Join Jim Heid for an in-depth discussion in this video Updates and batteries, part of DJI Mavic Pro: Tips, Tricks, & Techniques.
- Every car needs a tune-up now and then, and every drone does too. With the Mavic Pro, a tune-up can encompass a few different things, starting with the props. Some pilots recommend replacing them after every 50 flights or so, and it isn't bad advice. Those things rotate thousands of times per minute and are subjected to a lot of torque as the drone's motors speed up and slow down. Also, the leading edges of the props can get little nicks and rough edges that affect their ability to move air and make the drone work harder to maintain accurate hovering during flight.
Think about replacing your drone's tires every now and then, and definitely do it if you find a small break or chip. Another tune-up process involves software updates. They happen, now and then, in the Mavic world and to several different things. The DJI GO app is updated, as is the firmware on the drone, itself, and the remote controller and in the batteries. Yes, even the drone's batteries get software updates on occasion. Though updates to DJI GO and to the drone, itself, are most common. When the drone and DJI GO first connect, they compare notes to see if there's a firmware update available.
If there is, you'll see a message in the DJI GO app and it'll summarize what's new in the update. Sometimes it's bug fixes, sometimes it's a nice new feature, and sometimes it's a mix of the two. You can update the firmware using the app, but the process can take 15 minutes or more, so be sure the drone, the remote controller, and your mobile device have plenty of power before you start. After you tap Update, the new firmware begins to download and then it gets installed. When the process is over, power down the drone, and controller, and then power them back up again.
Then, do a short, fairly low altitude flight just to make sure the tune-up went well. Should you update your firmware as soon as it comes out, or should you wait a while? This is one of those philosophical debates that causes fights to break out at, I don't know, drone bars. Some pilots say, "Wait a week or so. "Check the forums. "See if the new firmware introduced any new bugs." Other people plow right in and update. You need to make that call for yourself. I've done both. In fact, a firmware update appeared as we were shooting this course and I rolled the dice and installed it, with no problems.
What I will say is this, if you use flight software, other than DJI GO, if you use programs like Litchi and Autopilot, which I'll mention at the end of this course, think twice about updating until you're sure those apps are compatible with the new firmware. There have been cases where a firmware update caused problems with non-DJI software. Moving onto batteries, it goes without saying that they're pretty important. The Mavic's battery pack contains three lithium-polymer cells and each one reports its health back to the drone and to DJI GO.
If one of those cells becomes damaged, or just gets old, its output level could drop to the point where the motor stop. To check the health of a battery, use the aircraft battery option in DJI GO. Go into General Settings, then tap the battery. In a healthy battery, each cell will report about the same voltage. In a damaged battery, one or more cells may report a much lower voltage. Time to retire that battery. You can also customize DJI GO to display the voltage level from the battery, specifically the lowest voltage level of any of the battery's cells.
In the Aircraft Battery settings, tap Advanced Settings, and then activate the Show Voltage On Main Screen option, and now you can see that the voltage is appearing near the upper right corner. Generally, you shouldn't fly if the voltage level reported drops below about 3.4 volts. One more word about batteries. The Mavic's batteries are configured to discharge themselves to about 60% full after 10 days. This is to preserve the life of the battery when its in storage.
If you haven't used your Mavic for a while, keep that in mind. You might need to top them off before you fly.
- Safety checks
- App settings
- Startup, takeoff, and landing
- In-flight data displays
- DJI GO tips
- Flight modes
- Streaming live
- Adjusting focus
- Exposure and white balance
- Still photography and panoramas
- Shutter speed
- Aerial video
- Using the gimbal
- Using the remote controller