Repurposing old DJI batteries...

Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
858
Age
61
Location
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hey doods!

Since going mobile, I've always disliked depending on generators for power. Most of my jobs are small enough that I don't have to recharge batteries to finish my missions. A recent upgrade required I use an external monitor and have a network. Most guys use their smart phones to create a LAN, but I have a flip phone and we have found that using my partner's smart phone's hotspot function has been less than ideal, as he often needs to communicate with other crew members via voice or text, which seems to kick us off the hotspot. So I decided to repurpose some old drone batteries to make us truly mobile.

In this photo I have repurposed an old Phantom 4 Pro battery to power a router that I have essentially installed in the M300 Pro case. Now, to create a network, all we do is power up the P4P batter and we have a very robust, very reliable LAN. This older, retired P4P battery (with over 80 flights on it) will run the router for over 24 hours. Just open the case, power up the battery and it's "go-go gadget LAN!"
1666973163850.jpeg



I've also purchased a 1200 nit monitor for outdoor use. I power this up with older Inspire 1 batteries and older Matrice 600 Pro batteries. The older TB48's will run the monitor on it's highest brightness setting for close to 3 hours. The TB47's about 2.5 hours.

Here's a TB48 running the monitor:
1666973211499.jpeg




And here's an older, faulty TB47S (M600) battery. While we can't use this battery in the M600, it works perfectly powering up the monitor.
1666973240386.png




My next project is to see if I can rig something up for my laptop. If I'm feeling saucy, I may even try to build some kind of "power bank" that can accommodate a myriad of voltages. But that's far down the road.

D
 
Key take away. You use a flip phone? :)

Seriously, very cool stuff. Thanks for sharing.

My mom in Rio Rancho has a very similar Kokopelli hanging up in her house. I guess its required in New Mexico to have a Kokopelli of some type or a Howling Wolf hanging in your house. ;)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Harleydude
Love your ingenuity. Don’t quite understand the voltage changes required to run each, router, display, etc but it’s ingenious. If possible, could you make a diagram of a diy way for others to do the same? Most of us have old batteries that could be put to good use. My old brain isn’t as sharp these days so could use a bit of help with this.
Thanks again, KO
 
Love your ingenuity.
Thanx. It's pretty basic electricity. But I appreciate the kudos.



Don’t quite understand the voltage changes required to run each, router, display, etc but it’s ingenious.
DC power is pretty forgiving. Most DC devices these days have built in power regulators with a pretty wide range of acceptable voltages and "voltage rejection" if you over-power the device or mix up the polarity. And because most of these DC devices come with an AC wall brick, most people assume that these are AC devices. For example, the router is a simple 12VDC device. So any voltage in that ballpark will power it up. For example, you could use a cigarette lighter from your car because your car is essentially a 12VDC device. But if you meter a car while it's running, it's actually closer to 14VDC. The Phantom 4 Pro batteries are 15.2VDC (close enough for government work), so I pulled an old D-Link router from my router pile (doesn't everyone had a "router pile???") and tested it. Once I saw that it was going to work I made an adapter, which is a simple P4P -> XT60 cable attached to an XT60 -> barrel plug cable.




If possible, could you make a diagram of a diy way for others to do the same?
Well...the entire mess is just two conductor. So I don't think a diagram would really be necessary. If you have a meter, just keep DC positive to DC positive and negative to negative throughout the entire cable, and you'll be good. Keep in mind that, depending on the power regulation, some 12VDC routers may reject 15 volts. The D-Link is more than happy to run on 15.2VDC P4P battery. As a side note, over-volting means less current draw, which means the battery lasts longer.



Most of us have old batteries that could be put to good use.
Absolutely. In all reality, these old DJI batteries are fantastic power sources. Imagine a battery that TELLS YOU it's capacity. VERY useful in the field! And while they may be too weak to source the massive current demands of a drone, they're more than happy to power just about anything else.



My old brain isn’t as sharp these days so could use a bit of help with this.
It's really a simple matter of keeping the positive to the positive and negative to negative. You could literally take a wild guess and have a 50/50 chance of building the cable correctly. The only real "skill" required is soldering.



Thanks again, KO
Hue Betchee!

Worth noting, I have piles of cables and routers and batteries and adapters and connectors and on and on. I get that most folks don't have this kind of stuff laying around, but none of it is hard to get. P4P cables, XT60 plugs and barrel plugs are very common and easy to find. And truth be told, the XT60 plugs aren't even necessary. I just like having the intermittent XT60 plugs so that I can use different battery sources and/or replace the battery cable quickly if need be.

D
 
Last edited:
Very cool. So how do you connect the Phantom 4 battery to the router?
 
Read my reply to Captain KO.

D
Thanks, yeah I saw and even looked up XT60 plugs but I guess my electrical experience is lacking. Would you mind posting a close-up pic of your P4P -> XT60 adapter?

I love the idea of these batteries having a life after drones. Thanks for sharing!
 
Thanks, yeah I saw and even looked up XT60 plugs but I guess my electrical experience is lacking.
XT60 plugs are standard plugs for LiPo batteries. Generally speaking, DJI doesn't use them, but the rest of the drone community has been using them for years.
1667161739752.png





Would you mind posting a close-up pic of your P4P -> XT60 adapter?
Sure. Here's 2 adapters/cables.
1667161224467.jpeg


The one on the right is for Inspire 1 / M600 batteries. Both of these came from a company called "Phantom Angel." While I didn't make these, I certainly could. I DID make the cables that attach to them.




I love the idea of these batteries having a life after drones.
Agreed. In the world of LiPo's, these DJI batteries are VERY robust. Long after they're too weak for drones, they work extremely well for just about any other power application. And having an LED array denoting the battery's capacity is super valuable.




Thanks for sharing!
Hue Betchee.

D
 
  • Like
Reactions: makneyse

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
143,153
Messages
1,468,001
Members
105,051
Latest member
stovesparesdirectuk