Get more from your Mavic
The largest Mavic community in the world
Join Us Now

How often do you calibrate

kenjancef

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
5
Reactions
1
Age
55
Location
East Providence, RI
Back in the day... lol... I bought a Phantom 3 Pro when they first came out, and have since been flying an Air 2 since last June. With any DJI drone, I was always under the impression that calibrating too much was bad, at least for the Phantom series. Is this true for the Air 2?

Reason I ask is that I first calibrated the Air 2 when I got it, but haven't since. And yesterday I flew in a new spot, but only 3 miles from my house, where I usually fly, and had weird issues: As soon as I turned on the controller, after the beeps it usually makes, it started beeping single beeps for maybe 6-7 seconds, then stopped (it's charged at least 75%). When I turned on the Air 2, it was taking way too long to update the home point, so I took off. I was about 1500 feet away, and all of a sudden I get alerted that my home point was updated... at 1500 feet away! I immediately reversed and flew back, but all of a sudden the RC signal dropped significantly, even though I had nothing between me and the Air 2. I nervously landed then powered off.

I waited 5 minutes and powered up again, still took a long time to update the home point, but I waited, and it updated. I took off, went out about 1600 feet, took some pictures, then came back. I lost visual on the Air 2, so I was looking at the Distance info on the display. when it got to about 200 feet, I looked up and couldn't find it... then the Distance info started getting larger, like it was flying past me... which it was... brought it back, landed and left.

I use my Air 2 maybe 3-4 times a week, flying sometimes 2,000+ feet away, and NEVER had an issue until last night. So I'm thinking maybe there was some super interference in the area (it was a small park in a city). I've never flown my Air 2 here before. Friends say it's due to calibration, but I tend to disagree, since I was only 3-4 miles from where I usually fly with no issues. I'll recalibrate anyway, that's no big deal, but I don't want to fly in this spot again if it is in fact due to interference in the area. it was pretty scary...

Thoughts?
 

Meta4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
9,104
Solutions
1
Reactions
10,868
Age
65
I was always under the impression that calibrating too much was bad, at least for the Phantom series. Is this true for the Air 2?
Too much compass calibrating isn't really bad, except that it's completely unnecessary and indicates a lack of understanding about how your drone really works.

Compass calibration is one of the most misunderstood aspects of flying.
There are many myths and a lot of misinformation surrounding the topic, and you'll probably get more with this post.
The best thing to do about compass calibration is to learn what it actually does and when it might be necessary (almost never), rather than doing things without understanding.
Read the first post in this thread to find out some facts:
And yesterday I flew in a new spot, but only 3 miles from my house, where I usually fly, and had weird issues:
Without reading any further, it's clear that your issue had nothing to do with compass calibration.

As soon as I turned on the controller, after the beeps it usually makes, it started beeping single beeps for maybe 6-7 seconds, then stopped (it's charged at least 75%). When I turned on the Air 2, it was taking way too long to update the home point, so I took off. I was about 1500 feet away, and all of a sudden I get alerted that my home point was updated... at 1500 feet away!
That's what happens when you launch without waiting for GPS and be able to record a home point.
Your drone will eventually acquire GPS, but as you've flown away from home, the homepoint is going to be wherever the drone was when it got good GPS location data.

I immediately reversed and flew back, but all of a sudden the RC signal dropped significantly, even though I had nothing between me and the Air 2. I nervously landed then powered off.
So far, nothing you've mentioned has anything to do with the compass or calibration.
I've never flown my Air 2 here before.
That makes no difference to anything.
Friends say it's due to calibration, but I tend to disagree, since I was only 3-4 miles from where I usually fly with no issues.
Don't listen to your friends ... they have no idea what they are talking about.
I'll recalibrate anyway, that's no big deal, but I don't want to fly in this spot again if it is in fact due to interference in the area. it was pretty scary...
There's no reason to recalibrate your compass.
The compass has nothing to do with your issue.

To answer the question in the thread title, I've never calibrated anything on my drone.
It's almost 5 years old now, has flown >4000 miles in multiple countries and flies just as well now as when it was new.
 

maggior

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2021
Messages
157
Reactions
237
Location
New Jersey
I calibrated the compass on my drone once and it was out of desperation to get past "RC Calibration" errors that made no sense on my Smart Controller. I fly mostly at local parks within a 20 mile radius of where I live 2, maybe 3 times a week. A number of times I have flown 100+ miles away from home. Never had to calibrate the compass.

It could be that you had a GPS issue due to surrounding terrain or dense tree canopy that prevented a good GPS lock before you took off.

@Meta4 - thanks for sharing that thread about how the compass works in a drone. Very enlightening. Now I know to check the drone orientation on the map during my preflight checks. A recent thread reported a crash due to this very thing...magnetic interference at the point of takeoff.
 
Last edited:

StantonZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
323
Reactions
367
Location
Plano, TX
I think the explanation above is plausible, but to answer your question: I have only done 1 calibration in almost a year of ownership (vision sensors)...and I'm not even sure that was necessary (it was an attempt to get rid of the "beeping controller"). I suspect as long as you don't have any (hard) crashes/landings, re-calibrating almost anything probably isn't necessary.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kenjancef

kenjancef

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
5
Reactions
1
Age
55
Location
East Providence, RI
Too much compass calibrating isn't really bad, except that it's completely unnecessary and indicates a lack of understanding about how your drone really works.

Compass calibration is one of the most misunderstood aspects of flying.
There are many myths and a lot of misinformation surrounding the topic, and you'll probably get more with this post.
The best thing to do about compass calibration is to learn what it actually does and when it might be necessary (almost never), rather than doing things without understanding.
Read the first post in this thread to find out some facts:

Without reading any further, it's clear that your issue had nothing to do with compass calibration.


That's what happens when you launch without waiting for GPS and be able to record a home point.
Your drone will eventually acquire GPS, but as you've flown away from home, the homepoint is going to be wherever the drone was when it got good GPS location data.


So far, nothing you've mentioned has anything to do with the compass or calibration.

That makes no difference to anything.

Don't listen to your friends ... they have no idea what they are talking about.

There's no reason to recalibrate your compass.
The compass has nothing to do with your issue.

To answer the question in the thread title, I've never calibrated anything on my drone.
It's almost 5 years old now, has flown >4000 miles in multiple countries and flies just as well now as when it was new.

Without replying to all of your comments, I totally agree. I may not be a super DJI pro, but I've been flying long enough to know stuff.. lol... that's why I was surprised when people told me to recalibrate. As I said, I only did it once on the Air 2 - when I took it out of the box.

It was my mistake for not waiting for the home point... it really did take much longer than usual, but I should have waited, so that was my fault. I'll take it out later today to make sure all is well.
 

kenjancef

Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
5
Reactions
1
Age
55
Location
East Providence, RI
I think the explanation above is plausible, but to answer your question: I have only done 1 calibration in almost a year of ownership (vision sensors)...and I'm not even sure that was necessary (it was an attempt to get rid of the "beeping controller"). I suspect as long as you don't have any (hard) crashes/landings, re-calibrating almost anything probably isn't necessary.

I've had my Air 2 since June 2020, and thankfully I have had not 1 crash, that's why I haven't calibrated since I got it. I'll check it all out later today to make sure everything is good...
 

Phantomrain.org

Well-Known Member
Approved Vendor
Joined
Feb 8, 2018
Messages
4,184
Reactions
6,878
Age
51
You would think with how hard we fly the drones, Pouring Rain / Snow / and Hail even Landing on the water we would have to calibrate at some point , but the last calibration we did was on the Phantom 4 Pro.

That goes for any other Calibration on the drone :)

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain and Land on the Waves.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Steel63

Meta4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
9,104
Solutions
1
Reactions
10,868
Age
65
You would think with how hard we fly the drones, Pouring Rain / Snow / and Hail even Landing on the water we would have to calibrate at some point
I wouldn't, since it shouldn't be affecting anything that would change the compass calibration.
 

rmns2bseen

Active Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2021
Messages
27
Reactions
35
Location
Tennessee
I've calibrated mine twice: once right after I got it, and again (unnecessarily) after it missed the landing pad on a RTH due to my taking off a little too quickly and not having solid GPS at the outset. Now I just wait for the app to tell me that calibration is needed. It hasn't done so and the drone seems spot on.
 

inno

Born to Drone
Premium Pilot
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
67
Reactions
55
Age
63
Location
Rocklin, Ca
Back in the day... lol... I bought a Phantom 3 Pro when they first came out, and have since been flying an Air 2 since last June. With any DJI drone, I was always under the impression that calibrating too much was bad, at least for the
meta4 is correct. I still have and fly all my DJI drones. The only drone I have ever had to calibrate since owned, was my Phantom 3 Adv (bought in 2015). And that was an IMU calibration. That was due to allowing a friend fly it, he flew it into a tree, then tumbled down and two of the arms broke off. Fixed it and still fly's.

However, i do perform compass calibrations on all but only if prompted by the software or if I move to a different location as stated in ALL DJI manuals and I remember to do so. I also make it a habit to have a compass with me (boy scout type) to ensure proper north and compare it to what the app is reporting before I fly.

What would help all when flying these UAV's, read the manual and develop a good understanding of how they operate and how to use yourself, based on that create a per-flight, take off, and post flight checklist. And if your still not 100% sure about the operation of the flight, ASK before you fly.

I've read too many posts here and on the other DronePilots forums where fly away's and crashes have occurred and a very high percent of those were pilot error. Why? I'll pose this question/statement, do you think the guy down the street who is sitting on his couch drinking a beverage, has never flown, who is watching a youtube video on how to fly a boeing 747 can jump up get in and successfully fly... Maybe???

Happy and safe flying
Inno
 

Meta4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
9,104
Solutions
1
Reactions
10,868
Age
65
However, i do perform compass calibrations on all ... if I move to a different location as stated in ALL DJI manuals.
Not all DJI manuals.
After perpetuating the myth for so long DJI finally got it right for one of their drones.
Here's the relevant section from the Phantom 4 pro manual:
Only calibrate the compass when the DJI GO 4 app or the status indicator prompt you to do so.

But in all the manuals where DJI suggests recalibrating after moving some distance from the last flight, it's totally wrong and unnecessary.
This is where the stupid myth came from and it makes no sense at all.
As explained in detail in the link I posted early in the thread, where you are makes no difference at all to compass calibration.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mr Mint

tlswift58

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2020
Messages
878
Reactions
758
Age
62
Location
Franklin, NC
Without replying to all of your comments, I totally agree. I may not be a super DJI pro, but I've been flying long enough to know stuff.. lol... that's why I was surprised when people told me to recalibrate. As I said, I only did it once on the Air 2 - when I took it out of the box.

It was my mistake for not waiting for the home point... it really did take much longer than usual, but I should have waited, so that was my fault. I'll take it out later today to make sure all is well.
Getting the "homepoint" is a wait and see thing. Sometimes it happens very quickly and others - well you found out. Typically if my homepoint does not set quickly, it's due to my location and the blocking of GPS / satellite signal. If that is the case, I take off and go to the max 98 feet allowed by DJI and wait for a connection. Sometimes that does not even work, so have to maneuver around to find a good spot. I then know my RTH is going to be off from my location, so I rarely use or even depend on RTH - it's simply a failsafe - not a use all the time feature.

It takes practice to learn to fly in many scenarios - so go out, fly, and learn to fly the drone and don't depend on RTH and other features that depend on GPS links. Learning to fly in ATTI mode is also important, as you never know when it may happen and the drone does some weird things when in ATTI - as no stabilization / etc used from GPS. Being prepared by practicing it is only way to be prepared for that day when it will be needed and it will come.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gope_73

inno

Born to Drone
Premium Pilot
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
67
Reactions
55
Age
63
Location
Rocklin, Ca
Not all DJI manuals.
After perpetuating the myth for so long DJI finally got it right for one of their drones.
Here's the relevant section from the Phantom 4 pro manual:
Only calibrate the compass when the DJI GO 4 app or the status indicator prompt you to do so.

But in all the manuals where DJI suggests recalibrating after moving some distance from the last flight, it's totally wrong and unnecessary.
This is where the stupid myth came from and it makes no sense at all.
As explained in detail in the link I posted early in the thread, where you are makes no difference at all to compass calibration.
Totally agree, and as stated I only do so if I think about it or i get a compass error. DJI only recommends it, but it's not necessary. This is where I've mentioned before DJI does not document well nor are they consistent. Of all the birds I own, can't speak tp P4's but to your point where they got it right, P4's, P3's, Spark and the Mavic Pro were the only ones to have mentioned it.

Here's what I have in short, each add or take away something... no consistency. Also each mention in their manuals are other do's and don'ts that aren't the same in all.

Calibrate compass only if prompted or recommended if you move "X" distance away from last flown
P3A p44 but does not state distance, just if you move
Mavic Pro p54

Recommended if you move "X" distance away
MA2 p50
MM2 p48
M2Z p65
DJI FPV p 65

Calibrate compass only if prompted
Spark p 49

Thank for your insights
 

hiflyer201

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2018
Messages
2,094
Reactions
1,661
I get "unable to takeoff" calibrate compass with my Mavic air 1 quite often even in places that I have taken off many times before... as in no known rebar etc.
Never get it with my Spark or 2.
I figure its just my drone acting like a drone..
 

inno

Born to Drone
Premium Pilot
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
67
Reactions
55
Age
63
Location
Rocklin, Ca
I get "unable to takeoff" calibrate compass with my Mavic air 1 quite often even in places that I have taken off many times before... as in no known rebar etc.
Never get it with my Spark or 2.
I figure its just my drone acting like a drone..
sar104 or meta4 would have a good explanation for this, also check out the link above in meta4's reply. but your drone acting like a drone, a good divorce attorney is recommended, ask my ex-wife:cool:.
 

Meta4

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
9,104
Solutions
1
Reactions
10,868
Age
65
I get "unable to takeoff" calibrate compass with my Mavic air 1 quite often even in places that I have taken off many times before... as in no known rebar etc.
Never get it with my Spark or 2.
I figure its just my drone acting like a drone..
It's that DJI programmed a few models to ask you to calibrate based on either distance or time since last calibration ... even though there's no physical reason to.
It's explained in that link.
 

Effects

Well Worn Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
609
Reactions
607
Age
78
Location
Elk Grove, California
Lately, I have been doing less flights with my Mavic 2 Pro but they are always more than 50 miles away from where my last flight took place. I am forced to do a Compass calibration every flight, given these circumstances. It's a genuine PITA. My only complaint about the Mavic 2. I had a Mavic 2 Zoom previously and it did the same thing.
 

Edh

Part 107, MM1, M2Z, 2 Re-goggles,FPV Drone
Premium Pilot
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
45
Reactions
26
Age
75
Location
Jacksonville Florida
I have had to recalibrate my M2Z a few times when flying from my back porch metal table and chairs. Move away and the message disappears.
 

inno

Born to Drone
Premium Pilot
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
67
Reactions
55
Age
63
Location
Rocklin, Ca
Lately, I have been doing less flights with my Mavic 2 Pro but they are always more than 50 miles away from where my last flight took place. I am forced to do a Compass calibration every flight, given these circumstances. It's a genuine PITA. My only complaint about the Mavic 2. I had a Mavic 2 Zoom previously and it did the same thing.
Yep, it can be a "PITA", but in 2015 when i got my P3A, i found this, some made it a fun event. Try this, if you are young enough, LOL

 
Last edited:
Lycus Tech Mavic Air 2 Case

DJI Drone Deals

1. Mavic Mini (renewed) - $309
2. Mini 2 - $449
3. Air 2 (renewed) - $699
4. Air 2s - $999
5. FPV Combo - $1299
6. Mavic 2 Zoom - $1349
7. Mavic 2 Pro - $1599

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
105,093
Messages
1,246,361
Members
136,514
Latest member
Gman47