August 14, 2022

Drone Accessories and Fast Charging Plug

Anker 555 Portable Power Station 1024W

DJI Mini 3 Fast Charging Plug and Location Gear  

Click to play

As a professional drone pilot living in a country with seasonal weather, I like to make the most of the good weather days. I also regularly have drone jobs where I am out and about on location for a full day or more.

This is where my list of 5 essential drone accessories comes from. These 5 items have come about from my own needs whilst out flying and working on location for extended periods.

5 Cool Accessories for Drone Pilots (use jump links)

1. DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone

DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone

This little drone is incredible. If I think back to the quality of my DJI Inspire 1 with original X3 camera, the Mini 3 knocks spots off it. I also think it is comparable to the M43 X5 camera. The Mini 3 certainly has way more features and benefits than my old beloved Inspire 1.

Couple all of that with the sub 250 weight, the DJI Mini 3 is an essential piece of kit for any drone pilot, professional or otherwise.

I once had to resort to using a DJI Mini 2 as back up when shooting a short documentary/advert out at sea once. The Inspire got trashed in rough seas so the Mini 2 took over. The footage was easily good enough for the final cut.

I also used the DJI Mini 3 at a wedding alongside the DJI Air 2s. The Mini 3 was used in areas where I was unable to or didn't want to risk flying the heavier drone. Easy to fly, incredible feature set and superb 10 bit, 4K footage. Super handy.

2. Power Banks - PowerOak AC50s

I reviewed this amazing power bank here (or click image below).

PowerOak AC50s Review

I have always been power mad and felt the need to take as many batteries and power banks as I had to most jobs. Whether a small 20,000mAh hand held power bank or a much larger capacity block, having back up power when on location is a must for me.

The PowerOak AC50s was a godsend for me when I recently filmed a 34 hour Guinness World Record attempt. Camera batteries with their 2 hour range were useless and the mains power cut out 5 times during the shoot.

Having the PowerOak as an "in between" back-up source saved my bacon on this shoot. Guinness (mostly) require a continuous reel for the record attempt but I wasn't going to risk it so camera power was everything and the AC50s worked like a charm.

I always use it for powering the drone batteries, controller and tablet/Smartphone as well as my Go Pros. Whether I am driving between jobs or locations or simply using it on location to keep the power going, this is one of the best buys I have made for my drone business.

There are many makes, models and sizes of power banks but I find the multi-port, 500Wh AC50s to be just about perfect. It has enough ports to charge my drone, extra batteries, the controller, my tablet, Smartphone and camera batteries at the same time is amazing.

Being able to recharge the PowerOak AC50s via the 12v car port or via my 120w solar panel is a bonus and means I have a constant power source when camping or travelling for extended periods.

3. Anker 737 Charger (3 port, 120W output)

Anker 737 Fast Charger

With all that power comes great responsibility.

Of all the drone accessories I could possible recommend, a fast drone charger is essential. This will get you flying quickly but you need the right kit. Using standard plugs and cables won't give you the results you need. DJI do make a 30W charger but a) it is only 30W and b) it only has one port.

The Anker 737 charger is a 3 port, 120W fast charging plug that will power your DJI Mini 3 battery (when placed inside the drone. Note: The Mini 3 battery can be charged at a maximum of 37W), 3 more batteries in the hub (37W per battery...one at a time), and the controller using the third USB port at 22.5W output.

So, you can charge 2 x Mini 3 batteries and the controller (or even a third battery) via one charger.

These are the three ports and their maximum power output values. As the maximum output is 120W, the charger will determine the value required for each individual unit being charged and assign the appropriate wattage.

Single Port Charging:

Anker 737 Charger Single Port Charging

Two Port Charging

Anker 737 Charger Two Port Charging

Three Port Charging

Anker 737 Charger Three Port Charging

A total of 96.5W charging power through one charger.

We'll see the difference in charging times for the DJI Mini 3 batteries once you know about the next essential piece of kit required for maximum effect when charging this way using the Anker 737 fast charging plug.

4. 100W USB C to USB c Fast Charging Cable

INIU 100W Fast Charging USB C Cable

There is no point in owning a fast charging plug if the cables you use are not up to the job. The DJI Mini 3 batteries take a maximum of 37W when charging. A cheap cable will provide maybe 5W of power meaning the charge times will be huge. 

You'll see this in the test in the video above.

Therefore, a cable, or two, above 37W capacity is needed. I went for two 100W cables knowing that these would come in useful when charging other products as well as future DJI batteries that accept a higher charge.

Charging Test. Standard Charging vs The Anker Set Up

Talk is cheap, let's see the difference in time between charging a DJI Mini 3 battery the old way vs using the above method and kit.

If you haven't watched it, watch the video review above. Jump to 11m 16s for the test. Spoiler, I saved 1hr and 11mins when charging a single DJI Mini 3 battery whilst in the drone. Insane!

Anker 555 Portable Power Station 1024W

5. Forabest Electric Lunchbox Food Heater

Portable 12v Food Heater

In my line of work as a photographer, videographer and drone pilot, I can be on location for long periods. I can't always rely on my client feeding me or providing anything at all. That's why I always make sure I take food with me.

If I forget, I end up buying cr*p food from an overly priced garage or petrol station. In other words I snack on bad food.

Because of this, I have been hunting for a solution and the Forabest Lunchbox Food Heater is perfect for what I need. I can plug it into the car's 12v socket or the one on the PowerOak AC50s.

It's also great for the office, camping or even holidays.

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