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How to Connect a Drone to the Controller (the Easy Way)

8 mins
Drone Blog
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Correctly connecting a drone to the controller ensures a smooth flight of the drone as it goes about its job of monitoring, performing inspections and other jobs. The process of connecting the controller is almost the same for all drones, and it is pretty straightforward. Here is how you connect a drone to the controller.

Launch the operating app for the drone, tap enter device, then camera view, and select the remote control settings to link. Press and hold the function button, then release it. The drone will beep, and when the linking is successful, both the drone and the controller will produce a green light.

In some cases, you can connect the drone to the controller without using an app. I will explore the method further in just a bit. Also, at times the drone may not connect to the controller. In what cases does this happen, and what can I do to solve this? And, is it okay to interchange drone controllers? This article will guide you.

How to Connect the Drone to Controller #

The type of drone determines whether or not it will require an app to connect it to the controller. But whether through an app or a dedicated controller, they all serve the same purpose, which is to send radio signals through the radio transmitters. The drone’s radio receiver gets the signals and starts to operate according to them. For the process to be successful, the drone needs to have a secure connection with the controller. Here is how to connect it.

Connecting the drone to the controller using an app #

Step 1: Power on the Remote Controller first, then the drone  #

The LED on the Remote Controller will produce a solid red light while that of the drone blinks yellow quickly, which indicates that the drone is ready to be connected to the controller.

Step 2: Launch the app #

Open the app to begin the connection, tap “enter the device” then “enter camera view”. The icon for remote control settings will appear on the upper right corner of your phone (the position may be different depending on the app). Click on the “tap linking remote controller” prompt, then “Okay.” The remote controller will beep, meaning that it is ready for linking.

Step 3: Click the link button #

You will then press and hold the link button on the drone for 3 seconds. This button is usually on the back edge of the drone. Release the button upon hearing a bell or beep sound, and the drone will link to the controller and produce a red light for a moment. Finally, it will stop beeping, and both the controller and the drone will have a solid green light. You can now click okay on the screen prompt that is alerting you of the successful connection. Your drone is now ready to fly.

Connecting the Drone to Controller Without a Mobile Phone #

Step 1: Power on the function button #

Press and hold the drone’s function button for about three seconds, after which it produces a beep sound. The front LEDs of the drone will blink red quickly and start linking to the controller.

Step 2: Power on the Controller #

Here on the controller, you will press the pause button, function button, and customizable button all at once for a few seconds. Release all three buttons once you hear a beeping sound. At this point, the controller and the drone will start linking.

The beeping sound will stop after a moment. The connection is successful when the status LED and the controller produces a solid green light. The controller will then start sending radio signals to the drone to control its functions. This video clearly explains the procedure.

Why is Your Drone not connecting to the controller? #

In some cases, the drone will take a long time to connect, and in others, it will not connect at all, an issue that may have one of several causes. When there is low battery power on the drone, you may lose the connection. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that the drone has a full charge before trying to power it on. Also, defective or depleted controller batteries may cause connection issues.

Controller Syncing issues #

If the syncing of the controller was not done right, it will also not connect well. Or it may be that the controller you are using for the drone is from a different manufacturer. Different drones require different controllers, and they are generally not compatible with different models. Also the setup instructions for each type of drone model and controller can differ. So, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s setup guide and use the correct controller for your drone.

DJI is one of the most common drone brands, and it generally uses the DJI app to connect it to the controller. If it is not binding, open the panel where the SD card is and click the button. Move to the remote control settings in your app, click on the link controller button, and then set your controller as primary. This process should make the drone and the controller reconnect.

A drone may be able to resync to a controller depending on the model, but the process may have slight differences. If there is a connection failure between the drone and the controller, switch on both devices, then hold and push the left-hand stick to the top. Bring the post back to its prior position when it produces the beep sound or when the lights are finally on. Some drones will require one to hold them at the top place for about 4 seconds to light up and produce the beep, but the syncing is successful once they do.

App not running properly, or not compatible #

The drone may also fail to connect to the controller when the app controlling it is not running in the background. For such cases, force quit the app then relaunch it. To force quit, go to the app’s settings, select the app and tap FORCE STOP.

When the USB cable that connects the controller and the mobile device is not plugged in correctly, this may also cause a failure in the connection. Ensure the cable in operation is not defective, and you can also try unplugging and replugging to get a stable link.

Since the app for different drones varies, it is vital to ensure that the app you are using is compatible with the drone and the Remote Controller. Otherwise, it will not be possible to connect these two. If all you are still having trouble connecting, consider closing the app, disconnecting the USB cable, then turning off the drone and the controller. Now, switch everything back on.

Drone hardware issues #

The drone may have hardware issues, especially when its signal keeps on flushing, and this will also impair the connection. Also, check whether the controller is pairing to the right drone. If it’s trying to pair to a different nearby drone, that might be the reason why the connection is apparently failing. If nothing seems to work, consult your manufacturer for assistance.

Are Drone Controllers Interchangeable #

The controller layout for most drones in the market is almost the same and usually consists of control sticks and buttons. Although, some controllers’ shapes and sizes may be different, the controlling principles are the same. When using a controller, one pushes the joystick up to fly the drone up and pushes it down for it to descend. Pressing it right or left rotates the drone to either side.

Today, controllers contain many extra communication techniques, bringing out fantastic flying features on the drone. The growth in technology has led many manufacturers to use smartphone or tablet controls in most drones instead of handheld transmitters. 

However, RC transmitters are still the most common, and they tend to have the best ability to control the direction the drone takes.

While the RC controller has a specific design that suits each drone, they are often interchangeable, allowing you to use one for different drones. Though this is the case, it needs to be compatible with the drone that it will be operating for it to work. If not, try installing a matching receiver in the drone.

Also, whether or not you can interchange the drone controllers depends on the kind of drone. Some controllers come as a package with the drone, such as in-camera drones or those ready-to-fly drones, while others such as racing drones do not have a controller. Camera drones such as DJI, Parrot, Autel, Skydio, Yuneec, and other models with bind-in Controllers are not interchangeable with other models.

Some other DJI models comprise an intelligent controller that is possible to use with other models. Also, there are drones whose controllers are compatible with it, making it possible to bind it in. So, the same model controller can use one controller at the same time. Usually, such drones come with a bind button that one clicks, and it will start working for both drones.

For drones with interchangeable controllers, such as in the FPV racing drones, some customization needs to be done as well. Doing so involves changing its programs by connecting it to a computer using a USB and app such as the BetaFlight Configurator.

Connecting a drone to a controller follows almost the same process for all drones. Different apps control each depending on the model, which is why most times, one cannot use a separate drone controller for a specific drone. The controller will be incompatible and will not connect to the drone.


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