Note: The below was written based on the 1.0 model, but most of it also pertains to the 2.0
If you’ve been around the (flying) hobby for any length of time you can appreciate how delicate some of these systems can be. Anything that spins, moves or flies won’t last long, barring any accidents, without a little TLC. The AR Drone (Augmented Reality Drone) is no different. Parrot has created a flyer that for the most part, doesn’t require maintenance, a fact reflected by the lack of a maintenance manual. That doesn’t mean you can’t squirt a little oil on the prop axles or brush the dust off the motor assemblies. In fact, if you do your maintenance, it will work longer, fly for many seasons and allows the operator/owner to become more familiar and comfortable with their equipment.
Maintenance is easy and should be done during downtime, between flight days or whenever you’re bored. Things you should have on hand, assuming your drone is stock, or without mods.
Drone take down tools (Circlip tool,Torx and Phillips driver. Supplied by Parrot.)
Can of DUSTER (air in a can)
Light lubrication oil ( 3in1 works- NO WD30!)
Old toothbrush (shorten the handle a little)
1-2 sheets of paper towels
Small paint brush (big enough for brushing to dust/dirt off your drone)
Magnet (keeps all the small screws in one spot as you work)
Pipe cleaners (optional but handy)
Painters 1″ masking tape Parrots two sided sticky tape (or equivalent)
Q-tip cotton swabs are cool to use for cleaning lenses.
The following are used for modding:
Plastic knife (sand off the teeth so it’s blunt)
Isopropyl alcohol (the knife and alcohol are used for modding)
Emery board or fine file.
An important things to keep in mind NEVER use grease or heavy oil as lube on your drone! It only collects dust and acts as a grinding paste wearing out parts quickly.
ALWAYS ground OR discharge static from your body before handling the internal motherboard or nav board, just touch a piece of metal like the end of your iPhone charging cord (plugged in). Zapping the circuit board will render your drone useless AND you may never realise you killed it, so make discharging a habit. Workers who handle circuit boards all day long wear a grounded wrist strap for that very reason.
Magnetizing your small tools like the Philips and Torx driver will hold the screw on the tip while you search for the hole. This is really important when dealing with small, itty-bitty screws.
When you use any tape during your activities or project, tear off enough extra and curl the ends back under on itself to create tabs. Tabs on tape makes it so much easier to remove when done. Some of us have chubby fingers with real short fingernails and bad eyesight which makes it hard to peel the corner of a piece of attached tape. Really frustrating at times, make it a good habit and your projects will be less difficult.
Make sure your work area has enough room to spread out the parts while you tear down the drone. If you work over a carpet and you drop a screw or circlip, use the magnet to sweep the area for retrieval BEFORE you get up to leave the workbench, it may stick to your footwear and get tracked somewhere else. Spend the money and buy a bulk set of screws from Parrot. If you can’t or won’t spend the Four Dollars for enough screws to choke a horse, small screws can be found in an old computer. Tearing down obsolete personal electronics to component level can supply you with fastening hardware.
The circlips on the drone can go flying when pushed/wiggled off! Once you have the removal tool in place, lightly lay a finger on the circlip as it’s popped off, this keeps it from going airborne.
Get yourself some extra batteries. As an example, five batteries would get you an hours worth of quality flying. If you are really into the drone and get more than five, you need two chargers or a multi-battery charger.
After each flight it’s best to dust off your drone. This is where the Duster comes in handy, it’s usually best to NOT use the long red tube, discard it. That will keep accidental freezing and pinpoint damage to delicate components like the ultrasonic elements and the camera lens at the drones bottom. No Duster? Use a soft bristle paint brush. Use the Q-Tips to clean off the dust film from the camera lenses, particularly the bottom cam lens. Its unknown whether dust and debris will effect the performance of the ultrasonic elements on the bottom. A short gentle blast of duster will clean it out. Any MINOR nicks on the leading or trailing edges of the plastic props can usually be burnished out. Try rubbing it with something like a stainless butterknife handle.
A prop with deep niks or chips should be replaced.
After every 2 hours of flight, Remove the prop/gear/axles. (make note of where each prop goes) Run a pipe cleaner thru the bushings removing any old lube and debris. Wipe off the axles with a paper towel. Squirt some lube into a 2″ square piece of towel and wipe down the dry axles. Place the wet axle back into the bushing set and move it up and down a couple of times, this wets the inside surfaces of the bushings. Remove the axle and rewipe with the oily towel. After all bushings are done reassemble each prop/gear/axle. Don’t lube the axles without removing them! Excess oil will attract dust and debris turning the oil into a grinding paste.
At forty flight hours the small brass drive gears will show a significant amount of wear on one side of each tooth, the side that contacts the larger plastic gear. Two of the motors turn clockwise and the other two counterclockwise. Swapping two opposing motor assemblies (cw vs ccw) will allow the drive gear to use the “unused” side of each gear tooth, sort of like rotating the tires on your car. They will just last longer!
Every time you go flying take along the short handled toothbrush, a couple of toothpicks and a bunch of batteries. If your drone takes a header into the ground, be sure to finger spin each prop before you fire up the drone again. Sometimes at impact, dirt will get lodged in the plastic gear. If you notice dirt in the gear, use the toothbrush to clean it out, if it’s stubborn, dislodge it with the tooth pick. If the drone notices a prop obstruction at diagnostic spinup, the drone will not boot up.
Note – above was written by abandoned web site Dronescapes and obtained via archive.org
We are attempting to obtain direct permission from the old site owner, however material does not appear to be copyrighted or commercial.
Note – after my email the author renewed the site URL (for now).
Here is another external site with some modifications and hints on upkeep.
He in onto other things in life, but there is some good info there and hopefully he will make sure it stays up or share it prior to removal.