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Drone not Pairing (Connecting): Why, and How to Fix It

Like any other technology, drones are prone to technical glitches and have issues such as connection failure. If you find yourself in such a scenario, you may be wondering why the drone is failing to connect and how to fix it. Not to worry, we’ve got some answers for you.

Your drone may fail to connect because of a possible technical glitch, low batteries, or the controller not being synced correctly to the drone. In order to resolve the issue, you may need to check into all these three possibilities to find the solution to your problem.

In today’s article, I’ll be covering the reasons as to why your drone might fail to pair to a controller or smartphone and ways you can fix the problem. As earlier stated, drones are a piece of technology prone to failure at some point in their life, and if you find yourself in this or a related predicament, read on to understand what’s going wrong.

Why Is Your Drone Not Connecting?

There are several reasons why your drone might fail to pair with either your controller or smartphone, something I’ll be covering in detail in hopes you land on a solution to your specific problem by the end of the article.

One thing to note, there are hundreds and hundreds of drone models available in the market, and some may require professional representatives to help you in solving the problem once you’ve tried everything I’ll be discussing through the article, and nothing works out.

However, from my vast experience handling and troubleshooting drones, the most common solutions to the problems that are known to cause connectivity issues are as follows:

Reason 1: Low/Dead Batteries

In most cases, the drone won’t connect to the controller because the batteries lack sufficient charge in them. You should check both the drone and the controller to confirm whether they’ve got enough power to proceed with the connection.

If any of the batteries are lacking enough power, ensure you properly charge them using the provided charger that came with your drone. After the batteries are charged, try connecting the drone to the controller again to see whether the problem persists.

In other rare cases, your batteries might just be dead and need a replacement. Try swapping the batteries with new ones once you’ve noticed the old ones do not charge, allowing the controller to connect to the drone. In my experience, rechargeable batteries are the best, allowing you not to waste too much money buying new non-rechargeable batteries constantly. It’s a wise approach to keep two to three pairs of fully charged batteries with you since the flight time of most of the drones available in the market right now maxes out around 20 to 50 minutes. You won’t fly for 5 hours with a single battery without landing.

Purchase good quality batteries, because you get what you pay for, and if you get yourself the cheapest from non-recognizable brands, you are in for a big disappointment, as the drone won’t last five minutes in the air.

Hopefully charging up the batteries will get the drone to connect, and voila, you just found a solution to your problem! Proceed to fly!

Reason 2: The Controller Was Not Properly Synced

Was the controller working before, or is this your first attempt in syncing the two with no success? Well, sometimes, you might just be using the wrong procedure to sync the controller to the drone.

Once you’ve confirmed that both devices have enough power in them, switch on the drone and the controller, then let the two search for each other’s radio signals. Once a successful connection gets established, the lights on the drone should turn solid. 

You might get a beeping sound as well from some drones indicating a successful connection once the two pair. 

If you’ve tried this and still can’t establish a connection, stick around as I’ll be covering more on how you can adequately and correctly pair your drone to a controller step by step towards the end of this article.

Reason 3: A Possible Technical Glitch

Now that you’ve come this far without a solution to your problem, your drone might be facing severe hardware/software issues that might need the attention of an expert. 

However, there’s no reason for panic, and since we’ve come this far, we’ll keep troubleshooting the drone with possible solutions until we find what works. Try everything out until you land on the solution that works for you the best.

A technical glitch might sometimes get solved by a simple solution such as a software update, a simple reboot, or visiting an experienced individual such as a drone technician who might advise further.

Therefore, the first thing you should do is try performing a simple reboot which should, in most cases, do the trick. Press and hold the power button located at the back, bottom, or top of your drone for 3 seconds and let the drone shut down, then press the button once again to power it up.

If the reboot fails to solve the problem, check and determine whether software needs to be updated. Perform the software update for the drone and/or the controller, and then retry to connect the controller to the drone.

If the problem persists, download the respective app for your drone and connect to it using your phone to see whether the controller’s radio-controlled waves are not reaching the drone or vice-versa.

If you still get no connection, contact your drone’s manufacturer for further assistance on the matter. Most reputable drone brands will offer instant solutions to the problem at hand and take you through a step-by-step tutorial on how you could handle the situation.

You might have to ship the drone and its controller back to them if it’s a hardware issue, and not many companies are willing to go to this extent to help their customers. Pick your drone brand wisely by going with a reputable company that’s willing to help in such a crisis.

In simple terms, if your drone is not pairing with your controller, you should:

  • Make sure both batteries have got enough charge in them
  • Switch the batteries with new ones
  • Pair the controller correctly to the drone using the correct procedure
  • Reboot the drone and repeat the connection process
  • Update the drone’s software in case there’s a new update available

If you are pairing the drone to a smartphone and are facing the same difficulties, you should:

  • Ensure your device is running the latest operating system to support the app
  • Uninstall and Reinstall the app
  • Connect to the drone using a different smartphone
  • Confirm that the camera carrying the wifi card did not disconnect from the drone during a hard landing
  • Try connecting to the drone using another controller

How Do You Sync Your Drone To Your Controller?

The process may vary from drone to drone, depending on your specific drone brand. Most drones come with a unique controller used during flying, taking pictures, and hovering around while filming.

Drone controllers work by transferring radio signals to the drone, providing instructions on what you want the drone to do hence, no wifi network is necessary when controlling the drone using a remote controller.

In this step, I will discuss ways to sync your controller to the drone in the simplest terms possible.

Step 1: Power ON The Drone

The first thing you need to do is power the drone on by pressing the power button for a few seconds until you see flashing lights or hear a beeping sound, depending on the drone.

The power button is under the hood, at the top, or the back of some drones. However, it might be an on/off switch or a button, so if you’re not sure, check that out with your specific type of drone in the user’s manual.

Once you’ve pressed/switched the power button, you should look for a green light or a beeping sound from your drone, indicating that it’s been booted up, ready for pairing.

Step 2: Power ON The Controller

Now press on the power button on the controller to switch it on, ready for pairing.

You might get a beeping sound coming out of the controller depending on your particular drone brand; however, if there is no sound, then look out for flashing LEDs to make sure the controller has powered up.

Step 3: Download The Respective App For Your Drone

Now, this is where things will get interesting. Some drones will require you to set up and connect the controller using a mobile application. In contrast, others might require you to connect the controller to the drone using a USB cable, at which point everything syncs automatically.

Be sure to read through the manual that came with your drone, and if your particular drone just requires a USB cable, then your hassle ends here.

However, some drones will require you to download an app from the App Store or Google Play Store, depending on your smartphone’s operating system. 

Drones such as the DJI Phantom 4 require the DJI Go 4 app to pair with the controller, therefore, do check out what app your drone’s manufacturer recommends since you can’t just use another company’s app to control your drone.

Once you’ve downloaded the app from either the App Store or the Google Play Store, launch it and configure any settings such as video output and mode of flight, or whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or expert.

Step 4: Launch The App & Enter The Flight Interface

It’s time to launch the app you’ve downloaded and configure it. For some controllers, such as the DJI ones, you will have to connect the controller to your smartphone first.

Now enter the flight interface settings to begin connecting the controller to your drone.

Head over to the settings and tap on the remote controller settings, then click on the “link a controller” tab. 

Locate a link button at the bottom, top, or tail of your drone and tap on it. (The switch might be in a different location depending on your drone; therefore, refer to the user manual of your specific drone).

You’ll get an onscreen prompt confirming that your controller has successfully linked to the drone, tap ok and begin flying!

Things Still Aren’t Working Properly

The controller might sync adequately, but the drone still does not take off, keeps disconnecting, or the blades are not spinning! 

In that case, the possible problem and solution could be:

Problem 1: Blades Not Spinning At All

One of the most common reasons for drone blades not spinning is hair stuck in the motor or wrapped around the propeller, preventing them from rotating. If you live with pets or any other hairy animals, this should make sense.

Try taking off the blades. If they are screwed to the drone, carefully unscrew them and get rid of any hair or dirt particles around the motor. You’ll be surprised by how prevalent this problem is and how not many people think of such a simple solution!

Problem 2: Blades Spinning But The Drone Won’t Take Off

The blades attached to the drone are not alike, and if you’ve detached them before and reattached them back, but the drone won’t take off, yet it’s spinning; chances are you’ve interchanged the blades and they are not in the correct positions.

Check with the provided manual for images on how the blades should attach to the motor and correct the mistake by reassigning them to their rightful places.

Problem 3: Controller Keeps Disconnecting From The Drone

Sometimes, you might have gone through the wringer just to get that drone to connect to the controller, but now that it’s connected, the connection keeps failing while the drone takes off and, in some cases when it’s mid-air!

That’s a pilot’s worst nightmare, especially when a crash is involved. Or worse, the drone might disconnect and get lost without any trace!

The disconnectivity issue might be caused by one of the following factors:

  • Too many other nearby connections or interference
  • New and unstable software updates
  • Batteries running low or lacking power
  • Unfavorable flying environment for the radio wave transmission
  • Flying too far from the controller

To conclude, it’s essential to understand where your connectivity issues are coming from to better tackle the problem. You should be able to solve your problem much faster without wasting too much time researching a solution to the problem once you’ve narrowed down your problem.