Electronics need some rest and care the same way humans need self-care too. However, it may be hard to constantly do maintenance on your electronics if you use them regularly, especially digital devices like cameras. If you’re a drone owner—a new one or not—one thing you should never forget is to take care of your unmanned aircraft. If you need some tips on planning to own one and checking how to maintain one, check out our five-point guide to taking care of your handy drone.
1. Make a pre-flight and post-flight checklist
Before even going out to fly your drone, you need to have a checklist of precautions and reminders to prevent any unexpected flight malfunctions. Some possible errors you might encounter as a drone owner if you don’t make a checklist are flying area restrictions, battery life shortages, and drone part failure. The list goes on, but to prevent that from happening, you can include these points in your pre-flight checklist:
- Search about your flying area’s unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) protocols. Make sure to know the flying location’s specified maximum altitude for flying, requires or doesn’t require legal permits to fly, and possible nearby physical and signal barriers that can make it difficult for your controller to send commands to the drone.
- Check the forecasted weather. It will be almost, if not entirely, impossible to fly a drone in a windy and heavily pouring rain condition. Unless your drone is a waterproof or strongly water-resistant model, you might end up destroying your drone by trying to fly it in such weather.
- Check for software updates before leaving. Since drones have different brands and models, developers often offer updates on the program to fix reported bugs and add new options. It would be best to first see if there are available updates before flying the drone so that you’ll have smoother control over it. Although uncommon, there are also instances when a drone experiences minor signal detection delay before or after a software update, so you should also test out its control-to-drone detection first before flying it far away.
Aside from a pre-flight checklist, you should also have a post-flight one that will help you remember what you brought out and need to bring back. You have to keep in mind that in some instances, you may forget to check on your drone’s condition after using it, and that means you’ll miss out on checking if any of its parts fell, got loose, or was stuck somewhere else. Since you’re also flying it, leaves, dirt, and other materials can get in between the parts, making it unresponsive to commands.
2. Carry a repair and part replacement kit with you
Another thing to remember when taking care of your drone is to bring spare parts for situations where it needs a quick replacement. In your tool kit, you should also have small equipment such as small wrenches, air blower pumps, and towels to help your cause. Often, beginner drone owners forget to fully charge or bring extra batteries for their drone because its battery life is said to last the time they’ll be flying it. However, it is common to experience navigation troubles and drones hitting things in front of them that can delay your landing time–and so the worst case is your drone losing its battery life somewhere far away. To prevent issues from happening, you should always bring spare batteries and equipment for fixing drone parts.
3. Clean the interior and exterior parts after flight
From the name itself, a drone can be considered a vehicle. Although smaller than a car, it needs constant cleaning to maintain its proper function and usability. You can use essential home equipment to clean your drone, as investing in specialized ones is not a must. You may even use soft rags as a replacement for microfibers cloths that can be bought at electronics stores.
When cleaning its motors, you should use a big enough brush to remove dirt from the inside and exterior sides, and a smaller brush for its bristles to reach the smaller walls of the drone. You can also use a brush for the propeller, but a blower would be a better tool as it can blow away dust and debris that a brush cannot altogether remove. For the medium to clean the propeller, some people use toothpaste or alcohol—it’s up to whichever you prefer. However, it would be best to be careful in applying these to the drone itself. It would help if you made sure that no excess liquid is dropped to the interiors as this can cause potential problems in the future. To prevent this, immediately wipe off the toothpaste or alcohol with a cloth after applying it. Meanwhile, use a soft cloth for the camera and gently wipe it around and over the lens.
When it comes to battery care, you can remove the battery from the drone after the flight to maintain the duration of its battery life. Although your drone is off, there is still a minimal percentage of its battery life that deteriorates. Another care tip to note is only to use fully charged batteries when flying a drone as its lifespan decreases every time you use it, making it more vulnerable to unexpected battery drainage.
Drones can be a traveler’s best friend for a long time if you take care of them properly and can be invaluable in recording risky adventures like climbing footage safely.
Whether you received one as a gift or you bought it at your own expense, drones need constant care because of the weather and places they fly over for you. Taking care of it doesn’t need to be expensive. Checking its pre and post-flight status, replacing its parts when needed, and cleaning it inside and outside already makes a significant impact on the longevity of your device. Just as you value staying fit for health, you must also value your drone’s maintenance.