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Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2018
Northern Colorado
Most of us use our drones outdoors. I usually fly in the mountains or other parts of the American "outback", where I'm often rattling over washboard roads, plowing through stream crossings, crawling up steep embankments, bouncing along the bottom of a desert wash, or jolting over boulders and rock ledges. The MA is protected from vehicular violence inside its zipper case, which is itself nested inside an Apache case from Harbor Freight.

However, even six batteries won't cover a full day of flying, so I must recharge batteries on the go. My 4Runner has a built-in 100 watt AC outlet in the cargo area, but the charging hub was not designed for use in transit. The batteries would detach due to vehicle vibration on blacktop, and were quite literally flying around back there on rough and rocky 4WD trails.

I couldn't find a good commercial solution to this problem, so I built one. My ultra-rugged charging station is based on a cheap plastic toolbox from Harbor Freight. I used excess pluck-foam from the MA's Apache case to customize the interior of the charging station. (Note: I sprayed the pluck-foam with black "PlastiDip" to make it much more durable.)

With the lid clamped down, you can shake and bump this charging station as violently as you like--even drop it--without effect. When you open it, all the batteries are still secure in the charging hub. With this, I never wonder if my batteries are still being charged during a rough ride : they definitely are. It can be configured in the field to handle two batteries, or four.

As you probably know, recharging a hot battery is bad; the hub won't even initiate charging above a threshold battery temperature. With all that foam acting as insulation in the box, I was concerned about potential heat build-up. But I can detect no excess warmth during use, and the charge cycle is never interrupted by an overheat condition. It appears that the charging cycle generates very little heat, and what heat there is dissipates; temperature is not an issue.

Not everyone would, but I do stow a large power tank in the charging station, as emergency backup power for my phone and/or the RC and/or the iPad I use on the RC. Any of those can be recharged from the USB outlets on the hub power supply with a standard cable running inside the box (to recharge the power tank) or outside it (for anything else).

I'd love to hear how others have solved this problem, but meanwhile, the following short video (1m, 26s) illustrates my ultra-rugged charging station:

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It's a good idea to be able to charge on the go, it is an easy solution that will work
My solution was a Smatree DP160 power station, at a lot more cost but it is brilliant
My solution was a Smatree DP160 power station, at a lot more cost but it is brilliant
If this is what you have, I can see how you’d like it. It looks like you could secure the batteries for rough transport with a simple strap. Sweet! If only the DJI charging hub had real bays to contain the batteries like that tank has!

However, a power tank solution wouldn’t accommodate all my needs. My camper batteries might be able to recharge any depleted batteries plus the tank overnight, despite the demands of the water pump, furnace fan, etc. I do keep them topped up with a solar panel. But even with six fully charged batteries at dawn, I’m very dubious that unit would allow me a dozen full flights in a day.

I can recharge any number of batteries over the course of a day. Used batteries immediately go into the charging station, and freshly recharged batteries go back in the queue. I am never grounded for lack of power. I invariably have some driving time that cooks me new power on the fly (so to speak).

Still, that’s a great unit for many people and situations, no doubt.
I learned my experience too never grounded with lack of power. So always bring my additional batteries I have two sets fly more now. I must say, if commercial use and want to last longer, mavic air is not a good choice, mavic Pro can last longer. But I’m a die heart fans of MA because of is small tiny and powerful, well, love it and deal with it [emoji41]
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