Category Archives: Tips

10 tips for better drone photography

Here’s an excerpt from a story I was featured in by Drone Lifestyle. Read their 10 tips for Better Drone Photography featuring a different tip from 10 prominent drone photographers here.

 Tip #1 - Sally French - Finding Your Drone Community


A great way to raise your drone photography game is to learn from and work with others. That is why finding a community very important. Since Sally first got involved with drones in college, she has connected with fellow drone pilots all over the world. Sally is so involved with the drone community she often goes by simply “the Drone Girl.”

Pro Tip: “Recently, Facebook groups have gotten really popular. I belong to a few; some location-based and some interest-based. One of my favorite groups is the Amelia Droneharts Facebook group, an international group of female pilots. Every group is different and I don’t think there is one overall “best” one to join. Just try them all out and find the personalities you jive with best. Whatever your medium is—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, in-person meetups—you’ll find your niche if you put yourself out there.”

15 things every LiPo battery user should know

LiPo batteries are generally safer and more environmentally friendly than other R/C batteries like NiCd and NiMH. LiPo batteries have become the most common high performance R/C battery and are used in R/C cars, boats, planes, helis, multirotors and more. However, if charged, discharged, stored, maintained, or handled improperly, they can become extremely dangerous. This is a simple guide for safe LiPo battery ownership and use. This guide applies to all R/C LiPo batteries including all DJI Smart Batteries used in the Phantom 2 series and Inspire 1.

dji phantom 3 battery

1. Never charge, discharge, use, or store a damaged or puffy LiPo battery. Immediately follow proper disposal protocols.

2. Avoid purchasing used LiPo batteries. You never know what the previous owner did with them and they could already be badly damaged. “LiPo Battery Like New, Used Once” is usually a scam and should be avoided.

3. Always use a proper LiPo battery balance charger/discharger when charging and discharging your LiPos. It is crucial that all cells in a LiPo battery maintain the same voltage across all cells at all times. If the voltages across the cells deviate too much from each other (5mV ~ 10Mv), the battery can become unstable and dangerous. (Unless it’s a single cell LiPo, in which case you do not need to worry about cell balance).

4. Always use a fire proof LiPo safety bag, metal ammo box, or other fire proof container when you are charging, discharging, or storing your LiPo batteries. While LiPo fires are rare, they can happen incredibly quickly and can do a lot of damage. All it takes is an internal short circuit to set the battery off. There is no way to predict when it will happen. It does tend to happen more often when batteries are fully charged, being overcharged, or while being discharged, but it can happen to any LiPo at any time. Never fill the container to capacity with your batteries, always follow manufacturer recommendations on LiPo bags for how many mAh’s it can safely contain. It’s ALWAYS worth investing in an (under $10) explosion-proof LiPo bag or ammo can.




5. Do not use your flight case/travel case for long term LiPo storage. The foam and plastic in these cases can help spread a LiPo fire. Always use a fire proof container such as a metal ammo box or fire proof safe for storage.

6. Never leave your LiPo batteries charging while unattended. If a battery starts to become puffy, smoke, or catches fire you need to be able to immediately handle the situation. Walking away for even just 5 minutes can spell disaster.

7. A LiPo fire is a chemical fire. Always keep a Class D fire extinguisher nearby your battery charging/discharging and storage area. The battery charging/discharging and storage area should be free from any materials which can catch fire such as wood tables, carpet, or gasoline containers. The ideal surface for charging and storing LiPo batteries is concrete or ceramic.

8. Never overcharge a LiPo battery. Typically a full charge is 4.2v per cell. Never “trickle” charge a LiPo battery.

9. Never discharge a LiPo battery below 3.0v per cell. Ideally you never want to go below 3.2v per cell to maintain a healthy battery. 2.9v per cell and lower is causing permanent damage.

10. Never leave your LiPo batteries sitting around on a full charge for more than 2-3 days. If by the 3rd day you realize you are not going to use your battery today, you need to discharge your battery down to 3.6v-3.8v per cell for safe storage until you are ready to use the battery again.

11. Always store your LiPo batteries at room temperature. Do not store them in a hot garage, or in a cold refrigerator. Even though a cold battery has less chemical reaction taking place which can prolong its lifespan, taking a battery out from a cold fridge can cause condensation to occur on the inside of the battery, which can be very dangerous.

12. Always remember that heat is the number one enemy of LiPo batteries. The hotter your batteries get, the shorter their lifespan will be. Never charge a battery that is still warm from usage, and never use a battery that is still warm from charging.

13. Depending on how they are used, most LiPo batteries typically do not last longer than 300 charge cycles. Leaving them around on a full or depleted charge all the time, running them completely dead, or exposing them to high temperatures will shorten this lifespan dramatically.

lipo battery bag 14. LiPo batteries do not work well in cold weather. The colder it is, the shorter your run times will be due to the slowing down of the chemical activity within the battery. If it is below 14F (-10C), LiPo usage is not recommended at all. Your battery could cause your R/C vehicle to suddenly fail without warning in these temperatures.

15. Always pack your LiPo batteries in your carry-on bag and never in your checked baggage when traveling on an airplane. It’s the law.

-Written by Jessika Farrar

Jessika Farrar is the founder of ASG Aerial and specializes in aerial photography for personal and business use. Visit www.ASGaerial.com to learn more, or to book an appointment.

Jessika Farrar is also the Network Administrator for the S.W.A.R.M. Network where thousands of pilots from around the world volunteer their skills to help connect life saving drone technology with missing people. Go to www.SARdrones.org to learn more about how you can help.

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The perfect solution for when all your friends ask you what drone they should buy

I know it’s happened to you. Someone knows you have a drone, and suddenly they want one. But instead of researching it themselves, they ask you what to buy.

“My budget is, like, $200.”

“It has to be a really good drone though.”

“Like, it has to take high-quality pictures.”

“But like, how long is the battery life?”

“Ok maybe I’ll up my budget to no more than $400..but only if you insist.”

guide

And in flies Drone Configurator. It was created by my friends at Drone Life. Simply select the type from a series of choices including price range, camera, application and type, and the database sorts through more than 200 models of drones to help you find one based on your criteria.

Happy flying (and buying)!

5 essentials for happy drone flying

What are some essential (and non-essential) tools you need to bring before going out flying? Drone Girl reached out to her top Twitter fans for their feedback, and the answers returned range from the obvious, the practical, to the truly exceptional. Think I missed something? Leave a comment below, or tweet @thedronegirl!

1. Battery checker

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Tons of you jumped to the practical answer; @CosmoRogers, @rcflyingbits and @Hovership_RC all think it is imperative to have a LiPo checker.

Ditch the Energizer Bunny; drones traditionally run on LiPo batteries. LiPo batteries must be handled with extreme care, and one way to care for them is to make sure you don’t overcharge batteries or run down batteries. Also they are like $10, so just buy one.

And Mr. Rogers is certainly correct. It is absolutely, very, extremely awkward when you go out to fly, plug in your battery, and realize your battery has no juice. Don’t be awkward. Get a battery checker! Continue reading 5 essentials for happy drone flying

4 accessories you need for your drone

1. Spare batteries! Most consumer drones have battery lives of about 15 minutes. That’s nothing! Easy fix: MORE BATTERIES.

oh-no

2. Spare propellers! If you crash, they’ll get beat up. Even if they don’t explicitly break, your propellers will wear down. Over time, this will lead to an imbalance in your copter, whichcan result in shaky video or rolling shutter. Fix the problem with nice, even propellers.62

3. An FPV kit. This stands for “First Person View.” You basically put on special goggles which are connected to a camera on the drone, and you can stream what the drone sees. It’s amazing!

success

4. A brushless gimbal. Want stable video? Use a gimbal, which is basically a mechanism that keeps your camera level. A good quality gimbal will eliminate shaky video. Choose a sturdy gimbal with the ability to balance.

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