Over the past few years there has been an uptick in UAV power tether systems coming to market. The concept is great: simply plug your drone into a ground based power pack with an extension cable that attaches to the drone and your UAV should be able to fly indefinitely.
Folks that are flying at extended events such as races, marathons, weddings, search & rescue, flying drones in cold weather etc. will quickly realize the value of such a system. No longer are they limited to the 20-40 minute battery life of most drones!
So, what are some of the options currently on the market?
Here is our list of the 4 UAV tethering systems currently available:
The Elistair is one of the most well rounded and feature-laden tether systems on the market today. The system integrates a UPS backup battery, an ultra-lightweight tether and also includes data transfer from the drone back to a ground station.
Adding a data stream to a tether system adds significant value to the system as this will keep your drone free from signal jamming etc.
One of their recent releases, the Safe-T includes 100 meters of tether, 2.5KW of power and includes adapters for all the major drones on the market today, and can be used on DJI Matrice and Inspire series, Acecore and Yuneec platforms.
The FUSE tether system is setup to allow DJI platforms to fly continuously when plugged in to a Honda generator. The system includes 200 feet of tether and includes and automatic tension adjustment on the tether, to prevent slack in the tether line (a potentially dangerous situation).
It also includes an onboard battery backup system which provides enough power for a safe landing should the tether system fail.
The FoxTech tether system outputs 3500W of power and has a tensile strength of 50KG. Like many of the other systems it includes 100m of tether lines. It can output 6S or 12S power and includes a nicely laid out ground station.
The system does not come cheap, and at the time of this writing is listed for over $25,000!
The PowerLine tether is built specifically for the DJI series and allows for tethering without having to permanently modify the drone’s airframe.
It also includes 200′ feet of tether (like most of the others) but can be optionally fitted with a 300′ option. It is compatible with almost any power grid in the world. It includes and AutoTrac tensioning system to keep proper tension on the line.
The benefits of tethering a drone to a power supply are numerous, from being able to fly indefinitely to being able to transmit data uninterrupted from the drone for extended periods of time.
We will continue to expand this list as more options come to market. If you have any you would like to see added please don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!