Flying a drone is an experience unlike any other- it allows you to fly at a moment's notice and experience the world from above. But what happens if your DJI drone won’t turn on?
Unfortunately, this issue is all too common. Head over to any DJI forum and you’ll find frustrated pilots trying to figure out why they are stuck on the ground.
Luckily, the drone community is a supportive one and answers to most of your drone-related questions can be found on forums and Youtube if you are willing to dig around a bit. But to make your job easier, we are going to look at some common issues that can cause your drone to remain stubbornly powered down.
Before we start, let us consider your unique situation:
DJI Drone Not Turning On?
Drones are sophisticated pieces of equipment with countless systems that can stop working. Is it any wonder that the average Joe doesn't know how to identify these problems? Think about your drone as an aircraft. A proper, working plane. If there was a problem with the airplane taking you on vacation, would you expect to know how to fix it? Of course not!
So, it's no surprise that you don't know why your drone won't turn on.
The good news is, the longer you fly drones, the better you will become at identifying and solving problems. Until then, Youtube, DJI forums, and Letusdrone.com are your best friends.
Let's get started.
9 Reasons Why Your DJI Drone Isn’t Turning On
Finding that your drone won't turn on is annoying and worrisome. Let us look at a couple of rookie mistakes that can make you think that your drone may be broken, even when it is fine, but just experiencing a small glitch.
1. Not Switching the Drone on Correctly
*This tip only really applies to new users. If you have flown a DJI drone before, please skip ahead to the next section.
So, you've just unboxed your brand new DJI drone. You've charged the battery and connected it to the aircraft, and everything is looking good. Now all that's left to do is switch on your drone and take to the air!
Excitedly, you press the button and hold your breath and… Nothing happens.
OK, this problem is more common than you'd think. In fact, spend some time on any DJI forum and you're likely to find people having this problem. Good news- your drone is excellent. You need to learn how to turn it on properly.
DJI drones operate with an intelligent toggle battery system. That means, for the drone to power up, you must press the button on the battery once, then press and hold again for 3 seconds. Yes, it's a two-step process. Press the power button once, and then press and hold it again for 3 seconds.
Check out this Youtube tutorial for a video example to get you started: DJI Spark – How to Turn On and Off.
2. You Need to Charge the Battery
Now that you're confident that you are switching your drone on correctly, it still won't power up. What's next?
The second rookie mistake we often see with new pilots is not charging their drone batteries adequately.
I understand. Your drone is sitting right there. The weather conditions are perfect and you can't wait to begin to explore. Whether your drone is brand new or an old favorite, it's essential to check that your battery is charged before powering up.
At best, inadequately charging your drone will cut the fun short (and who wants to turn back home because their drone ran out of juice?). At worst, an inadequately charged battery will not start.
So, how much charge does your drone need? Before flying, ensure that your drone is fully charged. However, if you don't plan to fly again within 3 days, it is important that you don't fully charge your drone just yet.
Instead, charge your battery to 40% (this is when the LEDs blink up to the second level) and put it away in a battery-safe bag. Storing your battery at 100% charge can damage the cells and shorten the battery life. Be sure to remember to top it off before your next flight.
Check out this post that dives deeper into battery maintenance.
3. The Battery is Dusty or Dirty
Now that we have covered the basics, let's talk more about batteries. In many cases, the reason for a DJI drone not switching on is battery related. Before we go any further, it's a good idea to establish whether your battery is working correctly
Luckily, establishing whether the issue is battery related couldn't be simpler. Just attach a different battery to your drone and go through the process of turning on your drone. If the drone works, fantastic! Your problem is battery related. If your problem persists, skip ahead to find out what else may be going on.
If you have discovered that your issue is battery related, it's time to check that the battery is clean and free from debris.
To check for this issue, take out the battery and look at the leads (slots). Gently blow to dislodge any debris, and wipe the battery with a clean cloth.
To prevent this issue from reoccurring, store your battery in a battery-safe bag between uses.
4. You Charged the Battery Too Soon After a Flight
I know, I know, we've just told you that you need to charge your DJI drone battery adequately before flying. But did you know that plugging in your battery too soon after a flight can also cause problems?
Keeping your drone in the air takes work, and this causes your battery to heat up. Charging your battery while it's still hot can cause irreversible damage to the cells.
To prevent this issue from happening, remove the battery after you have finished flying, and place it somewhere safe with good airflow, like a table or shelf. Wait approximately 30 minutes for the battery reaches 65F/20C, or it feels cool to the touch. At this point, it is safe to plug it in the charger.
5. It’s Too Cold for the Battery to Work
Many drone manuals advise against flying in cold weather because batteries may not be able to handle it.
Too bad, because the popular time for people to get drones is around the December holidays when temperatures are often at their lowest. When temperatures are below 14 degrees Fahrenheit, a battery will stop working entirely. In addition, temperatures slightly warmer, though still frigid, can damage batteries.
Consider yourself lucky that your drone did not turn on if it's cold outside. If you did take off in cold weather, your drone's battery could become too cold mid-flight. This can cause your aircraft to plummet to the ground.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the Matrice 200 is designed to withstand cold weather, sand, and rain. But unless you are sure your drone is cold-weather proof, it's best not to take the risk.
Favorably, this issue is easy to avoid. Wait for the mercury to rise before you take flight.
If you're lucky enough to live in a warm climate, you will probably never encounter this issue. But if you live in a cold part of the world, you'll soon find yourself checking the forecast for the first signs of spring.
6. You Have a Faulty Battery or Charger
OK, so your battery is charged, it is free of debris, your connectors are good, and temperatures are pleasant. What else could be going on? Before we look at the other components of your drone, we need to consider that your battery or charger may be faulty.
To check that your charger is working properly, plug your battery in and check that everything is working as it should. The light on the charger will illuminate red while charging, and turn green when charged. If this is not the case, you may need a new charger.
Don't forget to check your warranty before you pay for a new battery, as it might just be covered.
So, what else might be going on?
7. Water Damage
Operating your drone in heavy fog or rain might sound like a creative idea, especially if you are into photography. But beware- that perfect shot might cost you your drone.
Unless you have a specified DJI model designed for flying in wet conditions, allowing your drone to get wet can cause all kinds of unforeseen issues.
Not only can water compromise your drone's battery, but if it gets into the power distribution board or the electric motor, a short circuit may occur. This short circuit can burn components on circuit boards, or even cause your drone's internal cables to melt.
OK, but maybe you remember that the wet weather flight was ages ago. Surely if your drone were damaged from those weather conditions, you'd have known before now. Right?
Not necessarily. While it's true that water damage can occur immediately, corrosion can take time to present itself. Even if no water entered the drone during a flight, landing on a wet surface can cause damage.
What can you do if your drone isn't turning on because of water damage?
Since water damage can be severe, rather than attempting to fix the issue yourself, it is best to send your drone to an expert for analysis.
Be very careful if your battery has come into contact with water. If water gets inside your battery, it can cause chemical decomposition. This can potentially lead to the battery catching fire, or even exploding. Check out the DJI safety document for Phantom Intelligent Flight Batteries.
8. Your Drone Has Been Damaged in a Crash
It's a familiar story; you were happily flying your drone, until out of nowhere, you crash into a tree or onto the ground. Miraculously your drone looks beautiful, but it won't turn on.
It is possible for your drone to look fine cosmetically but have severe damage on the inside.
Unless you have serious technical knowledge, it is best to let an expert take a look at your drone after a crash. They will be able to assess the damage accurately and advise what needs to be fixed.
9. A Faulty Mainboard
If you have checked and none of the above reasons are responsible for your DJI drone not turning on, your mainboard may be broke. If you believe that this is the case, it is best to take your drone to a trusted expert who can confirm the issue and replace the faulty mainboard, if required.
Be sure to check your warranty, as a faulty mainboard is often covered.
Things To Remember
Your aircraft is a high-tech piece of equipment that must be cared for properly.
Lots of things can go wrong because drone requires many systems working together for them to execute flight properly. Batteries are often the culprit and need to be tended to accordingly. The good news- most problems are avoidable.
Read your drone's manual before you start flying, and keep your knowledge up to date. Take care to charge and store your batteries properly, and only operate in safe weather conditions.
Most of all, enjoy your DJI drone.