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How to Fix a Drone Propeller that Won’t Spin (Step-by-Step Guide)

There’s no faster stop to your plans of a fun half hour of drone flying than a propeller that just isn’t spinning properly, or not spinning at all. Of course the drone won’t fly without all four blades working properly, so you want to get it fixed and get on with your flight, right? So, what should you do if your drone’s propellers aren’t spinning? 

The most common reasons a drone’s propellers may not spin correctly are: obstructions such as debris, trouble with the battery, improper transmitter to drone connections, improper gyro initialization, or issues with the propellers, motors, and wiring of the drone. 

Propellers are vital for the drone to take off and fly in the air. It can be extremely frustrating when your drone’s propellers don’t spin, and it can be tricky at times to identify the problem at hand to resolve the issue. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to help you identify the most common causes for drone propellers not spinning, as well as what you can do to alleviate the problem. Hopefully by the end you’ll have resolved the issue, and be able to get your drone into the air sooner than later. 

1. Check for Visible Obstructions or Debris

Before assessing your drone’s inner workings, check to see if there are any visible obstructions in the path of the propellers and propeller shafts. Sometimes these can go unnoticed, as they may only affect propeller speed and flight performance. But, in some cases, small objects can inhibit the propellers from spinning, and the issue can be resolved relatively quickly by simply removing these objects before starting up your drone. 

2. Check the Batteries 

Checking the batteries will be an essential step if your drone’s propellers are not spinning as they should. Batteries always need to be charged to their total capacity before use, and they are often not charged at all or are slightly charged when they arrive at your doorstep. If you have used a bad wall outlet or a bad charger to charge the battery, it may not have been charged to its optimum capacity. 

The voltage supplied by the battery will need to meet the drone’s specific requirements as an inadequate voltage supply may cause various problems, including the propellers’ inability to spin correctly or spin at all. This is because there would not be enough power to supply all the parts of the drone’s workings. Lights may flash to indicate that there isn’t enough charge to power the motors and spin the propellers for takeoff. 

Some situations may indicate that you’re dealing with a bad battery. Using a bad battery will result in the battery losing its charge quickly or not being able to charge fully, resulting in various problems concerning voltage for the drone’s operations, including the propellers’ ability to spin. The age of the battery, the battery’s quality, the suitability of storage conditions, the battery’s manufacturer, and other influences will impact every battery’s longevity and functionality. 

3. Check Remote or Transmitter Connectivity

Every drone needs to be synced to the remote control according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and must be appropriately connected before use. The remote or transmitter connectivity is essential for takeoff, as the motors will not spin if they are not synced properly, resulting in the propellers’ inability to spin. 

In some cases, the remote or transmitter’s batteries may be an issue, particularly if used multiple times before. If the remote has an inadequate power supply, it may affect the syncing process, which will inhibit the drone’s propellers from spinning, also due to a failure to sync completely. Swapping the batteries in your controller with fresh ones of at least 1.5V should resolve this issue. 

4. Check the Gyros Initialization 

The gyros can affect how the propellers spin and improper gyro initialization can lead to some propeller blades spinning slower than others. Checking that your gyros are appropriately initialized is quite simple, and re-initializing the gyros should be carried out on a flat surface, leaving the drone still for around 10 seconds. This process can be performed through the controller or remote control app. Check your drone model’s user manual for specific instructions on how to do this for your drone.

5. Check the Propellers and Propeller Shafts

Various issues with the propellers can cause them to spin incorrectly or not spin at all. It’s common for propellers to have trouble spinning if they have been inserted incorrectly or fitted loosely. If the propellers are too loose or too tight, it may jam the motor making it difficult to spin as it should. 

Propellers can also become broken over time, which can cause issues with spinning. Although it is inconvenient when the propeller won’t spin, broken propellers can cause far more troublesome problems such as vibrating and losing control during flight or even plummeting from the sky mid-flight. Anything from bends and small cracks can have adverse effects on the spinning capacity. 

Broken propellers cannot effectively be fixed and would need to be replaced for the best results. The replacement expenses will vary depending on the drone model and size, the propeller’s type, and the material the propellers are made of. But, propellers are relatively inexpensive when compared to many other drone components. It’s generally a good idea to have spare propellers on hand to replace any broken or cracked ones the minute you spot it. 

6. Check for External and Internal Damaged Wires

Wires are incredibly fragile and can become disconnected and even ripped over time, whether through crashes or even getting stuck in trees occasionally. While torn wires may be visible if they occur externally, there are many cases where internal wiring may become ruptured, and would not be visible from the outside. 

The complexity of resolving this problem will depend on where the torn wire is located, but the wire will need to be switched with a new wire in any scenario. Wiring issues can cause trouble for the propellers spinning. This issue should be resolved by identifying the torn wire and replacing it, always ensuring that wiring is tied securely to lower the risk of damage further down the line. 

If you have a service warranty, it’s probably best to take your drone in for these types of repairs, rather than trying a DIY approach. Monkeying with internal wires may also void manufacturer’s warranties, so think twice before doing these types of repairs on your own.

7. Check the Motors’ Functions

The drone’s motors play a vital role in the propellers’ ability to spin correctly, and motor issues can lead to various troubles concerning propellers. Users should always ensure that they are gentle and delicate when working with the motor. Aggressive motions such as tugging and yanking may disrupt internal workings or components and cause damage to the motor in the process – which won’t aid you in your mission to get the propellers spinning again. 

Motors can become tangled if they are exposed to small fibrous matter, such as carpet fibers and hairs when operated indoors (although indoor drone operation is not recommended) and plant matter or blades of grass when flown outdoors. This debris will need to be removed using a small pair of tweezers or a hook. According to the manufacturers ‘ guidelines, users may have to remove the propellers to get rid of debris in the motor safely. 

Using the trim function may resolve some cases, as the motor output controls the propellers’ spinning speed, necessary to ensure even force from the propellers and maintain steady flight. In some cases, the motor may become disconnected, which will result in the propellers not spinning at all. Disconnected motors are very common in cases where the drone has experienced bumpy rides or crashes. The appropriate approach would vary on a case-by-case basis in such circumstances and depend on the drone model being operated. 

Some drones allow users to reconnect the motor quite easily utilizing onboard computers to connect to the motors and check information before going ahead with any interventions, making it more straightforward to resolve the issue. Other models need to be disassembled and physically checked to reconnect the motors. 

However, users should be mindful of potential repercussions when tampering with the motor, as this may cause complex issues further down the line concerning paperwork. Depending on how you have acquired your drone, the rules around this may differ. Users should always check the paperwork before tackling this task, as doing so may void their warranty. 

8. Check for a Damaged Motor

If the propellers are not spinning after you have ensured that the batteries, propellers, and all connections are all fine, one of your motors may be damaged. Depending on the circumstances, the motor in question may be able to be fixed suitably, or you may need to replace it entirely for the propellers to spin as they should, enabling your drone to get back into the air again. 

The causes for damaged or broken motors include broken motor mounts, water damage, bad bearings, and bent shafts, and damage based on these causes will require various methods for resolving the issue. Signs of a broken motor include loss of control or power, problems with the propellers spinning, and irregular vibrations of the drone

Although some scenarios require multifaceted approaches, most cases where propellers are not spinning correctly, or at all, come down to more minor causes. Irrespective of the circumstances you may find yourself in, always follow manufacturers’ guidelines throughout the process and consult professionals when unsure of the situation.

If all else fails, there may be more complex issues concerning the drone’s inner workings, especially if it is not new or has experienced some bumpy rides. Such cases should be assessed by a professional for the problem to be resolved accordingly. Thankfully, most instances of propellers not spinning are due to minor issues, which can mostly be alleviated with a reasonable amount of time, effort, and budget with the appropriate steps.