The DJI Mini 3 is such an impressive, small, affordable, feature-packed little flyer that it is just impossible not to fancy the little bug.
After all, what’s not to fancy? It’s under 249g for you hobbyists out there, with 38 to 51 minutes of flight time, depending on the battery you’re using.
Then there’s the 4K 30fps video capability, as well as a unique feature seen only in one other system, its bigger brother version, the DJI Mini 3 Pro, True Vertical Shooting.
For someone who does Instagram or TikTok or some other social network, this is a neat feature to have and makes uploading directly to the app so much easier.
For those of us who don’t have that Vertical feature, we’re not without hope.
There’s always shooting in 16:9 and cropping it into a vertical-style shot later. That’s some post-work, though and just shooting in that format, well, it’s just easier and faster.
Of course, none of that matters if you don’t link or bind the Mini 3 to the controller you’re using. Here we actually have two options we can choose from, but the linking/binding process is the same for both.
The options here are the RC-N1 controller and the DJI RC controller.
As we can see, they may be similar in some ways, but they are also very different.
In this case, I recommend that you spend the extra cost for the upgraded in-screen controller – the DJI RC, as it eliminates the need to have your phone attached by a cable and cuts down on setup time.
With a 700nit 5.5-inch screen and 03+ video transmission technology, it’s a controller you can grow with and use with other 03+ systems such as the Air 2S or the Mavic 3 and who knows what else down the line.
Here we’ll go over the step-by-step process of linking/binding your controller to the DJI Mini 3.
How to Connect DJI Mini 3 to the Controller
- Power on the Controller and DJI Mini 3.
- Download the DJI Fly App if you don’t already have it on your mobile device (for those with the DJI RC, the DJI Fly App is preinstalled).
- Open the DJI Fly App and sign in. The DJI Fly App, on startup, should automatically check if there are any firmware updates available. If prompted, update to the latest version.
- In the lower right corner, you should see a button labeled “CONNECTION GUIDE.” Click on Connection Guide. This will open a scrollable menu featuring several drones. Scroll to the right until you find the DJI Mini 3. Select the DJI Mini 3.
- Once selecting this option, Tap on pair on the screen. This will initiate the controller’s linking/binding mode.
- With the controller ON and after initiating pairing, press and hold the Mini 3’s battery. The LEDs start blinking in succession, and the DJI Mini 3 starts beeping for about 4 seconds.
Once the beeping stops, you should now have successfully paired the drone and the controller and should be seeing the camera view on the screen.
Now, there will be times when this method fails.
A failure in the linking/binding will not only keep you from flying but, oh boy, it can also be frustrating as well. Here are some helpful tips if you find yourself in that horrible situation.
What if it doesn’t link/bind?
There’s nothing worse than getting everything out and finding that the aircraft and the controller need to be rebound together, and after following all the steps, you’re still not flying, and the controller and aircraft still aren’t bound.
Jee, whiz, what to do? Well, there could be some reasons for that process not working. So, let’s see if we can get you back into the air.
1. Check that aircraft and controller are powered on
When linking/binding, both the aircraft and the controller need to be powered on.
It’s such a simple thing, I know, and you’re probably saying. “That’s dumb, I know that.” Of course, you do.
The need to press the battery power button on the aircraft to initiate the Linking/Binding process can easily lead to accidentally powering the aircraft off.
There’s no shame in admitting it’s happened to you; it’s happened to all of us.
2. Keep controller and aircraft in close proximity
Be sure to have the controller and aircraft in close proximity to one another.
When looking to link/bind the Mini 3 and the controller together, be sure to be within 1.3m of one another. That’s straight from DJI themselves.
When you initiate the linking/binding process, there is a lot of communication that occurs between the controller and the aircraft, and in a very short period of time, by having the units close to one another, that communication is less likely to have anything interfere with it.
3. Move to a different area
Move to an area nearby and try the linking/binding process again.
The reasoning behind this is that during the linking/binding process, you want as direct of a link between the aircraft and the controller as possible to keep any outside interference from interacting with the signals being shared between the DJI Mini 3 and the controller.
By relocating, you may move away from any interference that may be interfering with the linking/binding process.
For example, perhaps you’re leaning against the wall of a very large steel building while trying to link/bind the Mini 3 and the controller together and everything seems like it’s fine, just not finishing the process.
Here the building itself may be causing too much interference, and moving away from the one and only spot of shade you found is needed to link/bind the two devices together.
Once linked/bound together, you can head back into the shade of the shadow of the building.
4. Update your firmware
Ensure you have the latest firmware version for all connected devices, on both the controller and the drone, as well as the Fly app and battery.
It can easily be overlooked, but always be sure you’re keeping that DJI Intelligent Flight battery up to date on its firmware as well. It’s usually an out-of-date battery firmware that’ll hold you up.
Also firmware related, you can refresh the firmware by connecting the drone to the DJI Assistant 2. Be sure you are using the right Assistant 2 app for the Mini 3.
Although rare with the DJI Fly App, as it usually checks the firmware upon starting up, you may have missed an update, or your current version may be corrupted.
In the DJI Assistant 2 App, you can reinstall the latest firmware and verify what version you’re using.
5. Remove the SD card and reboot
Remove the drone’s SD card and restart the drone to see if the problem has gone away. I know this one seems crazy, but it could be the source of a not linking/binding issue.
If the SD card is damaged, it may affect not only its ability to save data but the drone’s performance as well. I know it seems strange, but it is true.
A damaged SD card may not only affect how the aircraft performs during flight beyond the obvious loss of captured data. It could very well be the cause of the aircraft and controller not binding.
There’s a lot of interaction between the onboard systems and the SD card. Sometimes just reformatting the SD card will correct this type of issue.
Note: The thought to keep in mind, however, is the potential loss of data either now or down the road.
SD cards are capable of handling quite a bit. They can get damaged though, and just wear out after so many uses and reformatting.
I simply replace any SD card that shows any sign of failure as a best practice sort of thing. The data contained in them is the valuable part.
So, risking your data just isn’t worth the risk not only to the aircraft’s operation but to your bottom line as well.
Contact DJI support
If none of the above works, it would be time to make that dreaded call and contact DJI, as the issue may not be correctible from your end and may even be a hardware issue.
We also have to keep in mind that it’s two pieces. The fault could be in the controller, or in the aircraft. Either way, the device’s warranty should cover any repair/replacement cost.
DJI, as a company, stands behind every one of its products, from its action cameras to its most expensive drone systems. Having Care Refresh is a good idea for covering any damage, such as a crash or handling damage from bouncing around your backpack.
DJI does, however, offer warranty coverage on all of its products. This is pretty simple to understand. If you received a bad unit, they’ll take care of it and make it right.
It can be a hassle. Believe me, I know. I just went through this process myself. It wasn’t a Mini 3 issue, no. It was a Mavic 3 issue, and it took months to get DJI on board with fixing it.
Some of it was on my end, and the rest was on them. It’s really sort of a funny story, sort of.
Once we were able to get the proper information, the error code primarily to DJI, it went surprisingly easy after that. I sent in the M3, and within a few days, I was notified that they were sending out a new replacement.
Could the experience have been better? Sure it could have. It wasn’t awful, though, and like most times when dealing with large companies, it really did matter who you spoke with.
Overall, I’d grade them with a B+ or an A- on how they did. So, you can most likely expect similar.
All Bound Up!
As seen from the above troubleshooting section, most issues with linking/binding the controller and aircraft together stem from the firmware.
There’s a good reason for that, and that is that there is a whole bunch of information being sent back and forth between the controller and the aircraft during the linking/binding process.
If any of that information is wonky, the aircraft and the controller won’t link/bind together.
Suppose you’re familiar with mapping software such as DroneDeploy or Pix4D. In that case, you will know that before lifting off on a pre-programmed flight, the App and the Aircraft have to connect.
During this process, you can actually see the system checks that are occurring. There’s the link to the aircraft, the GPS, the map upload, and so forth.
When Linking/Binding, not only the DJI Mini 3 or any drone to a controller, these same sorts of checks are taking place between the aircraft and controller during that linking/binding sequence.
There’s just no visual being shared with us, the end user to see. It’s all behind the curtain, so to speak.
The controller and aircraft run through these checks, and if one fails, they do not Link/Bind together.
It’s these unseen system link checks that need to be all connected before you will receive the linked/bound notification or imaging on your screen.
As this is done wirelessly between the devices, there’s always the possibility of inference from surrounding sources and for the linking/binding to fail due to that interference.
Just as if you move the two devices too far apart while running the linking/binding process, and the temporary link drops out, just like a dropped cell call.
Whatever the reason for linking/binding failure, running through the above should get you buzzing around again in no time.
That is unless you had to make the call. Then you may have to do a bunch of other stuff before you are back in the air.
And by the way, these steps above will be part of that process, as many of these are the steps DJI will ask you to do to assist you in getting those devices linked/bound together.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!