While flying your drone is fun, there are some things you will need to do to maintain it and keep it operable. The steps needed to keep your new drone in good working order are not that hard; you only need to be consistent.
Most problems you will have with your new drone will be simple and easy to fix. You have to learn what to look for and what precautions to take to prevent them from happening in the future.
Let us take a look at some of the most common things that a beginning drone pilot will need to worry about.
How do you maintain a drone?
The best way to maintain a drone is to have a solid plan that you carry out every day. When you develop good habits in caring for your drone, it is just as important as learning how to fly it.
Your drone maintenance program should consist of the following elements:
- Recommended spare parts
- Required tools
- Drone maintenance cost
What spare drone parts do I need to have?
Like everything else, there will be some drone parts that you will need to replace much more than others. As a beginner, you should count on needing some replacement propellers right away, as all beginners run through them pretty quickly.
Listed below is a more comprehensive list to keep on hand. Aside from the first three items, you may not need all of these parts right away, but you should gradually gather them to keep on hand.
Propellers – these little babies break quite easily, and beginners are very rough on them. Keep up a healthy stock of spares.
Batteries – this is what determines your flying time and affects your fun. Batteries always die when you least expect them. Get at least one spare battery (preferably more than one) and keep a charged spare on hand when you go flying – that way, you don’t come back home mad and disappointed. It’s not a bad idea to keep a spare charger as well.
Wires – it is recommended that you get yourself a spool of quality wire at the start. Wire is always handy and useful, and the wiring in drones is quite thin and will easily break. Always keep plenty of wire available.
Propeller guards – these are handy for beginners to have because they will make your propellers last longer. Keep in mind that they will shorten your battery life a little because they add weight to your drone – but the tradeoff is well worth the sacrifice in battery life.
Gears – this is something that wears out over time. Your dealer can give you an idea of how long to expect them to last. It’s always good to have some spares.
Rotor shafts – keep in mind that if you are bumping and banging your drone against things, then you are probably inflicting some damage on the rotor shafts as well. Keep an eye on these. Not only can they bend, but they will also wear out.
Memory cards – if you’re into drone photography and video, then you can understand the irritation with running out of memory to store your work. If this is something you plan to do with your new drone, then go ahead and get some extras.
One last bit of advice is to ensure that you get your drone parts from a reputable source. You will never go wrong if you deal with authorized drone dealers or directly with the manufacturer. This will give you peace of mind that your drone is using quality parts, and you’ll reduce your downtime.
What tools are needed for my drone?
Not only do you need spare parts for your drone, but there are also some tools you will need as well. Hopefully, you already have a few of these on hand already. Here are the recommended tools for your drone maintenance needs:
Soldering iron – you’ll need to do some soldering from time to time. The good news is that you don’t need the most expensive solder iron. You only need one that is fine-tipped because drone parts are small, and the wiring will be quite thin.
Wire cutters – a very handy tool for any tool kit. You’ll probably want one that strips wires as well.
Velcro or some double-sided foam tape – this material comes in handy for mounting stuff on your drones, such as cameras or transmitters.
Heat-shrink tube – this can be quite useful to protect external wires and cut down on required maintenance.
Fiberglass and epoxy – you’ll need these to repair cracks and chips on your drone’s outer body casing.
How much does it cost for drone maintenance?
Drone maintenance depends on how often you fly and how well you take care of your unit.
As a rule of thumb, you could start with investing $20-50 per month into your new drone flying adventure. It will help if you plan on purchasing an extra battery and some propellers from the start.
You can then begin collecting your drone tools on a case-by-case basis to keep your costs at a minimum. After a few months, you’ll get a better idea about your monthly drone budget.
The instructions listed above are intended to address the minimal needs of a beginner drone operator. Keep in mind that more advanced drones will require more maintenance and upkeep than we have prescribed.
In any case, you should always check with your authorized dealer and the drone manufacturer for additional guidance.