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Essential Guide: Battery Care for Your Drone

Your fishing drone battery is one of the most important pieces of your fishing drone kit, helping to keep your trusted bird in the sky. But, like out feathered friends, these batteries need a bit of TLC, and looking after them is essential to preventing some of the challenging aspects of drone usage. This battery maintenance guide simplifies battery care for all enthusiasts – your ticket to hassle-free drone adventures.

Lithium Battery Care Basics

The chemistry of Lithium-based batteries currently on the market is very similar. They should therefore be cared for in much the same way, no matter what brand of Lithium battery you have. The important points for Lithium battery maintenance are covered here, with some specific considerations for those used in fishing drones.

Important Battery Charging & Storage Checklist

  1. ALWAYS respect the C.A.R.E.D. principles for practising responsible safety and disposal.

  2. NEVER store batteries with a full charge (if left for more than a couple of days), and NEVER store batteries with little or no charge.

  3. As a rule of thumb, if you are storing your batteries for any more than a couple of days, ALWAYS ensure batteries stored are around 50-60% charge.

  4. MAKE SURE you use the correct charger and correct settings for your battery BEFORE attempting to charge the battery.

  5. DO NOT drain your battery to any less than about 20% of the true battery capacity.

  6. IF you ever have a battery that is swollen or is damaged in some way, DO NOT USE IT, and dispose of it safely as soon as possible.

Battery Management Systems (BMS)

Some fishing drone batteries come with a BMS, while others don’t. Most drone fishing batteries up until now are non-BMS batteries. These are cheaper buy and simpler to manufacturer, as they don’t have the additional electric circuit of BMS Based Batteries.

A BMS on your battery generally take better care of managing your battery and often will also naturally trickle discharge your battery much faster than a LiPO battery when not in use, and also a BMS battery normally has LED Lights to help indicate how much battery charge is left, which can be useful.

As related to fishing drones, you don’t normally get a choice of whether to use a BMS or not as it’s built right into the battery when you buy it.

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LiPO vs. LiHV Batteries, what is the difference?

This is another question that has come up in the last couple of years. Before this there were only Lithium Polymer or LiPO batteries, then the Lithium High Voltage or LiHV Batteries came along.

Both LiPO and LiHV share similar battery chemistry however the LiHV batteries have a higher voltage per cell than the regular LiPO battery cells meaning a higher overall voltage for the battery. In general terms this means more battery life, because as the drone draws battery current from the battery the volts within the battery deplete until it is near empty. For example, this is why two similar batteries (but one is a LIPO and one is a LiHV) with the same number of cells and same capacity are rated at different voltages (see more information on this below).

A rule of thumb here is that LiHV batteries generally need more care and are more prone to malfunction or have issues like swelling.

Can I use LiHV Batteries in my Drone that normally takes LiPO Batteries?

The general answer to this is YES, as long as it’s the same number of cells, a similar or higher C (or discharge rate), has the same connector and the battery will actually fit in your drone. HOWEVER it is best to check with an expert on this before attempting this. Secondly (and importantly) the charger you use to charger settings that you use to charge your LIPO battery WILL NEED TO BE CHANGED to accommodate the LiHV Battery. You CANNOT use the same settings as before.

What is a Balance Charger?

Many Fishing Drones these days come with a Balance Charger, rather than a straight charger. This is good, because a balance charger will not only charge your battery but it will also balance the cells in your battery. All Lithium Batteries are made up with a number of individual cells all connected together. From time to time, through charging and discharging these cells, the voltage held in each cell can become unbalanced or uneven which can litterally stop your battery from charging at all.

Thankfully if you have a balance charger, then as you charge your battery using a balance charger just before the charger reaches 100% charge, it will balance the cells voltage.

It’s really important to get to know the settings on your Battery charger so that you never get the settings incorrect when trying to charge your battery.

Another helpful feature on many fishing drone chargers is a “discharge” or “storage” setting, which lets you be able to discharge the battery if you are not going to use your drone for a while and need to store your batteries. As we have mentioned above if you are going to stop your Lithium batteries then you will need to have them on about 50% charge, and a good way to do this is use your charger to do this.

Remember also that your battery will is always be live, so when you go to charge it, remember not to touch any cable connectors to the battery that you don’t intend to plug in as this can cause a short. The same goes for the charger itself – it’s a good idea to ONLY plug into the wall and turn the charger on ONCE you have all the charging leads already plugged in correctly to the charger and battery.

Consult your user manual for more information on doing this or to find out more information about your particular charger.

What does 4S and 6S Mean?

These terms refer to the Number of Cell packs that make up your battery. 4S means it has 4 cells, and 6 cells means it has 6 cells. It also means that a 6 Cell (6S) battery has a higher nominal voltage than a 4 cell (4S) battery. This is because all Drone Battery LIPO cells have the same nominal voltage of 3.7 volts. So to calculate the rated battery voltage you simply multiply the battery cell voltage by the number of cells, so if we have a 6S LiPo battery, this battery is rated at 22.2 volts (or 3.7v x 6), and 4S LiPo would be rated at 14.8 volts.

The Numbers are slightly different if instead we are talking about a LiHV Battery. As described above the volts of a LiHV battery are slightly higher than the LiPO Battery. In the case of the LiHV Cells they have a nominal rating of 3.8 volts, so this means that if we have a 6 cell LiHV battery, then it’s 3.8v x 6 cells = 22.8 volts nominal. For a 4 cell battery LiHV Battery the nominal voltage is therefore 15.2 volts.

It’s also really important to note that you should not drain your battery any lower than 3.6v per cell, otherwise you could permanently damage it.

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What does mAh mean and what is the difference between a 6500 mAh and 8000 mAh Battery?

mAh simply refers to the capacity of the battery. Generally speaking the more capacity that a battery has, and therefore the bigger the number (in mAh) the more flight time you are going to get in your fishing drone, which just makes it sound like you should just go with the biggest capacity battery possible.

HOWEVER the big limiting factor here is that this also means that the battery is going to be larger and heavier as you go up in capacity. Of course there is only so much size and weight that any drone can handle while it flies, and often what happens is that a particular drone can handle upto a certain capacity and weight of battery, and then if you go any more the maximum flight time of that drone actually begins to drop – given the additional weight.

Can I use third party batteries or should I stick to the original manufacturer batteries?

Apart from the original batteries that come with your drone when you purchase it, there are literally hundreds of brands of LiPo and LiHV batteries on the market, and so they are easy to get and are often cheaper to buy than purchasing spares of the original brand, however be warned!

Firstly, many of the batteries on the market can be of dubious quality which can have disastrous implications if you go and use them in your drone – and often you don’t know until it’s too late. Secondly if you don’t get the type of battery or specification right, again this case cause big problems. Thirdly, If you have a problem with your drone and you are using third party batteries this can instantly void your warranty on the drone.

So in summing up we think it’s best to steer clear of third party batteries and instead stick to the original spare ones unless you just can’t get original manufacturer ones.

It’s also important to mention that any Lithium based Drone Batteries from any manufacturer can have problems from time to time. The best way to minimise issues is to take good care of your batteries and at minimum, follow the 6-point battery charging & storage checklist for basic maintenance above.

Lithium Battery Safety & Disposal

Prioritise responsible safety: yours, the safety of others, and care for our environment – ensure you batteries are C.A.R.E.D. for respecting these principles:

  1. Careful treatment: Avoid subjecting batteries to extreme temperatures (including away from direct sunlight), moisture*, punctures or crushing.

  2. Avoid overcharging: Never leave batteries unattended while charging, and consider using a flame-proof charging bag.

  3. Right charge: Always use the right charger and correct settings for your battery before attempting a charge.

  4. Examination: Look for swelling, leaks, or damage, and replace damaged batteries immediately.

  5. Dispose responsibly: Seek out local battery recycling programs or designated drop-off points to ensure their proper disposal. Disposing of them in regular waste receptacles not only harms the environment but also poses health & safety potential risks.

* Batteries used for drone fishing should be built for marine environments and durability.

We trust you enjoyed this article about Lithium battery care & maintenance, and understand a little more about these batteries and how to optimise their use.

Here’s a great video on looking after a Splashdrone FD1 Battery from Swellpro New Zealand:

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