Aid Kit packed
- If you know where you’re flying/shooting, plan your flight path
2. Pre-Flight Checklist
Conducting a pre-flight checklist is also a great habit to get yourself into. It may seem tedious at first, but our experience shows that no matter how many times you’ve flown a drone, a pre-flight checklist will ensure that you will not lose your drone due to a silly mistake that could have easily been avoided. Here’s what a rough checklist should look like:
- Ensure propellers are attached firmly on the correct motors
- Set the home point in case of emergency RTH (Return To Home)
- Conduct a compass calibration if you’re taking off from a new area or if you drone has been near any magnetic interference.
- Ensure your flight mode is correct (Position Mode is the most common flight mode)
- Check wind speed
- Check satellite strength (Avoid flying with less than 7 satellites)
- SD Card inserted (we’ve made that mistake before)
- Lens Cover and Gimbal Clamp removed
- Batteries fitted properly
- Battery levels are correct
- Check for any faults on your drone including propellers
- Don’t take off too close to other people (Check the laws that apply to you)
- Hover your drone for 15-30 seconds before your flight to ensure everything is in order.
3. Clean Your Drone
While your drone may not look particularly dirty after a flight, there could still be dust and residue creeping into crevices around your drone. Most dust can be blown off with a compressed air canister but for mud and dirt a wipe down with a microfibre cloth and Isopropyl Alcohol would be best (Do not put Isopropyl Alcohol on your UV Filter/Lens Glass). Try to avoid changing lenses in an open windy area as dust can get blown in and cause issues with your sensor. Also be sure to check the motors for sand/dust. You can use compressed air to blow out debris.
4. Look After Your Batteries
Often people underestimate the importance of taking care of their drone batteries. The old mentality of “If it breaks I’ll just replace it” doesn’t apply in the drone scene. That is because if your batteries malfunction while your drone is mid-flight, well let’s just say you would be wishing you listened to this guide. Here are some tips to give your batteries the longest life:
- Do not allow your LiPo batteries to fully drain (Keep them above 20% ideally)
- Do not leave you batteries fully charged over multiple days (Most intelligent batteries will automatically discharge to a safe level)
- Fly only with full batteries
- Store your batteries in a cool dry place
- Keep your batteries away from flammable liquids
- Do not ever use damaged or warped batteries. Dispose of them at a recycling centre.
- Allow batteries to cool before charging (they can explode!)
5. Keep Your Drone In A Good Quality Case
This needs little explanation. When transporting your drone or even storing it, your drone will be much better protected if it is in a protective case. There are many protective cases & backpacks which are great for this. We would recommend using a hard case rather than a back pack for the best protection. This should help your drone stay safe and clean during storage or travel. You can view our large range of protective cases here.
6. Replace Your Propellers
If your propellers have snapped or have cracks in them, you should obviously replace them, but it is also a good idea to replace your propellers after 200 flights even if they aren’t damaged. It can be difficult to keep track of how many flights you have completed with your drone which is why a lot of drone pilots keep a log book of their flights. Replacing your propellers often enough ensures you have the best chance at a safe enjoyable flight every time.
7. Fly Safe!
Always fly your drone safely and responsibly. You'll find that your drone will last a lot longer if you don’t crash it into a pole or tree.
And that's it! Following these simple steps should help you ensure that you have your drone for a good time and a long time too!