Phone battery drain with Spark?

Discussion in 'Aerial Photography' started by adamhiram, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I recently picked up a DJI Spark and have been experiencing something rapid battery drain on my phone. A typical 8-10 minute flight seems to use up 25-50% of the phone's battery, which seems pretty excessive. I use it with the Spark remote and an iPhone 6s with a recently replaced battery, and it's been in the 40s (Fahrenheit) out. Most of the related posts on the DJI forums seem to suggest either an old battery, which isn't the case, or cold temperatures. I am leaning toward the latter, although low-to-mid-40s doesn't seem excessively cold.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Do I just need to wait until it is warmer out, or does it sound like something else may be going on?


     
  2. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What does the battery condition check say?
    You can always go back to Apple and say that the replaced battery is not give the run life that it should.
     
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  3. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Battery health is great - it was just replaced by Apple a few months ago and still shows 96% capacity. I also experienced something similar to what others described in this thread, where I will bring it inside and plug it in, only to have it at 40-50% within a few minutes, so it definitely seems temperature related. The thing that seems odd to me is that it is 40-45F outside (4-7C), whereas Apple claims their batteries should work fine down to about 32F (0C). Maybe it's just the combination of having to take the phone out of the case, clamping it into the remote instead of holding it in my hand, and the wind cooling it off enough to drop below the regular usable threshold.

    I recall @Destin sharing some drone videos in cold conditions last year; it just seemed like a common enough issue that others may have experienced it. Based on research in some of the DJI forums, it seems common enough, just usually in conditions colder than I was flying in. For the record, over 50F (10C) seems to be a non-issue.
     
  4. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here is an update after some additional cold weather flying.

    I flew for 23 minutes today, with an outdoor temperature of 46F (8C). This was a few degrees warmer than last time, but still within the parameters published by Apple for their phone batteries. I had 2 iPhone 6s devices with me - one for flying, and a 2nd for backup that I left on a table next to me outdoors. This time I didn't have any major issues with the phone used for flying - I started at 97% battery charge, and ended with 78% - still a significant drain, but not excessive. However the 2nd phone that was sitting on the table next to me very quickly ran down to 0% and shut down. It went right back up to about 90% once I brought it inside and plugged it in for a few minutes.

    It seems that iPhone batteries (at least in slightly older devices) do not work well in colder temperatures at all, even if it's within Apple's recommended range. I am guessing the device I used to fly kept a warmer temperature due to heat generated from active use, but it still sounds like any real flight time under 50 degrees is a gamble.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Huh... I did about 25 minutes of flying on New Year's Day with my iPhone SE (2 1/2 years old) and DJI Spark and used maybe 15% of 'phones battery. Ambient temp was ~5C
     
  6. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Warmer weather follow-up - it looks like at 50F (10C) outside, a 15 minute flight used about 15% of the phone's battery, which is much better that I was seeing before. At that rate, I should be able to get 3 flights in no problem with this older phone. Interesting how 50F seems to be the cutoff.
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I may have a similar issue with my camera battery.
    Normally I get 4 hours continuous out of the batteries.
    When I shot it a week ago I used TWO batteries in 4 hours.
    Temp was in the mid/high 40s.

    I ordered battery #4, if I run into COLD temp shooting again.
     
  8. NancyMoranG

    NancyMoranG Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My problem is the remote controller runs down really quick with the Mavik Pro.
     
  9. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My biggest frustration now is actually with the Spark's batteries. I learned the hard way that I can't just charge the batteries immediately after use so they're ready to goth next time - after 10 days, they automatically discharge to protect the batteries, leaving them about half charged. This week, I had planned 2 flights with freshly charged batteries - one charged this morning, and one charged about 4 days ago - still within that 10 day threshold. The first flight went fine - I photographed an area and was down to about 55%, so I landed to switch batteries. However the one charged 4 days ago gave a low battery alert shortly after taking off when the aircraft got to about 200' and over water and I had to use RTH to avoid losing it. At this point, I think I just need to allow an hour to charge everything the day of use.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019

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