Propellers are one of the most important components of drones as they provide lift for your aircraft. Any issue with the propellers will affect the performance of your drone, and a common problem with drone propellers is when they are rotating too fast. In this article, we’ll take a look at what overspeeding propellers mean for your drone and the likely causes of this problem.
Your propellers will rotate too fast when they are damaged and the normal physics of the propellers is affected. Damaged propellers produce less lift and will need to spin faster to try to support the drone.
In the past, it was difficult to know when the propellers were moving too fast but recent DJI updates now warn you of overspending propellers by giving a ‘Motor Speed Error’ message.
There have been arguments amongst DJI drone users that the ‘Motor Speed Error’ notification is a bug. Some people will even go so far as downgrading their firmware to remove the message. But downgrading your firmware only removes the message and the problem with your propeller will persist. And don’t be surprised when your drone falls out of the sky one day.
What is the cause of the “Motor Speed Error” message?
As we already established, bent or damaged propellers are the reason why you get a propeller or motor speed error, as the propellers will rotate very fast to compensate for the reduced lift they provide.
Your propellers may become bent or damaged if you don’t store them properly or if you crash your drone against a wall, tree, or any other object.
How to fix a motor speed error notification
When you get the ‘Motor speed error’ message on your DJI drone, land your aircraft as soon as possible. With your aircraft safely on the ground, inspect your drone for any visible signs of damage. If you see a bent propeller, you can attempt to straighten it and then fly the drone to see if the error message persists or not.
However, if your propellers are significantly damaged, bent, or chipped, the only option available to you is to replace the propellers as they are beyond being salvaged. Flying with damaged propellers is counterproductive in the long run as you risk long-term damage to your drone’s motors from having to overwork, or damage to your batteries from causing them to drain too fast. The worst-case scenario is a drone falling from the sky.
How to prevent propellers from being damaged
To prevent damage to your drone propellers, fly your drone in a large, open space where there is minimal risk of colliding the drone with trees, buildings, and so on. You can also use propeller guards to keep your propellers away from objects. And if you are flying in an area where there are objects your drones can collide it, fly carefully to avoid collision as it’s almost certain to damage your propellers or other components of the drone.
Another way to protect your propellers from being damaged or bent is to properly store the propellers when you’re not flying. Read our article on how to properly store drones. Make sure your propellers are either removed completely or folded horizontally so they are not pressed down or crushed during transportation.
You should be extra mindful of how you position your drone when you intend to store the drone for a long time. If not, the propellers may be pressed down for a long time which may deform or damage them.
It’s common to see rear arm propellers getting bent or damaged compared to the front propellers. This can be avoided by using recommended storage cases like the soft case included in the Fly More Combo. This allows you to rotate the lower propellers of the done towards the direction of the gimbal or parallel to one another. In this position, the propellers are not under tension in the case.
You should also avoid putting the drone and battery inside the case immediately after flying. This is to prevent the heat from the aircraft or battery from warping the propellers.
How to replace drone propellers?
Propellers that are damaged, distorted, cracked, or have loose screws have to be replaced. Replacing drone propellers isn’t a difficult task especially if you are a DIY person and know your way around your drone.
You will need the original screwdriver and screws in the package of your drone when you want to replace the propellers. A pair of propellers will be mounted clockwise while the second pair will be installed on the motor counterclockwise. Check your manual to make sure you’re putting the correct propellers on the correct motors.
Below are simple steps to replace your propellers:
Step 1: Remove the screws on the propeller using a screwdriver. Place the screwdriver on the cross recess of the screw and turn it counter-clockwise to unscrew.
It’s recommended you replace the pair of propellers on the same motor for flight stability. Discard the old propellers and screws after you remove them.
Step 2: Depending on the model of your drone, you’ll have to remove the thread locker in the screw hole before attaching the new propeller. Inspect the screw hole to check if it’s clean and if it’s not, screw the old screws in and out a couple of times to clean it, or wipe it out with a pipe cleaner.
Step 3: It’s time to put the new screws into the screw holes using the screwdriver. Make sure the screws are properly aligned before you screw them in. The screwdriver will be placed in the cross recesses of the screws and turned clockwise.
Step 4: You should be able to drive the screws in without any significant resistance. However, if you encounter strong resistance, inspect the screws to ensure they are inserted properly. Also, check if there is dirt in the screw holes but this shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve cleaned the screw holes as we suggested earlier.
Step 5: Tighten the screws. To do this, you’ll have to press the motor down and drive in the screws until they are firmly in place.
Step 6: Now that the screws are in place, gently (emphasis on gently!) pull the propeller to confirm they are tightly attached to the motor. You can turn your drone to one side to see if your propellers rotate smoothly, which it should if you mount it properly.
Step 7 (optional): Order new propeller replacements on Amazon so that the next time you need to change your propellers you have some on hand.
If you follow this procedure, you’ll have no problem replacing your propellers.