How to Connect Drone to Controller – the Right and Easy Way

In this article you will find various ways to connect drone to controller depending on manufacturer, app compatibility and controller type, as well as receive advice on how to fix main problems
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Last updatedLast updated: August 15, 2022
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The smooth operation of your drone is highly dependent on its connection to the controller. The process is usually similar for most drones and it’s very straightforward. However, some drones require an app to connect to the controller. At the end of the day, whichever the means, the controller serves the same purpose which is to send radio signals through radio transmitters. The drone’s radio receiver catches the signals then begins to operate according to them.

It’s important to learn how to connect a drone to a controller if you have one. This article explores the entire process as well as some of the common issues you may encounter. Sometimes the drone refuses to connect with the controller, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you made a bad buy. You will also get in-depth information on the possibility of using another controller for your drone.

Drone Controller Features to Know

Knowing the drone controller features and terminology will help you understand how drone controllers operate.

Vocabulary

Drone controller terminology isn’t sophisticated. The 4 main terms used are ways of maneuvering a drone with the control and they include;

  • Pitch- pitching the controller tilts your drone forward or backward.
  • Throttle- this controls the amount of electricity sent to your drone, making it move slower or faster.
  • Roll- this assesses your drone directly in the atmosphere.
  • Yaw- this rotates your done clockwise or anticlockwise such that you can create patterns or circles in the atmosphere.

Features

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayLearning how to use the basic features of a drone controller will help you use the drone optimally. Even if you have experience flying a drone, you must wrap your head around a new drone controller because they are different. You can begin by pushing the sticks softly until you gain momentum.

Here are some of the basic features to be keen on;

Trim button – this is also known as cut button. All drone remote controls come with the cut button. It comes in handy when you notice your drone is flying in a single direction from initial take-off. The cut button will help you get the balance you need.

Right stick – this allows you to control the pitch and roll of your drone. You can change the drone’s direction right, left, backward or forward as you want.

Left stick – this is what you use to control the yaw of your drone. It allows you gain control of your flying elevation as well as rotate the drone clockwise and anti-clockwise.

FPV screen – not all drone controllers come with display. The display gives you a show when flying your drone. If you happen to have a drone controller that doesn’t feature a display, you can use your smartphone or tablet for a first-person view show.

Best Ways to Pair Drone with a Controller

There are different ways of connecting a drone to a controller and the model determines whether you need an app or not. Either method serves the same function, which is to send radio signals throughout the radio transmitters. What matters is you get a secure connection with the drone controller for a smooth operation. Here is how to pair your drone with a controller;

Using function button

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayIf your drone doesn’t require an app to connect to the controller, then you can do without your mobile phone. You simply need to;

Step 1

Switch on the function button by pressing and holding it for about 3 seconds until it produces a beep sound. The LEDs on the drone’s front will blink red quickly and you will notice them launch a link to the controller.

Step 2

Next is switching on the controller and it’s a bit different. Press the pause button, function button, and customization button simultaneously for a few seconds until you hear a beeping sound. Release them all at once the beeping sound comes on. The controller and the drone should start linking by now.

The beeping sound will stop after a short while and you will know the connection is successful when the status LED and the controller produce a green light. The controller will then begin to send radio signals to the drone to control its functions.

Using app

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayThis is an equally easy way of connecting your drone to a controller. You will need your smartphone or tablet.

Step 1

The first thing you ought to do is power on both the controller and the drone. The controller’s LED will produce a red light and the drone will start blinking yellow which is an indication that it is ready to connect to the controller.

Step 2

Next, you need to download the app to your phone then launch it. Open it then go to enter the device then enter the camera view. The icon for remote control settings will appear on the upper right corner of your phone. Well, the position may be different depending on the app. Tap on the ‘linking remote controller’ prompt then ‘okay’.  You should hear the remote controller beeping which is an indication it’s ready to connect.

Step 3

Long press the link button on the drone for about 3 seconds. Most drones have this button on the back edge. Release the button the moment you hear a beep sound or a bell. You should be able to see a red light on the drone which is a sign that it is linking to the controller. When the beeping stops, both the controller and the drone will produce a green light and you will get an ‘Okay’ prompt on your screen alerting you of successful connection.

How to Connect Drone by Manufacturer

The process of connecting a drone to a controller is similar for most drones. It may be a little tweaked across different brands of drones but it is nothing complicated. Here is how to connect some of the most popular drone brands;

DJI

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayDJI is undoubtedly the most dominant drone brand on the market currently because of their high-end products. You can use a compatible DJI flight control app to connect your drone to a controller. If you have a DJI drone this is how you do it:

Step 1

Download the DJI fly app on your phone. It is available for both Android and iOS users.

Step 2

Connect your phone to the controller that the drone came with. The controllers usually come with cables that are compatible with most phones. Pick the right cable for your phone, mount it then power on the controller.

Step 3

Connect the controller to the drone via DJI fly app. Open the app on your phone. You will see ‘connect aircraft’ at the bottom right. Tap it then go to settings. Click on ‘control tab’ then select connect to aircraft. The drone’s LED lights should be flashing at this point, indicating readiness to connect to the controller.

Step 4

Power on the DJI by long pressing its power button for about 3 seconds. The drone’s LED lights should still be flushing. The flushing will stop once there is a successful connection between the drone and the controller. You will know the connection is established when you can see the drone’s feed on your phone.

Mavic series

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayThe DJI Mavic series includes the Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro, and Mavic 2 zoom. The Mavic Pro Platinum remains the most acclaimed model in the Mavic series because it is a valuable combo pack with everything needed for a great flying adventure. Here is how you can connect either of the models to a controller;

Step 1

Download the DJI Go 4 app which is meant for all the Mavic series drones except Mavic Air 2. It is available for both Android and iOS.

Step 2

Connect your phone to the controller with the correct cable. Your DJI Mavic controller comes with a port at its bottom, but you can also use the USB port if your phone has a different connection port.

Step 3

Get your drone’s Wi-Fi credentials on one of its arms. You will need them to connect the drone to your phone. Alternatively, you can simply scan the QR code.

Step 4

On the right side of your Mavic is a control mode switch. Find it and toggle it to Wi-Fi.

Step 5

Turn the drone on by pressing and holding the power button. Release it then press it again quickly until you hear an initializing sound from the drone.

Step 6

Connect the drone to your phone using the DJI Go 4 app. Open the app then choose your drone model at the top left side of the screen. Next, go to the menu on the right corner of the screen. Tap on scan QR code to easily connect your phone with your DJI Mavic pro. Now go on and connect your drone’s Wi-Fi by pointing your phone’s camera to the QR code on the arms of your Mavic. Hold steady to get a clear image so that the code can be scanned to establish a connection between the phone and your drone.

Autel

The Autel robotics EVO II is the most popular Autel drone because of its top-quality craftsmanship. It can go far and faster at an impressive speed of 45mph for up to 40 minutes. To pair your Autel aircraft to a controller;

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayStep 1

Remove the gimbal guard on the drone so that you can power it on safely.

Step 2

Turn on the drone by pressing the power button.

Step 3

Press the drone’s pairing button. It’s a small button beside the drone’s port. You may have to use a pin to press it. It will start flushing once you press it which is an indicator the drone is ready to pair.

Step 4

Next, connect the controller. Press the power button and the home button simultaneously for a few seconds. You should hear a beeping sound from the controller which is an indicator that the connection is successful.

Holy Stone

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayThe Holy Stone HS720 is the most famous drone by Holy stone. Its 4K UHD camera and GPS assisted intelligent flight that make it a top preference for many drone pilots.

Step 1

Ensure your phone is Wi-Fi enabled then download the Holy stone app.

Step 2

Go to the settings and look for the Holy stone drone. Check if the Wi-Fi network appears then select the drone and get it connected.

Step 3

Power on the drone and the controller. Go to your phone’s Wi-Fi connection then click the Holy stone connection. Go back to the app on your phone and click on the Wi-Fi setting and connect to the Drone’s Wi-Fi.

Step 4

Configure the drone’s mobile app using the guidelines provided on the app. When done, try to fly your drone using either your smartphone of the controller.

Why Controller won’t Pair with Drone

There are times when your drone will take time to connect with the controller. Sometimes it won’t connect at all. There are different causes for these common issues and they include;

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayApp incompatibility

The drone may fail to connect to the controller if the app you are using to control it isn’t running in the background. If this is the case, force quit the app by going to settings and tapping of FORCE STOP then re-launch it.

A faulty USB connection between the controller and your phone/mobile device could also affect the connection. Try unplugging and re-plugging the cable for a stable connection.

Also, apps are not consistent for all kinds of drones. You must ensure the app you are using is compatible with your drone and its remote controller.

Syncing issues

The connection between your drone and its remote controller cannot be successful if the syncing of the controller isn’t done right. The issue could also be that you are using a controller from a different manufacturer. Some drones are only compatible with the controller provided by the manufacturer.

Also, although the process of connecting a drone to a controller is pretty much the same for most drones, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s setup guide as setup instructions can differ.

Hardware issues

The connection is also likely to get impaired if the drone has hardware issues. You will notice hardware issues if the signal keeps flushing. You may also be struggling and the controller is pairing with another drone nearby. Ensure it is pairing with the right drone.

If none of the solutions work, contact your drone’s manufacturer for further assistance.

Can You Interchange Controllers and Drones?

How to Connect Drone to Controller - the Right and Easy WayNearly all the drone on the market have the same controller layout which mainly constitutes control sticks and buttons. Controllers do come in different sizes and shapes but their controlling principles are pretty much the same.

With advancements in technology smartphone and tablet drone control is increasingly becoming popular than the use of handheld transmitters. RC transmitters Trusted Source Playing with waves Radio-controlled or remote-controlled toys, popularly called RC toys, are self-powered and can be controlled from a distance using a remote that works with radio waves. www.businesstoday.in are however still the most preferred option for controlling drones. They come in different designs to suit each drone but they are interchangeable. You can use one RC transmitter for different drones.

Whether or not you can interchange controllers depends on the type of drone Trusted Source Drone Types: Multi-Rotor vs Fixed-Wing vs Single Rotor vs Hybrid VTOL Although multi-rotors get most of the attention in the drone world, they are not the only option. If you’re serious about aerial mapping then you need to consider a fixed-wing aircraft, and single-rotor helis are also a great solution for some niche applications too. www.auav.com.au . Some drones come with controllers specifically designed for them and are not interchangeable with other drones. Most ready-to-fly drones and in-camera drones like DJI, parrot, and Autel are good examples of models that come with bind-in controllers that aren’t interchangeable. Some DJI models come with an intelligent controller that can be used with other models.

Do note that some customization is required for drones with interchangeable controllers. The customization primarily involves changing its programs by connecting it to a computer via USB and an app.

Final Thoughts

Drones are fun and fascinating and are a fantastic Christmas or birthday gift idea but they are only fun to fly or operate when there’s a stable connection between them and a controller. As a drone pilot, you must learn how to connect your drone to a controller correctly. It doesn’t matter if you are experienced or not, setup guidelines are different across brands. However, the process of connecting a drone to a controller is very much similar for most drones.

You may experience some difficulty connecting your drone to the controller and most of the times it’s just a small issue like the drone and controller’s battery levels, app incompatibility, and improper pairing. The best news is that you can use a remote controller with different drones depending on the kind of drone. Some drones come with their specified controller that can’t be used interchangeably, but most models like the FPV racing kind can be used interchangeably.

References

1.
Playing with waves
Radio-controlled or remote-controlled toys, popularly called RC toys, are self-powered and can be controlled from a distance using a remote that works with radio waves.
2.
Drone Types: Multi-Rotor vs Fixed-Wing vs Single Rotor vs Hybrid VTOL
Although multi-rotors get most of the attention in the drone world, they are not the only option. If you’re serious about aerial mapping then you need to consider a fixed-wing aircraft, and single-rotor helis are also a great solution for some niche applications too.
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