You buy a drone, crack open the packaging, stick the batteries in the controller and expect and get pumped to fly that sucker straight into your ceiling, only to find, no such luck.
Battery corrosion happens, and its annoying, if you're lucky the company you bought it from will send you a new drone. Or maybe, this happened over time. Either way, don't through it out. REBUILD IT!
We do this in our school tech lab to teach about circuitry, soldering, and the basic principles of flight. Follow these instructions that we made with kids.
Step 1: How to Replace a Nano Drone Battery
What you'll need
- Broken drone
- Small tech tool kit (These have important screwdrivers and tools you wont find in your standard tool set. Great to own for any maker or tinkerer)
- Spare drone parts (Generally from other broken drones. Everyone and their little sister has one of these, beg plead and snag some and keep them in stock always.)
- Good battery (not more than 120mAh)
- Soldering iron
- Soldering material (Your choice to use lead or not)
- Desoldering wire or suction tool
- Access to power
- Camera (Take pictures of the process to remember where the wires go)
- Pencil (write stuff down)
- Paper (where to write it down)
- (Or a tablet / smart phone to replace them all)
Step 2: Open Them Up
You're going to have to open those suckers up now. (As you're doing this, its a great time to plug in your soldering iron giving it time to heat up.)
Be careful when you do this because popping those white plastic bottoms off is not simple. They have the tendency to break. When you have these cases off set them aside for later you never want to throw away good drone parts. (Pay attention to where you put the screws, they can get away from you)
Take notes and pictures to record where all the cables lead. If it's your thing, draw pictures. You don't want to put the battery in backwards, it complicates stuff.
Step 3: Desoldering
At this point, after removing the cases, setting aside the screw and recording everything your soldering iron should be hot. Pull out your iron and your desoldering tool. Again, this either a wire used to wipe a happy excess heated material, or a suction tool like the one I use. Its purely a preference issue.
Bring the soldering iron close to the contact points on the circuit board on the broken drone and heat the soldering points until you see it go to a liquid form. Grab your suction tool suck that solder away. If you've got a buddy to help, even better
Repeat this step for the drone with the faulty battery.
Now, you should have two drone circuit boards with no batteries.
****Make sure to take care of your soldering iron, its a simple device that can work for a long time if you keep it clean.
Step 4: Solder It Back Together
In case you haven't felt a tinge like you're doing an open heart transplant yet by the end of this step, you will.
Take the good battery and the notes, pictures or drawing of where the wires go and put them in front of you. Make sure that the wires are exactly as the were before with the positive and negative wires in the right place.
This is where it was really helpful to have a buddy. I found it hard to do the next part with out a few extra hands. Take the soldering iron and wire watch the wire as beads, don't use too much and then remove the iron and wire. (If you're new to this, PRACTICE!!! No need to mess up your drone)
Repeat this process for the next wire.
Now, turn on the power and WATCH YOUR FRANKEN-DRONE COME ALIVE!!!!
Step 5: TIME TO FLY
We are almost there,
Take those screws and plastic cases from earlier and screw them back together. After charging it up, you should be ready to fly. Get your hands on a remote and make sure to pair it with your done. By the way, almost all of the cheap drones and controllers can pair with other drones, so don't throw those out either.
Happy Flying Folks
Coming soon: Building other things with drone parts
Participated in the
Circuits Contest 2016