The 3DR Solo is a GoPro-powered drone geared toward video capture, with a number of automated camera moves available. That’s good news for filmmakers. But disappointing battery life.
3DR claims that the Solo can fly for 20 minutes on a fully charged battery.
One pilot wrote,”I’m not getting 20 minutes out of my batteries. After about 10 minutes I get the 25% message. I’ve not flown it to empty, but I assume I’m not going to get another 10 minutes out of it. Maybe 15 total at best.
I can live with that, but are there any settings tricks that will allow me longer 3DR Solo flight time? I have everything pretty much default. If I flew Solo in Manual mode would that save battery?
I want to keep the camera going also I realize it would save some battery life w/out the added weight and power of the GoPro.”
15 min flight time is about average from what people have posted. It helps to fly smoothly, and not make fast ascents and turns. One article said that fly down to 10% before landing. That is too low. These batteries can be damaged taking them too low. Also, flying below 25% may not get you home to land, depending how far away you are, since the last 25% goes down real fast. You also do not want to try and get more flight time by flying without the camera in the gimbal, since the gimbal was designed to work properly with the GoPro mounted in it. Even powering up Solo without the camera in the gimbal is not advised. I think most would agree that flying in manual is very good to know, but it takes practice to do it safely. Set either your “A” or “B” button to manual mode, and practice in a very open area with no obstructions nearby. Take off in Fly mode with good gps lock, and then you can switch to manual to practice. Just remember that in manual, Solo will hold altitude, but will drift with the wind as well as forward momentum. If you run into a problem, or get nervous, just press “Fly” and you will be back in gps mode again. I have not heard that flying in manual saves any battery time, but I do know that the slower and smoother you fly does add to flight time. Also, I believe that the Tower app is only for Android devices. I believe there is an equivalent for ios.I recommend downloading and printing the Solo user manual from the 3DR website.
Any advice to extend the 3DR Solo flight times please feel free to leave below.