A Complete Drone Battery Buyers Guide
Lithium-ion batteries are the most often utilized battery technology in unmanned systems because they have a higher power density than earlier nickel-ion batteries and so deliver more usable power per unit of weight. Lithium polymer (LiPo) & lithium ion are the two most often used lithium chemistries.
The Pros and Cons of Flying Lithium Ion Battery
Li-Ion batteries have a larger capacity per pound than LiPo batteries. However, on paper, you should receive twice the flying time!
However, Li-Ion batteries have a lower maximum discharge rate than LiPo batteries, which is why they are not a preferred battery choice with FPV drones. If a Li-ion battery is used to power a FPV freestyle drone, it will seem extremely feeble and slow.
However, for long-range aircraft, this is an excellent alternative because they do not require a huge deal of current. If you employ an efficient power supply, Li-Ion batteries are quite capable of handling it.
Indeed, Lithium Ion batteries were famous on RC fixed wing / planes due to their typically single motor configuration. Additionally, it can be used on high efficiency quadcopters. Which has been evaluated on a long-range quadcopter that weights less than 250g.
LiPo Battery Effects
LiPo batteries are one of the best performing types of R/C batteries available on the market. You'll be pleased to learn that these standardized batteries are compatible with multi rotors, helis, planes, boats, and remote control cars. If you're looking for a high-quality battery for your drone, the advice below might help you make the perfect choice.
There are numerous parameters and features associated with LiPo batteries which you should take into account when purchasing a new one.
Power & Weight
The LiPo battery itself is the power source for drones. This is because there is currently no sub-1500mAh LiPo battery capable of supplying the electrical charge required by today's high-end motors. This is unsurprising given that they routinely pull 80-120A on full power on high-end quads, which is not much greater than most full-size automobile starters. This load is continuously applied to a battery that is exceedingly tiny and light. This is a great deal to ask.
One issue with the battery industry is that manufacturers frequently lie. They are all of them. They promote discharge rates that are close to the "physically impossible." If you subject your batteries to any of these types of loads, they will most certainly fail prematurely, but will also puff and eventually convert your drone into a flying fireball.
The great news is that although long as you adhere to a tried-and-true power system and use mid- and high batteries, you should be alright.The issue is that, in owadays in LiPo battery commercialization, selecting the "best" battery will be impossible without conducting independent study.
Additionally, keep in mind the electrical power equation: P= I x V, where (P) denotes power as Watts, (I) denotes current in amps, and (V) denotes applied voltage. This is critical for quadcopters, as our batteries are low-current devices. If you can power your quadcopter with a higher voltage battery, it will have immediate access to more energy and function more effectively. Manufacturers are not allowed to misrepresent voltage.
Weight is another consideration when selecting a LiPo battery. When all other factors are equal, a heavy weight battery will provide greater power. This is because a larger battery capacity can be built to carry more current, or because increasing the voltage of your battery requires adding additional cells. Obviously, both add weight. However, if your drone is too hefty, it will be unable to perform tight curves or accelerate swiftly. As is the case with many other aspects of life, this is about striking a balance.
Energy Density vs Power Density
When weight is a consideration, 2 LiPo battery performance numbers are always in conflict: capacity (aka energy density) or the ability to provide power (power density).
LiPo battery designers have the option of designing for high existing delivery capability, large capacity, or any combination of the two at a given weight. Lithium batteries, which are commonly found in mobile phones, cameras, and computers, have a low power density. These gadgets take little current and aim for long operating durations between charges. It is quite rare for any of these battery cells to encounter more than 1 amp of load, but when it does, it frequently fails.
Although drones batteries are engineered to rapidly discharge their electrons in order to get that stunning "punch-out."
What does this imply for you personally? In essence, there is no such thing as a "free lunch." While some are capable of delivering an incredible flow of charge without making a sweat, they tend to weigh a startling 15% more than equivalent batteries.
Are the improvements in performance found with these batteries sufficient to justify the weight difference?
Most likely not , unless you're on the cutting edge. The idea is that if you truly want to minimize/maximize the weight of your quadcopter, you must consider capacity, power delivery, and weight when evaluating battery performance.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Quality Drone Battery
Battery capacity is a critical factor in ensuring a positive flight experience. Choose a larger one in the terms of capacity to ensure that it can serve the drone for a longer period of time. The capability with the battery to provide optimum flying duration in the air is also dependent on the overall mass of the drone, since even a very powerful battery will experience some decrease in flight time with increased physical size. The physical size of the battery will be determined by the drone's type and battery cabinet. Before purchasing a replacement battery to your camera, it is preferable to check the specs of your drone.
Battery Voltage (S)
LiPo batteries are constructed by sandwiching many 3.7V cells in series, with each cell contributing to the battery's overall voltage. Increasing the voltage requires the addition of additional cells. The "S" quantity of the battery indicates the number of cells. The voltage lineup that is most frequently used in our hobby is as follows:
When it comes to micro quads, the majority of the time, 4S batteries will be used. This architecture achieves an unmatched balance of size and weight for our aircraft. Additionally, it satisfies the requirements of the majority of standard classes. Even if you prefer the more subdued feel with a 3S battery, it is preferable to go 4S and adjust your quadcopter to fly more slowly. Numerous high-end pilots operate on 5S and 6S batteries.
Reasons to Fly with more Volts
Voltage rise is the favored method of increasing power. There is a purpose in how the electrical grid operates at hundreds of volts rather than hundreds of amps — it is just more efficient to transmit power at a high voltage.
Aren't we all running 6S (or more) batteries on the drones?
(a) Due to the poor form factor of the majority of 6S batteries (resembles a cube).
(b) Increasing the number of cells introduces additional complexity and potential for failure.
(c) Frequently, the ESCs or voltage regulators of small quads are not rated for 22+V operation.
This is a type of LiPo who has had the cells conditioned such that they can take extra charge, resulting in an extra .3V per cell. This means on a 4S battery, you will have 1.2V more volts from a battery that is otherwise the same size as any other 4S. It means you get not only about 8% more power, you also technically get 8% more capacity as well. The biggest downside to these batteries is that they require a special charger. Charging a normal LiPo battery in LiHV mode can cause it to explode. For this reason, if you want to use LiHV batteries, we recommend you only use them. The same goes for standard LiPos. The other downsides of LiHV batteries is that they weigh slightly more, cost more, and seem to wear out faster on average.
This value indicates how long your battery should survive. "mAh" stands for "milli-Amp hours," or the number of milli-Amps you may draw from the battery in order for it to last an hour.
Divide mAh by the typical current demand in Amps and multiply by 1000 to estimate how long the drone will fly on a certain battery. This will allow you to make an educated judgment as to how many hours the battery will last - provided you know the average amp draw of your micro quad.
When flying drones, you'll often need batteries ranging from 1000mAh to 1800mAh. The most frequently utilized capacity is 1300mAh, which provides an excellent mix of power and weight.
Capacity's "hidden secret" is that it also controls how many amps a battery can produce and how long it will survive. That's because the discharge rate is determined by the capacity of your system, as detailed below.
Discharge Rating (C)
This is the so-called 'C' rating of the batteries. What it is designed to indicate is how much energy the battery can discharge continuously without causing damage. However, these figures are virtually invariably inflated. This figure is a good indicator of the product's quality within the manufacturer's own line. For example, if you are purchasing a battery of brand X and both 45C & 65C batteries are available, then 65C batteries are constructed from the cells that are best suited to high discharge rates seen in drone racing.
Simply put, the weight of your battery. This is a critical, but frequently underestimated, aspect of battery life.
Batteries with the same capacity or C rating frequently weigh significantly more than equivalent batteries from some other manufacturer. This is critical to remember when discussing the single heaviest part of your drone.
A self-evident factor, although a critical one. You will purchase several batteries - more than almost any other component except props. Finding a set of inexpensive batteries that works for you is critical. One piece of advice for newcomers is to get only a few batteries initially and then wait for a deal on one of the brands to purchase the remainder of your batteries.
A figure that merchants do not frequently advertise. This is the fundamental value that contributes to a LiPo battery's "C" rating. It is influenced by the chemical composition of the battery and the overall manufacturing quality. Reduced resistance is far superior.
Long, light batteries are unsuitable for the majority of drones. The majority of drone frames are built around boxy, short-range batteries.
It's quite convenient when the batteries arrive pre-installed with these connectors.
Additional Tips on Purchasing Drone Batteries
You should definitely start with just one or two batteries in case you're not satisfied with your selection. If you feel the desire for flight, consider getting up a few various kinds of batteries so that you can experiment with them and determine which one works best for you.
Every day, for around an hour or more during lunch: 3-5 batteries should suffice.
Fly-Ins and Race
At races, much time is spent waiting for your opportunity to travel. As a consequence, you won't require an abundance of batteries. Three is a decent starting point, and you can increase them depending on how frequently you operate in your field.
All Day Long Flying
This is not an insurmountable task. Consider each LiPo battery can power a drone for 3-5 minutes. Add further 2-3 minutes of base time following a flight to swap out the LiPo and inspect everything.
And if you got a multi-battery charger and a generator, all you need are enough LiPo batteries to ensure you don't exhaust them in the hour it takes to fully charge a battery. Thus, you'll need ten batteries on the cautious side, but realistically, given the number of crashes and breaks you're likely to take, six to eight will suffice.
Batteries for a drone require considerations beyond how long they will keep your drone aloft. This article should have informed you of those factors and assisted you in determining which battery is the best fit for your unique flying style and drone. While voltage & capacity are critical, weight & discharge rate (also known as 'C' ratings) are almost as critical.