For drone pilots, winter can be an interesting time. Depending on the industry, some pilots may experience less flying opportunities, while others may experience a peak season! Regardless of your situation, it’s equally important to make sure your equipment is taken care of all winter long.
From storing batteries to updating the latest firmware, we maintain our drones in all sorts of ways. Before we dive into some tips, it is important to reiterate that this is an important read for all pilots, no matter what environment they live in.
Join SkyWatch Pilot Julian Moiwai as he gives us the essential storage tips to make sure your Phantom is in top shape come spring!
Tip 1: Don't Let Winter Discourage You!
As you can see below, winter weather provides opportunities to capture beautiful scenic and snowy aerial photography. Lake Tahoe, California is beautiful all year round and it would be a shame to miss out on such shots. Educate yourself properly on the best practices for flying in the winter and remember to give your drone a little extra TLC during these months.
Tip 2: Aircraft Maintenance
Like after every flight you should thoroughly clean your drone and remote controller before storage. The last thing you want to do is put the drone away when it is covered with pieces of insects splattered all over. Give it a good Lysol wipe and dry it completely. In addition, this checklist can help you avoid any unnecessary failures:
- Perform a full inspection of the aircraft and look for any damages or needed replacements.
- Check the propellers to make sure there are no cracks or breaks.
- Examine the remote controller to make sure there is no damage.
- Update all firmware to the latest versions available.
- Inspect the gimbal and camera lens for damages, dust or dirt. Attach the gimbal clamp.
- Cover the motors with a protector cap.
- Contact the professionals at DJI Support if you spot any damage.
- When storing - avoid placing the aircraft near anything magnetic.
Tip 3: Take care of your Lithium Batteries
Although operating a drone might sound like a risk itself, dealing with the batteries is much more hazardous. As a rule of thumb, it’s not recommended to store batteries with low or full power for a long time. Any length of time a battery is empty or full and stands, it may cause permanent damage.
To ensure your next startup with your batteries is smooth, I have compiled a list below:
- Read the DJI Intelligent Flight Battery Safety Guidelines.
- Inspect the batteries for no corrosion or swelling.
- Don’t leave a battery inserted into your aircraft in storage.
- Put batteries in fire-safe bags and store them in a cool, dry place.
- When storing batteries, avoid contact with direct sunlight, liquids or anything magnetic.
For long-Term Li-Po battery storage make sure to also follow these steps:
- Discharge your batteries to between 30 to 50 percent (down to two out of 4 light bars)
- Set a reminder for every two to three weeks to check battery levels.
- You can set your batteries to self-charge in DJI GO app.
Tip 4: Purchase Silica Gel Bags
You might have come across those little white packs with the big “DO NOT EAT” warning printed on them in almost every newly purchased item and tossed them away. Perhaps, we should be paying attention to these little white bags because they are filled with superpowers to dry out moisture!
To prevent any moisture buildup during the winter months, toss a few silica gel bags into the bag/box where the drone is stored. Trust me, they are worth it.
Pro Tip: If those silica gel bags seem to not work anymore, put them into a microwave to re-activate them!
Order silica gel bags from Amazon.
If you are not flying at any time during the winter and you decide to store your drone, make sure to check on it from time to time. I hope these tips will help you properly store and maintain your equipment over time. Share this blog post with other drone pilots.