Agricultural drones are turning into a valuable resource that every farmer should have in their arsenal. They can give you a bird's eye view of vast areas of farmland, detect plant health, and even take thermal images to gauge if crop temperature is too low or too high. However, one drawback to drones is their relatively short battery life. Here are 5 tips that can help you get the most flight time possible from a drone.
Choose the Right Weather Conditions
Choose to fly on a day with clear skies and with little wind. Wind will make it especially hard for your drone to hover in one direction and take footage or photos of crops, and will quickly drain the battery as you spend time trying to stabilize your drone. Flying in difficult weather also highly increases the chance that your drone will crash and suffer damage.
Try a Larger Propeller
Many agricultural quadcopter drones allow you to change the propellers to suit your needs. It's likely that you will have a camera attached to your drone if you're performing agricultural assessment. As a result, you might want to try larger propellers. Larger diameter propellers allow for better and more efficient lift, which can provide you slightly more battery life. After all, every minute counts.
Try a Bigger Fixed-Wing Drone
For a cheaper quadcopter drone, you'll likely get 10 to 12 minutes of battery life while high-end quadcopters can get up to 25 minutes. The upside of a quadcopter is that it's easy to hover over a specific area with these drones, and they're usually less expensive. However, with larger fixed-wing drones, it's possible to get much longer flight time, since their design allows them to expend less energy while flying. For example, one fixed-wing and quadcopter hybrid model provides 24 minutes while in quadcopter mode and 40 minutes while in fixed-wing mode.
Charge Just Before the Flight
If you charge your drone days before you plan to fly it, your battery life will suffer a bit. That's because rechargeable batteries tend to lose a certain percentage of their charge every day that they're not being charged. If you can, try to charge your drone and then use it within a few hours to ensure your battery has a full charge.
Get a Better Battery
Ultimately, it may make sense to spend the money to upgrade your battery. Most quadcopter drones come with only a standard battery, which means you won't get the maximum flight time. Choose a battery with a higher milliampere per hour (mAh) to get the best flight time from your drone. However, you should also check your drone's specifications to see the maximum mAh that your drone can function with.
Ultimately, these tips don't add up to much all by themselves, but when they're combined together, you should notice a real difference in your drone's flight time.