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When to Calibrate Compass
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FlyingCircles
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Should the compass be recalibrated before each flilght or just when the warning notice pops up?

2016-8-6
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Tmygun
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Different people do it differently....some calibrate every time they fly.  Others like me don't (after a good initial calibration) unless we go a great distance from the initial cal point.  For me the recalibration threshold is if I'm more then 80 miles from the initial geographical cal point.
Some people I've read do an initial calibration and never do another unless they upgrade the firmware of the Phantom.
2016-8-6
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OrlyP
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Most definitely, whenever you see the warning pop-up warning before or during flight. But best practice is, you do the compass dance whenever you change take-off locations or when your aircraft was in storage for some time.

2016-8-6
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wmcvey
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Tmygun Posted at 2016-8-6 11:37
Different people do it differently....some calibrate every time they fly.  Others like me don't (aft ...

+1 What he said.
2016-8-6
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tim.aiton
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I calibrate before EVERY flight, gets you into a good habit, and it provokes a lot of interest from passers by haha.
2016-8-6
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Snowwolfwarrior
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It's ok doing it every flight if there is no interference/metal about, if there is, don't do it
2016-8-6
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AG0N-Gary
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Do an initial calibration in a very "clean" area.  One that is clear of metal masses, buildings, cars, etc.  After that, leave it alone unless it tells you to do it.  Check your mod readings for compass now and then.  If they are too far out, look around to see if there is a reason for it.  Try a different location.  If still bad, and especially if it's off the same direction, go to a known clean area again and recalibrate.  Doing unneeded compass calibrations expose you to the possibility of unknowingly doing it in a bad location and having bad results.
2016-8-6
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labroides
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Calibrating the compass every flight is unnecessary and rather than enhancing safe flight, introduces the risk of giving your Phantom a bad calibration.
The advice to calibrate when/if the app advises to is also dangerous if you recalibrate in the distorted magnetic field that the app is warning about.
Moving away from the magnetic field is much safer than recalibrating the compass.

If you want to understand better what compass calibration is all about and when it is necessary this post has a lot of good information:  http://www.phantompilots.com/thr ... plete-primer.32829/
2016-8-6
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Tmygun
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Like I said......take your pick of how often/when to calibrate!  
2016-8-6
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labroides
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tim.aiton Posted at 2016-8-7 06:54
I calibrate before EVERY flight, gets you into a good habit, and it provokes a lot of interest from  ...

This is an example of why it's not a good habit.
This is from a guy that felt he should calibrate every flight.
2016-8-6
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DJI-Jessie
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Hello, FlyingCircles , when you come across below situation you need to do the compass calibrate:
1.When compass data is abnormal and the Aircraft Status Indicator is blinking green and yellow.
2.When flying in a new location or in a location that is different from the most recent flight.
3.When the mechanical or physical structure of the aircraft has been changed.
4.When sever drifting occurs in flight.
2016-8-6
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labroides
Captain
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DJI-Jessie Posted at 2016-8-7 14:06
Hello, FlyingCircles , when you come across below situation you need to do the compass calibrate:
1. ...

"1.When compass data is abnormal and the Aircraft Status Indicator is blinking green and yellow."

In that situation it is generally much safer to move away from the magnetic effect that gives the compass error rather than recalibrating close to it.

"2.When flying in a new location or in a location that is different from the most recent flight"

Until DJI can explain what constitutes a new or different location there will always be confusion.

2016-8-6
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todd
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labroides@yahoo Posted at 2016-8-7 14:43
"1.When compass data is abnormal and the Aircraft Status Indicator is blinking green and yellow."

...

Yeah, I thought that was funny. Just repeating what is in the manual... which is what actually creates the confusing as it's so very vague.

Compass calibration helps find magnetic north. MN is not going to change much unless you move hundreds of miles, especially east and west (unless you are close to the north pole). Calibrating the compass every time you fly in the same area just opens the door for problems. This is a case where, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" would apply.
2016-8-7
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FlyingCircles
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labroides@yahoo Posted at 2016-8-7 07:18
This is an example of why it's not a good habit.
This is from a guy that felt he should calibrate  ...

Thanks for the great educational video.  I will put more thought into my preflight check list from now on.
2016-8-7
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KM5RG-Robert
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The only time I have gotten a compass warning was when there was magnetic interference. Not a time to do a calibration as that will just mess up the compass.  Most of the time concrete will give you problems because of the rebar.
2016-8-7
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DJI-Jessie
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labroides@yahoo Posted at 2016-8-7 14:43
"1.When compass data is abnormal and the Aircraft Status Indicator is blinking green and yellow."

...

Hello,labroides,  sometimes the compass error will occur in the place without magnetic effect, so we suggest calibrating compass first. And a new place or different location means when you go to another place like a few miles away,you can do the calibration there.
2016-8-7
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Macdemon
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labroides@yahoo Posted at 2016-8-7 00:18
This is an example of why it's not a good habit.
This is from a guy that felt he should calibrate  ...

I disagree, calibrating on every flight is important as one can often 'forget' they are flying in unfamiliar surroundings and mistakes happen.

I will continue to do 'best practice' as that's I think is the right thing to do
2016-8-14
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labroides
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-14 18:38
I disagree, calibrating on every flight is important as one can often 'forget' they are flying in  ...

Not at all ... how unfamiliar do you think a site has to be to cause a problem?
You can be 100 miles away from where you usually fly and fly safely without calibrating the compass.
But it's very common to hear of calibrate-every-time-flyers, thinking they are being safe, giving their compass a bad calibration and causing trouble for them selves like the example I posted in #10 above.
Calibrating every time is not "best practice" at all.
2016-8-14
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Macdemon
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So you're happy to fly on 'pot luck' hoping all will be ok.

Calibrate everytime and be safe, does no harm at all, and it cal also alert you to any conditions where there may be excessive electrical interference too.

Measure twice, cut once the adage goes.
2016-8-16
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labroides
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-17 06:36
So you're happy to fly on 'pot luck' hoping all will be ok.

Calibrate everytime and be safe, does n ...

You are using compass calibration as a superstitious ritual.
This thread might help you understand what compass calibration does and when it's really necessary and will make your flying safer than superstition will.
http://www.phantompilots.com/thr ... plete-primer.32829/
2016-8-16
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Macdemon
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labroides@yahoo Posted at 2016-8-16 21:52
You are using compass calibration as a superstitious ritual.
This thread might help you understand ...

I know how to calibrate and I understand what it does.

I'm not using it as a superstitious 'crutch' either.

I won't follow your link thank you.

Lets just move on before we end up squabbling like schoolchildren haha.  
2016-8-16
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labroides
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-17 06:55
I know how to calibrate and I understand what it does.

I'm not using it as a superstitious 'crutc ...

If you really understood what compass calibration does, you'd know that your compass doesn't lose its calibration and it's unnecessary every flight.
If you'd read as many incident reports as I have that start with ... I calibrated my compass as I always do .... , and saw how many were directly related to bad calibrations.

I prefer the scientific approach based on evidence rather your unsubstiantiated ritual.
2016-8-16
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kirk2579
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-14 04:38
I disagree, calibrating on every flight is important as one can often 'forget' they are flying in  ...

I disagree completely,
calibrate ONLY when equipment damage , change , large scale travel etc.

Not scientific for sure but having owned 5 or 6 phantom that I never compass calibrated except as above.
Current p3p calibration was done 7 monthas ago and compass is NEVER an issue.

with all the phantoms I have had I have no idea how many hundreds or even thousand flights so they all have always come back to be reflown or sold....

even the new DJI official line is only when needed....

However in that time I can say most of the lost drones and / or compass issue posts start the SAME:
I went flying today and did my compass calibration..........

good luck and have fun flying!.
2016-8-16
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Macdemon
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kirk2579@aol.co Posted at 2016-8-17 03:01
I disagree completely,
calibrate ONLY when equipment damage , change , large scale travel etc.

I'm still going to do it each flight as thats my choice.

I still think its best to do it each flight, there is NO evidence to support the fact that this can cause issues.
2016-8-20
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labroides
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-20 18:10
I'm still going to do it each flight as thats my choice.

I still think its best to do it each fli ...

You'll never see any evidence with a closed mind and refusing to look at evidence.
2016-8-20
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bigglyguy
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Whaddya mean no evidence? You just saw a video of that exact thing?

I'm about as new a pilot as you can get but I do recall the guy in the shop putting it on the floor, showing how that created a compass error and he said "That's because there are pipes under there. Make sure when you do a new calibration that it is far from anything metal. Once it's done you don't have to do it again unless you need to."

That was very vague, so I asked "When do I need to?"

"Only if you fly by big plane, with your Phantom as luggage. In new place, compass again."

As others have said, if you see "Compass error" it basically means "This is not a good place to take off from", rather than "This would be a good place to recalibrate".

That's my impression anyway. I agree though that a message saying you should recalibrate is arguably a very BAD thing. Perhaps a change of wording is needed?
2016-8-20
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Bluebouye
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Can I just add two peneth. I have come from from flying, rebuilding and modding Cheerson CX - 20s and building my own quads but by no means consider myself an expert. For those that don't know CX-20s are a cheaper clone of a phantom. I am new to Dji products and I am looking at a phantom as I want a reliable AP platform without all the tinkering and I know it has a good reputation for stability in the air, but wanted to know the pitfalls of these things so I am researching all the known issues before I pull the plug. In researching the CX20 I read about 3000 pages on the RCgroups CX20 thread where I learnt everything I know about quads and believe me there are some seriously knowledgable people on that thread. The CX20 uses and APM flight controller which when calibrating is more involved than a Dji, however when calibrating the compass it involves a similar manoeuvre to the Dji dance. When calibrating the compass the general consensus from some seriously knowledgable people is you do it once and properly and check your compass offsets and make sure they are within your limits, then leave well alone. I believe the offsets can be seen in the Dji go app. I would say if you think you need to calibrate your compass do it but make sure your offsets are within tolerances, otherwise leave it alone once you've calibrated it properly (in an open space away from buildings, metal etc) unless like others have said you move to a flying site a long way from the last site. They'll always be those people who do exactly what they think without doing the research but I have found taking the advice of those more experienced and doing my research rather than getting it out of the box and just flying is a prerequisite for this kind of hobby or you may find your expensive toy decides to make a run for it without your permission.

Off to do some more research now........happy flying!!!
2016-8-20
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kirk2579
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-20 04:10
I'm still going to do it each flight as thats my choice.

I still think its best to do it each fli ...

from reading many many posts over a couple years on several dji oriented sites.
I think your wrong in that the evidence does exist. you may chose not accept it and that is all good for YOU!

but evidence does support that once you have a good compass calibration you need not repeat it.

and if you do repeat it ,
you add the opportunity for a bad/poor calibration ..

that concept cannot not be argued as basically as I am not saying it will  be bad , but simply CAN be...

so if you have a known good calibration based upon previous flights . don't mess with it....
good luck and have fun flying
2016-8-20
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Macdemon
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kirk2579@aol.co Posted at 2016-8-21 03:33
from reading many many posts over a couple years on several dji oriented sites.
I think your wron ...

You do what you want and I'll do what I want, just back off and mind your own business ok!!!

I'm not wrong, I'm different.

2016-8-24
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peter
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I am not yet a DJI owner, but reading forum posts and manuals beforehand. I did notice that the manual (for the Phantom 4) is sort of contradictory; Top of Page 51 says "Only calibrate the compass when the DJI GO app or the status indicator prompt you to do so." but then the next page says "Calibrate the compass before each flight."
Meh.



2016-8-25
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wmichaels1
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-25 01:10
You do what you want and I'll do what I want, just back off and mind your own business ok!!!

I'm  ...

Actually, I think you're both, but you're certainly free to be so.

I was a "calibrate every flight" guy until I did some research on what the compass calibration was all about.  So, I found a field in the middle of nowhere (not that hard to do in Kansas), got a good compass calibration, and won't touch it again unless I crash or the app tells me to.  It's just not necessary.
2016-8-25
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Macdemon
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wmichaels1 Posted at 2016-8-25 18:36
Actually, I think you're both, but you're certainly free to be so.

I was a "calibrate every fligh ...

Whatever...................I'll still carry on calibrating before each flight as that's MY choice, nobody else's
2016-8-25
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Snowwolfwarrior
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I'm the same as Wmichaels1 I have one field that is in middle of nowhere that I just use to calibrate and since I have used that spot I have had no problems with the p4 at all, stable as a rock and will only calibrate if it asks me too, I have even flown 200 miles from this spot and still stable as a rock, may be coincidence but sticking with it :-)
2016-8-25
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UCLABruins
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Macdemon Posted at 2016-8-25 11:20
Whatever...................I'll still carry on calibrating before each flight as that's MY choice, ...

This is funny. I'm 180 degrees opposite in that I've never calibrated my Phantom.
2016-8-25
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Adam Flurk
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All these different opinions about if you should or shouldn't calibrate the compass before every flight.... Here's my 2 cents: I had 1 crash with my P3P - Where it seemingly fizzed out and dropped from the sky. When I contacted support - one of the first questions they asked me: Did you calibrate before takeoff? My point is that if you don't calibrate your compass on every flight and something happens one day - If there was some kind of compass error the fault will be passed down to you for not calibrating before takeoff.
2016-8-25
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Snowwolfwarrior
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Probably why the instruction book is worded in that way
2016-8-25
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labroides
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peter@wonderlan Posted at 2016-8-25 23:04
I am not yet a DJI owner, but reading forum posts and manuals beforehand. I did notice that the manu ...

""Only calibrate the compass when the DJI GO app or the status indicator prompt you to do so." but then the next page says "Calibrate the compass before each flight.""

And both of those are badly worded at best.
If you put your Phantom on a manhole cover, the roof of your car or on reinforced concrete, the app will prompt you but doing a compass calibration there would be a big mistake and simply moving away from the magnetic distortion would solve the problem.

And I won't go into details of the second case again because it's been said many times above already.
2016-8-25
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Geebax
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Adam Flurk Posted at 2016-8-26 06:26
All these different opinions about if you should or shouldn't calibrate the compass before every fli ...

I don't operate my aircraft on the basis of 'will I be covered by warranty'. It is a year old, out of warranty, and I operate it based on common sense and a good knowledge of how the compass actually works. It has only been calibrated once in its life, nearly a year ago, and it flies absolutly perfectly every time, with no compass error messages.
2016-8-25
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KM5RG-Robert
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Yeah, If I see a compass error, I move the aircraft to a different spot. That fixes it, not a re-calibration.  Do you re-calibrate your car's compass before every drive?
But hey, let's keep beating this poor horse.   :-)
2016-8-25
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Adam Flurk
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KM5RG-Robert Posted at 2016-8-25 19:22
Yeah, If I see a compass error, I move the aircraft to a different spot. That fixes it, not a re-cal ...

Your car has a compass?
2016-8-26
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