If you’ve just purchased a drone for the first time, you probably don’t know much about calibrating a drone.
In this guide, I’m going to arm you with everything you need to know about “How to calibrate a drone?”.
I’m going to start by explaining what calibration is and then we’re going to go through the step-by-step process to calibrate a drone. At the end of this guide, you’ll know how to calibrate your drone, so get ready!
What Is Drone Calibration?
Drone calibration is the process of aligning the drone’s internal sensors with its external sensors, in order to give data as accurate as possible. Calibrating a drone means adjusting the drone’s internal sensors, so that it can provide more precise and reliable information regarding its orientation.
The act of calibrating a drone is quite similar to setting your watch to the exact time before you go out for a run. It’s basically a way of telling the drone’s internal sensors where it is in the world. It tells them where they are in reference to each other, so they all agree on what direction is up or down, forward or backward.
What Does The Drone Calibrate?
There are a few different components of the drone that calibrate while you’re doing the standard compass calibration procedure:
- Compass: This is the drone’s way of determining direction; it figures out which way north is, and calculates its position on the globe.
- Gyroscope: This component helps the drone to be steady and maintain balance in flight. It continuously records data about how much twist or turn there has been since takeoff. The gyroscope also helps keep the correct orientation between earth’s gravitational pull and internal gravity.
- Other sensors: If they have them (depending on your drone model), IMU sensors, barometer, sonar, GPS, yaw axis… all of these components will be calibrated as well when you perform a compass calibration.
- Accelerometer: This component measures how much force is pushing against an object (like your phone). It will record how fast the drone accelerates or decelerates in motion.
What Do You Need For Drone Calibration
You’ll only need a few things for your drone calibration.
- The drone
- A flat surface
- A plumb line or string
- A USB cable
1. A Flat Surface
Once you have your drone and the manufacturer’s documentation, the next thing you need is a flat surface. Most commercial drones are calibrated out of the box, but if you want to adjust their performance in certain situations, a flat surface is essential for good drone calibration.
You don’t have to have any specialized tools or equipment to get started with drone calibration; however, if you don’t have access to a large empty floor or table, you can always use some plywood on top of sawhorses or stacked milk crates.
A flat surface is important for ensuring that the drone will fly level during testing, which can be crucial for safe operations and long-term maintenance.
2. A Plumb Line Or String
Your drone must be perfectly level in order to be calibrated, and a plumb line is one of the best tools for this step. This is simply a string with a weight at the end of it that you can use to determine if your drone is straight up and down, or horizontal.
These are inexpensive and highly effective tools that will make your calibration process much easier. Make sure your drone is positioned on a level surface before attempting this step.
3. A Usb Cable
- The USB cable is the same cable that came with your drone and it is used to connect your drone to a PC. Most drones today use a micro USB connector but some older models use mini USB connectors.
- Once you have connected your drone to your PC, it will be detected by the calibration software but may not appear in the system tray in Windows 10. If this happens, visit the Device Manager screen and check that the port used by the drone is enabled. In most cases, if you have not installed any additional drivers for your drone then it will simply show up as an Arduino device or similar device.
Calibrate The Compass
Compass calibration is important for the drone to fly properly, safely, accurately and efficiently. You will want to take the time to make sure your compass is calibrated when you first purchase a new drone, or if it’s been a while since you last took the time to calibrate your compass.
Calibrating your compass can save you a lot of problems in the long run and stop any problems that may arise when you are flying.
Go To A Open Area Without Electronic Interference.
To calibrate the compass of a drone, you need to go to a open area without electronic interference.
- The first step is to power on the drone and the transmitter.
- The next step is to be in a stable flying environment, so you should make sure that nothing will disturb your drone when it is in the air. Also, you should not have any electronic devices near you when calibrating your compass. You also need to be in a quiet environment because noises may affect the calibration process as well.
- After that, place your drone on an even surface with no metal or electromagnetic fields nearby and press the “CALIBRATE” button on the transmitter or RC controller for about 2 seconds until there are flashing lights from both sides of its body (for Phantom 3). Then wait for about 2 minutes for calibration process before taking off again (for Phantom 4).
Power On Your Drone
To calibrate your drone, first power on your drone.
- Power On Your Drone
- Put it on the ground and make sure its level
- If you want to adjust the antenna to a different location, you can do so now by clicking here
- When ready, click “Start Calibration”
Press The Button To Home Mode And Wait Until The Light Blinks Green
Before you proceed, ensure that the drone is turned on. Now enter home mode by pressing the button once. The light should blink green. Double-check that the drone’s landing gear is on a level surface.
Turn The Drone Horizontally Clockwise
- Hold your remote control with one hand and turn the drone horizontally clockwise with your other hand for about twenty times.
- After turning it around in circle, check if the green light is on and if so release the button. If not, continue rotating the drone for at least 20 more times until the green light glows steadily.
Lift Up Your Drone Vertically
You need to lift up your drone vertically around 30cm for about two seconds and put it back on the ground.
This step of compass calibration is very important, if you skip this step, then the calibration will be incorrect.
Please make sure you are in a open area without electronic interference when doing this step.
Imu Calibration Of Drone
It is important to calibrate the IMU before flying. Your drone has an inertial measurement unit, or IMU, which is responsible for calculating device orientation and translating that into flight control commands. Calibration of your drone’s accelerometer is a crucial step in ensuring proper function. Without the correct calibration, your drone may fly in circles or erratically shift directions.
Accelerometer calibration is done by placing your drone on a perfectly level surface and record the values of X and Y axis. The Z axis value should be 1g. Write down the recorded values in the appropriate section of the configuration file.
Magnetometer calibration is done by rotating your drone around all axes, keep it still for 10 seconds at all angles to record min and max values for each axis. Write down these values in the appropriate section of the configuration file. There is also a handy tutorial which you can follow to calibrate magnetometer using Mission Planner software (for Windows only).
Start by placing your drone on a flat surface. Turn it on and record the magnetometer readings while moving along the X, Y, Z axis. The use this data to calculate the bias and scale factor for the magnetometer.
If you are using an external magnetometer, then it can be placed in a static position and rotated about four axes to capture all six degrees of rotation. Using these values, your drone will always know where north is – even if there is no GPS signal.
Gyroscope calibration on a flat surface ensures that there is no offset or bias in your sensors data when the drone is not moving. Gyroscope calibration needs to be performed manually, so open up a text editor and write “calibrate” command in it, save this file as calibrategryo (or any name) with .mavlink extension in APM_Dataflash folder inside your MicroSD card.
To calibrate the gyroscopes of a drone, put the drone in a stand and keep it steady. Then calibrate the gyroscopes at every angle. You can use a software like mission planner to calibrate the gyroscopes.
Hopefully this article has helped you to improve your flying experience. Whether you’re new to the drone hobby or just wanting to make flying safer, it’s important to know how to calibrate a drone. If you’re not sure what’s causing your aircraft to drift, making flight corrections unnecessarily difficult, there are a few steps you can take to solve this problem. This will allow for safer flight and a more enjoyable experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (how To Calibrate A Drone)
How Do You Calibrate A Drone Compass?
When calibrating a drone compass, the first step is to turn on your device. Next, you need to make sure that the drone is powered off and placed in a stable position where it won’t move or fall over. Now, you’ll want to launch an app like Drone Panic or Skyward.
This will give you access to your drone’s sensors and allow you to see what they’re seeing through live video footage in real time.
Next up: You’ll need some sort of specialized controller with which you can actually interact with these apps (iPad or iPhone).
The next step involves launching one of these apps on your mobile device (iPad/iPhone) and then connecting the device with its corresponding controller so that they’re paired together via Bluetooth connection—a process which may take several seconds before successfully connecting them both together using this method alone!
How Often Should You Recalibrate Your Drone?
You should recalibrate your drone regularly, before every flight. Recalibration is also recommended if you’ve crashed your drone, moved it to a new location or suspect it has been damaged.
Recalibrating is not a difficult process and can be completed in under 10 minutes. To ensure that the new calibration maintains your settings for all future flights, calibrate your drone regularly.
How Do I Fix My Drone Not Flying Straight?
If your drone is not flying straight, there are a few possible causes. Here are some things to check:
- Check for obstructions. If you’re in an indoor space, make sure there aren’t any walls or furniture that might be causing interference with the GPS signal.
- Make sure your drone is receiving a GPS signal. If your drone is outdoors, you may need to move it further away from buildings or trees to get clear reception from satellites (a compass can help with this). If you’re indoors and still don’t get a signal, try moving the drone closer towards windows so it has access to more satellites and data points.
- Check if there’s interference on the frequency of your controller’s receiver (the part of the controller that receives signals from your drone). This could happen if there are other people using RC transmitters nearby or if they’ve recently flown their drones at home/work/school/etc., which means all those transmitters would be transmitting at once! The best way to do this would be by testing other frequencies—for example 5GHz versus 2.4GHz—and seeing which one works better for you before making any adjustments.”
What Is The Best Calibration For Drone?
The best calibration for drone is the one that works for you. There are no “set in stone” rules when it comes to calibrating your drone, instead what you should be doing is finding a way to do so that works best with the type of flying that you plan on doing.
For example, if your drone is used by an instructor at a local hobby shop and he or she wants to fly it around in a small area during lessons then it will probably be more efficient for them to use another method than someone who plans on using their quadcopter for long distance traveling and photography purposes.
Why Does My Drone Fly Backwards When I Push Forward?
When your drone is in flight, the front of it faces forward. If you see your drone flying backwards when you push the controls forward, there’s a good chance that one of these three things have happened:
- Your drone is in hover mode and upside down
- The calibration on your transmitter or app was not adjusted correctly
- The compass on your transmitter or app is off
How Do You Calibrate Your Dji Drone?
- Turn on the drone and fully charge battery.
- Connect to the app or controller, then press the calibrate button for about 15 seconds until you see a camera icon with a rotating crosshair in it appear on your screen (this is also called “drone calibration”).
- Fly around in a figure eight pattern — make two circles in one direction and two more circles in the opposite direction — while facing north or south; this will help align the drone’s compass with magnetic north, so it can accurately record your location data when flying outdoors (indoors this step is not necessary).
- When you are done flying around, confirm that your location data has been recorded correctly by looking at “resolution settings” under “flight modes” within DJI GO 4 app and checking if all three fields are identical (the resolution setting should be set to medium).