DJI launches portable power stations ideal for drone pilots

DJI has recently launched its first power stations equipped with a new proprietary Smart DC (SDC) port, designed for fast charging certain DJI drone batteries and supporting a variety of input and output accessories. The $699 Power 1000 and smaller $379 Power 500 models both offer an array of AC and DC inputs and outputs, with additional options available for those who embrace DJI’s SDC dongle ecosystem.

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The Power 500 features one SDC Lite port, while the larger Power 1000 offers both regular SDC and SDC Lite ports. Both power stations contain LFP chemistry batteries, which are safer and longer-lasting (maintaining 80% capacity after 3,000 cycles) compared to traditional NMC batteries. Additionally, both power stations can switch to UPS mode in just 0.02 seconds, making them suitable for use in areas with unstable power grids. However, unlike many competitors, these units do not come with an app for remote management.

The 1,024Wh Power 1000 is DJI’s flagship power station. In addition to the SDC and SDC Lite ports, the unit also includes two USB-C ports that can deliver up to 140W each for connecting a PD 3.1 USB-C device like a laptop. Its AC outputs can handle up to 2,200W AC (2,400W in Europe), sufficient to power a variety of devices on outdoor shoots or camping trips. The Power 1000 can be fully charged in just 70 minutes with a maximum input of 1,200W, or it can be limited to 600W to reduce fan noise to a quiet 23dB. The unit weighs approximately 29 pounds (13 kg).

DJI’s SDC ports support the company’s “Power SDC super-fast charge function,” delivering up to 230W for Matrice 30 Series TB30 Intelligent Flight batteries, 200W for Inspire 3 TB51 Intelligent batteries, 150W for Mavic 3 Intelligent Flight batteries, and 125W for DJI Air 3 Intelligent Flight batteries. These cables are sold separately for $19 each.

The SDC ports can also be used to recharge the power station with up to 400W of solar panels using the $59 DJI Power Solar Panel Adapter Module (MPPT). Up to two MPPTs can be connected to the Power 1000 for a total input of 800W. DJI also resells Zignes panels to help users avoid “overvolting” their setups.

The SDC port can charge the power station from a car’s cigarette port, provided you have the $49 DJI Power Car Power Outlet to SDC Power Cable (12V/24V). Another available accessory is the $22 SDC to 12V car charger port.

DJI suggests that future firmware upgrades may expand the capabilities of the SDC ports to support higher power and capacity accessories.

The smaller 512Wh Power 500 features two 100W USB-C ports that can also be used to charge the unit, unlike the Power 1000. It can be charged at 540W or 270W and offers an AC max output of 1,000W. The Power 500 weighs about 16 pounds (7.3 kg).

DJI’s proprietary and adapter-heavy approach to power stations will likely yield mixed reactions from consumers. While the system offers significant benefits for owners of compatible DJI drones, it may present challenges for those who don’t own DJI products.