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What is Drone Calibration & Why is it so important?

This is a very important aspect that every fishing drone pilot needs to understand and get comfortable with. Some refer to it as the “Drone Dance” but whatever you call it, it is really important that you get familiar with it even before your first flight.

Your Drone’s Compass

Every drone has a digital compass built into it. This is pretty much the same thing as a hand-held compass that you probably know already, only this one is a small chip that is part of your drone’s electronics – so it is digital. Normally the Compass & GPS are part of the same sensor (but this is not always the case) and often it is easy to identify the Compass/GPS Sensor as it can often be seen at the top of the drone or sometimes is inside the drone. It is normally a circular “puck” shape.

Your fishing drone relies heavily in this compass sensor (as one of a number of sensors) that help the drone fly and keep it stable in the air by itself. But importantly IF this Compass sensor is not calibrated properly (or at all) – this can cause havoc to the drone while in flight & in the worst case scenario you can even lose control of the drone, so you really want to make sure the compass calibration is done properly.

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Rippton Mobula Calibration

Each drone manufacturer has a different way of doing this, some will ask you to hold the drone up & spin the fishing drone around your body while you stand in one spot, while others will get you just to spin your drone in front of you. Some will ask you to do a 6-sided calibration (which is quite accurate) while others ask you to do a 3-sided (ie. less spins).

When should a calibrate my drone?

A good rule of thumb with any drone regardless of the brand, is that you should always calibrate you’re drone before you start fishing for the day at a beach in one location. If you happen to change locations and move up the beach – then if it is more than 100 meters from your last location, then recalibrate your drone at the new location.

We hear of some people that get slack and feel that they don’t need to calibrate their drone because they haven’t had issues, however issues related to not calibrating the drone do not appear every time & you never want to be in the situation where you go get an issue in flight due to non-calibration, so please calibrate it every time to be safe.

The Earth’s magnetic field

The reason that you have to do a compass calibration at each new spot you want to go drone fishing at, is because your drone’s compass is effected by the earth’s own magnetic field and the strength of this natural phenomenon can vary quite a bit from place to place, so one beach might be completely different from another, so by calibrating your compass you “level out” the variation in the compass & therefore make it more accurate for that location.

Large Metal objects, Keys, and Cellphones

It is highly recommended that you carry out your Compass Calibration at least 10 meters away from any large detail object (like Cars or Aluminium Boats or Tin Roofed houses), and also make sure you keep your metal Keys and cellphone (unless you are using it on your remote control) right away from the drone (at least 5 meters) while you are calibrating or flying your drone. It’s not hard to work out that large metal objects can ALSO effect your fishing drone’s compass & throw it out.

Switching your Drone off after Calibration

This is a really important point, but one that is often overlooked by pilots who are calibrating their fishing drone. Once you have carried out the compass calibration (no matter what the brand) it is VERY important to switch off your drone and then the remote control – and then switch the remote control and drone back on. By turning off your drone you “save” your calibration settings into the drone. If there is one thing that drone fisherman get wrong on a regular basis, is NOT turning off their fishing drones after calibration. This in effect means that the drone HAS NOT been calibrated and can often lead to issues during flight (which are often blamed on the drone itself because the pilot incorrectly believes that they have done the calibration, when in fact they have not!

Accelerometer, Gyro and IMU Calibrations

Aside from the Compass Calibration process which the above discusses, there are also several other important sensors that need to be calibrated from time to time, and you may see them described in your owners manual as Accelerometer, Gyro, and IMU. These sensors while in flight send information back to the flight controller about what angle the drone is on, or whether the drone is in a level position. This helps the drone make adjustments to ensure it flys correctly. Some manufacturers will ask that these calibrations be done before each flight, some drones will carry out some by themselves (ie when you switch the drone on sometimes the Gyroscope is calibrated automatically on some models) & with some these calibrations are done at factory and don’t need to be done again. If in doubt please consult your manufacturers user manual for more information.

Thanks for reading this article on this important aspect of owning a fishing drone. Feel free to reach out to us if you need any further help or assistance.

Please note that all our articles are put together by our team and should not be replicated or plagiarised in any way without express written permission.

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