A Replacement Battery Depends on Your Quadcopter Type
There may come a time – perhaps when you first purchase your drone – that you decide you need a replacement battery for your quadcopter.
The kind of quadcopter you own will determine how you go about looking for an additional battery or if you should even consider getting one at all.
If you built your own quadcopter and already discovered the best quadcopter battery for it, you’ll probably just get another of the same brand and size.
If you are in the process of making a DIY quadcopter and have come to the point where you need to decide which battery will be best for your model, you have several calculations to consider. At the end of this article, I’ll guide you through the basics.
If you own a larger pre-built quadcopter from one of the major companies, like DJI, Cheerson, Walkera, and others, you will likely be able to find what the original battery was and get a duplicate. I’ll spell this out for several models below.
If you have a micro, mini, or nano quadcopter, it may make more sense to simply buy an entirely new machine, rather than try to replace the tiny battery inside. There’s a good chance that you’ll damage other parts of the drone (mainly due to its tiny size) while attempting the replacement. Since your quadcopter didn’t cost all that much to begin with, it may be a more sensible move to shop for a new vehicle.
Which Replacement Should I Get for a High End Quadcopter?
Here I’ll try to provide the most logical choice for each of the high end quadcopters described elsewhere at The Complete Quadcopter.
For the Inspire 1, DJI sells two batteries (Amazon) in two different colors – black and white. One of the batteries gives 4500mAh (model TB47) and the other gives 5700mAh (model TB48). Obviously, more power will cost more money. Not so obviously, black will cost more than white.
Swellpro offers a 5200mAh, 14.8 volt, 25C, 4-cell Lipo battery for its Splash quadcopter. This is the only size they offer, so it’s probably the only one you should consider using as an additional source of power.
The Cheerson CX-22 Follower drone takes a 5400mAh, 11.1 volt battery (Amazon) that you can find many places online. I didn’t see one being offered directly from Cheerson, but those sellers that do have a battery like this normally specify that it’s compatible with the CX-22 Follower.
DJI supplies different batteries for the Phantom 2 versus the Phantom 3. Be sure to get the one required for the model you own. The Phantom 2 battery is a 5200mAh, 11.1 volt unit. The Phantom 3 is a 4800mAh, 15.2 volt package. Both look similar to each other and to the Cheerson model on the outside, so be careful that you have the correct one in hand.
A replacement battery for the Walkera Voyager 3 quadcopter is a little more difficult, but not impossible, to find. It is a 300mAh, 29.6 volt unit.
Finally, for the 3DR Solo, the company offers a “smart” battery as a replacement. It is a 5200mAh, 14.8 volt battery (Amazon). It’s on the expensive side but may be worth the price if you really want to maximize your flying time.
How Do I Decide Which Battery Is Best for My DIY Quadcopter?
The easiest way to figure out which battery you should choose is by explaining a hypothetical example. So, we’ll need to make a few assumptions.
We’ll assume you have 4 motors that each take 15 amps to power. That means your machine needs a total of 60 amps (4 x 15 = 60).
Batteries normally have a milliamp (milliampere-hours, mAh) rating. To convert that number to amps, divide by 1000. So a 2200mAh battery gives 2.2 amps. This is how much power the battery can contain.
Another number tells how much of that power it can safely use at a given time. This is the C rating, or capacity discharge rating. A battery might be rated at 25C or 40C, for example.
Now let’s assume that we’ve found two different batteries with these specifications.
Battery #1: 2200mAh, 25C
Battery #2: 2200mAh, 40C
Would either of these have sufficient power to safely run our 4 motors that need 60 amps?
2200mAh = 2.2 amps
2.2 amps x 25C = 55 amps available at once
2200mAh = 2.2 amps
2.2 amps x 40C = 88 amps available at once
Again, our motors need at least 60 amps at once, so Battery #2 should suffice. Battery #1 is close, but our motors would try to draw too much power from it at any given time.