Whether it is summer or desert, hot weather and high temperatures are very challenging weather conditions for drone pilots as the drone components can cause damages such as overheating, and swelling if not properly taken care of. In this article, we’ll explore the 15 expert tips that will help you keep your drone safe and in optimal condition while flying in challenging hot weather and high temperatures.
- Avoid leaving the drone inside a closed space, exposed to direct sunlight, such as inside a car.
- Fly the drone during the cooler parts of the day, either early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Use a sunshade or sun hood for your controller’s screen to make it easier to see in bright sunlight.
- Keep the drone’s firmware up to date as recently released updates might improve or optimize performance and address temperature-related issues.
- Store the drone’s batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use and charging.
- If a drone battery is damaged or swollen, dispose of it safely.
- Fly your drone in areas with natural shade whenever possible.
- Fly at lower altitudes where it’s relatively cooler than higher altitudes.
- Do shorter flights with breaks in between to prevent overheating.
- Avoid fast and aggressive maneuvers as they generate more heat in the motors and electronic components.
- If available, Keep an eye on your drone’s temperature sensors during flight.
- If you have multiple batteries, rotate them to prevent overheating of a single battery.
- Leave the drone battery for a few minutes to cool down after a flight before recharging them.
- When the drone is not in use, store your drone indoors in a temperature-controlled environment.
- Consider storing your drone in a hard case to protect it from temperature extremes.
1. Avoid leaving the drone inside a closed space, exposed to direct sunlight, such as inside a car.
- When drones are left in a closed space exposed to direct sunlight, can lead to internal temperatures inside your drone exceeding its recommended operating range.
- Usually, In these situations, the drone’s batteries with temperature sensors shut down temporarily and need to cool down to recover. Therefore to prevent this kind of scenario, avoid leaving your drone inside a closed hot place, exposed to direct sunlight.
- High temperatures can lead Lithium-polymer batteries (commonly used in drones) to overheat, degrade, swell even fires or explosions in extreme cases.
2. Fly the drone during the cooler parts of the day, either early in the morning or late in the evening.
- During early mornings and late evenings, the temperature is typically low and optimal for flight compared to the middle of the day in hot weather or desert.
- When flying the drone in low-temperature parts of the day, there is less risk of overheating batteries, motors, and electronics as they operate more efficiently in moderate temperatures.
3. Use a sunshade or sun hood for your controller’s screen to make it easier to see in bright sunlight.
- A sunshade or sun hood reduces glare and blocks direct sunlight from hitting your controller’s screen. It makes it possible to see the controller’s screen clearly in bright sunlight.
- A comfortable clear view of the controller’s screen for a sunshade or sun hood prevents from eye fatigue.
4. Keep the drone’s firmware up to date as recently released updates might improve or optimize performance and address temperature-related issues.
- Some firmware updates may consist of optimizations that manage system temperature more effectively such as optimizations in the cooling system, or fine-tuning the drone’s behavior to prevent overheating during flight.
- Manufacturers may release firmware updates to fix bugs and safety concerns or known issues related to hot weather or higher temperatures.
- Firmware updates for drones with Intelligent drone batteries like DJI drones consist of a firmware update for the battery management system too. That firmware consists of instructions on how to behave when the battery encounters extreme temperatures and saves from damage.
5. Store the drone’s batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use and charging.
- Direct sunlight causes the battery to heat up rapidly then damage the battery cells and loss of the battery’s capacity. Intelligent batteries in this scenario, temporarily brick the whole battery.
- Also, Extreme heat caused by long direct sunlight exposure can trigger thermal runaway, where a battery’s internal temperature rises uncontrollably, leading to catastrophic failure.
- Batteries generate heat during charging and discharging cycles, especially when it’s charging. Therefore it’s essential to store the battery in a well-ventilated area away from sunlight to avoid overheating when charging the battery.
6. If a drone battery is damaged or swollen, dispose of it safely.
- If you notice a swelling battery, it indicates a build-up of gas inside the battery, which can lead to the battery rupturing or even exploding.
- Puncturing or mishandling a damaged battery can result in a thermal runaway situation, where the battery overheats rapidly, potentially causing a fire or explosion.
- When the battery on this swollen state, it’s very dangerous to use as it could explode when it’s inside the drone or charging causing damage to the drone and other properties.
- To dispose of a damaged or swollen drone battery safely, first, isolate the battery in a fireproof container or bag designed for battery disposal and contact the battery recycling center. Don’t throw it in the trash or attempt to repair it.
7. Fly your drone in areas with natural shade whenever possible.
- Flying in shaded areas can help protect the drone from prolonged sun exposure and reduce the risk of your drone’s components becoming excessively hot during flight.
- Also when you fly in areas with natural shade, it’s often easier to maintain visual line-of-sight with your drone, which is a crucial safety consideration.
8. Fly at lower altitudes where it’s relatively cooler than higher altitudes.
- In hot weather, the air temperature near the ground is usually cooler than at higher altitudes. Therefore in the lower altitudes, you typically encounter cooler air and reduce the risk of overheating in sensitive electronic components, motors, and batteries.
- Also as lower altitude air is denser than higher altitude air, it provides better lift, allowing your drone to fly more efficiently and reducing the strain on its motors and batteries.
- Besides that, when your drone is at lower altitudes, it’s typically closer to the remote controller and has a clearer line of sight. Therefore there is more reliable communication between the drone and the controller and a low risk of signal loss or interference.
9. Do shorter flights with breaks in between to prevent overheating.
- Long period flights in hot weather or high temperatures put stress on various drone components including motors, electronics, and sensors also cause overheating.
- Doing shorter flights with breaks, provides opportunities for those heavy functioning components to cool down, reducing the risk of damage, critical failures, and mid-flight emergencies.
10. Avoid fast and aggressive maneuvers as they generate more heat in the motors and electronic components.
- Fast and aggressive maneuvers additional stress on your drone’s motors while they are already working harder to generate the necessary lift from lower air density in hot weather. Putting unnecessary amounts of additional stress can lead to overheating and motor burnout.
- Quick and aggressive movements require bursts of power from the battery. In hot conditions, this can increase the risk of the battery overheating or experiencing voltage sag.
- Sometimes, in hot weather conditions, aggressive maneuvers might not be bearable (as the hot air has a low density) and can lead to lose of stability and crash the drone.
11. If available, Keep an eye on your drone’s temperature sensors during flight.
- Usually, temperature sensors in your drone monitor the temperature of critical components like motors, batteries, and electronics and display them on the mobile app.
- So keeping an eye on those data would help you detect overheating issues early on.
- If you notice temperatures exceeding safe limits or rising rapidly, consider landing your drone immediately to prevent overheating and potential damage.
12. If you have multiple batteries, rotate them to prevent overheating of a single battery.
- Rotating the drone batteries, lets them cool down between flights, reducing the risk of overheating and extending their lifespan.
- Using the same battery again and again in hot weather can lead to cumulative stress on the battery.
- By rotating the batteries, the overall stress is spread out and the damage to a single battery is prevented.
13. Leave the drone battery for a few minutes to cool down after a flight before recharging them.
- During flight, the drone’s battery generates heat caused by the discharging. So charging the battery just after the flight would cause the increased battery temperature rapidly and overheating the battery.
- Allowing the battery to rest for a few minutes after a flight lets this heat dissipate naturally would reduce the risk of the battery overheating during the charging process.
- Therefore, once the drone is landed, power off it and take the battery out. Then leave the battery in an open cool area for at least 10-15 minutes or until it reaches a temperature within the manufacturer’s recommended charging range.
14. When the drone is not in use, store your drone indoors in a temperature-controlled environment.
- In hot weather conditions, storing your drone indoors is essential to it from extreme temperatures and rapid temperature fluctuations.
- Store the drone in a space away from direct sunlight and free from dust, debris, and potential contaminants. ( usually between 50°F to 77°F or 10°C to 25°C of temperature range is optimal for drone storage)
15. Consider storing your drone in a hard case to protect it from temperature extremes.
- Hard drone cases are often designed with foam inserts or custom-fitted compartments that provide thermal insulation.
- That kind of insulation can regulate the internal temperature and shield your drone and components from the extreme heat that can be present during hot weather.
- Besides the safety from the heat, those cases are very organizable and arrange dust and moisture free environment for drone storage.