What is a drone?
Technically speaking, the term and the word drone refers to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) also known as unpiloted aircraft. It can be used in various different fields and domains such as military purposes, inspection of oil pipelines, covering of large areas such as geographical surveying and it can even be used as an emergency ambulance. There are many different sizes and shapes of drones however they are all very similar in the way they work and function. A drone is composed of many components and devices that allow it to properly function and do its job.
What is a drone composed of?
As stated before there are many different types of drones and unmanned aircraft; however, they all do have some common components such as:
- Drone Flight Controller: a drone flight controller is considered to be the brain of the drone, it is also sometimes referred to as IMU which means inertial measurement unit. The flight controller houses many devices that allow the aircraft to maintain stable flight such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, and barometric pressure sensors. The flight controller is also responsible for communicating with the receiver that takes commands from the operator as it receives also information from sensors such as GPS antenna, a compass sensor, and positioning sensors.
- Drone Motors: drone motors can be divided into two categories, brushless motors which provide more power than brushed motors, however, brushed motors last longer also they respond faster to the operator.
- Propellers: propellers are designed in order to rotate in opposite directions, they also allow the drone to fly stably and properly.
- Battery: A drone’s battery is without a doubt a crucial component that without it, a drone cannot literally fly or even function. For the battery is responsible for proving electricity to the aircraft.
2) Drones batteries
What type is a drone’s battery?
There are many types of drones batteries. Regardless of whether the battery is going to be used in a drone or not, all batteries work the same way as they all fall under the same concept, a battery is defined by Antoine Allanore as a device that is able to store electrical energy in the form of chemical energy, and then converting that energy into useful energy which is electricity. Most batteries produce electricity until they run out of reactants as they only work in one direction which is transforming chemical energy into electricity, however, this reaction can be reversed in other types of batteries. Batteries have characteristics that define them such as capacity, voltage, size…
Drone’s Time of Flight
A drone’s time of flight has many factors, the size of the battery, the size and weight of the drone, the type of materials the drone is made up of. Indeed, for every gram you save for a drone, you achieve a few extra seconds in the air. In heavier drones, the motors have to work harder in order to keep the drone flying and it causes the battery not to last long. On the other hand, reducing the weight of a drone will improve its performance too, making it accelerate faster and as a result making the fight time longer.
A larger battery supplies more power and so will make a longer flight time for a drone. But it also has its deficiencies in that a heavier battery requires the motors to run faster to be able to take off the drone. So, it is actually a trade-off between battery capacity and weight.
It is estimated that the average drone can stay up in the air for about 10 to 20 minutes, however, there are drones that can last longer in the air than the others such as:
- The DJI Mavic Pro: which is a drone that is built to provide great endurance on long-range operations and it can keep up in the air for more than 25 minutes.
- DJI Inspire: this drone is considered to be a new model of the DJI drones, and it can stay in the air for about 25 to 27 minutes.
- Blade Chroma 4K: a blade Chroma has a 6300 mah battery that can allow this aircraft to stay up in the air for more than 20 minutes.
3) How to boost the lifetime battery of a drone
Following extensive research on the issue, it is now proven that lithium-manganese phosphate battery can store 10 percent more energy than the lithium-iron-phosphate battery. In addition, using lithium-manganese phosphate in such batteries not only improves its capacity but also its lifetime.
Tips to make drone batteries last longer
Changing the type of battery or even switching it to a bigger one may not be a possible option for some people; however, these few simple tips make it possible to make the battery of a drone last longer:
- Flying a drone in a windy weather is not only risky harmful to the drone but it also really bad for a drone’s battery. The reason is that when the aircraft flies in a windy place it forces the motors to produce more thrust just to maintain a hover and obviously, the thrust requires a lot of energy.
- Overcharging a battery is a mistake that is common among users, it is proven by researchers that overcharging a battery may significantly reduce its capacity and lifetime
- Draining the battery to its maximum capacity is also another major mistake that basically kills a battery because it reduces its lifetime and its capacity as well. So it is best to stop using the drone once its battery level reaches 20% of its maximum capacity.
- It is best not to fully charge a battery if the drone is not going to be used soon. So, instead of being fully charged at night, it is better for a battery to be charged only up to 60% and charge the rest before using it.
Drones nowadays are extremely useful and helpful, and that’s why they are being used in various different fields and domains. It is impossible to speak about developing and augmenting the drone lifetime without speaking about the battery, which is a crucial device in the drone. That’s why researchers and developers are investing a great deal of time and money into creating better batteries that are both smaller and last longer. However, it is also necessary for users to take better care of the battery in order to make it last longer.