Drones & Solar

Drones & solar charging

Being in remote locations for several days in row means that electricity supply is constrained. Either one has enough full batteries available or one has one or more good power banks fully charged or, for even longer trips, solar panels to charge the batteries.

Sometimes the charging devices or batteries need specific electric characteristics in order to be charged. When charging the devices in a hotel the power supply unit is suited for a range of input of electric tension from 110 to 230 Volts. But the output of power banks and solar panels is restricted to either only a USB slot with an output of 5 V, or a USB slot (5V) and a DC slot with higher output. I have a DJI MavicPro drone and the batteries need a tension of exactly 13.05 V. I use a solar panel by SUNKINGDOM 60 W with a USB slot (5V) and DC output slot of 9 to 18 V. I tried to charge the drone batteries with the higher-output slot but it did not work, maybe due to the variable intensity of the sun. So I did some research on the internet a came across a YouTube video in German language about charging batteries of DJI Spark drone done by Arthur Konze (click here).

However, it turned out that the cable used for the DJI MavicPro is a little bit different from the cable for DJI Spark and I had to try out. In my present video I show you how I managed to modify the cables in order to use the USB output of 5 V and transform it into 13,05 V that the batteries need.

Equipment needed:

  1. Soldering device and solder
  2. Set of fine screw drivers for electronic work
  3. Nipper
  4. Step-up boost power converter so you can adjust voltage within a range from 5 to 35 V. In my present video I use this converter but it takes ages to charge the battery. Arthur Konze in his above mentioned video used that one. Since it was not available when I wanted to buy it, I purchased the before mentioned, which does not perform that well. Up-date: now I was also able to try the second type of step-up converter but there does not seem to be any difference in performance. It takes approx. 8 to 9 hours to charge one single battery. Compared to charging with the normal DJI charging device plugged into normal current it takes extemely long. Well, still better than nothing.
  5. USB cable
  6. 3rd hand mount
  7. Multimeter
  8. Charging device for your drone (in my case for DJI MavicPro)
  9. Solar panel or power bank with solar panel

If you have a more effective method to charge drone batteries with a solar panel please post it in the comments or write us an e-mail.

Other interesting links:

BackUp of files during travelling

Read more articles about Junglecraft (i.e. bushcraft in tropical forests)

Watch more videos related to travelling, adventure and wildlife on NaturaVista

Read about our plan in the Amazonas

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