The following piece on overheating drone controller is a guest post by Darren Saravis, who is the CEO of X-naut, which designs and builds iPad cooling cases.
If you’re using a drone, then there’s a good chance you’re using a controller of some sort. It could be a separate, physical controller, or it might be a smartphone or iPad. Whether you’re conducting complicated missions like mapping, or you’re just live-streaming video for your Instagram fans, your controller is likely using a lot of processing power. And that could lead to a problematic, overheating drone controller.
Mapping, live-streaming and other software applications are crucial to flight efficiency and business productivity, yet the high processing apps like DJI’s GPS Pro (Ground Station Pro), DJI GO, or DroneSense Pilot apps naturally produce a lot of heat.
Now, consider that you’re likely flying a drone out on an open field, in an exposed construction site, or around a tourist attraction on a hot summer day. Together, you’re exposing your drone (and its controller) to hot — and relatively extreme — temperatures. Yep, the relentless elements of the outdoors can take a toll on drone technology and cause them to overheat.
When your device overheats, you’ll likely experience problems including:
- choppy and low-quality video feed
- complete cuts in the video feed
- rapidly depleting battery
- tablet black screens or warnings to cool down before further use
These problems are not only inconvenient, but they can be detrimental to the job and limit how much money you could be making.
Whether you’re a hobby drone pilot simply looking to maximize your controller’s battery life, or you’re a professional drone pilot who needs to guarantee high-performance and can’t sacrifice mishaps on a paid mission, you need to make sure your drone and its controller are cooling themselves properly.
Beyond regular device protection, you might want to consider add-on cooling accessories.
Keep your controller cool
Increasingly we’re seeing cooling device accessories designed for tablets and smartphones.
For example, X-Naut’s iPad cooling case is primarily a set of fans that feature low-noise technology to keep the iPad cool. The company also sells a Drone Controller Bracket that is compatible with the Mobile Device Holder for DJI Phantom and Inspire Controllers. The Drone Controller Bracket attaches to the back of X-naut’s Active Cooling Mount for iPads.
Here’s how X-Naut’s iPad cooling case works:
iPads are cooled most effectively when air is allowed to circulate around the device, and the most efficient cooling cases thus have the most systematic implementations of breathability.
In the exploration of vented case design, four, low-noise 26 DBA cooling fans are built-in to help redirect airflow around the iPad.
X-naut’s Cooling Case attaches to the back of your iPad via a spring-loaded latch to keep everything in place. The case is also dust and moisture-resistant.
Why an overheating drone controller can cost you money
Overheating of your controller can destroy your drone technology, can cost you invaluable business opportunities, and can ultimately lead to a direct loss in revenue. Your smartphone or tablet should be able to perform under more demanding circumstances than the outdoors presents, and something like a cooling case can assure optimal device performance for the most critical flights in the hottest temperatures.
That said, even cooling cases aren’t cheap. Prices vary depending on your iPad or smartphone, model but, on average, expect to pay around $200. It’s not for everyone, but sometimes a couple hundred dollars to guarantee the reliability of a mission can be worth it.
-By Darren Saravis
Darren Saravis is the CEO of X-naut, a provider of active cooling iPad cases designed, engineered, tested, and patented to work in the toughest conditions.