If you plan to buy a new DJI drone or already have one, you might be wondering about signal issues and what will happen if a DJI drone loses its wireless connection with the remote controller. And you’re not alone. Most DJI drone users have asked the question: what will happen if my drone loses signal?
If your DJI drone loses connection with the controller for more than 11 seconds, the failsafe RTH mode will be enabled automatically and the drone will return to the preset home point. If the GPS signal is also lost, the drone will hover, then land in place instead of returning to home.
I’m going to cover in-depth what process your DJI drone will follow if it loses the controller signal. I’ll also go into the reasons that can cause signal problems in DJI drones. So, keep reading to learn all about signal issues in your DJI drone.
What will the drone do if the signal is lost?
If you lose connection with the drone for a few seconds, the drone will stop in place and hover. If the signal is not restored within about 20 seconds, the drone will automatically go to the preset RTH altitude and head toward the RTH home point.
If the signal between the drone and controller is restored while the drone is headed back toward the home point, you can cancel the automatic return to home by pushing the RTH button on the controller. At this point, the drone will hover in place, and you can continue your flight.
NOTE: A Remote-Controller-Signal-Lost event default preset failsafe is to RTH.
The preset mode of DJI drones is to RTH if the controller signal is lost. Nevertheless, it is possible to set it to a different value, such as landing in place, following the ground, or hovering in the air. In DJI Go, you can change this option under “Advanced Settings.” You can also set the home point and the RTH altitude.
Additionally, if you want a different signal loss preset action, you can set “Continue Mission” as an option in the “On Signal Loss” section of the Altizure app. It won’t cancel the flight despite losing the signal from the remote controller in that case. This would be useful in the case of preplanned missions that go a long distance from the controller (but within the battery limits of the drone.
Reasons why a DJI drone may lose signal
Following are some of the most common reasons behind signal loss in your DJI drone.
The environment in which drones fly impacts their connectivity. If you have difficulties when calibrating your drone before takeoff, take this as an indication of a poor flight area with high levels of electromagnetic interference.
For example, my Mavic Air was difficult to fly when I tried to launch it from a metal boat. Honestly, I didn’t give it a thought. But next thing you know, my drone began having connectivity issues due to the interference from the boat.
The frequent loss of connection made operating the drone quite a challenge. It took me about fifty yards to land safely after getting off my boat.
Drones with WiFi transmission can also lose signal when flying near obstacles like power lines and pylons. There can be challenges even when flying in remote areas – for example, it will hinder a drone’s ability to connect if the ground contains iron or metal.
Lack of GPS Signals
Drones without GPS signals aren’t able to determine their location. This means that your drone won’t be able to activate the RTH function. It will instead initiate a hover or land in place, depending on your preset settings.
You may also be able to enter ATTI mode, which will give you manual control but will make it harder to maintain smooth manual control of your drone.
DJI drones require four to six satellites to maintain a good GPS connection. Your number of satellite connections is available to view within the app on-screen.
Transmission technologies used by different DJI drones vary by model. For example, the Mavic Air utilizes an enhanced WiFi, the Mavic Pro uses a wireless sync system, and the Phantoms use Lightbridge technology.
DJI has developed specialized transmission technologies called OcuSync and Lightbridge. It means less chance of losing your connection due to a WiFi disruption.
However, if you are using WiFi to transmit your drone’s data, there are times when you may still lose connection when flying, depending on the environment, due to interference from other nearby WiFi signals. For instance, there are more WiFi signals in densely populated areas than if you are in an open, vast field.
To minimize this risk, ensure that your remote-control antennas are in the optimum position, according to the operator’s manual. In addition to securing the connection, they can boost the signal.
Drone App Not Updated
There’s one simple but significant thing you may forget to do when looking forward to your next adventure – you forget to check your phone and drone app. Sometimes the drone app requires an update before you can update your drone.
Even if you think it wouldn’t make a difference, not updating the flight app is a widespread mistake. You may experience loss of connection or, at the very least, a weak connection if you do not fix it before you operate your drone.
Batteries and Controller Not Updated
Keeping your drone up to date is essential, just as with all technology. The majority of firmware updates fix previous bugs or introduce new features.
Updates are not just for the drone though – the batteries and the remote controller need to be updated occasionally, although some people forget. You may cause your drone to lose connection during the flight if you do not update all your drone equipment at the same time.
You are usually notified of available updates via your drone app. Update by following the on-screen instructions. Additionally, you should make sure that your batteries are updated as well.
I’ve encountered too many times when I was out on-site and couldn’t connect. The problem was usually a faulty battery. If you have just updated your drone, make sure you also update all of its batteries. You should be able to automatically update each one when you place it in the drone. But do this at home where you have a good internet signal, and don’t wait until you’re out in the field ready to fly.
USB Cable Issue
Many users report that the standard USB cable provided with their drone does not work correctly for some reason or another. A drone’s controller and the drone can become disconnected as a result.
If your cable doesn’t seem to work, you may need to try another USB cable. There is no way to determine whether a USB cable is working or not unless you use it with different devices.
You can choose between two types of USB cables, one that charges only and one that charges and transfers data.
Data plus charge is the cable I would always recommend. A USB port that receives the cable is also an important consideration. The connection may not work if there is dust or dirt in it, or if it shows signs of corrosion.