Tag Archives: propeller guards

How Not to Crash Your Drone

  • Don’t use the motor switch off command while the drone is in the air (combination stick command – when you pull both joysticks inwards) . It will turn off the motors and your drone will go down. Even when you have landed the drone don’t use that command either. It’s way too easy to do it incorrectly tipping over the drone (happened to me). Just hold the throttle down for 3 seconds.
  • Use propeller guards. If your drone happens to hit a wall or a tree without the propeller guards one of the the propellers will most likely break off, that will definitely make the drone uncontrollable and it will end up on the ground. With the guards the most likely scenario is that the drone will simply bump into the obstacle without breaking the props and will carry on flying.
  • Don’t fly stupidly low. I’ve seen videos of people flying their drone 1 metre off the ground (3 ft). You are just asking for trouble. Any mistake and your precious drone will hit the ground and somersault most probably damaging the propellers. But the damage could be more serious depending on the speed and the surface it’s flying over. (Water = total loss, grass = damaged props, asphalt = possible damage to the camera)
  • Don’t fly when it’s windy. Even though the drone is extremely good at battling wind there is a limit to everything. Also the higher you fly the higher the wind will probably be. And I’m not aware of any app that takes wind into account when calculating the time remaining (DJI GO or Litchi). So while you might be able to fly away the drone might not be able to return due to high wind.
  • Set the return to home home altitude to 100 metres (330 ft) to make absolutely sure when it comes back it won’t hit anything. Don’t rely on the drone landing itself, unless you’re on a field, return to home function is notorious for being quite inaccurate, the drone could end up landing itself up to 10 metres away from the point it took off. As soon as you can see the drone, take over and land it manually.
  • When you take off let the drone hover at low altitude for about 30 seconds. This will give you a chance to notice any potential issues with the drone (such as a battery malfunction).
  • Fly in GPS mode and avoid ATTI mode, especially in an area with a lot of obstacles.
  • Keep the drone in sight at all times

Propeller guards, why I think they are a must.

Phantom 3 series drones use brushless motors for propulsion. At full speed with sharp blades, especially the carbon fibre ones, they have enough force to chop yours or somebody else’s finger off. If your drone hits someone it can seriously injure the person. Having the propeller guards should at the very least mitigate the injury caused.

Safety issues aside, they could stop you from crashing and destroying your drone. Say your drone touches a wall. Now those high RPM propellers would break to pieces sending your drone to the ground. If it was high enough chances are you would need to get a new one or at the very least spend hundreds of £ replacing the gimbal, camera and possibly the shell.

With the guards attached it would simply bounce off and carry on flying.

I understand that the guards add to the total weight of the drone and mess a little with the airflow, shaving off valuable 10-30 seconds of the flight time. Now imagine what you could have done with all that time? Personally, I have never used more than 75% of the battery.

There are two types of guards available: permanent ones and detachable ones. There almost zero difference between the two and the obvious choice is to go for detachable ones.

They cost few quid and take about 10 minutes to install, only because you have to deal with 16 screws.

My personal view is that DJI should have included that accessory by default. I see no reason why you shouldn’t install them on your drone as they don’t affect the flying characteristics of the drone and encourage everyone to do so. I have mine the same as in the picture above, they are nothing special but they do the job.