The cold weather, especially the winter is a challenging environmental condition not only for humans, and animals but also for your drone batteries. Cold weather is not a friendly condition for drone batteries as low temperatures and humidity can affect their performance and lifespan. So I think it’s better to have some knowledge about how to preserve your drone batteries in cold weather and here are the best tips to save your drone batteries in cold weather.
1. Store drone batteries in a warm and dry place away from the cold and dampness.
This is the first rule to preserve your drone batteries in cold weather, which is storing your drone batteries properly. Because as I mentioned above, humidity and low temperatures can affect their performance and lifespan. If you store your drone batteries in a cold and damp environment, those batteries would start to lose their charge faster and even damage the battery cells.
- The ideal battery storage temperature is around room temperature (around 20°C or 68°F) and the humidity levels should be low unless it would cause moisture buildups. Also, it’s better to store drone batteries in their original storage boxes or cases.
- Also, once you stored them, make sure to check the battery’s charge level periodically because if the battery discharged too much, it would potentially damage the battery cells.
2. Keep drone batteries at room temperature before flying.
The cold weather changes the chemistry of the Lithium polymer drone battery and its internal resistance increases causing it to discharge fast. So it’s clear that cold weather significantly impacts the performance of the drone battery and makes the flight time shorter and potentially damages the battery cells.
Therefore it’s essential to bring your drone batteries to room temperature before flying the drone. Here are the ways to warm your drone batteries to room temperature.
- You can warm up drone batteries by placing them in a warm and dry location for a few hours before flying.
- Also, you can buy a battery warmer bag for warming up drone batteries before using them in cold weather. We would talk more about it below.
3. Use a battery warmer to keep drone batteries at an optimal temperature for flight.
- Drone battery warmer bags are designed to keep drone batteries warm at an optimal temperature for flight.
- They can be attached to your drone’s battery compartment and will keep the battery at a stable temperature and keep the lithium polymer battery reactions proper to prevent the battery from discharging too quickly and ensure maximum flight time out of your drone.
- Using a battery warmer bag is the safest way to preheat drone batteries, and using a heat source like a hairdryer or radiator would damage the battery cells and potentially cause them to explode. When using a battery warmer, it preheats drone batteries in a safe and controlled environment.
4. Use a battery blanket or insulating sleeve to keep your batteries warm.
As I already explained, keeping drone batteries warm in cold weather is important to optimize performance and preserve the batteries from damage.
- Accessories which are typically made of materials such as neoprene or fleece like battery blankets and insulating sleeves are designed to wrap around the battery and provide a layer of insulation, to keep the battery warm. Using them would help to prevent the battery from discharging too quickly or failing altogether due to cold temperatures.
- It’s important to note that battery blankets and sleeves are not a substitute for proper battery storage and charging practices. They should be used in conjunction with storing batteries in a warm and dry place and charging them indoors in a warm environment.
5. Avoid leaving batteries in your car, as the temperature can drop significantly.
This is a common mistake most pilots make during cold weather conditions and in winter it can be a costly mistake. During cold weather conditions such as winter, the temperature inside a car can drop significantly.
- As drone batteries are sensitive to temperature changes, exposing them to extreme temperatures like the above situation would reduce their performance and shorten their lifespan, even if they are stored in a case or bag.
- So when you bring drone batteries in your car, make sure to keep them in a drone battery warmer bag and try to limit the time they spend in the car, and don’t leave them inside a car long-term.
6. Avoid exposing your batteries to moisture, as this can cause damage.
- In cold weather, there is a huge chance of exposing drone batteries to moisture from snow, rain, and humidity. Exposing drone batteries to moisture is more dangerous than exposing low temperatures as moisture penetrates the battery, it can cause a short circuit, corrode the terminals, and lead to permanent damage.
- If the drone battery is accidentally exposed to moisture may be when flying, take the battery out from the drone and dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth or paper towel.
- Most importantly, stay away from using heat or a hair dryer to dry the battery as it could expose the battery to an improper high temperature and cause further damage.
7. Avoid flying in extremely low temperatures and high humidity.
- Same as explained above, flying your drone in extremely low temperatures slow down the chemical reactions inside the battery causing reduced power output, and a shorter flight time.
- On the other hand, flying in high humidity cause exposing the battery leading to heavy moisture buildups. So to avoid drone battery damage while flying, pay attention to the temperature and weather conditions before you fly.
- If the temperature is below freezing or close to it, it’s best to wait until it warms up before flying.
- If you do need to fly in colder weather, try to limit your flight time and keep your batteries warm until you’re ready to fly. You can also use a battery warmer or insulating sleeve to keep your batteries warm, and make sure to avoid leaving them in the cold for extended periods.
8. Keep your batteries in a fully charged state when not in use.
Keeping drone batteries fully charged is important to preserve them in cold weather according to three reasons.
- Colder temperatures reduce Lithium polymer batteries capacity (which is commonly used in drones). Therefore, at least storing them fully charged can help mitigate the adverse effects.
- If partially charged batteries are stored for extended periods, they would start slowly self-discharging and result in permanent damage to the battery.
- Storing fully charged battery slow down the rate of capacity loss and prolong their lifespan.
9. Don’t store batteries partially charged.
- Same as I mentioned above, when batteries are stored partially charged, they would start to gradually self-discharge even when it is not used. Ultimately the battery would drain fully and get damaged.
- Besides that, partially charged for extended periods can cause dendrite growth, which is a process where tiny spikes of lithium form on the electrodes of the battery. This can create a short circuit within the battery, leading to a loss of capacity or even a complete failure of the battery.
10. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines for your drone and batteries.
Besides all the above common tips to preserve your drone batteries in cold weather, there would be more specific manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines to ensure their safe and optimal operation. These instructions and parameters such as operating temperatures can vary depending on the battery type and the specific drone model. For example, some drones may require specific charging protocols or temperature ranges to ensure safe operation.
All these manufacturers’ instructions and safety guidelines could be found on manufacturers’ official websites and user manuals. By going through those documents, you would be able to find out what are the specific instructions and guidelines for using specific drone batteries in cold weather conditions.