Some battery questions

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Ok, I know these are probably stupid questions but with the price of brand new OEM DJI batteries I gotta ask. Which would be the lesser of the two evils? Brand new 3rd party batteries or refurbished OEM battery? I know a lot of people use 3rd party but has anyone bought a refurbished battery? What exactly do they do to refurbish a battery? Any recommendations on a 3rd party battery if the refurbished route is not safe/smart?
 

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What exactly do they do to refurbish a battery?
DJI doesn't sell refurbished batteries. Maybe the sellers who have them are just selling used batteries? It would probably be best to ask the seller you're interested in buying from.

Any recommendations on a 3rd party battery
If you're dead set on buying 3rd party batteries, then get a Powerextra battery.

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Ok, I know these are probably stupid questions but with the price of brand new OEM DJI batteries I gotta ask. Which would be the lesser of the two evils? Brand new 3rd party batteries or refurbished OEM battery? I know a lot of people use 3rd party but has anyone bought a refurbished battery? What exactly do they do to refurbish a battery? Any recommendations on a 3rd party battery if the refurbished route is not safe/smart?
Ive never heard of a refurbished OEM battery, they are either new or used. I'm not sure how you would "refurbish" a battery. I recommend staying with OEM batteries. If a 3rd party battery fails and causes a crash it won't be covered under warranty.
 
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I never heard of a refurbished battery. I would not even buy 3rd party batteries. Stick with OEM even though they are more money. This hobby isn't cheap! I buy mine at Best Buy knowing that I am getting a OEM. Just my 2 cents!
 
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Thanks for the replies guys. I was pretty sure there was no way to actually refurb a battery besides cleaning it up to look new. I wasn’t aware of the drone not being covered under warranty with a 3rd party battery. Looks like I’ll just bite the bullet and go OEM.
 

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I wasn’t aware of the drone not being covered under warranty with a 3rd party battery
Yep! Using any type of 3rd party accessory that potentially causes damage could void your warranty. If your drone is older than a year though, then this won't matter since the DJI warranty expires after one year.

See the DJI Warranty for more details.
 
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Thanks for the replies guys. I was pretty sure there was no way to actually refurb a battery besides cleaning it up to look new. I wasn’t aware of the drone not being covered under warranty with a 3rd party battery. Looks like I’ll just bite the bullet and go OEM.
Yes the P3 knows and records the battery serial number for each flight, in the event of a crash, DJI can tell from the flight log if a 3rd party battery was being used and will not warranty any damage caused by its use/failure.
 
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R0bD I sent ya a pm
 
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Ok, I know these are probably stupid questions but with the price of brand new OEM DJI batteries I gotta ask. Which would be the lesser of the two evils? Brand new 3rd party batteries or refurbished OEM battery? I know a lot of people use 3rd party but has anyone bought a refurbished battery? What exactly do they do to refurbish a battery? Any recommendations on a 3rd party battery if the refurbished route is not safe/smart?
I bought a pair of third party from Amazon for £95.00 they are brilliant, some on here say only DJI batteries but I speak as I find they are as good as the original.
 
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OK I'll take a punt here. I say I punt because I have never held the items in question in my hand but I'm a tech by trade and have been flying R/C and using Lithium cells for 27 years, I have half a clue anyway.

I would guess the difference is this, 3rd Party batteries will be totally that, 3rd party. Every component in them will be from an unknown manufacturer and you can remind yourself that you are flying on batteries constructed on parts supplied by the lowest bidder ... I wouldn't use one personally.

What makes DJI batteries different from the run of the mill LiPo is the onboard controller board. Depending on model it will control charging, cell balancing, short circuit and overload protection, storage discharge and other functions. I can can tell you (as a Technician AND as an R/C instructor) I was dubious about DJI's claims about their controller boards when I first started flying U.A.V.s but have been won over as time has gone by. These controller boards are the difference between an OEM battery and a 3rd party.

LiPos while certainly volatile are not black magic but they need to be handled and operated carefully for maximum life, safety and performance. My charger for my "dumb" R/C LiPos cost $600 and is worth every cent because it is totally configurable and balances and charges intelligently while monitoring the battery status. DJI have kindly included this circuitry onboard in each unit (hence the high cost) and allow you to use a dumb charger.

Dead battery packs are easily repacked .. just swap out the old cells for new ones, my best guess is that "refurbished" DJI packs will have had the old cells replaced and yes, probably with cells not to the standard of the OEM cells but will still be using the original DJI onboard charger controllers.

As I said, I have no proof .. perhaps someone with a "refurbished pack" might like to do a little surgery and confirm but if what I suspect is correct the difference will be :-

1. OEM DJI battery packs = Selected cells from a reputable source with DJI's own onboard management software/hardware (my choice every time but I run a business and my insurance requires that)

2. "Refurbished DJI battery pack" = repacked with cells perhaps (probably) not to the same standard as the OEM packs but still using DJI's own onboard battery management hard/software. If you're hard up for cash and this is the difference between flying and not flying it's your next best option if (again if) it's the DJI onboard battery management. You may not get the same life out of the cells but charging and short/ overdraw protection and all the other safeguards should be still there for you.

3. "3rd party battery packs" = Cells sourced from who knows where controlled by unknown onboard management (if any). You may just be getting reject cells from a known manufacturer with a flashing LED circuit. I'd let my aircraft rot on the ground before using one.

Once again and for the 3rd and final time "THIS IS INFORMED SPECULATION USING MY OWN KNOWLEDGE OF THE INDUSTRY AND LOGICAL DEDUCTION NOTHING MORE."

Still if you're in the situation where you *have* to make this choice then it may arm you with the right question to ask the vendor.

For that matter, those of us who continue to fly increasingly old aircraft are eventually going to face a situation where there are NO genuine DJI battery packs. This thread has just made me decide to keep my old tired but genuine cells in cold storage (literally in the freezer) and get them repacked by a reputable local battery service when I can no longer obatin genuine parts. I should have a good store of them by then.

Regards
Dec
 
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OK I'll take a punt here. I say I punt because I have never held the items in question in my hand but I'm a tech by trade and have been flying R/C and using Lithium cells for 27 years, I have half a clue anyway.

I would guess the difference is this, 3rd Party batteries will be totally that, 3rd party. Every component in them will be from an unknown manufacturer and you can remind yourself that you are flying on batteries constructed on parts supplied by the lowest bidder ... I wouldn't use one personally.

What makes DJI batteries different from the run of the mill LiPo is the onboard controller board. Depending on model it will control charging, cell balancing, short circuit and overload protection, storage discharge and other functions. I can can tell you (as a Technician AND as an R/C instructor) I was dubious about DJI's claims about their controller boards when I first started flying U.A.V.s but have been won over as time has gone by. These controller boards are the difference between an OEM battery and a 3rd party.

LiPos while certainly volatile are not black magic but they need to be handled and operated carefully for maximum life, safety and performance. My charger for my "dumb" R/C LiPos cost $600 and is worth every cent because it is totally configurable and balances and charges intelligently while monitoring the battery status. DJI have kindly included this circuitry onboard in each unit (hence the high cost) and allow you to use a dumb charger.

Dead battery packs are easily repacked .. just swap out the old cells for new ones, my best guess is that "refurbished" DJI packs will have had the old cells replaced and yes, probably with cells not to the standard of the OEM cells but will still be using the original DJI onboard charger controllers.

As I said, I have no proof .. perhaps someone with a "refurbished pack" might like to do a little surgery and confirm but if what I suspect is correct the difference will be :-

1. OEM DJI battery packs = Selected cells from a reputable source with DJI's own onboard management software/hardware (my choice every time but I run a business and my insurance requires that)

2. "Refurbished DJI battery pack" = repacked with cells perhaps (probably) not to the same standard as the OEM packs but still using DJI's own onboard battery management hard/software. If you're hard up for cash and this is the difference between flying and not flying it's your next best option if (again if) it's the DJI onboard battery management. You may not get the same life out of the cells but charging and short/ overdraw protection and all the other safeguards should be still there for you.

3. "3rd party battery packs" = Cells sourced from who knows where controlled by unknown onboard management (if any). You may just be getting reject cells from a known manufacturer with a flashing LED circuit. I'd let my aircraft rot on the ground before using one.

Once again and for the 3rd and final time "THIS IS INFORMED SPECULATION USING MY OWN KNOWLEDGE OF THE INDUSTRY AND LOGICAL DEDUCTION NOTHING MORE."

Still if you're in the situation where you *have* to make this choice then it may arm you with the right question to ask the vendor.

For that matter, those of us who continue to fly increasingly old aircraft are eventually going to face a situation where there are NO genuine DJI battery packs. This thread has just made me decide to keep my old tired but genuine cells in cold storage (literally in the freezer) and get them repacked by a reputable local battery service when I can no longer obatin genuine parts. I should have a good store of them by then.

Regards
Dec
All I can say is I speak as I find and the batteries I bought through Amazon are as good as the DJI as far as I am concerned take what you say but everyone has their own opinion.
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All I can say is I speak as I find and the batteries I bought through Amazon are as good as the DJI as far as I am concerned take what you say but everyone has their own opinion.
Willis1951
That's all fine, as I made it quite clear I'm only taking an educated stab at the difference between "refurbished" and "Third Party" means.

As far as the battery packs themselves go, after this amount of years strictly from an R/C pilot perspective I'm not too fussed on who manufactures the cells. If you buy cheap cells then they won't last as long in flight time or over all life span but they'll do the job.

What does concern me is the onboard management hardware. If it's refurbished meaning it has the original DJI controller or if the 3rd party manufacturer goes the whole nine yards to make one with all the same capabilities then again, it'll be fine. Unfortunately it's an inherent risk with "knock off products" that they cut corners and sometimes do not even proivide any sort of real operation just a cosmetic appearance like all those $100 Mavic knock offs. That would worry me.

As I mentioned before though, being chief pilot of my own company I can't afford to look at it "from an R/C pilot's perspective". if one of my aircraft goes down in a crowd and I'm using anything other than OEM I'm stuffed so even if the third party batteries ARE everything advertised they are not an option for everyone.

If they work as advertised for you then more power to you and half your luck being able to use them!

Regards
Ari
 
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This is a hot subject and one that gets as much BS as good info thrown into the pot.

With regard to LiPo batterys : There are not as many manufacturers as there are brands. In fact the ratio is large ! Few manufacturers but many brands.

DJI at present we know uses 3 different factorys - BUT that is what we can see ... I would not be surprised to find actually its higher number because of Chinese Environmental rules having been hardened up last couple of years. I deal with Chinese companies and I have seen over 3/4 of the production lines shut down that use dangerous or listed chemicals. LiPo's are in that. It leads to greater out-sourcing to supply demand.

The famous DJI battery circuit board ... having dismantled one and with an extremely able Electronics wizzo with me - we checked out the claims about the board. Oh Dear ! Not a great success story I'm afraid. It cut off charge before balancing was properly initiated. Its main advantage is shutting down battery before it over-discharges ... and maintaining auto storage. The results were repeated by others we spoke to.

I use one OEM and two 3rd party ... and my P3P has been in twice for work done ... first was repaired under warranty ... second was my own dumb fault.

Note : FIRST WAS REPAIRED UNDER WARRANTY ... so what about this No warranty if 3rd party battery used ?

If the crash or damage is due to a non battery factor - I was told by DJI themselves - even though they do not like us using 3rd Party batterys - the warranty stands.

What others experience is - that's their affair ... what I know is what happened with mine.

OK - refurbished ...

People are assuming that only the cells are refurbed ... as anyone with a brain cell would know - this is rubbish. LiPo's cannot be refurbed or rejuvenated in any form. Damage is accumulative and permanent.
BUT you can refurb the board.
So maybe DJI getting all these returned warranty batterys are finding returned packs with very low use cells but faulty boards. Repair / replace the board for couple of $ ... sell out at good margin recouping some of the warranty replacement costs ?

Who knows and I am sure DJI being in the business of wanting us to buy new OEM are not going to answer the question.

Last comment ... I know for certain that various brands DO pass out their B grades to others to sell - keeping their hands 'clean' ... but that does not mean that B grade is bad.

As I said at beginning ... lot of BS spread about this subject ...

Nigel
 
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Note : FIRST WAS REPAIRED UNDER WARRANTY ... so what about this No warranty if 3rd party battery used ?
Was it determined that the damage was caused by the battery?
 
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Was it determined that the damage was caused by the battery?
I was just posting because another said warranty was void if you use 3rd party battery ... I also qualified my comment in my post saying that DJI told me as long as repair was not due to battery - that 3rd party battery was not an issue.

It is also to be noted that in the direct conversations I had with the DJi service guys who actually did the second repair ... they never once commented about the 3rd party batterys used. IF as another says that the battery serial number is recorded in each flight - and that I have had them comment against my 3rd party camera / gimbal lock - i would have thought something might have been said ... nothing.

Nigel
 

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no warranty at all if you use 3rd party battery
Yeah, I haven't seen a single case of that. Like when using any 3rd party accessory, it should only be an issue if DJI proves/assumes the damage was caused by that accessory.
 
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Hi Nigel

Having qualified in the first of my 4 trades (That one was Telecommunications Technicican with a speciality in high reliability construction) almost 40 years ago I'll flatter my self that I'm a fairly able "electronics wizzo" but I've never taken time to strip a DJI battery which was why I asked early on if someone with an old "Refurbished" pack could do some surgery and confirm who's controller electronics were in there.

As I mentioned also I was originally skeptical of the claims made for the controller board. I've sighted reports from electronics engineers on subject which satisfy me enough now.

You are totally correct that LiPo cannot be rconditioned in any way shape or form, I never suggested anything like it. My idea of a "refurbished" pack would simply be one with the cells replaced and I would be highly surprised to find DJI or anyone else did any sort of refurbishment on the controller boards as the cost to returns ratio would = loss every time. They'll either work and be re used after testing or be discarded.

I'm fully aware of the badge engineering that goes on within the LiPo cell manufacturing. Holds true for most electronics from LCD screens onwards. I've already stated that part doesn't matter to me so much, once again worst case if you get a "b part" is a slight decrease in duration or life span. It's not earth shattering. As to whether the 3rd party controller boards meet the same standards as the OEM ones, as I've already said. I wouldn't have a clue. If they do then there's no problem. You've had a look into it so that puts you ahead of me.

I'm not sure who made the comment that using a non OEM pack would void warrently, I suppose DJI *could* take that position plenty of companies do but it wasn't one of the things I considered or said.

What I did say is that it would void my insurance. As a business I'm required to have insurance in place for multiple damages claims of up to $20 Million, the insurance on the birds themselves for loss or damage is only peanuts in comparison and while DJI might be reasonable about things insurance companies have all the flexibility of a house brick and will void you if you give them half a chance. From a businessman's perspective it's in my interest to save every expense I can but the few dollars saved in batteries isn't worth the insurance cover loss if it all goes out of shape.

That is why my knowledge of the 3rd party units first hand is little to none, because even if they were/are BETTER than DJI units .. it's still not viable for me. If I was flying recreationally I'd be all over it.

Again, as I said earlier I only chimed in on what the expected difference between refurbished and 3rd party was, the rest was all comment and observation but off topic for the O.P. Repeating my earlier comment, if 3rd party batteries work for you and give the same performance more power to you and half your luck. I just don't have the luxury of being able to try due to insurance reasons .. if DJI where to officially designate support for certain 3rd party battery packs I'd be covered .. but of course they wont for obvious rea$ons.

Regards
Ari
 
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Hi Decado ...

Honest - no need to explain to me as I was not targeting you. I was just posting generally for the OP so he had a more balanced response.

Despite the results of our tests on the battery boards - I can put hand on heart and say that DJI have produced a battery pack for the idiots in the world. Not everyone has the knowledge or wish to learn about LiPo care. General RC'rs find out because they have to literally. In general RC - we are using LiPo's of many different configs and sizes far more than an average DJI user. For example - it is normal for me to go through 8 - 12 assorted LiPo's in a days flying session ... sometimes more.
DJI have produced a pack that shuts off at 3.0v per cell before it seriously damages. A pack that auto discharges to storage level. A pack that can be charged by a simple regulated 17.5v PSU. No need to connect up balance leads .. set amp rates ... etc.

Last comment particularly for Decado : Since leaving the Merchant Marine where I was a senior Deck Officer ... I have been involved in some dangerous operations and events. My main field is Fuel Supply and Quality - military and civilian. The Insurance and Safety Demands are extreme. I am no stranger to Insurance and how they can turn a claim around etc. as part of the work my Company's do - is to provide the evidence and information for clients to negate such Insurance tactics. Just mentioning.

Cheers
Nigel
 
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Honest - no need to explain to me as I was not targeting you
All good mate, it was always a discussion not an argument to me. I'm always happy to exchange experiences and learn something!

DJI have produced a battery pack for the idiots in the world
Isn't it great? I wish this was the case for general R/C LiPo packs!

it is normal for me to go through 8 - 12 assorted LiPo's in a days flying session ... sometimes more.
Yes I hear you, I used to instruct fixed wing in all four modes at the local aero club. Loved teaching the kids to fly but got sick of the "club personality politics" and voted with my feet. I still have FAI type F and S cert but haven't set foot on a club field in years.

a pack that shuts off at 3.0v per cell before it seriously damages. A pack that auto discharges to storage level. A pack that can be charged by a simple regulated 17.5v PSU. No need to connect up balance leads .. set amp rates ... etc.
Yes it's so much easier. When I tell people I paid $600 for my primary charger they look at me as if I've lost my mind .. but dumb batteries are pretty dumb lol

The Insurance and Safety Demands are extreme. I am no stranger to Insurance and how they can turn a claim around etc. as part of the work my Company's do - is to provide the evidence and information for clients to negate such Insurance tactics. Just mentioning.
You obviously know exactly where I am coming from. As the company "chief pilot" safety is my responsibility and I take it very seriously but you can always rely on the insurance company to take it up that one notch from "highly difficult" to "totally impossible".

Feel free to add to any posts I might make, I'm human and miss things and informed input is always welcome. I haven't given up on learning yet!

Regards
Ari
 
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