Unlike other drone parts, the batteries inside your drone are disposable. That means, after using them for some time, you will have to throw them out and get new ones. However, disposing of old drone batteries is a risky task due to fire and explosion hazards associated with LiPo batteries. In this article, we will discuss safe ways to dispose of old drone batteries that are no longer usable.
To dispose of old drone batteries, first, completely discharge the batteries by connecting them with a low voltage bulb or by keeping them inside a salt solution. Once fully discharge, take them to your nearest Best Buy, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s or Staples for recycling.
Before you can dispose of your used batteries, you have to ensure they are completely discharged. This is important because even old batteries that retain some charge can shortcircuit and cause fire during the disposal process.
How to discharge LiPo batteries?
Most drones stop drawing current from batteries once the voltage drops below certain volts. That means, even if your battery seems fully discharged inside your drone, it might still have some residual charge – enough to make it a fire hazard.
To safely discharge, follow any of the following methods. All are safe and easy and can be done at home without any special equipment.
- Discharge using your drone: First of all, discharge your battery by turning on your drone and leaving it on the table for a few hour till all the lights go out. This will make sure that there is only minimal charge left in the battery and it is safe to discharge further using light bulbs or saltwater.
- Use low voltage bulb: Get any 6v bulb and connect it across the terminals using wires. You can find these small bulbs at any electronic store or Radioshack or order them from Amazon (link here).
- Use drone battery discharge: This is small connector to discharge your drone batteries using a resistor connected to a heatsink. It can be used with 2S and 6S batteries. This is one of the safest methods I have found so far. Check it out on Amazon (link here)
- Use saltwater to discharge: If you don’t have low voltage bulbs or battery discharger at home, the next best method to drain yoru battery of the remaining charge is by putting it inside salt solution. Saltwater is an excellent conductor of electricity and will act as a shortcircuit between the two battery terminals. Make a strong brian solution (table salt + warm water) and completely submerge your battery inside and leave it for 24 hours to fully discharge.
Once your battery is fully discharged, it is now ready to be disposed of.
How to dispose of old drone batteries?
Call2Recycle is North America’s largest consumer battery stewardship organization that encourages and helps people dispose of their old batteries safely and responsibly. It has partnered with most of the largest retail brands across the country to collect old batteries and recycle them.
Where to drop off old batteries?
You can drop off your old batteries at the following retail locations near you.
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
Alternatively, you can use the Call2Recycle locator page to find your nearest drop off location. More and more organisations are partnering up with Call2Recycle to increase awareness and collections.
Does Call2Recycle accepts all batteries?
Yes, Call2Recycle accepts all types of batteries, including LiPo batteries used in drones. You can also recycle Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) and Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn) batteries. They, however, do not accept wet batteries used in your car.
Cost of recycling old batteries
There is no cost involved in recycling old batteries with Call2Recycle. You just have to drop off your old cells at any of their partner’s locations and that’s it.
What happened to disposed and recycled batteries?
Batteries are broken down into component parts and used for various other purposes. Some are even recycled to make newer batteries. Below is an interesting infographic from Call2Recycle that explains the entire recycling process for all types of batteries they receive.