Calibration is one of the critical aspects when flying your drone for the first time. So, when you learn how to fly a drone, make sure you also understand how to calibrate it as you would need it before piloting your drone.
Every part of it should be in sync to achieve the best performance. Drones today don’t require frequent calibration, but you must recalibrate them once in a while to ensure their accuracy.
Many factors like fluctuating magnetic pulls and hard landings can disequilibrate the drone’s sensors, particularly the compass and inertial measurement unit (IMU). So, it would be nice to calibrate your drone if you find any inconsistency and abnormality in its flying. If you haven’t purchased a drone yet, you can consider choosing a drone for the Christmas present for yourself or for your friends.
The guide will help you understand what magnetometer and inertial measurement unit (IMU) are and how to calibrate them.
Know When Your Drone Needs Calibration
You must know when to calibrate your drone to get its best performance. It’s generally not advisable to do the calibration frequently as it can cause more damage than good to its performance. Here are some ways you can determine when your drone needs calibrating.
- When it’s your drone’s first flight, and you are learning how to fly a drone
- It has been some time since your drone’s last flight
- The current flying location is more than 10 miles away from the previous location
- Your drone is not flying like it usually should
- You see an interference warning in the compass display after changing location.
- Before your first flight when you learn how to fly a drone.
Things You’ll Need For Your Drone Calibration
Drone calibration is quite simple. But keep the listed things in mind while you’re performing it.
- Choose a wide-open area with ample space to fly
- Ensure the battery is fully charged
- Check if the control is working properly
- Batteries for the remote control
- Avoid windy and hot weather. Hot weather can lead to overheating.
- Keep a device for programming, such as your tablet or phone.
- Ensure that the drone is shut for at least 10 minutes after flying or until it comes to normal temperature. During the calibration, your drone should not be hot.
- You should have a level surface to set the drone on.
Lastly, prepare your drone by removing the propellers, gimbal guard and turning on the remote.
How to Calibrate Your Drone Before Flying It?
There are two types of calibration: compass and inertial measurement unit (IMU). So, let’s see how it is done.
It is an essential feature that guides the drone in cardinal directions when it is over an area. Because the earth’s magnetic field varies depending upon the location, if you move your drone to larger distances, it will cause the drone to fly off its center and misread its headings. This can decrease flight efficiency and show inaccuracy in mapped areas. If your drone shows any location-related error messages, you know it’s time to calibrate it.
- Turn on the drone’s controller and transmitter.
- Ensure the drone is fully charged.
- Your controller and drone should display a solid yellow color.
- Use your controller for a compass calibration.
- Keep the drone at level with the ground, and spin it in one direction horizontally until the light changes
- If the light turns red, this means you’ve made an error during calibration, and you need to start the process again.
Related Post: How to fly a drone: our beginners guide to quadcopters
IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)
An IMU is a circuit that controls your drone’s pitch and roll and keeps it level and flat. When you’re calibrating your IMU, it should be done indoors on a flat surface.
- First, install and download the iFly application for your phone or tablet.
- Power up the drone, and before you click on the start button, put the drone down on a flat surface.
- If the gimbal guard is still in place, remove it and keep the drone position to the left.
- Next, open the iFly application and find the safety file. Tap and click on the IMU calibrate button situated in the lower-left screen
- Make sure you place the drone on its side facing to the right. Ensure the top of the drone is facing you. Please wait for some time while it calibrates.
- In the next position, keep the drone straight up. Try keeping the drone as still as possible and wait to finish its calibration.
- In the final position, the drone should face the right and be placed upside down. Wait to finish the calibration process.
Calibrating your compass and IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) will create a massive difference in its performance. Besides, it will be safe from any accidents and crashes too. Therefore, you need to ensure that you do the calibration when required.