Drones are invaluable gadgets to have around for all sorts of tasks. Whether you are a photographer, an RC hobbyist, a drone enthusiast, or just into cool gadgets, you don’t want to invest in a device you can’t use. Ever wondered why your drone kept drifting all over the place instead of hovering steadily every time you tried flying it? Find all your answers here.
To trim your drone, you will need to balance its aerodynamics using its remote controller to adjust its yaw, roll, pitch, and throttle. After trimming your drone, it should be able to hover in one location without necessarily requiring you to input any control.
Flying a drone should be a thrilling experience and not just an exercise in frustration. Not knowing how to trim your drone is like buying a book you can’t read. Keep in mind though that not all drones need to be trimmed. In general toy drones, cheaper hobby drones, and DIY drones are models that will need trimming, but not GPS equipped drones.
How to Trim your Drone
Trimming a drone involves adjusting its yaw, roll, pitch, and throttle to ensure that its aerodynamics perfectly balance. To do so, you have to use the four trim buttons on your drone’s controller.
Trimming buttons on most drones include:
There are several things to consider while trimming your drone to prevent trouble:
1. It’s best to trim your drone when it is landed. Trying to do so while in the air could lead to severe damage should your drone fall from a height, or if it should crash into something.
2. Trim/ adjust each setting one at a time to avoid confusion.
3. Make the adjustments while your drone is not making sudden movements or is in a stable hover.
To adjust the pitch and roll of the drone, you will be using the buttons mentioned above on your controller. When reading the drone manual, the left and right are referred to as the roll trims, while the backward and forward are the drone’s pitch, referred to as pitch trims in a manual.
It’s important always to remember that even when the drone drifts a little in the air, it doesn’t always mean that it needs to be trimmed. In the air, the wind will affect the drone’s movement as well as the workings of the drone motors trying to correct its own position. But if you have already calibrated it and it’s still drifting a lot, you will then need to trim the drone in order to fix it.
As I mentioned earlier, the trim buttons are located around the control pad, and trim is monitored by looking at the controller screen. The direction of movement of the drone is coordinated by the buttons around the controller pad.
When the joystick directs the drone to the left, shifting the correlating trim switch will also direct the drone to the left. Yaw is when the drone spins in the air, but it can also be calibrated using the trimming switch for yawing.
The drone controller has a built-in speaker that beeps when you trim and adjust your drone. On a lower flip of the trimming switches, beeping gets deeper.
Pressing the switch on the opposite side increases the pitch of the beeping.
Follow these detailed steps on to successfully trim your drone:
- Hover the drone at about 7-10 feet off the ground. While it’s hovering, take notice of the direction it’s drifting. Avoid trying to trim your drone when it’s windy. The wind might cause drifting, thus influencing the adjustments.
- Land the drone and trim it to the opposite direction of drift; if it was drifting right, trim it to the left. If you just noticed your drone had issues upon take-off, you need to land it safely without causing any damage. To do so, you will need to pull the throttle button down slowly and partially to descend the drone, and then pull it down entirely to land it on the ground from a safer height.
- If you noticed your drone keeps spinning to the right or left, you would need to trim the yaw. It’s rare to have issues with yaw, but it’s worth noting in case the need arises.
- Adjust your drone’s pitch trim if, during the flight, it appears to drift backward or forward.
- For left and right drifting, adjust your drone’s roll trim.
- Repeat the process until you attain a perfect balance and your drone can maintain a steady hover without any drifting.
How to Calibrate Your Drone
Another reason for a drone to drift from its course and not fly straight is because the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), which is the internal compass of the drone, may not be calibrated correctly. There are a few things you need to be aware of before getting into calibrating:
- Make sure the surface for calibrating is flat.
- Nearby metal objects can interfere with the calibration of the drone, hence it’s advisable to complete the calibration process away from metal objects like rings.
- You might not have good control of the drone if it’s not calibrated. It’s a good idea to have an open area for calibrating your drone.
- The drone should not have any accessories when attempting to calibrate. If there are any on the drone it won’t be well-calibrated. Remove any extra accessories before calibrating.
Drone calibration removes errors that bring about inaccurate sensor measurements during flight. The sensors may drift over time due to vibrations and aging, as well as some other factors; hence, you will need to calibrate from time to time.
Follow these steps to calibrate your drone:
- Turn on the drone controller first. When on, you will see a blinking yellow light.
- After that first step, turn the drone on. LEDs on the drone will start to blink.
- Have the landing gear open and the drone placed on a flat surface.
- Tilt the left joystick down, then all the way up, and back down again.
- Tilt the right joystick down and to the right.
- After these steps, the LEDs on the drone will stop blinking. It means drone calibration is complete.
What Does Trimming Mean On A Drone?
When you push the joystick on the forward throttle for an upwards lift to get the drone off the ground, you may notice it leaning to the right or the left. Also, it could be drifting a little to the right or left. It’s just not stable!
Each controller function has a trim button. You will need to offset the controller so that its resting position attains balance when in flight. Usually, the drone’s manual provides instructions on how to go about trimming; hence it’s essential to go through the manual before trying anything else.
Throttle gets trimmed to help balance altitude, right and left drift, and forward and backward tilting for stability. Right and left motion is known as roll, but in the manual, they could be referred to as roll trim, while forward and backward tilting is referred to as pitch, and in the manual, it could be referred to as pitch trim.
Why Would You Trim a Drone?
Apart from the thrill of using a well-trimmed drone, you trim your device to increase its efficiency and balance. Trimming also makes the controls and controlling a drone feel natural.
It is crucial to understand how to trim your drone if you notice any unintended tilting and drifting. You should always try to resolve the issue before any damage occurs.
At first, trimming might seem annoying and complicated but trust me; it will actually be a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. You will be able to tell what the issues are by just observing the drone flying. Learning how to trim your drone will save you trouble and panic every time the gadget makes a sudden movement, drift, or tilt.
For a good flying experience with your drone, you will need to know how each control acts individually and how to blend it with the other controls. Trimming helps you master this art. With time and the more comfortable you get, you can do stunts and make sharp maneuvers.
As I stated above, the main controls are:
Roll moves the drone to the right or left. When you push the joystick to the left, the drone will diagonally angle itself down to the left. The bottom propellers face to the right and push air to the right enabling the drone to fly left.
Likewise, when the joystick is pushed to the right, the bottom propellers push air to the left; hence the drone flies to the right.
Yaw rotates the drone clockwise or counterclockwise. It’s used hand in hand with the throttle during flight. It enables making circles and patterns. It’s through this that videographers and photographers can follow objects that may be changing directions.
Throttle powers the drone to get airborne. Pushing forward, the left joystick engages it while pulling it backward disengages it. This is also how you increase or decrease your altitude.
Pushing the right joystick on the controller either forward or backward will tilt the drone resulting in a backward or forward movement.
How to Reset Trim On the Drone
There are digital trims that enable you to restore the trim settings to the factory default. You will hear distinctive tones as you press the trim button and move past the middle. Push trim to one extreme, then trim the opposite way until the middle tone is heard. This way, you’ll have set trim back to the modeler set up.