Welcome, Autel Pilots!
Join our free Autel drone community today!
Sign up

Sudden battery power-drop in-flight

HiloHawaiian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
1,021
Location
Carefree AZ
Sudden power-drain in-flight can be a drone-loss issue. None of my 5 batteries have more than 30 charges.

I had this happen yesterday flying through a grove of trees. Battery went to Home warning at 15%. I cancelled Home b/c it was close to me, and flying under a tree canopy — a sudden altitude gain to go home would have been a disaster. Taking control, and easing it the 100 feet back to me, it instantly dropped to 5% “landing now” mode, and went straight down into some bushes. When I got to it, 2 min later, it read 2%!

Extremely fortunate for me, b/c the previous flight 30 min. earlier on another battery was 1.5 miles away into a lava canyon waterfall a mountain goat couldn’t reach.

This scares me, it happened once before, landing on a thankfully empty softball field. Why does this happen, and how does one fix it?
 

Agustine

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
5,654
Reaction score
3,893
Location
Northern Ontario
Just a little note from my other post on your other post LOl
I see this a lot on the Autel Facebook page. People posting that around 25-30 charge cycles the battery has a problem and Autel replaces it. I have had 3 replaced since last Jan. and my newest one is getting to that point. I figure one or two more charges and it will drop below the recommended total charge of 4500mAh.
 

dirtracer7207

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
49
Reaction score
6
Age
30
Location
Pahrump Nevada
I had one battery do something like this, Autel support replaced it without a problem. I let the battery fully die, and they recharged it. Since then It has not done it. However knowing that it could happen again would suck, and more than likely why the FAA does not want us to fly out of sight or over people. Not saying people are bad pilots but other issues can happen.

Something that I have been looking into, and hoping Autel will consider is a new charger that has a recondition mode on it. For work we use impres chargers that after every so many charges it will go into a recondition mode. I beleive somewhere on here someone talks about doing this with our batteries.
 

dirtracer7207

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
49
Reaction score
6
Age
30
Location
Pahrump Nevada
Lets see if this works, see attached video.


I know this does not work for our batteries, but something that would be nice in the future.
 

ovrszd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2017
Messages
342
Reaction score
92
Age
68
Location
Missouri
I started a thread about this problem a couple days ago. Two of my batteries are basically new with less than a dozen charges. I have confirmed the problem on three of my four batteries. Totally unacceptable. For me, I never experienced this until I updated to .12. Today I tried to reload that update. Did all four batteries. Everyone of them indicated they were current and made no changes. I didn't get a chance to fly today. I'll try to do that in the next couple days to see if there's a difference.

My question is, I contact Autel and tell them of my problem. They are simply going to say they are sending me three new batteries? I doubt that. So what did you guys have to produce to convince Autel that there was a problem with the batteries?

I personally don't think it's a "battery going bad" problem. I think it's related to the firmware update fiasco we have been dealing with for the past several months.

But what do I know......
 

dirtracer7207

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2017
Messages
49
Reaction score
6
Age
30
Location
Pahrump Nevada
It took me about four or five reply with them to finally get a replacement. At first they asked for a screen shot of the battery from the starlink app. They claimed well the battery looks fine. Then they wanted a video recording of the incident. I opened the flight log of the flight that it happened to me on, and used a video app that records the phone screen, so it was a small file. On the starlink app it shows the battery use, that way Autel can see first hand what happened. After that no more arguing, they sent me a new battery. However I believe the problem is still there, and I am sure that this new battery is going to start doing the same thing. I guess Autel will catch up to it soon, well if they stop laying people off and only hiring people with PHD to improve the drone, they need to be focusing on the battery as well.
 

ovrszd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2017
Messages
342
Reaction score
92
Age
68
Location
Missouri
I have four batteries, three of which have displayed this issue. The chances that all three of those batteries went "bad" at the same time is extremely small.

I think this is a firmware problem. I'm going to try draining my batteries and recharging. If that doesn't work then I guess I'll do what you did and try for new batteries. Gonna be a PITA to go thru all that three times....
 

HiloHawaiian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
1,021
Location
Carefree AZ
I guess the bottom line for me is that I’m afraid to fly. I’m on a 4,000 sq.mi. island, but most of it is inaccessible. Steep cliffs, jungle and sharp lava make hiking very difficult and dangerous — even over what appears to be a reasonably flat areas. The coast is largely rugged and rough. I bought the XSP to Photo/Video those areas impossible to reach any other way.
Now, I’m hesitant...
 

AirmetTango

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
75
Reaction score
39
Location
Northwest OH
Website
www.clearskiesaerial.com
I've had a very similar experience to ovrszd, with 3 out of 4 of my batteries; no issue with them prior to firmware update, then on update to 2.0.12 from 1.2.8, the batteries went straight from 38% to "critical low" instantly. Here's video I captured to provide to Autel CS last month:


The batteries varied in age - two were almost brand new with only 9 and 10 charge cycles. The third was my "oldest" with 41 cycles. Autel suggested it was because of lack of use in my case - I hadn't used the batteries in about 1 month. They were set to a 6 day discharge, and stored in a cool, dry, climate-controlled basement.

Regardless, Autel replaced the batteries, and they were delivered within about a week. No issues with the new batteries, yet.

For ovrszd, the battery replacement with Autel is fairly straight-forward - in fact, I've become a grizzled veteran of the process. They've actually replaced batteries for me on two other occasions previously as well, so I've gotten familiar enough with the process that I provided Autel with a lot of what they needed on my first contact with them about the most recent problem. First, I called AND sent an email describing my problem. The email not only provides a paper trail, but it also gave me the opportunity to attach screenshots of the information page for each of the batteries, because I knew they would want those. I also attached a link to the video shown above. My experiences with battery replacements have differed from what dirtracer described only in that Autel has never asked me for video of the issues - I provided it this time for only one battery of my own accord because of the more serious nature of this particular issue. In all of my battery replacement scenarios, Autel CS claimed they could see from the info screen pictures that the batteries in question needed replacement. Once Autel made the decision to replace, they asked me for "digital proofs of purchase", the serial numbers for the batteries and the XSP, and shipping info. The only question that came up was that since a couple of the batteries were already replacements, I didn't have purchase receipts for them. Autel said the original purchase receipts were fine, so no problem at all. The whole process was always pretty quick, and honestly was only limited by the speed that I got back to them with the info they requested.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: KentA

HiloHawaiian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
1,021
Location
Carefree AZ
Damn, that’s a QUICK drop! Would upping your 1st low battery warning to 20% give you a fighting chance to get it back? If I was out to sea or in a canyon, it’s Aloha XSP!
 

Agustine

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
5,654
Reaction score
3,893
Location
Northern Ontario
As bad as it is you actually can get about 3 minutes of fight time if you are fast enough to hold the stick up so it would not land but you better be darn close to ground because once you past that point its game over.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HiloHawaiian

Donda

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2017
Messages
56
Reaction score
10
Age
59
Location
Houston, TX
Every time I get on here something else scares the piss out of me! This is one of the most unreliable, does not perform as advertised products I have ever owned. Have to call it what it is, a failed attempt!
 
  • Like
Reactions: yrless

xspwhite

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
394
Reaction score
131
Age
49
Did this issue just start with the new firmware, or has it been happening before as well?
 

Agustine

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2017
Messages
5,654
Reaction score
3,893
Location
Northern Ontario
Do a google search. Even DJI have this problem. I had this problem in Jan. way before the firmware update so ya it's been around since day one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HiloHawaiian

xspwhite

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2017
Messages
394
Reaction score
131
Age
49
Must just be the batteries then. I've seen this on laptop computers as well.
 

HiloHawaiian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
1,021
Location
Carefree AZ
I did some research as Agustine suggested and it’s absolutely true. DJI & Yuneec both mention it repeatedly. I read that DJI’s recommendation is fully discharge and cycle your batteries every 20 cycles in warmer climates and 10 cycles in colder climates.
Anybody do that?

This one got my attention from DJI.com’s forum:

“I took my drone out yesterday to search for sharks off of the Pacific Coast. It was a normal day, light winds and sunshine outside. I launched my drone and was flying 1300 ft. out for roughly 7 minutes of flight time. With no warning, my battery went from 64% and shifted to a minus of around -27%. My drone went into the auto descent mode. There was no low battery warning, yet I tried to hit the RTH and everything else that I have carefully practiced for in advance. I watched both visually and through the FPV as my DJI simply descended into the ocean as was swallowed up by the waves.”
 
Last edited:

arto.inetco

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
196
Reaction score
69
Age
57
I have 4 batteries, on the old firmware, and have not had this issue. You guys are scaring the crap out of me.
Im not upgrading to anything and will live happily with 22 minutes of real flight time, 15 waypoints, and a straight horizon.
Im not sure what would prevent Autel from allowing firmware rollback?
That seems like a no-brainer and a feature DJI does NOT provide...
 

HiloHawaiian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
1,677
Reaction score
1,021
Location
Carefree AZ
I’m learning as I go here, but I’m not convinced it’s the firmware. The first time it happened to me was last year on earlier firmware. The more I read on ALL drone forums, it has to do with the battery technology. It’s fickle, needing TLC. Some cells just go bad. I’ve learned a bunch, and will pay much more attention to how I treat batteries in the future.

All the manufacturers say to only fly on fully charged batteries. I thought I was.... I used to stupidly gang-charge all 6 batteries ASAP after use (2 chargers) even if I didn’t fly again for a week, and then, I’d rarely use all the batteries. Some waited two weeks to be used. Now, I wait until the night before, or morning of, and charge only what I think I’ll need, plus one...

I think I’ve narrowed my issue down to one particular battery. I hope to confirm it next week. Lately, I take-off, hover, check the cells in the Starlink App before I zoom away. When I fly over truly inaccessible terrain, I use my newest batteries, charged that morning.
 
Last edited:

mbush

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
3
Age
68
Just curious, if you have upgraded your firmware and suspect the firmware to be a problem, can you revert back to the previous firmware version?
 

Latest threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
4,940
Messages
47,199
Members
3,196
Latest member
Casper Espresso