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Drone Repair: Everything You Need to Know

Drone Repair

You do your best to take good care of your drone, but that doesn’t mean disaster couldn’t strike anyway. Perhaps another drone operator crashes their UAV into yours or your drone remote glitches out, causing your drone to fall to the ground. In these situations, you need drone repair. What can you expect from drone repair services?

Drone repair services fix damaged or broken parts of the drone, including the wiring, camera, gimbal, motor, and/or chassis.  Some drone manufacturers such as DJI offer their own repair services, but otherwise, third-party drone repair should suffice.

In today’s post, we’ll discuss how to find a drone repair person, which repair services you can receive, and how much they cost. We’ll even talk about whether you should try repairing your drone or let a professional handle it. Even if your drone is in pristine condition, you’ll still want to keep reading so you’ll know what to do if the worst ever happens.

How to Find Drone Repair Near Me

Your drone took a hard fall. When you recover it, you notice that parts are damaged, perhaps even to the point of detachment. Your UAV might not even want to turn on after crashing. You collect your wrecked drone, bring it home, and try powering it on again, but no dice.
You need to get your drone repaired, but where do you even start? Well, you have two options. You can either go straight through your drone manufacturer or try a third party. Let’s cover both options.

How to Find Drone Manufacturer Repair Services

Some bigger names in UAVs such as Yuneec and DJI offer their own repair services. Here’s the page for Yuneec’s repairs. According to that page, you can either fill out an online order form on Yuneec’s website or visit a Best Buy nearest you to get your Yuneec drone repaired.
DJI also has a repair center. We plan on discussing this in more detail in a future blog post. For now, we’ll say that the DJI drone repair service works a lot like Yuneec’s. You open a repair request on the DJI website, schedule when the repairs can be done, and check your progress.

DJI does all its repairs at its flagship store in Hong Kong. They even have a pricing inquiry page so you can get an idea of what you’ll pay to get your drone up and running again.

How to Find Third-Party Drone Repair Services

If your drone manufacturer doesn’t have its own repair services, then you’ll have to look into third-party options. These repair services are nearly endles, so we recommend inputting your location and then “drone repair” into your favorite search engine.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for drone repair in New York City. Brooklyn Drones is one of the first highly-rated options to come up. They’re based in Brooklyn, just as the name tells you. Camrise specializes in DJI drone repair, as does Sylvan Drone, and these companies are both in New York.

If you by chance can’t find any UAV repair services in your neck of the woods, iFixit has stores across the US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and Canada. Their services are online-based so you can get your drone repaired no matter where you are.

Which Drone Repair Services Are Available?

Not all drone incidents will lead to the same kind of broken or malfunctioning parts. Make sure that as you search for drone repair near you that the company offers comprehensive repairs. Here are some areas the repair service should specialize in.

Cameras

The camera is one of the best components of any drone, as it allows you to photograph and take videos of the world from hundreds of feet up. To access most cameras, the drone repair technician will detach the gimbal frame, take out the gimbal panels, and remove the camera. Then they’ll either repair the broken camera or install a new one that’s compatible with the drone.

Wiring

Faulty wiring may be attributable to drone wear and tear as well as age. If the wiring goes bad, your drone might shut off at random increments, making it prone to crashing. The repair technician will first power off the drone and then take out the propellers and battery.
Broken and loose wire connections can be fixed through replacement or by stripping old wires and soldering them to newer ones.

Electronic Speed Controller

Your drone’s Electronic Speed Controller or ESC is one of the most important parts. When you make inputs on your drone remote, the ESC sends those commands to your motor so your drone reacts how you’ve instructed it to.

The motor has its own ESC, which connects to the drone’s main board. By taking apart the main casing of the drone, the repair technician can reach the ESC. First, they’ll de-solder the main board’s motor connections. Then the technician will take out the motors, de-solder voltage and ground wires, and remove the ESC board.

If the board needs to be replaced, the technician will put the new one in and reattach the main casing.

Global Positioning System

A Global Positioning System is more commonly known by its abbreviation, GPS. The GPS in a drone indicates coordinates on a geographical level using satellite information. Through this info, your drone can safely navigate the skies.

Your drone repair technician will again start by taking off the main casing of the UAV, then disconnecting any wiring. Doing this exposes the drone frame where the GPS is. After removing its cables and screws, the technician can take the old GPS out and install a new one.

Compass

Your compass directs your drone as well, and it too is a part of the main board. This is a simpler fix than most other repairs, as your drone technician will unclip the compass from within the drone frame. If the compass is fixable, the repair technician will get it working. Barring that, they’ll add a new compass, adhering and clipping it back in place.

Batteries

Faulty batteries can affect how long your drone flies, so this is an issue that needs immediate remediation. Fortunately, taking out the current batteries and putting in new ones is something your drone repair technician do quickly and often inexpensively.

Screws

Yes, sometimes your drone’s screws can stop working on you. This might not seem like a big deal until the chassis or camera of your UAV is hanging by a thread. Your drone repair technician will inspect all the screws, tighten any loose ones, and replace damaged or faulty screws.

Indicator Lights

The indicator lights for many drone models are LEDs that typically attach to the circuit board or frame via internal soldering. By first disassembling the LEDs, the drone repair technician can next check the connection point for every LED. If the wiring is damaged, the technician will de-solder the bad wires or lights and replace these.

Gimbal

The gimbal maintains your drone’s camera angle even as your drone may fly up, down, or sideways. Without the gimbal, all your photos and videos will turn our blurry, so you should keep the gimbal in working order.

Most broken or damaged gimbals necessitate a replacement, although in some cases, the gimbal can fall out of alignment. That’s an especially easy fix. Once the new gimbal is fitted, the drone repair technician should test the gimbal by running the drone and using its accompanying remote.

Motors

The motor is the heart of your drone, so when it begins failing on you, it’s only a matter of time before your drone stops working altogether. To identify which motor is causing trouble, the drone repair technician will test each one. If a motor fails to spin or doesn’t work on par with the others, the technician will take that motor out and install a new one.

Propellers

Was your drone in an accident? If so, the propeller is likely all out of alignment. Your drone repair technician can get your prop working once more. They’ll first remove the fastenings or screws that secure the propeller, then orient the replacement prop so the new propeller works just as well as the old one.

Chassis

Last but certainly not least, you can count on a drone repair technician to repair any damage to the drone’s chassis or outer shell. In most cases, your old shell will be discarded and a new one installed.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Drone?

You’d like to get your drone all patched up, but how much is the repair job going to cost? That will depend on a variety of factors. Are you going through a third party or the drone manufacturer? Is your drone severely damaged or just a bit beat up?

We could only find prices for DJI drone repair, likely because they’re the most popular UAV manufacturer. If you went through third-party service Drone Fly, their DJI repair services start at $149 before you factor in the price for parts.

If you contacted DJI for your drone repair, here’s how much you might pay per part:

• Front left arm motor – $22
• Camera co-axis cable – $5
• Gimbal mounting bracket – $1
• Gimbal vibration dampening – $2
• Back left motor arm – $19
• Camera flexible flat cable – $3
• Gimbal camera component – $101

Should You Fix Your Drone Yourself or Trust a Professional?

Okay, so most of those part replacement costs aren’t bad, unless of course your whole drone is toast. With so much information on the Internet today, you might think it’s a better idea to watch a few YouTube tutorials and fix the drone yourself. Should you?

We would highly, highly advise you not to try repairing your own drone. You must know a lot about soldering and wiring to even access most of your drone. On top of that, if you tinker with your drone like this, you’re probably voiding whatever active warranty you might have.

If you’re trying to save money, it’s not necessarily cheaper to go DIY. iFixit sells replacement parts for DJI drones. Let’s say you wanted to fix your Phantom 3. A standard counterclockwise motor is $20 and a GPS module is $120. Already this is getting very expensive.

Above all else, trying to repair your drone with no prior experience could lead to you worsening the damage, possibly to the point of no return.

Conclusion

If your drone is broken or damaged, don’t delay in getting it repaired. Whether you go through DJI, Yuneec, or a third party, always trust in the professionals rather than trying to fix your drone yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

Hal Simmons

When I first started flying drones I was always afraid of damaging my drone. I would always be thinking what if. I questioned myself often and as a result it made me question various aspects of flying drones. In the process I learned a lot. This is why I feel I have a lot of information that will be helpful to beginners and intermediate drone enthusiasts. Of course I still have a lot to learn so join me on this journey and I am sure you will enjoy the adventure ahead of us.

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