Routine Drone Maintenance Checklist
You’ve invested time and money into getting your drone pilot certificate and purchasing your drone. Whether you’re an individual who flies drones for a hobby or runs a business with a drone pilot program, it’s only natural to want to ensure that your high-tech flying machine won’t run into problems mid-air. A drone maintenance routine can help you keep your UAV in top condition, anticipate problems, and avoid predictable failures. Read on for our top tips on how to build a routine drone maintenance checklist to make sure you inspect every part of your drone.
Set a Maintenance Routine
When you take your drone out can depend on multiple different factors like the weather, for example. So, fixing days of a week where you carry out checks may not be enough. Give your drone a once-over before and after every flight. Many drone manufacturers also recommend getting your drone serviced every 12 months, or more often if you notice heavy wear and tear.
What Needs to Be Included in My Drone Maintenance Checklist
You need to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model to comply with the maintenance schedule as per the manufacturer’s specifications. However, here’s a general checklist that you can adapt to your UAV model as recommended by the manufacturer.
Make sure that your drone is fully powered down and that all your battery packs are disconnected before you start your inspection.
1. Visual Inspection
Keeping your drone looking shiny and new offers more benefits than just visual appeal. The smallest cracks and bits of dirt can cause huge problems mid-flight. Inspect the chassis of your drone thoroughly. Keep a microfiber cloth, air duster, cleaning brush and isopropyl alcohol on hand.
- Use the cloth dampened with water to get rid of dirt stains on the chassis or the isopropyl alcohol to get rid of tougher stains. Check for cracks on all the components of the drone’s body while you’re cleaning.
- Check all screws and fastenings to make sure they are tight. Tighten any that aren’t. Be careful not to over-tighten them though.
- Check the propellers for cracks and make sure they can spin freely without any obstruction.
- Remove the propellers to access the motor chamber to clean it out. The compressed air canister (air duster) is ideal for getting rid of dirt from tighter areas like the circuit board or around the motor.
- Check for any exposed or frayed wiring and solder any loose connections. You should also open the chassis to inspect the internal wiring. If you aren’t sure how to fix the wiring in your drone, get an expert to do it.
- Clean your camera and gimbal.
- Make sure your landing gear is not cracked or bent and that the shock absorbers are intact.
- Inspect antennae and make sure that they are screwed on correctly.
- Check your control station – check your remote controller and antennae as well as your control station computer or smartphone.
Make sure you repair or replace all broken and cracked parts according to manufacturer specifications before flying.
2. Battery Checks
Making sure your batteries are in top condition is vital to making sure you can get in all those flying hours you’ve been dreaming about. To do so, you need to inspect not only the batteries but the chargers too.
- Check the battery docking stations for any visible damage and take voltage readings to make sure they are functioning correctly.
- Check the battery packs themselves. Check your spares too. Replace any swollen battery packs.
- Fully charge and discharge battery packs once in three months.
- Charge your batteries to full if you’re going to be flying or to 75% for storage.
- Give your batteries time to cool after a charge before placing them in your drone.
- Do the same for your controller batteries.
3. Software/ Firmware
Keep your control station software and drone firmware up to date by downloading updates regularly. This will keep your drone safe from any security vulnerabilities.
Staying on top of your drone maintenance routine can help you prolong the life of your drone and its components. Remember to always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions, get your drone serviced regularly and get expert help when necessary.
Make sure you inspect your drone after each flight too. This way you’ll notice any problems that have come up immediately.
Keep a log of your maintenance records, along with any repairs and replacements to your drone. You are required to keep these records for at least 24 months.
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