Practical tips and tricks when working with DJI drones and their autopilot systems

I greet all the Habrovsk citizens, and those who are interested in the topic of quadrocopters in particular! It so happened that over the past year I have been actively using DJI products, and after reading several articles I realized that there is not so much information besides the manual. It is especially sad to read articles that say how someone broke / lost their quadric, making an elementary mistake. In this regard, I decided to write a little material in which I will describe my own observations and try to give useful tips to beginner DJI players.

Disclaimer: some of the points described in this material may seem primitive to many, however, after reading several articles on the hub about the DJI devices, I concluded that educational program would not hurt. All conclusions are made personally by me and are based on personal experience using DJI drones. Tips and comments will be highlighted throughout the story, and for clarity, underlined. Interesting? Then I ask for cat.
UPD: I recommend reading comments, participants added quite a lot of useful information!

So, let's begin

And we will start, perhaps, with one of the most common quadrocopters from DJI today - Phantom Vision 2.

There are three modifications of the Phantoms in total that I saw on sale:

  • - FC40
  • - Vision 2
  • - Vision 2+

FC40 is the first version of the Phantom, it is of little interest to us, because morally obsolete, has a small battery, a simpler camera (compared to Vision 2 and 2+), a weak video link and other little things noticeably improved in the version of Vision 2. Vision 2+ is essentially the same Vision 2, but with a camera that on a standard suspension, it can shoot vertically downward and increase (according to the DJI themselves) the range of video signal reception (Since I personally have not used 2+, I can’t say this).

Since Vision 2+ is not yet very widespread, and the FC40 is already outdated, our choice falls on Vision 2. The manufacturer offers this engineering miracle for a modest $ 999 or $ 1060 with an additional battery.

If possible, it is better not to huddle, and buy a second battery right away. Sooner or later, you vseravo ripen before buying it, and buying it complete with a quadric is a good saving.

We will not dwell on anboxing, we didn’t do this stuff with Google and YouTube, the only thing that surprised me was the lack of any instructions, except for a small booklet, the essence of which is “Get out of the box, turn it on, fly. Do not put your hands in the propellers. ” Having visited the DJI website, I found a rather dense manual as much as 28 pages (Language, alas, English, but it doesn’t matter to me).

If this is your first drone, and if you do not have practical experience, print it out, put it in a box. Useful. At first, it was sometimes not enough for me "in the field."

Looking a little ahead, I’ll say that the Vision 2 is equipped with a Naza-M autopilot. It is also sold separately, for example, if you decide to assemble your own multi-rotor, but you are not ready to write your own “brains” yet. By the way, Naza-M is not limited to quadrocopters, but also supports other layouts (tricopter, hexacopter and even octocopter). But this is a completely different story, and in this article we will not dwell on this.

Preflight preparation

Finally, the box with the quadric is in our hands, and, of course, we can’t wait to send the Chinese miracle of technology to the sky.

The first thing to do before the first flight is to deal with emotions. Most of the falls and "departures" occur precisely because of the rush / excitement.

After unpacking the device, the first thing you need to charge all the batteries. Most likely, they will come with some charge (the main Li-Po battery), but I still advise charging up to 100%. Then the Chinese thought out the user's mistakes. The smart battery is charged itself to the desired level, after which the charge stops, there is a temperature sensor, which, in which case, will stop charging. Right-rotation propellers cannot be screwed onto left-handed engines, and so on. At this stage, you must try hard to break something. The signal amplifier (the so-called range extender) is charged from USB, at 100% charge the LED will light green. And most importantly:
Do not skimp on the batteries for the remote. Buy normal Duracels. The basic principle of dronovodstva - avaricious pays thrice!
In the meantime, the batteries are charging, you can download software to configure the quadric from the official site - .

Why do we need some kind of software if the device is positioned as RTF - Ready to Fly (ready to fly)? Everything is very simple, in case of any emergency situation, the autopilot switches to Failsafe mode to save the life of your candy wrapper. However, there are already three variations of Failsafe:

  • - Quadric returns to take-off
  • - The quadric gains a predetermined height (defaults to 20 meters) and returns to the take-off place
  • - Quadric sits smoothly

I’ll note right away that “sits down smoothly” may differ from your understanding “smoothly”. Especially if it comes to emergency discharge of the battery, quadrics, planning a little, will go to the ground with a stone.

Look at what mode is set for you, and what position of the toggle switch S2 translates a candy wrapper in Failsafe. Remember this.
If you have a phone or tablet on Android or iOS - download DJI Vision software. Run it at home in advance, the first time she asks for registration, though no confirmation comes to the mail, which allows you to make an appropriate conclusion. Why do we need it - we'll talk in the next section.

First flight

And so, if the batteries are charged, and the operator does not want to eat, drink, sleep and go to the toilet - you can get ready for the first flight!
Arriving at the place of departure, first calibrate the compass. Although the Chinese do not write about this anywhere, I personally recommend calibrating the compass before each flight, and in the exact place where you are going to take off. In no case do I recommend taking off from reinforced concrete structures and near large metal objects. The compass gets lost, after which the behavior of the quadric in the air is unpredictable.

We turn on the complex in the following order:
  1. Turn on the remote
  2. Turn on range extender
  3. Turn on the quadric itself

Now we need to give the Fantik a minute and a half so that it catches enough satellites and initializes Wi-Fi.
I do not recommend flying if the number of satellites caught before takeoff is less than six.

If there are satellites, the “back” quadric is green, you can connect via Wi-Fi to an open range extender access point.
In addition to the real-time video stream, the program shows a bunch of useful information, such as: battery level, the number of satellites caught, the distance to the quadric (alas, alas, in feet), the height of the quadric (here, alas, it is very approximate).

If you don’t have a phone / tablet on Android or iOS (you never know) - do not skimp, buy the simplest tablet on aliexpress. Without information about the battery charge and video stream, I can hardly imagine how to fly normally.

We start the engines, reducing the control sticks to each other diagonally down, and see if all the propellers rotate normally, if there are any extraneous sounds.

If there are no comments, take off. I do not see the point of describing the piloting process itself, everything is intuitively clear, and, thanks to a rather good stabilization system, is simple. The only thing worth noting is that you should not decline too quickly.

During the flight you should always monitor the battery level. The first warning comes when the battery is at 30%. At a charge of 15%, the quadric will begin to land itself, and, as mentioned earlier - “smoothly” - it is almost a stone down. Personally, I try to never bring the charge to a critical point, and make a 32-31% landing.

A few words about the video link

DJI assure that telemetry is stable at a distance of up to 300 meters. Personally, after 200 "hangs" already started.
In order to minimize these “hangs”, it is worth setting the minimum preview quality in the DJI Vision settings. I use a mobile phone on android, even with minimal quality the preview of the picture is distinguishable, and believe me, the picture is better a little worse than “freezing” when the quadrics are no longer visible visually. Moreover, he writes in 1080p 30FPS regardless of the quality of the preview.


Landing is not a tricky business, but there is a nuance. My instructions say that the same combination of sticks is used to start and stop the engines. This is not entirely true. The fact is that if you sit on the ground, and then both sticks are brought down to each other diagonally (namely, as indicated in the manual), the quadric will cut into the ground and will chop it with propellers.

For a smooth landing, after touching the ground, it is necessary to lower the left stick vertically downward, without touching the right one, and hold it in this position for several seconds. Engines will stall smoothly.

After landing

It often happens that after landing, looking around, you remember that "there" did not have time or forgot to take off, and intuitively you take off.
This can lead to a fatal error, since after landing it is necessary to completely turn off the quadric and all equipment, and before the next take-off, turn everything on again. Otherwise, control failure may occur, or Fantik will fly by itself, without reacting to the control.

This is an autopilot joke, I don’t know if it was repaired in the latest firmware, but I don’t want to check it.

Here is such a modest opus, I hope someone comes in handy, yet I think it's better to walk on other people's rake.
PS: The eye is a little "blurred" after typing, missing commas and typos, which are likely to be, will be eliminated.

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