While the Mavic 2 drone batteries MAY be intelligent, whoever is handling the bloated battery situation at DJI thus far certainly is not.
I picked up my Mavic 2 Pro from the DJI Flagship store on September 3rd, 2018. My Fly More package arrived a little later on Sep 7th along with my 4th, and what I hoped would be my final, Intelligent Flight Battery.
The Fly More package was the cheapest way to get ahold of two extra batteries and a four battery charger. As a professional photographer and drone operator, I needed to ensure I could get through a half day of shooting so I took the plunge and invested roughly $500 USD into three extra batteries for my Mavic 2 drone. I had run 6 batteries for over a year on my DJI Spark with no issues so I figured I would be setup with enough power for the life of my Mavic.
I first noticed the battery bloating this Summer (2019) when I landed my drone after a flight in Victoria and saw my battery had actually popped out of the drone slightly! Upon closer investigation I could clearly see that the underside of the Mavic 2 Intelligent Battery was puffed out. A convex bulge that didn’t allow the battery to sit flat and flush. I examined my other batteries and noticed they all had some degree of swelling.
Fairly new to the world of high performance lithium ion batteries, my biggest concern at the time was that they may no longer fit intoo my drone or might pop out in flight and my Mavic would free fall into a forrest or lake to never be found again. DJI Care doesn’t cover unrecovered drones.
It doesn’t take much research into into “lithium-ion batteries bloating” to realize that these things are a freaking time-bomb waiting to happen. A quick youtube search will yield pages of videos showing what happens when a lithium-ion battery pack goes off. If you haven’t seen an example, imagine setting off a military grade flare inside your living room, the kind that burn a few thousand degrees for 2-3 minutes.
These inherently unstable batteries could explode or ignite during charging, transport, flight or even while at rest. Everyone advises that you stop using and immediately dispose of the battery at the nearest lithium-ion collection point.
Cases of Mavic 2 batteries bloating are just as easy to find on youtube, in DJI forms and on the internet in general. CAMERADO and Jamie Wanger have some Mavic 2 Bloating Battery videos with 1.9k and 1.2k views respectively. As of this writing DJI did little more than blame it on user error and offer a 15% rebate on new batteries. Alex Rex posted a video where he deflates the batteries using a pin which is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND NOT ADVISABLE. If you want to risk your life and your home for a few hundred bucks have at it.
The drone forums are rife with the issue of swelling batteries. This 18 pager titled “Swelling Batteries” MavicPilots has at least one success story where persistant customer eventually got DJI to replace his batteries free of charge.
My favorite article to date is by Andy Hutchinson titled “Is There a Design Flaw with DJI’s Mavic 2 Intelligent Flight Batteries?“. Australia has very progressive consumer protection law and when he informed DJI he was not afraid to challenge their decision not to replace his batteries under this law they quickly wrote back saying new ones were in the mail free of charge.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been envious of Australian consumer protection. In a similar blog post to this where I called out Apple for orange blotches that appear on their 2016 – 2018 MacBook Pro screens many Australians have been able to have their issues fixed free of charge while the rest of us hope for an extended warranty program or class action.
In my research I have found other drone operators quick to blame their fellow droners citing user error and the following interrogation:
-Did you wait for the battery to cool down before charging?
-Did you stress the battery by flying erratically or at high sustained speeds?
-Did you store that batteries above 60% capacity for more than a few days?
-Did you make sure to cycle the battery frequently yada yada yada?
The interrogation frustrates me. DJI is clearly aiming their entry level Spark, Air and Mavic lineup directly at the novice market. They show adverts of kids flying these things around at their pool party. They named the freaking battery “Intelligent Flight Battery” and built in a ton of safety mechanisms so that the average consumer wouldn’t need to be a battery scientist to keep the drone running.
It’s reasonable to expect that the end user not leave their batteries on the car dash in the sun. It is unrealistic to expect them to discharge their lithium ion batteries to 60% if they aren’t going to fly for a few days. If the above points are so critical to battery care, then DJI needs to put big yellow labels on the batteries explaining the proper care procedures for us to follow that will ensure a healthy battery lifespan.
So here is my contribution to the discussion. A page that I hope will make its way up that ranks for searches about swollen DJI batteries. A page where I encourage everyone to share their story so that we might eventually have enough of a case to push DJI to do the right thing and extend the warranty on all these seemingly faulty Mavic 2 Batteries.
I will now email DJI support and start what I fear will be a long uphill battle to get my four Mavic Batteries replaced free of charge. Below is the info for each of the batteries. I will keep you updated on my progress.
MY DJI MAVIC 2 INTELLIGENT FLIFHT BATTERY STATS