Xiaomi Mi Drone Guide

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(Ongoing) Welcome to the most complete guide for the Xiaomi Mi Drone Official Webpage of the product.

Link to the Mi Drone owner's thread in RCGroups: RCGroups thread

A little piece of hardware


= Main Features[edit]

- 17.4V HV lipo battery 5100mAh (22-25 mins flight time)
- 1080p or 4K UHD camera, FOV 104‎° and 94‎° (respectively), Sony EXMOR R Sensor 16,35 Mpix IMX206 and 12 Mpix IMX117/IMX377/IMX378 (respectively also) - the type of used Sony's sensor (exact IMX***) has not been officially confirmed anywhere by the manufacturer
- Supports RAW format
- Range of 3-5 Km (variable, will talk about it later)
- 3-axis gimbal
- GPS + GLONASS + vision-based positioning (sonar and video camera)
- Autopilot options: automatic take-off & landing, Return To Home (RTH), waypoints flight, tap to fly on map, orbits around a target, dronie
- Returns to home automatically when signal is lost(could be modified in future updates)
- Real-time location tracking for retrieval in case of crashing the quadcopter
- There are "NO FLY Zones" where the aircraft won't take off due to regulations (again, this could be changed in a future)
- Modular design and foldable landing gear, detachable gimbal-camera
- 1080p version has a flight forward speed of 18m/s. 4K version has 16m/s
- 1080p version has grey lines and 4K has gold lines.

What is (or should be) in your package[edit]

Both 1080P and 4K versions:

  • 1 Xiaomi Mi drone
  • 1 RC remote
  • 1 battery
  • 1 Gimbal
  • 1 envelope with English Manual and warranty
  • 8 Props
  • 1 Charger
  • 1 wifi dongle & 1 screwdriver
  • 1 mini Usb cable

[UPDATE] Xiaomi is now officially selling the International version of the Mi Drone. You will get a brown box with the Wifi Dongle instead of the Prop protectors.

Latest version[edit]

Getting Started[edit]

Link to the english manual FOR NOW ONLY FOR EARLIER 1080 VERSION: "Mi Drone manual" Link to the english manual for 4K Xiaomi Mi Drone 4K Manual English

Before buying the drone be sure your smartphone is compatible with the "Mi Drone" app in Google Play Store; the app is compatible with Android 4.0 and above. Android application doesn't work with Intel Atom / Cherry processors. (eg some tablets). Sometimes your smartphone doesn't allow (via google play) to install the app. Then you should try the manual installation, for example by downloading from https://apkpure.com/mi-drone/com.fimi.overseas.soul .

Apple iPhone/iOS users need to download the app from the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mi-drone-explore-record/id1182281556?mt=8

You will also need a good SD card (Class 30 and UHS II/I) that can handle write speed of 4K (in case you own the Mi Drone 4k). Note: The rate of issues using a U1 for 4k is higher than using a U3, since there are some reports of people having problems with video files.

The drone won't recognise the sd card if is not good enough for it, even if theorically the sd card has faster writing speed than the average bit rate of the video recorded by the drone.

Recommended sd cards for 4k version:

Sd cards

Note: If you want to save some money go for a 32GB one instead of the 64GB, they are cheaper and you have plenty of space for recording more than 1 hour of continuos footage in 4K or 2K. Remember that the videos are divided into 5-minute fragments, for practical use in post-production and because of FAT32 nature.

For the 1080p version a Class 10 SD card or U1 should do nicely.

While previous experience is not required to fly the drone, common sense and responsability are a must in order to fly safe, not only with this model, but any other rc.

The app will guide you through the necessary steps to set up the initial configuration. Make the updates you need to do to your smartphone phone before starting the whole process, you don't want your phone to reboot or close the Mi Drone app during the process of updating firmware.

Compass calibration[edit]

This process should be done outside, in a clear field without any powerlines or metal structures near the aircraft. The app already explains very clearly how to do it. You can turn the drone on its own axis or hold it in your hands in front of you and rotate with your whole body keeping the drone steady, very common for Dji drones. You have rotate the drone clockwise and if you choose second method the camera/front of the aircraft is always pointing at you. It should take you no more and no less than 6-7 seconds for each 360 turn, too fast or too slow and the process will fail, keep rotating until the app asks you for the next step, the light indicators on the quadcopter will also change first green for horizontal turns and then red for vertical ones.

Here there are some videos that show how to do it:


If the method above didn't work for you this other method has given good results:

Calibration of the compass is NOT REQUIRED BEFORE EVERY FLIGHT if you don't change your position between consecutive flights (same city, same area, etc). Indicative - if the magnetic declination doesn't differ by more than 1 degree between the previous flight place and the current one. You can check it here: http://www.magnetic-declination.com/

Gimbal Calibration[edit]

Go to the gimbal calibration option through the main menu. Place the drone in a flat surface, make sure it's completely flat, use a bubble level or an app (that is calibrated accurately). Don't move the quadcopter and press the start button. Even though it says in the app "Calibration finished" you can't move the drone yet, let the camera make the initialization process (it checks roll, pitch and yaw axis).

Return to home altitude, speed limit[edit]

Take a look at the GPS mode tab in the main menu to see what is your speed limit and altitude for the RTH feature, you can change it to what is more appropiate. Powerlines are not usually taller than the 30 meters minimum you have in the configuration, the same goes for trees and houses. Keep this in mind when you go to another place.

General checks before flying[edit]

It is always wise to check if there is any kind of slack in the camera or the gimbal bay where you attach the whole gimbal, motors turn freely, props are held tightly and the same goes for the battery, you MUST hear the click when inserting the battery. Check the landing gear is locked in place and make sure your antennas are properly placed in your transmitter. If you are flying the drone above you; point them to the horizon if your drone is going to be in front of you point them into the ground (remember the antenna's best reception and transmission is perpendicular to the antenna itself).

Tests for flight modes[edit]

Checking and learning what the drone does and how it behaves in different situations and "flight modes" could mean the difference between having an accident or bringing the aircraft back to home in a safe way.

Try RTH, auto landing and auto take off, in a safe place, a wide open area with grass and having someone spotting is always recommended, don't get the drone too far, just 6-8 meters away from you, and see what it does in a controlled enviroment, turn off the transmitter intentionally, the drone should execute Rth to home plan. Switch to ATTI mode and try to learn how to control the quad, always leaving your finger in the right dial to quickly change to Gps mode. Try an emergency shutdown pressing both Power and Land/Take off buttons during 3-5 seconds, with motors turned on but KEEPING THE QUAD IN THE GROUND, the motors should power off after 3 seconds.

Flight modes[edit]

  • GPS: This is default mode, it maintains the quadcopter locked in a position, you just move the aircraft to a new position when moving the sticks of the rc transmitter. After releasing the sticks on your transmitter the quadcopter will remain in place.

You need to have strong Gps signal in order to take off. Other features like "Dronie" flight, orbits, and waypoint routes are enabled when this mode is active. You may want to check the 500m distance limit and switch it to unlimited.

  • VPU: This other mode kicks in when GPS signal is very poor for flying in Gps mode (i.e flying indoors, it will rely on the ultrasonic sensors and camera below the Mi Drone for positioning)

You HAVE to enable this mode in the Settings Menu, on the other hand you can’t switch to VPU whenever you want (i.e Using right dial like GPS/ATTI), it’s more like a feature that automatically activates when it is needed.

Keep in mind that the sensors have limited range (4-5 meters) so once you get far enough from the ground the sensors won't be active anymore. (It will enter into ATTI mode, which we'll see now). It is recommended to fly above recognisable ground, completely flat and solid colors will make it hard for the drone to fly in this mode.

  • ATTI: No external sensors are used, the quadcopter just levels itself out when you release the sticks on your rc transmitter, but it won't be holding its position, so you will need to compensate for the inertia of the quadcopter when stopping and make small adjustments manually.

This is similar to control a normal quadcopter or helicopter without gps assistance so some previous experience is recommended due to higher difficulty.

=== Beginner mode=== It is a setting for limiting the distance at which the drone can be controlled, altitude up to 50 meters and distance up to 100m. Can be enabled/disabled through the settings in the app.

=== RTH === The drone will find the altitude you setted for Rth (something that is highly recommended to do before each flight in a new area because of high terrain, buildings etc), after that it will turn to the take-off point and it will start flying towards it. This mode can be turned on by the user using the slider in the center of the Rc transmitter. The drone will automatically enter in this mode if the connection is lost with the transmitter.

=== Auto landing === You can tap 2 times and leave the button pressed the second time for making the drone to auto land (if its in the air, or auto take off if the motors are turned off and the quadcopter is still in the ground.

Low battery[edit]

At 30% of battery you will see a warning in the screen about switching to RTH. At 15% battery the drone will try to land. BE CAREFUL, because it will land anywhere at the moment of 15% of battery charge, it is your responsability to return the drone to you before it reaches this level of charge.

The max speed of the drone will be limited to 5 m/s, overriding the limit you setted in the app.

15% Battery level; forced landing[edit]

You can only control the drone to change its position or its current altitude pushing the altitude stick to it's maximum position(Left stick vertical movement for mode 2, right stick vertical movement for mode 1), if you leave the stick at the center the drone will keep descending, you can still use the other controls to move the drone around (roll, pitch, yaw).

Range of reception[edit]

How far you will be able to get the drone depends on many factors, temperature, humidity, weather in general. You should expect to have between 2 kilometers (or 1.25 miles) and 5 kilometers (3 miles). Always be safe and don't fly too far if you have a warning in the app, bad weather or your battery is not fully charged.

Used frequencies in MiDrone 4k[edit]

All used freqs (in drone, rc remote and usb dongle), declared transmitted power and purposes to use with, looks like below:

  • FXQ02FM Mi Drone

5.18-5.24 GHz 190.1 mW ---> telemetry

5.745-5.825 GHz 177.4 mW ---> FPV video stream

  • YKQ02FM RC remote

5.18-5.24 GHz 284.4 mW ---> RC control

5.745-5.825 GHz 39.6 mW ---> ???? [need confirm purpose of use]

  • WRJDG01FM Wireless WiFi USB dongle adapter

2.412-2.462 GHz 230.1 mW

How to increase the range of the drone? We talk about it in the Mod section.

Battery care and flight time[edit]

You have to take care of your batteries like they were babies, LiPo batteries in general are pretty sensitive, so NEVER leave them outside, plugged into the drone or DISCHARGE them flying down to 0%! You should land at 15%-10% of charge to not stress the battery too much. Always after landing from a longer flight - before charging again, the battery should cool down. An internal temperature sensor will prevent you from charging immediately after the flight - all LEDs will blink until the battery reaches a lower, safe temperature for charging.

Never fly down to 0% of the battery because you will permanently block the inside controller and it won't be usable anymore! If you fly down to 0% of the remaining battery capacity, the probability of the situation described below is very high:

It may happen in such extreme situations (high current load connected to high temperature of the cell) that any of the 4 cells reach a voltage under load - lower than 3.0V if it happens then internal microcontroller flags this parameters and it writes to its internal register the situation and means that the battery can not be used for flight. At first glance, the battery signals the problem, the first time you try to charge - it flashes the leds in pairs nine times and then nothing happens - the battery can't be charged. Of course there is a trick with unlocking such a battery consisting of reconnecting the balancer connector inside the battery (need to be dismantled whole battery) but such a battery will still be locked up to start the motors, it will only be usable for purposes on the bench, programming, checking other functions - no flight capability.

The second situation concerns "undervoltage state", it is less drastic in effect (the battery can still be used after cool down and normal charge process) -this warning is that if the battery controller detects a difference of more than 0.2V between each cell in whole battery - then microcontroller flags these state to internal memory and you can see appropriate message and counter for such states.

In both cases, an excessive/abnormal discharge of the entire battery or only part of it (ie a cell) shows a very serious message on the screen during flight. You should land as soon as possible and check the flight logs for any of the above described situations and take the appropriate steps to ensure the battery is functioning properly.


Some important summary about MiDrone batteries:

The drone battery has 4 cells in series with a maximum voltage of 4.35V per cell. The smart battery chip can guarantee a maximum difference of 0.2V between the cells. However when discharging below 3V the voltage difference will be much higher than 0.2V per cell and the overdischarge also damages the battery and might be able to store less charge afterwards. When the voltage drops below 3V the battery indicator will immediately display 0% remaining. The drone will still keep flying but only barely. Remain calm and land immediately. Even after charging to the normal voltage again, the battery is already permanently damaged.


Viewing battery info

After connecting the drone you can see it through the APP in the battery info settings. It shows the voltage of individual cells. If you think the information looks strange, stop using the battery and contact after-sales support as soon as possible. This to avoid a bigger loss


Avoiding battery damage

When the drone is flying, even though it can continue to fly, you should land as soon as possible when you hear/see the 30% low power alarm. At this time the manoeuvrability is also limited by the software. This is to prevent rapid movements that can cause steep drops in battery level. Excessive use of power can damage the battery.


Automatic discharge unused batteries feature

Because it's a smartbattery which has a built-in microcontroller supervising its operation - even when the battery is not used on the shelf / in the backpack or in the cabinet - after 12 hours since the last charging the battery is automatically discharged to the level referred to as "storage level" meaning +/- 75% full charge. This is a normal process designed by the constructors of MiDrone and this shouldn't be regarded as a malfunction or defect. Due to the design and properties of Lithium-Polymer cells, this level of charge is considered the most appropriate for storing unused batteries. You should always check and (if needed) recharge batteries before flying if you have not used it in a long time.


Overheating protection

LiPo batteries have a high energy density therefore it is important to control the temperature. After flying the battery will have a high temperature, please wait a while before charging. Of course the smart battery chip also has a protection function that prevents charging above 40 degree celsius. If the battery stops charging you might need to wait until the temperature of the battery drops before continuing to charge normally. There is no "memory effect" in this battery. you can charge it at any time.


Usage at low temperatures

LiPo's are also sensitive to low temperatures. In winter, before flying it is recommended to warm the battery if it is too cold outside. The battery in such conditions should always be kept warm, above 20°C/68°F, the easiest way to keep it under warm clothing or use technological facilities like an electric thermos / heater. However, unlike batteries, the rest of the drone should be exposed to low temperatures - give some time (about 20mins @ 0°C/32°F) to compenasate temperature of sensors, of course alone drone without batt.


Battery life:

Before understanding battery life you need to understand cycle times of a battery. Each cycle is 80% (of the battery's capacity). Assuming a 5000mAh battery capacity, 1 cycle is 4000mAh. 4 flights of 1000mAh is 1 cycle. The capacity will be reduced over time and you might want to replace it at a certain point.


Battery mantaining/service/calibration procedure:

Probably you will get a notification around the 20 charges to "Rebalance" or "Reset the battery capacity". In the app this is explained just remember to drain the 15% left in the battery with the motors stopped, just by leaving the quad turned on in a cool room (because it gets hot).

It should look like this:

  • Fly down to 15% capacity of the battery, after landing DO NOT turn off the device, let it automatically discharge to 0% the drone will automatically switch itself off.
  • The battery should be recharged normally, the built-in controller in the battery performs proper estimation of the battery capacity so you will get an accurate capacity of the battery.

If the ambient temperature exceeds 20°C (68°F) - during self-discharge in IDLE (motors off) mode, it is a good idea to place a normal room fan to prevent drone overheating and automatic shutdown due to the temperature sensor being triggered, and then the unloading and calibration procedure will not be completed!

Known Issues and how to fix them[edit]

ISSUE 1: FPV transmission disconnects within 5-20 meters.

Open the quadcopter and make sure the antennas are connected properly.

ISSUE 2: Compass errors even after calibration.

Open the quadcopter and check the compass connections and/or make sure you're not around anything iron/metal.

ISSUE 3: Gimbal shakes or video footage causes jello effect.

Take a look at the FAQ section.

F A Q[edit]

 I’m constantly getting “Compass interfered” error message, what should I do?

Considering you Succesfully completed the calibration process (we previously mentioned in the guide), first and easiest thing to do is:

1. Change orientation of the drone in the ground and wait a couple of seconds, see if you can take off.

2. If step 1 didn’t fix the issue, try to recalibrate the compass again, but this time detach the gimbal.

3. If the problem persists; bring the quadcopter to another area and try to do the calibration there.

4. Try to use another version for the drone OR contact Fimi support. (Email at the end of the FAQ)

 Does the RC Transmitter charge my smartphone while using usb cable?

Yes, with low current, so you keep your battery level on your smartphone. It is recommended to close any other app running in the phone while operating the drone.

 Does the quadcopter calculate the distance for returning to home taking into account the battery level?

The Mi Drone gives a warning when it detects that a certain level of battery charge will be needed in order to return to the take off point safely, but it doesn't execute RTH plan.

 Do I need internet connection in order to fly the quadcopter?

Yes, if your phone is connected to RC via USB cable. Then you need to turn-ON USB tethering/hotspot in your phone' settings. Using WIFI dongle insteed do not require data on your phone. You will need internet the first time for logging in or creating an account. "Keep me logged in" should be selected when we logged with the Mi account. The maps won't be displayed in your phone if you don't use internet connection but this doesn't affect the flight characteristics of the drone, the Gps on your phone/Rc transmitter side it's only for information purposes on screen. You can also navigate to the area you will fly within the map in the Mi Drone app, then you will have the map cached by the app.

 Why does my gimbal struggle with keeping a flat horizon?

Know that a certain degree of deviation is inherent to any gimbal.

Meanwhile you could try this:

1. Calibrating the gimbal in a position where you will take most of the shot helps a lot since it “reminds” that horizon level very accurately.

2. You should use a level app for placing the quad completely flat, calibrating the gimbal before flight has given better performance.

3. Different initial orientations while calibrating the gimbal has given different different situations for the ability to keep a flat horizon, sometimes worse, others better, you should try orienting the drone to another direction while calibrating the gimbal and see how it goes for you.

4. Vibrations make things worse, not only for gimbal but for the whole aircraft, flying with beaten props will affect the gimbal performance.

5. Again if your issue is very severe you should contact with Fimi support they could make an update for you, always considering the hardware of the gimbal is not damaged (i.e after a crash).

  • Personally I have never calibrated the gimbal, just turn on the drone in a flat surface without moving it.

Fimi has videos on their channel about how to calibrate the initial level of your gimbal in case it always initializes tilted.

 How can I storage the batteries if I'm not gonna use the drone for months.

Half charge (2-3 lights), the batteries have built-in discharge mechanism so it will discharge the cell to the optimal voltage.

 I'm experiencing a lot of jello in my videos when recording in 2K 60fps mode, what can I do?

The answer to this is in the mod section.


You can email the manufacturer customer service at: support@fimi.com

Their Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuPvX3XU0flFazdophjIEkw

Replacement Parts[edit]

Gearbest.com and Banggood.com offer the most accessories and replacement parts for the drone https://www.gearbest.com/xiaomi-mi-drone-_gear/
https://www.banggood.com/search/xiaomi-mi-drone.html

Accessories[edit]

Extra battery Xiaomi Mi Drone Battery

Gimbal lens cover: Gimbal Lens Cover

Tablet for a better experience using the drone: https://www.gearbest.com/tablet-pcs/pp_598248.html (Intel and Android versions are compatible with the app) (Apk for the tablet: https://apkpure.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fimi.overseas.soul)

Holder compatible with tablets and smartphones: https://www.banggood.com/FPV-Holder-Mount-Bracket-For-DJI-Phantom-3S-Support-34578910-Inch-iPad-iPhone-Tablet-Mobile-p-1147686.html

Transmitter[edit]

Firmware Installation[edit]

Fimi launches an update for the drone very frequently, your app should tell you when there is a new firmware, you can also check for Updates in the main menu.

If you want to manually downgrade of upgrade your drone here is the official page from Xiaomi about how to do it:

http://bbs.xiaomi.cn/t-13416587

Extras[edit]

You can check No Fly Zones BEFORE you set out at
http://www.dji.com/flysafe/no-fly

Mods[edit]

  • Solving overall vibrations and jello in the video.

One of the parts that may wear out very quickly just after 1 hour of use (without crashing) are the couplings/groove of the props where the shaft of the motor is inserted. In order to know if you need to make this mod in order to fix vibrations in the video, try this: Hold the motor firmly, now with the other hand put your 2 fingers across the prop leaving the clutch of the prop in the middle, press with each finger each blade of the prop, imagine a teeter-totter, the 2 children being your 2 fingers and the center point being the clutch mechanism of the prop.

Watch carefully the tip of the prop, there shouldn't be any movement (obviating the movement of the whole arm while you press), if it is floppy or there is any kind of play, (I had about 3mm of play in 3 of the 4 props after 1 hour of use, no previous crashes) just 1 mm is enough to cause trouble to the Flight controller and the video you are getting.

This what you have to do, it is very simple if you have a cutter or exacto knife, you just need transparent adhesive tape (very thin) or Kapton tape. Wrap the bottom of the shaft (closest to the bell) with only one layer of tape, cut the extra tape, and leave tape in the 2 curved sides of the shaft, remove it from the 2 flat sides, just like in the image:

Taping the shaft


If it is harder for you now to introduce the prop and the internal spring is unable to push the prop out of the shaft, you did it correctly (if the prop just won't enter into the shaft remove a little bit of tape from the shaft on the other hand if its still very loose add another layer of tape, overall it should be really tight), there shouldn't be any vertical play at the tip of the blade.

The battery and the gimbal being so snug, is done intentionally, if pieces start rattling in flight they can create vibrations and make the components to wear faster.

Futhermore, with this little mod, the wear of the prop against the aluminum will be minimized.



  • Increasing signal range

If you want to have more range with the drone the easiest and cheapest way to do it is getting a couple of signal boosters:

Dji boosters

Just look for Dji signal boosters.

This mod will increase the range of your signal as soon as you are pointing at the drone, they have a narrower angle of reception.

-If you have access to a 3D printer, you can print your own range extenders from this site:

3D range extender

References[edit]

Manufacturer support.

Feedback from users RCGroups thread

Official Youtube channel with many "how to?" tricks about MiDrone https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuPvX3XU0flFazdophjIEkw