Fixing a Drifting Drone

Modern drones can hover at a single place without the pilot doing much about it. But sometimes, the drone starts flying uncontrollably in the air and starts moving sideways. This lateral movement of the drone is also called drifting. If you face the problem of a drifting drone and looking for a solution, you are at the right place.

In this article, we will look at the things that should be checked and corrected if your drone is drifting. We shall also look at some of the popular hobby drones and their fixes.

Drifting of the drone is considered an often occurring yet easily overlooked problem. Even these can be fixed. If the gyroscope gets miscalibrated, place the drone on a level surface and recalibrate the gyroscope using flight simulator software. Also, check the middle channel option and adjust all the options to 1500. In addition to these, you should always be take off from a leveled surface to avoid issues on the gimbal camera. Apart from all these we also have to check for damaged parts such as motors propellers and flight controller, calibrate or replace it if necessary.  By following this basic troubleshooting, we can fly the drone with ease, without any drone drifts.


Reasons why your drone is drifting

Gyroscope calibration

To know why the drone is flying sideways, we need first to understand how a drone works. The drone gets a lift from the thrust generated by its four propellers. The gyroscope is the central system that is attached to all four motors of the drone. The gyroscope measures how many times a drone is tilting in a second and adjusts the thrust of the engines independently. For example, if the drone is drifting towards the left, then the gyroscope will increase the thrust on the two left motors so that the drone gets stabilized. So if the gyroscope is off even by a small degree, it causes the drone to drift. 

The solution to this problem is straightforward. Keep the drone on a level surface and connect it to a computer with flight simulator software in it. Find the calibration settings and press on the gyroscope option. Wait until the calibration is finished, and you can fly safely.

Middle channel positions

You will require flight simulator software again for this one. Check for the middle channels option and check that all options are set for 1500(neutral position). The mid-channel communicates to the drone that you want it to hover in a single place instead of drifting. For example, if you have set the position to 1505 or 1510, the drone will interpret this for movement instead of hovering.

Even if you can’t set all the options to 1500, check for pitch, roll, and yawn. These are the most critical factors for the drone to hover in a single place. 

Initializing position

The position from which you start flying the drone is the most important factor and is often overlooked. Flying the drone from a slanting position will make the Gimbal camera misalign with the horizon. This misalignment will cause the drone to move sideways.

You must place the drone on a leveled surface and give it some time for initialization. This warmup time provides enough space for the drone to align with the horizon correctly. This alignment will help you fly the drone smoothly.

Damaged parts

If you have checked for all the calibration settings and everything is intact, you have to check for the damaged parts on the drone. Here is the list of parts you have to check for damages

  • Motors
  • Propellers
  • Flight controller

Sometimes one or more motors will be defective, causing the drone to drift sideways. You can solve this problem by checking the wiring properly and replacing the faulty motors with a new one. There are two ways a propeller can cause the drone to drift, broken propellers and misalignment of propellers. Broken propellers will cause a lot of vibration and will cause the drone to drift laterally. To solve this problem, first, check for the broken propeller on the drone. If everything is intact, then check for the misalignment of the propellers. If the propellers are not mounted properly, the drone doesn’t get a proper lift and will start drifting down continuously. The final culprit is the flight controller. If the flight controller settings are not calibrated correctly, then drifting occurs. So give a thorough check to all these parts before flying the next time.


Popular hobby drones and their fixes for drifting

Drifting issue with Parrot Anafi

This is a highly lightweight drone and offers 4k HDR 30fps with Gimbal stabilized camera. This is also a high-end drone costing around 799$.

The most common problem in these kinds of drones is the miscalibration of the gyroscope. This miscalibration will lead to driting of the drone sideways. You can recalibrate the gyroscope by going through the instructor’s manual thoroughly and following the steps. Once the recalibration is done, take off from a leveled surface and check if the camera is in perfect alignment with the horizon.


Drifting issue with Ryze Tello

Ryze Tello is a compound product created by both DJI and Ryze. This drone hovers in mid-air with the help of its 14 core processor and a built-in sensor. This is a low-end model costing around 115$.

The most common problem in these drones is faulty motors. The motors often get overheated, resulting in more burden on other motors leading to drift. You can easily avoid drifting by replacing the defective motors with new ones.


Drifting issue with DJI MAVIC AIR 2

This high-end drone offers special features like cinematic content, 8k video, 34 minutes flight time, and APAS 3.0 obstacle avoidance. This drone is available at 799$ in the market.

The most common problem in these drones is that if you don’t fix the correct propeller on the right motor wing, it will result in a malfunctioning propeller. This could be dangerous as the propellers’ lift is wrong, and the drone may completely flip out in the middle of the air and result in a crash. To avoid this mistake, make sure to fix the correct propeller onto the suitable motor. 

The pro version in this model offers us the locking system. If the correct propeller is not attached to the right rotor, the lock won’t fit in.









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