Drone Keeps Disconnecting from Controller (How to Fix It)


Just like any device, drones too can malfunction. One common malfunction is the tendency to disconnect from the controller. Many drones can fly from .5 to 11 miles (1 -18 kilometers) from the controller, depending on the drone model. However, under some circumstances, drones may disconnect from their controllers, even while in flight. Needless to say, this is not a good situation! So what causes a drone to disconnect from its controller, and how can we fix it?

What to do if your drone keeps disconnecting from controller

If you’re having trouble with your drone constantly disconnecting, here are some steps you can take to try to address the problem. Stay tuned below for a more complete discussion of why these are possible fixes to your issue. 

  1. Stay within range of your controller.
  2. Make sure you’re not flying in areas of high electromagnetic interference.
  3. Don’t fly above 400 ft.
  4. Try a different radio frequency on your controller.
  5. Update your firmware.
  6. Restart your drone and controller.
  7. Re-install your controller app.
  8. Check your cables and connectors.
  9. Make sure transmitter antennae are facing the right way.
  10. Check battery level. 

Reasons that drones disconnect from the controller

Is your drone frequently disconnecting from the controller? Let’s look at some of the possible reasons that may be causing it.

Distance from the controller

Drones are majorly affected by distance. The further the drone gets from the controller, the higher the chances of disconnecting from the controller. If your drone is quite a long distance away from you and the controller, you risk the chance of losing the connection and having a potential flyaway drone situation

This should be an easy fix if distance is the cause of frequent loss of controller connection. Know the outer limits of your drone’s range, and stay well within that limit radius. You can also address this problem by upgrading the drones’ firmware to improve its compatibility. Excellent sensors and connectivity help a drone fly further without disconnecting from its controller. 

High levels of electromagnetic interference

A drone can be affected by electromagnetic environments. Many urban areas have higher electromagnetic regions due to cell towers, powerlines, etc. Drones have a higher tendency to disconnect from the controller in high electromagnetic surroundings as they interfere with the signal transmission between the drone and controller.

Try to avoid flying in areas near high voltage powerlines, or near crowded urban environments to reduce the risk of electromagnetic interference disrupting your controller signal.

Crowded signals

Aircraft signals and communication interference may also be a reason your drone is disconnecting from the controller. Flying drones over the legal altitude limits can affect the communication between the controller and the drone because the airwaves can be crowded with signals from other aircraft that have more significant emitters. 

Crowded signals interfere with communication between the controller and the drone. It is important that you fly your drone below the legal limit, and it authorized airspace. 

If your altitude is not the issue, but signal crowding is still a problem, you can try to find a less crowded communication channel or one that strongly syncs with your drone’s emitters. You can also try buying antenna range extenders which help strengthen the signal and connection.

Outdated firmware and software

The firmware and the drone’s software might be a reason that your drone is disconnecting from the controller. The firmware and the software need to be updated often to keep it operating smoothly and communicating well with the controller. And don’t forget to update the controller firmware as well.

Drone or controller app settings

Sometimes the cause of disconnecting frequently from the controller might be due to the drone configuration settings. In this case, restarting the drone and the remote controller can prove to be effective in some situations. Sometimes the app may crash, affecting the connection to the drone. Restarting the drone helps reset the app settings back to default settings.

Re-installing the controller app to your device may help in some cases as well. Sometimes applications need to be updated or re-installed for them to work effectively. The cache in the apps might have quickly filled up, and they tend to become corrupt over time, sometimes causing connection issues between the drone and the controller.

Damaged cables and connectors

A drone may also disconnect from the controller if you use a damaged USB cable or connector. Drone controllers often need to be linked to a device that is used for live view. This could be a smartphone or tablet. You will need a USB cable to achieve this. It is therefore essential to make sure that the cable is functioning effectively. 

The cable transmits vital software information that enables the communication between the controller and the phone, and from the phone to the drone. Having a damaged USB cable makes it hard for the drone to communicate with the controller and the controller app.

Antenna facing the wrong direction

A drone is also likely to disconnect from the controller when the transmission antenna is facing in the wrong direction. The antennae have to face in the direction where they can receive the signals effectively.

Check to make sure your antennae are directed toward the drone for the best signal transmission and to reduce the likelihood of experiencing disconnecting issues. 

Low battery levels

In many cases, the battery levels of the drone and the controller might be low. This decreases the optimal capabilities of the drone, including the signal and the connection to the controller. Low batteries make the drone respond poorly to the instructions, and may cause the controller to disconnect altogether.

It is vital to keep checking the battery levels of your drone to avoid disconnecting due to lack of power. Ensure the levels are above 50% before taking it for a ride. It is also important to carry an extra pair of batteries when going out with your drone. upgrading your batteries periodically is also a good idea since sometimes you might have a faulty pair of batteries, or the battery health may decline over time.

Conclusion

Flying a drone is fun and entertaining. To avoid the frustration of problems with your drone disconnecting from the controller, stay aware of the environment and the technical complexities of the drone, just like any other electronic device. When you’re paying attention to the drone and the flying conditions, you can generally keep it functioning properly, and enjoy the fun without the frustration.

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

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