Can A Drone Overheat?


Can A Drone Overheat?

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Drones are now widely available for recreational purposes as well as professional use. Drones have a wide variety of uses such as: taking photos or videos, surveying plots of land, finding things or people on the ground, or simply to have fun flying around. 

Summer is a great time to fly a drone around because you not only have more daylight hours than other parts of the year but most children are out of school so using a drone is a great way to have fun with your family during that time.  Another reason summer is a good time to fly drones is because during summer people are more likely to travel and spend time outdoors since the weather is much better than the freezing cold in the winter or rain during the spring. 

More people can be found relaxing in parks and tourist destinations when the sun is out rather than when it is raining or the weather is inclement. Although summer is a wonderful time of the year to fly your drone, summer can sometimes lead to extreme heat which in return can lead to possible issues with your drone. 

So, can a drone overheat? 

Drones can certainly overheat especially when used in hot weather or when flown for long periods of time. Drones are especially prone to overheating when they are used non-stop because of the drone user having multiple battery packs. If you have a single battery pack and your drone is off while it is charging then you will not likely have overheating issues. However if you have multiple battery packs and use them back to back then your motors might begin to overheat from the constant use. 

When it is extremely hot outside you can reduce the risk of overheating by reducing your flight time as well as letting the drone cool down in between flights. You can also increase the downtime between flights and take longer breaks to cool down your drone, its batteries or other equipment it can be carrying.

To avoid overheating your drone during the hot summer months when temperatures can rise rapidly we are going to give you advice on how to keep your drone from overheating as well as some of the things you can do to enjoy the warm summer weather and to make the best out of your drone during this time. 

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For some additional tips about overheating issues with drone engines be sure and watch the video below as well. 

Things to do to avoid your drone overheating

There are seven basic things that you should avoid to make sure that your drone does not get too hot and damage itself. Some of these things might seem pretty basic but they are important and are certainly things that you should always keep in mind. 

Sometimes the most basic tips work the best. 

  1. Check the weather forecasts outside and check the operating temperature of the drone you are flying. You want to make sure that the higher air temperatures do not cause you to fly your drone outside its proper operating temperature range to avoid overheating.
  2. Avoid leaving your drone, batteries and other associated equipment in hot surroundings like the interior of a car. A car’s interior can get hot in just a few short minutes so either leave your drone at home or take it with you if you are going anywhere before or after flying it.
  3. It is usually more likely that the extra equipment your drone will be carrying like a a camera is more likely to overheat faster than your drone itself leading to accidents or permanent damage to the drone.
  4. Keep your drone and its associated equipment in a dry cool place before the flight. If you leave your drone sitting in the sun for long periods of time it is much more likely to overheat.
  5. Increase the downtime in between flights and reduce flight length to avoid overheating.
  6. Buy a temperature gun (a good one can be found here) to measure the maximum temperature on the heat sink at the bottom of the drone and avoid flying if the temperature is too high.
  7. If your drone still overheats, do not try to cool it down artificially by putting it in a refrigerator or near an air conditioner. Let it cool down naturally otherwise it may be harmed beyond repair.
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In the section below we will discuss some additional tips which will help you to fly your drone during the summer days while avoiding overheating. So try to follow the guidelines as much as you can during the hottest days. 

Tips for flying your drone in summer

During summer it is a good idea to try and fly your drone during the cooler parts of the day like very early in the morning or the last 30-60 minutes before dark. This will help keep the temperature of your drone within the proper operating temperature and you will be able to fly for a longer time without worrying about overheating.  You can also buy a white wrap or skin for your drone that will reflect sunlight and help you keep your drone cool for longer as it continues its flight.

During summer months when you are using your drone, you should be careful that the other equipment that your drone will be carrying does not overheat as well. You should try to make sure that your drone and its related devices are at a normal temperature before they are put into flight. This is to ensure your safety, the safety of others and to avoid accidents leading from malfunctions due to overheating.

During the summertime when the sun is very hot, you might be forced to reduce the flight time of your drone to avoid such a problem. You can try to maximize the flight time of your drone by doing the listed things below.

How to maximize flight time during summer

  1. Try to always keep your batteries and related equipment cool until the last moment before you take off. It would work well to keep your drone in the cooled AC in your car’s interior rather than having it in the hotter trunk. 

Little steps like these will help you avoid overheating for much longer.

  1. Avoid hovering in one spot for too long and keep moving as it helps stop overheating. The air moving from when your drone is moving is the best way for your drone to stay cooler.
  2. Fly your drone at a higher altitude than normal while making sure to not break the law by going too high (400ft in the USA). The higher your drone is the cooler the air will be where it is at so if you are having issues with overheating then flying your drone a bit higher than normal could solve the issue. 
  1. Go someplace that is cooler. This obviously isn’t an option in all areas but where I am in Phoenix, Arizona I am only a 30 minute car ride away from being somewhere with a much higher altitude and in turn much cooler temperatures. If you love flying your drone and it is simply too hot to do so where you are at then going someplace that is a little cooler could make a difference.
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Conclusion

Sometimes during summer days, the temperature outside can be too hot for your drone to take off or fly without risking overheating or if you are traveling in your car with the air conditioning turned off, the temperature inside the car could harm your drone permanently.

It is also more likely that instead of your drone overheating the associated equipment it is carrying overheats leading to the overall rise in temperature of the drone. During most of the time of the year, it is likely that you will be able to fly your drones under most weather conditions anywhere, be it over a desert or a lake. But it is best to try and avoid extreme weather conditions and always be sure and check the operating temperature of your drone which you should be able to find in your user manual.

The best way to stop your drone from overheating is to be prepared and prevent it. You should be aware that it can happen anytime but is much more likely during the hot summer months. 

During such occasions, if you stay prepared and follow the guidelines and general advice given in this article then it is most likely that you will not have to deal with any accidents or incidents relating to your drone overheating.

Matt Robbs

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 kids. There is no better way to get them off the couch and outside than for us to grab the RC cars or boat and enjoy the sunshine!

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