Thursday, April 9, 2015

DIY DJI Inspire 1 Battery "Charger"

"DIY" is one of the watchwords here at EastBay RC, so you can imagine it's going to be an interesting experience to deal with a real store-bought system like the Inspire 1.

Our first project: a power supply for charging the Inspire batteries.  Here's the prototype, which is working well.

The DJI power supply has these features: rated output of 26.3V, 3.83A (100W), proprietary connectors for battery and radio.
In order to get the 26.3V, I'm using a boost converter.  It will take input from 4V to 25V and convert it to 26.3V. I got it on Amazon for $12.  You can get it for about $8 if you don't mind waiting for China shipping.  Specs on my unit are

  • 9A max input, 6A max output.

Double check the ratings for the unit you get.
We'll go into more details in a followup post about how to configure the boost converter.  Here's my initial test connectors.  They are two prongs from an old extension cord, and fit perfectly into the battery.  Positive is on the left.  I'll do a video with some more construction details as well.
 Here's a second connector.  I glued the prongs onto a piece of scrap wood and insulted with liquid tape.  I double and tripled checked the polarity was correct.
Here's the final connector.  It works really well!

I can now charge the battery using any 12V-24V power supply, including my regular charger on Pb mode.  Charging from the car should be OK as well, but I'll double check the amperage requirements.

Anyways, hope this quick note helped, and if you're interested in seeing more DIY Inspire projects let me know!

Power Equivalence.  The table below shows the required amperage at several voltage levels in order to provide the equivalent power.  The first amps column is the straight calculated equivalent, and the second amps2 column take into account the approximate 10% power loss from the boost converter.

Watts Voltage  Amps Amps2
100      26.3  3.83
100      24    3.3    4.5
100      20    5.0    5.5
100      18    5.5    6.1
100      12    8.3    9.1

Note that the 12V amperage is just barely within the maximum amperage specified for my unit, mentioned above.

If you have a standard RC 4-button charger, you can set it to Pb (lead-acid), 20V, 5A and be just a little shy of the maximum equivalent charging capacity.

There's a rumor that the built-in charger of the smart battery won't current-limit. Sadly, too much of the DJI world runs on superstition, so until a battery dies and we get to do an autopsy, we won't be able to determine if this is true.  In the meantime, if you don't exceed the  Amps2 number for your power supply voltage that won't be an issue. (update: see below)

(Update) Some people have asked why "Charger" is in quotes in the title.

  • The technically correct terms are "power supply" for the thing that plugs into the wall and "charger" for the circuitry that supplies electricity to the cells.  This is also the common industry usage.  A typical RC charger includes the circuitry to properly charge "dumb" LiPo batteries.
  • DJI uses the arguably "technically incorrect but more commonly used" term "charger" for the power supply.
  • Displaying EastBay RC's famously pedantic nature, we therefore put "charger" in quotes.

(Update) DJI has some good information on their wiki.  Specifically, this datum:
7. Over Current Protection: Battery stops charging when high amperage (more than 10A) is detected.
If this situation is detected, the document indicates that LED2 will blink twice per second.

So the total power provided to the voltage converter should be under 260 watts.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["Inspire 1", "power supply", "DIY Inspire"]};


  1. Hi,
    Great project, I'm look into to something similar, and was wondering how you control the max current?
    BR, Chris

    1. Thanks! I'm using my regular RC charger on lead-acid (Pb) settings, and entering the max amperage there, as per the table I added at the end. I'm rummaging around my old laptop power supplies to see if there's anything in the same range. Sadly DJI isn't very helpful with questions like this!

  2. Hi again,
    I have been looking at this DC-DC step up converter, since it has current limiting.
    According to DJI Inspire 1 battery WIKI, there is a function in the battery, that shuts it down if the charge current goes above 10A, that's leeding me to the conclution, that the current limiting should be done on the charger side.
    BR. Chris

    1. Ah great, I had not seen the wiki page! The voltage converter is specced as being 150 watts, so that will be the limiting factor. Keep the total input power below that (either by using a less than 150 watt power supply, or if using a traditional charger in Pb mode, making sure that volts * amps is less than 150) everything will be fine. Let me know how it goes! --Mark

  3. This system can easily formulate an appropriate and effective body workout program which suits your body. Once you follow the guide, 800% batteries

  4. Thanks for this really nice article and the blog is too good.

    hybrid inverters