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DJI RC and Air 2S Compatibility (Explained)

As far back as early summer 2022, the rumor mill had been churning out information that, eventually, the Air 2S would be compatible with the Mini 3 Pro’s DJI RC remote controller.

Previously, the DJI RC had been made compatible for use with the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine, so it only seemed like a matter of time before the Air 2S would get similar treatment.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

The Air 2S is now compatible with the DJI RC. This means that the Air 2S no longer works with just the standard RC-N1 controller, nor do you have to spend $1000+ for a DJI RC Pro. If you currently own a DJI Mini 3 Pro package with the DJI RC, the Air 2S will work with that DJI RC.

Alternatively, if you currently own an Air 2S with the RC-N1, or bought the drone separately with no remote controller, you can purchase a stand-alone DJI RC and it will work just fine.

Why is this such great news?

This is great news for a few reasons, these being:

  1. More remote controller options for the Air 2S
  2. An integrated screen remote controller for the Air 2S that doesn’t break the bank
  3. An integrated screen remote controller that has 700 not brightness

More Remote Controller Options

With the DJI RC being compatible with the Air 2S, there are now 4 remote controller options available for the Air 2S:

  1. RC-N1
  2. DJI RC
  3. DJI Smart Controller
  4. DJI RC Pro

Many Air 2S owners also own DJI Mini drones and/or Mavic 3s, which came with the RC-N1 controller, or the upgraded Smart Controller and DJI RC Pro controllers, respectively.

With the addition of the DJI RC, a Mini 3 Pro owner (like myself), can control all 3 drones with just one simple controller, making it easier and more space effective when flying multiple drones.

For those that fly drones for professional work, not having to bring multiple RCs in various cases to a job is very convenient.

Cost Effective

For many who fly drones as a hobby, shelling out $850 (for a used DJI Smart Controller) or $1000+ (for a new DJI RC Pro), might not be an option.

On the other hand, there might be professionals that are unwilling or just not in a position to spend a thousand dollars for a smart controller, as there might be more pressing equipment purchases needed.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

Regardless of the situation, having a $300 remote controller (as of this article’s writing) might be easier to swallow for those looking to purchase a smart-like controller for their Air 2S separately, whether a hobbyist or a professional.

For those that already have the RC from a previous Mini 3 Pro purchase, then the choice to use the DJI RC is easily made.

Screen Brightness

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

While this might be overlooked by some, or not important to others, for those of us that live in infernally bright sunlight, all day every day, having a 700-nit screen is a major plus.

While the DJI RC screen is not as bright as the more expensive 1000-nit DJI Smart Controller or DJI RC Pro, the 700-nit brightness does make it easier to view the integrated screen in bright conditions.

While I absolutely loved flying my Air 2S, it became a lesson in irritation when flying at any time other than sunrise and sunset, due to the overbearing brightness of the sun. Even on cloudy days, it is super bright here in Central Florida.

I used to fly with a Samsung S20+ and Apple 13 Pro. While these phones are purported to have super bright screens, they never faired well in bright conditions.

As a matter of fact, the Apple 13 Pro overheated and dimmed regularly within a few minutes of flying. The Samsung faired not much better, never being able to stay fully bright for more than a few minutes.

With the 700 nits on the DJI RC, I fly at full brightness, all the time. To aid in seeing the screen even better on overwhelming bright days, I have an anti-glare screen protector on it.

I have had zero issues seeing the screen.

The Process to get the Air 2S to work with the DJI RC

With most DJI Firmware updates, you simply turn on the remote controller, then the drone, and run the update, changing batteries and updating as you go.

This is a process many of us are familiar with.

With updating the Air 2S to work with the DJI RC, there is a specific order of steps that must be taken.

You can’t update the DJI RC 1st then the Air 2S. This will not work.

Note: If the following steps are not done in the order mentioned here, you may not be able to use your Air 2S with the DJI RC.

The steps to get the Air 2S to work with the DJI RC are as follows:

Update the firmware on the DJI RC-N1 remote controller and Air 2S

STEP 1: Connect your RC-N1 to your phone or device and turn on the RC-N1.

STEP 2: Turn on your Air 2S, then open the DJI Fly app.

You will see a prompt to update the Remote Controller and the Air 2S. Run the update. After these steps have been completed, you are ready to update the firmware on the DJI RC.

STEP 3: Shut off the RC-N1 and Air 2S.

Update the DJI RC Firmware

STEP 1: Turn on the DJI RC, but do NOT turn on the Air 2S

STEP 2: Connect to your home wifi. To do so, double-swipe down on the DJI RC screen, and press the wifi option, turn on the wifi.

STEP 3: After the wifi has been turned on and you are connected to the network, go back to the home screen (press anywhere on the options screen above) and select PROFILE. We will need to manually check for the update.

STEP 4: Once in the PROFILE screen, select SETTINGS. Note: Because the Air 2S is not on, there will be no flight stats mentioned in the profile.

STEP 5: Under Firmware Update, press “Check for Firmware Updates”. This will then alert you to a new available firmware update. Go ahead and press UPDATE to run it.

STEP 6: When the firmware update screen appears, choose DOWNLOAD and the update will automatically run.

STEP 7: After the DJI RC has been updated, you will be brought to the main screen. On the main screen, select Connection Guide.

STEP 8: On the aircraft selection screen, select the Air 2S.

STEP 9: You will need to update the firmware. Press CONTINUE.

Note: This particular message will pop up every time you use the Air 2S with the DJI RC. This is because the Mini 3 Pro and Air 2S firmware is slightly different. Perhaps this will be addressed by DJI at a later time.

STEP 10: Press OK on the screen. Next, turn on your Air 2S and then click on Unable to Connect to aircraft? This will allow you to link/pair the Air 2S with the DJI RC.

When the option to pair the Air 2S to the DJI RC comes up, on the Air 2S press-hold the power button for 4 seconds. You’ll hear a tone, then tap PAIR to bind the remote controller to the Air 2S.

A progress bar will indicate the pairing process.

After the pairing process is complete, you will then be brought into the Camera View. Once in camera view, you will be presented with a message that says “connected device not bound to aircraft…”

STEP 10: Press cancel on the error screen and you are all set to fly.

Note: Like the error message pertaining to “firmware version inconsistent”, the “device not bound” message will appear every time you go flying the Air 2S with the DJI RC. Again, hopefully, DJI will take care of this message or issue in the future.

Final Thoughts

The process to get the Air 2S to successfully work with the DJI RC does seem to be quite complicated. Being the case, it is a necessary evil.

As many reports have shown over the past week, if these steps are precisely not followed, the Air 2S can become quite unusable with the DJI RC, oftentimes being plagued with the dreaded 30064 error message (Unable to take off).

I personally have been using the Air 2S with the DJI RC for a little under a week now, and it has performed quite well. With this pairing, the Air 2S has become one of my favorite drones to fly once again.