It’s quite annoying and weird when your drone not working as we command it. Especially when the drone tilting to one side and start to drift that way. Many pilots including me face have faced this issue at different levels. Some drones completely tilt to one side and flip over while some drones slightly tilting to one side.
If you are also facing the same issue, don’t worry. Because after I went through many articles, forums, youtube videos, and conversations with pilots, I was able to accumulate much information about why drone tilting to one side and how to fix it. So let’s look at those things and hopefully, your drone would fly stable.
Why drone tilting to one side.
In most cases, the drone tilting to one side and drifting because of miscalibrated drone components (Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass) or miscalibrated joysticks of the controller. If your drone tilting to one side and completely flip over, you may have mounted propellers in the wrong configuration.
There are different scenarios for tilting a drone such as tilting to one side and drifting that way, drifting one side and flipping over, keeping drifting along the floor without taking off, etc. Because of that, we would have to go through all through scenarios and why it happens. Hopefully, you would find your issue and solution.
Reason 1: Improper propeller configuration.
If you just unbox the drone and face this issue, this would be why it’s tilting one side. Mounting propellers to the drone as you wish and hoping it would stably is not the optimal way of doing that. There is a unique pattern for mounting propellers for the drone to fly stably without drifting or flipping over.
If you mount your propellers in the wrong pattern, there are many different scenarios you can expect. Rarely, your drone won’t take off and keep spinning propellers because if you have mounted propellers in the inverse pattern. Most of the time, the drone would tilt one side and keep drifting that way or flip over. Because of unbalanced forces which are generated by the improper propeller configuration.
Solution: If your drone tilting to one side and drifting that way or flipping over, you need to mount your drone properly because you have mounted them in the wrong pattern. Usually, you can find the right propeller configuration from the user manual. If you have a DJI drone, compare the signs on the propeller and drone’s hand and figure out the pattern.
Drone Propeller directions.
- Front Left – Clockwise (CW).
- Front Right – Counter Clockwise (CCW).
- Back Left – Clockwise (CW).
- Back Right – Counter Clockwise (CCW).
Reason 2: Misaligned joysticks on the controller.
Remote with misaligned joysticks would not fly the drone as you command them. The drone would fly sideways even though just taking off the drone or flying straight because of misunderstood commands from miscalibrated joysticks. Not only sideways, but the drone would also keep tilting forward, backward, or in any direction because of the miscalibrated controller even though you haven’t commanded to.
When you have a miscalibrated controller, the physical joysticks and virtual joysticks of the software won’t align together and it misunderstands the command. If your drone is tilting sideways, the virtual joysticks of the software might have stuck on the left side even though the physical controller is on the center. The controller sends the command of the software and the drone would fly sideways.
Solution: If your drone shows the above symptoms, your controller might have miscalibrated. You can solve this issue easily just by recalibrating your controller joysticks. When you have calibrated the controller joysticks, the physical joysticks and virtual joysticks would center and align together. Even though there are different ways of calibrating the controller, there are some common steps to calibrate the controller.
- First, Turn on the drone and the controller.
- Then connect the controller to the phone.
- Turn off the drone.
- After that, launch the drone app and navigate to the main menu > “RC settings”.
- Tap the “Calibrate” button in the list and virtual joysticks would be prompted.
- Then calibrate the controller by pushing virtual joysticks on the screen in all directions.
- Wait until the process is finished successfully.
- Once calibration is finished successfully, restart the controller.
Reason 3: Malfunctioning motor.
Motors are the reason for spinning propellers and generating the force to take off and fly drones. There are different angular velocities to generate different amounts of force to perform different actions. If you want to take off the drone, all propellers need to spin at equal and sufficient angular velocity and be able to lift the drone. When you fly in some direction (right), propellers in the opposite direction (left) increase the angular velocity and the generating force to fly in that direction.
So It’s acceptable the fact that all the motors need to be healthy to fly the drone. When your drone has a malfunctioning motor it would be unable to spin to sufficient angular velocity and generate that force. Imagine all motors need to spin 4rps (rotations-per-second) to keep the drone stable in the air. But if one motor is malfunctioning and it can spin only 2rps (rotations-per-second) drone won’t be stable and would tilt to the malfunctioning motor’s direction and drift that way.
Solution: Usually, motors would malfunction because of accumulating and wrapping stuff like hair, and grass around the motor gears. It would be easy to fix you just have to uncover the drone’s hand and clean the motor and gear system by removing debris around them. Also, motors would malfunction because of damages from crashes and aggressive flights. If that’s the case you would have to replace the motor with a specific motor.
Reason 4: Distorted propeller or replaced propeller.
The angled shape and length of the propeller are the main factors responsible for the amount of force it can generate in the specific angular velocity. That’s why those propellers are built from hard plastic and hard to rip and bend. Even though they are made like that hard crashes can distort propellers.
Because of the sensitivity of the propeller, a slightly distorted propeller can unbalance the drone and tilt one side. That’s why it’s very important to fly the drone in a wide area always to avoid crashing into something. Also if you have replaced some propellers with different lengths or shaped propellers it would definitely cause the issue.
Solution: If you have distorted propellers, replace them with spare propellers on your kit. If you haven’t spare propellers try to buy specific propellers online. If you have DJI, parrot drone it would be easy to find them. If you are unable to find them, look for propellers of the same length and shape and replace all propellers with new propellers.
Reason 5: Miscalibrated drone components.
Drone components like gyroscope, barometer, and accelerometer are responsible for functioning the drone and keeping the drone stable while flying. When those are miscalibrated or damaged, drones would malfunction due to lack or wrong performance of the components. Especially gyroscope is the most important to keep stable and miscalibrated gyroscope controls angular velocities of each propeller and tilting drone.
Solution: If you have miscalibrated components, you can fix them by calibrating them again. If you have a modern drone like DJI you would find Inertial measurement which is built with a gyroscope, barometer, accelerometer, etc. So if you have an IMU system you need to calibrate the IMU system. If your drone has a trimming option, trim your drone. Follow the below steps if your drone has IMU and needs to calibrate.
- Step 1: Visit an open wide area away from the power lines, building, and electromagnetic environment.
- Step 2: Keep your drone away from electronics and metals.
- Step 3: Remove the gimbal cover and turn on the drone and place in a flat surface.
- Step 4: Power on the controller and connect the drone.
- Step 5: Launch the Drone app (examples: DJI GO, DJI Fly, FreeFlight6).
- Step 6: Go to the main menu and IMU section.
- Step 7: Then hit “Calibrate”.
- Step 8: Press “Start” and move your drone as the demonstration on the app screen.
Damaged circuits or wires.
Aggressive flights and crashes would cause damaged circuits and wires. If your drone has circuit failure or damaged wires it would cause malfunctioning motors and tilting to one side. Because it won’t distribute the expected current and voltage to motors. This would be the worst reason for the problem and requires professionals’ help.
Solution: As I mentioned before, If you confuse looking at circuits you need to have professional help. It’s totally fine and safe. They would do all the figuring out and fixing the issue. If you have a warranty or a modern drone like DJI contact the manufacturer to repair the drone because messing with internal components of the drone cause other issues and the manufacturer won’t be happy about that.
Electromagnetic environments like near power lines with a high amount of current and voltage can cause affect the gyroscope sensors and the connection of the drone. So drones would tilt in different directions and fly always. Flying near electromagnetic environments would cause losing your drone so avoid flying your drone near industrial or commercial areas or large structures with high electric currents. Always fly in wide and free space.