How many times have you been out flying your favorite RC device, you are enjoying the weather, maybe you got a few fans watching your every move and you finally got into your groove. Then, suddenly your battery is dead. Its not a fun feeling. Especially if you are in the middle of a field or park where you don’t have access to an outlet. Today’s article will teach you 10 ways you can increase quadcopter flight time and hopefully after this you will be spending more time flying and less time charging your batteries.
Remove the Camera
Recording video on your quadcopter can be a really rewarding experience. However sometimes you just want to fly. If possible remove your camera before taking off. Making your quadcopter lighter means your motors don’t have to work so hard and therefore use less energy. A quadcopters camera takes up a large chunk of weight and as you can imagine saves a lot of energy when its not holding the unit down. Also the fact that you won’t be recording means you can save power just by having the camera off.
Check out our review of the Hubsan X4 Camera!
Upgrade Your Battery
Many batteries that come with quadcopters are smaller. However companies like Hubsan, Syma, JJRC etc. Often produce a larger capacity battery which can be purchased. These batteries are great replacements or extras for your existing battery because they almost double your quadcopter flight time.
Change Those Blade Props
Blade props can make a big difference in flight time. Larger propellers are often used to lift a heavier unit but if you are taking parts like the camera off the unit you can also shave some weight from the propellers as well; because the quadcopter won’t require as much lift.
Always start with your manufacture propellers stock size and experiment from there. When trying out different propellers be sure to keep track of how long you were able to last in the air. From there you can easily decide which propellers give you the longest flight time.
Try to Fly in Ideal Weather
Flying in wind or rainy conditions can have a negative effect on your quadcopter flight time. Wind can make it more difficult for your quadcopter to turn, hover or even remain stable. This means you are going to be using more throttle to try and balance your self and thereby use more power then usual. Rain has the same effect and can also push the quadcopter down from above.
Drift When Possible
Sometimes the wind CAN help you out. I notice a lot of people will fly around like a chicken with its head cut off when its windy, but if you are able to drift on the wind (without losing control of your quadcopter) you should take full advantage of it. Its like a free ride!
Build a DIY Battery Harness
Here is a neat way to increase your Quadcopter flight time, if you are someone who likes to tinker then there are many guides available on the internet showing you how to build a battery harness. This lets your quadcopter can take advantage of two batteries at once! This modification involves some technical know how and you also have to make sure its perfectly balanced on both sides otherwise you won’t be able to get off the ground!
Always make sure you take proper precautions before modification. If you are unsure then ask someone who knows how for help. The last thing you want is for you to unintentionally damage your quadcopter!
Avoid Over Crash Proofing Your Quad
I know when you get your shiny new quadcopter you will go above and beyond, adding tons of crash proof accessories. However keep in mind that every time you add something to protect your quadcopter you are doing it at the cost of flight time. If you are confident in your flying skills and can fly without extra prop guards or cushioned feet you will be able to add a little bit to your quadcopter flight time. Keep in mind though that you must decide if the extra time is worth losing some protection.
Hold Back On Doing Flips and Stunts
I know that doing flips and stunts (especially when you have a audience) is tempting. However keep in mind that all those cool built in flips and stunts use a lot of throttle to perform them. This means that you are using more battery power doing one simple flip then you are and maintaining your flight. When possible avoid using these functions or even turn them off all together.
Charge Your Batteries Only When You Need Them
A lot of people charge their batteries a few days in advance. While this is great planning, it is horrible battery care. Its best to charge your batteries only a few hours before you use your quadcopter. A rechargeable battery is slowly going to lose charge each day it is off the charger. To get the most out of your battery try to charge it as close to your flight time as possible. Note: It is NEVER a good idea to just leave your batteries charging for days at a time. If they are Li-Po (Lithium Polymer) batteries this can cause a fire.
Use Proper Charging Practices
Many people have been taught that it is a good idea to charge your rechargeable batteries to full and then drain them completely before recharging them.
Well this is simply bad practice now. When using Lithium Ion batteries its best to keep the battery charge between 40 and 80 percent when possible. The average Li-on battery can be charged and drain around 300-500 times before it needs to be replaced.
Li-Po batteries on the other hand is far lighter then Li-on and can also provide higher currents. However they are also more dangerous and must be charged with care because they can cause fires if stored incorrectly. Make sure to avoid direct sunlight or harsh temperature changes when charging your Li-Po batteries.
You can check out our other articles for more quacopter flying tips!