More Ranty Rant
Since my last post above, seven days ago, I’ve been ruminating over the whole smart battery issues and the premature obsolescence that such devices ultimately render our drones as useless.
The Ceewa S1 I started this thread off with is not a great example. Even though it was released only two years ago, with a RRP of £1100, its demise was initially brought about by poor sales and lack of any support.
But what about the popular drones from DJI?
I feel that in the case of DJI they intentionally plan premature obsolescence into all their products as a sales tactic. You don’t so much as own a DJI product but rather lease it until such a time as DJI deem fit. This is done by restricting the availability of primary consumables i.e the smart battery. Once the battery is no longer available the drone is useless even though the internal electronics, motors, props, even the frame, are still in A1 condition.
Some of the earlier DJI drones are an exception to the rule, e.g. The Phantom 2 and 3, as batteries can still be sourced from 3rd party manufacturers.
But what of the Spark and the Mavic Air?
These two models are probably two of the most popular DJI released. Production of the Spark ceased one year before the release of the Mavic Mini, this means that what stock the dealers claim to have has been languishing on their shelves for at least 18months. It’s a similar situation with the Mavic Air as a few retailers are already showing batteries as out of stock. Both these drones are not exactly top flight models but when you factor in the cost of accessories (Filters, mounts, cases, etc) it adds up to a sizeable financial investment by the owner. I can compare this to similar tech, such as my Canon 300D I bought eighteen years ago. Yes I’ve upgraded to a more sophisticated camera but I can still use the 300D as the batteries are still available albeit from 3rd parties. DJI got very snotty when 3rd parties started producing batteries for the P2 by releasing firmware that prevented the batteries from being recognised. Thankfully this hostage situation was overcome.
So what of my future with drones?
I still have four drones that use Smart Batteries.
My previously mentioned Spark, bought for less than 1/2 RRP when Maplin Shut.
PowerEgg X Wizard. Bought as an open box sale for 1/3 retail.
Two Parrot Anafi’s. One was a gift and the other was bought for very little money as “Spares or Repair”. The fix was simple and it was flying within an hour of being delivered.
As you can see none of the above actually owe me anything.
However I can no longer, with good conscious, invest in a new drone platform knowing that my enjoyment would be forcibly time limited due to lack of essential, and proprietary, consumables. I’ll instead continue to get my jollies from self built models and probably go the Cine-Whoop route for photo/video stuff.
Rant over and I promise never to speak of this again.