DJI Technology is the pioneer of drone industry and if you own a DJI drone or are planning to buy one, possibly you’re keenly following the current DJI Mini 2 battery issue debate.
Besides, even the manufacturer has released a confirmation statement and promised a solution. But should it be a concern to you as a Mini 2 drone owner?
The battery not auto discharging while connected to the hub or drone, is a minor issue with no inherent danger. But it may prove very costly to users as they will need to replace the $55 batteries more often. So, yes, we think it should concern you.
Luckily, DJI has promised a solution soon. And in this article, we take a deeper look at the problem, possible solutions, and great ways to use the batteries safely. Let’s dive right in.
Why Use LIPO Batteries in Drones?
Currently, drones and other rechargeable devices feature either a lithium-ion or a lithium polymer battery. These batteries are smaller, lighter, and pack more power than other rechargeable power sources.
Chemistry aside, these two battery technologies share similar chemical workings but differ in specific chemicals used.
The DJI’s Mini 2 uses lithium polymer batteries. While you will find drones using either, LiPo batteries are advantageous by being lighter and more rigid.
But both battery types don’t like being overcharged, extreme temperatures, quick charged or discharged, or kept fully charged or discharged. However, LiPo batteries are more sensitive.
The DJI’s Mini 2 Battery Problem:
Keeping LIPO batteries fully charged or discharged shortens their lifespan. And DJI solves this problem by equipping its battery systems with a controller chip.
This chip automatically discharges the battery if not in use or hibernates the cells if the charge drops below 10%.
In most DJI drones, when the batteries are in the drone, they automatically initiate the discharging feature. Batteries for drones such as the DJI Mavic Air 2 even have a button that allows you to initiate this feature.
The battery gets in a state of “semi slumber,” only using minute power to run the controller. But for some reason, the DJI Mini 2 drone doesn’t initiate the auto-discharge. So, technically, the Mini2 batteries stay active, always ready for action,
What Can You Do About It?
The Mini 2 battery malfunction has a simple solution, keep the batteries outside the charging hub or the drone. Possibly, you may be forced to find a way to remember to detach the batteries for now, as we wait for the firmware update.
I know you may be tempted to keep them connected overnight when you plan to fly the next day, but that’s a bad idea.
To keep the batteries safer, you can store them in protective bags or metallic boxes. Also, you can keep them in the hub but flip them upside down. If you won’t be flying in the next 1 to 10 days, DJI recommends storing the batteries with a 60 to 80 % charge.
And for long-term storage, the batteries’ charge level should be between 40 to 60%, and frequently checked to ensure the charge doesn’t fall below 10%.
Another crucial thing to check is the temperature. LiPo batteries hate extreme temperatures while charging, flying, or in storage.
Keep the batteries within room temperatures (22 °C to 30 °C) always if possible, and avoid flying in the cold seasons.
Also, if stored for long, charge and discharge the batteries thoroughly once a month, and then recharge to storage charge level.
How to Safely Use Drone Batteries?
The batteries are possibly the most sensitive part of your drone. If correctly handled, they serve you safely for a long time.
On the other hand, mishandling may result in drone malfunction, sudden crashes, or even a fire. To be safe, read through the provided safe-use guidelines in the user manual before setting out to the skies. The quick summary below will get you going:
- It would be best if you acquainted yourself with the many safety features of the Mini 2 intelligent battery for a start. Get to understand and interpret the different error LED signals for easy troubleshooting of battery issues.
- You should fully charge batteries before first-time use as DJI ships them in Hibernation Mode. Also, note that the battery automatically switches to hibernation mode when the charge completely drains for more than ten minutes.
- Always use the official charger from the manufacturer. Please don’t fall for the cheap third-party chargers, as they may destroy your batteries and void the warranty.
- Ensure the battery and the drone use the same firmware version and keep them up to date.
- Fully charge your batteries and mount them correctly on the aircraft before flights.
- You should aim to always fly your drone smoothly. Avoid abrupt direction changes or erratic maneuvers as they quickly drain the battery.
- The Mini 2 battery lacks the self-heating feature like in the Inspire 2 batteries. Thus, it would be best to heat the batteries manually before mounting on the drone or hover the drone for at least a minute to warm up before flying in cold weather.
- If you have several batteries, it’s good to cycle through them to avoid putting much pressure on one. Labeling them may help to track the use cycle.
- Keep the battery, drone, and hub connectors clean.
- A quick way to reset battery errors is to run down the battery and then recharge entirely.
- To run down fully charged batteries to storage/travel charge levels faster, you can either fly the drone for several minutes or use the Phantom Angel discharger.
DJI Mini 2 Battery Safety and Precautions:
Follow the following guidelines for better battery performance:
- Charge the batteries within the recommended temperatures of 220 to 280 C (71.60 to 82.40 F)
- Let the batteries cool for several minutes after flight before plugging in the charger.
- Store batteries in well-ventilated places away from direct sunlight and heat sources, and avoid places that experience extreme hotness or coldness, like inside cars.
- Store the batteries in a recommended charge level.
- Perform the recommended charging and discharging maintenance procedure after 50 cycles or three months use.
- Regularly inspect the batteries for visible damages, swelling, or leaking. Using or charging damaged batteries may result to fire accidents or sudden drone crashes. It’s better to buy new batteries than lose the whole drone while trying to fly on damaged ones.
- Keep your batteries away from water, and avoid flying in the rain or when the humidity is too high. In case your batteries get wet, dry in an open area and dispose them of safely.
- Use electrical fires designed extinguishers or sand in case the batteries catch fire. Avoid water as it accelerates the fire.
When to Dispose of the Batteries?
We have discussed everything you need to use the Mini 2 Intelligent batteries safely. But eventually, the batteries lose their charge holding ability as the electrolyte vaporizes.
You will need to dispose of them safely and replace them with new ones.
However, incorrect handling accelerates the decomposition rate, and the batteries become unusable sooner. When do you decide it’s time to let go of that battery? Read on.
Battery starts smelling sweet:
The sweet smell comes from the electrolyte inside the battery. The smell means the outside seal is broken and there may be damaged cells. It would be best if you safely got rid of such a battery.
LiPo gets puffy:
The battery becomes puffy or swells due to oxygen build-up as the electrolyte breaks down. The process happens naturally, but at a slower rate if you use the battery correctly, and the build-up is usually unnoticeable.
Conversely, mishandling will vaporize the electrolyte faster, and the battery swells and sags. Puffy batteries are dangerous to charge or use as the oxygen held up in the swells may result in a fire quickly. Immediately dispose of puffy LiPo batteries.
If the battery has over 200 cycles under its belt, it’s time to let go.
A battery that suffers a hard crash or impact should also be disposed of safely.
Can You Repair Puffy Batteries?
All rechargeable batteries eventually end up dead. It may sound harsh, but don’t let that DIY You-tuber convince you to try repairing a puffy battery.
Tampering with swollen batteries is not only risky but eventually amounts to nothing. You can’t fix puffy batteries.
So, unless you want to burn down your house for a couple of more cycles from a dying cell, order a new Mini2 drone battery.
Lithium polymer batteries fall under hazardous waste in many states, and you should put them in the lithium battery bins for recycling.
We hope you have gained from the deeper look into the issues of the DJI Mini 2 intelligent battery. While eventually Mini 2 intelligent battery will wear off and need replacement, proper care and maintenance prevents it from happening sooner. Also, your drone becomes safer to operate.
Remember, once a battery becomes faulty, it’s better to dispose of it rather than let it destroy your UAV. Besides, the cost of a new battery is a fraction of the cost of a new drone.
And, you may be evading the risk of a LiPo fire. Finally, if a fire breaks out, use other ways to put it out other than water.