It’s too important to keep the drone stable to have a controlled and safe flight. So drone manufacturers like DJI, have put more effort into that, and honestly, they have done it well. But sometimes you would experience some unstable and drifting movements when you are flying. Let’s talk about why and how to fix it.
Why my drone won’t stay still or drift?
In most cases, the drone won’t stay still or drift when the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is not calibrated or the drone is not trimmed properly. Also if your drone is in GPS mode and not connected to a sufficient number of satellites, you would experience unstable flight. Besides that motor and propeller issues also could cause this.
Reason 1: Motor fails or distorted propellers
When one or more motors get more power than others, the motor fails, stops working or propellers are distorted because of a crash, the thrust each propeller is given changes. So it creates unstable and drifting flights. In most cases, you can notice this situation when taking off the drone. Instead of talking off straight up, it would drift away or flip over. If you have this kind of issue the best option is to contact the manufacturer or hardware expert.
Reason 2: Miscalibrated IMU & compass/ Drone is not properly trimmed.
For modern drones, IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and compass are the main components that are responsible for the stability of the drone while some drones have trimming systems to set up the stability of the drone. In both situations, they need to be calibrated to trimmed properly to stabilize the drone.
Reason 3. Lack of GPS signals.
If you don’t care about the number of satellites connect to the drone, you might face stability issues with the drone. In order to have a stable flight, you need to wait for at least 8 satellites to connect to the drone.
Reason 4: Firmware issues
As always, when you have a problem with your drone, there is always a chance it causes by a firmware issue. If you have outdated firmware, definitely try updating the firmware to the latest or try reverting the current firmware.
Reason 5: Electromagnetic disturbance
When your drone flies too close to electronics, it causes electromagnetic disturbance. Most drone pilots have faced this kind of situation when they try to fly close to power lines or telephone towers. These electromagnetic can cause different drone issues, so it’s good to not try that.
How to fix it if your Drone won’t stay still.
1. Check motors and propellers.
When you hold the drone in your one hand and if you feel like one motor is not giving thrust when you are accelerating, note that motor. Then check whether something is obstructing it. In most cases, hair strands and dust particles obstruct motors. If you observe something like that clean it.
If you are not observing something like that and still face the issue you might have to replace the motor. Before replacing the motors, try calibrating the drone.
Check whether you have placed propellers in the right pattern. Also, check whether a propeller is distorted.
- Take a propeller and run it through your fingers and feel whether there are some cracks or bents on the propellers.
- If you found that some propellers are damaged, replace the existing propeller set with a new propeller set.
Step 2: Calibrate/ Trim the drone.
As I mentioned before, the drone needs to be calibrated or trimmed properly to stabilize the drone. So let’s see how you can calibrate the IMU/compass or trim your drone.
If your drone has an IMU and compass,
Before calibrating IMU & Compass
- Choose an open and flat area to calibrate the drone because uncalibrated drones might go rogue.
- Remove all the guards like the camera cover before calibrating. Because when the drone is restarting while calibrating, covered components like the camera would get damaged.
- Keep electronics, metals, and magnetic stuff away from the drone. Those things would mess up the calibration.
Calibrate Drone IMU.
- Place the drone on a flat surface.
- First, remove the gimbal cover from the drone because when the drone restarts during the calibration process the camera would be damaged. It’s also good to remove the propellers from the drone but it’s not necessary.
- If the drone is foldable, power on the aircraft while its arms are closed in.
- Enter the IMU calibration panel and start the calibration. (In DJI GO 4 app, click on the three dots at the top right corner. Then click on the drone icon go to Main Controller Settings > Advanced Settings > Sensors > IMU and hit the “Calibrate IMU” button.)
- Once the above steps are done, the IMU calibration process would start. You need to place the drone in different poses to calibrate IMU.
- Start with the drone on its belly and wait until the IMU is calibrated in that pose.
- Next, move the aircraft onto its right side and wait until the IMU is calibrated in that position.
- Then change the drone over to the left side and wait until the IMU is calibrated in that position.
- Then Stand the drone on its back ends and wait until the IMU is calibrated in that position.
- Then turn the drone upside down and wait until the calibration process goes to 100%.
Calibrate Drone compass.
- Connect the remote controller to the smartphone.
- Power on the drone and remote controller.
- Enter the Compass calibration panel and start calibration. (In DJI GO 4 app, Tap on the three dots at the top left corner and click on the drone icon go to Main Controller Settings > Advanced Settings > Sensors > Compass and hit the “Calibrate Compass” button.)
- Place the remote controller away where you can see the app screen.
- Take the drone aircraft into your hands and hold it horizontally and about 4 feet away from you. DJI aircraft’s indicators should be light yellow right now. Then spin around 360 degrees until those indicators turn to solid green.
- After that, hold the drone vertically and spin it again around 360 degrees until the indicators turn solid green.
If your Drone has a trimming system to stabilize the drone,
Some drones need to trim to keep drones stable. Drone trimming means readjusting the drone’s stability if it is leaning and drifting in the air. You can find the trimming option by observing the user manual. Let’s see how to trim your drone
How to trim a drone
- Choose an open place and take off the drone a little bit and notice the direction it drifts.
- Then land the drone and trim the drone to the opposite side. If your drone leans right, press the opposite direction (right) trim button until it stops leaning in that direction.
- Keep repeating the process until it hovers stably.
Step 3: Wait for about 8 satellites to connect before the takeoff.
When the drone is in GPS mode it requires at least 8 satellites for better positioning. So when the user rushes and doesn’t wait until that number of satellites connect to the drone, the user would experience some unstable flight.
- So when the drone is on GPS mode, make sure to take off after at least 8 satellites connect to the drone. 10 satellites would be ideal for stable flight.