The DJI Mini 3 Pro drone currently remains one of the best drones assembled with many features packed in under 250 grams, including avoidance sensors and the ability for the drone to ‘Return to Home’ safely.
What is Return to Home, and how does it work on DJI Mini 3 Pro?
The Return to Home feature is a failsafe mechanism where your DJI Mini 3 Pro drone will return to the take-off point automatically, or to the pilot/RC position in case the signal of the drone is lost, the drone has a low battery, or when the pilot manually activates it.
This feature has been a lifesaver for many drone pilots and nowadays is part of almost all DJI drones, including the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
But what else do we need to know, and what are the best configurations and safe ways to use the return-to-home function on the DJI Mini 3 Pro?
Return to Home function for DJI Mini 3 Pro, explained in detail
The return to home function is nowadays an essential feature of any drone, including the DJI Mini 3 Pro, which will use satellites to keep track of the drone’s location, to meter accuracy, and safely return to the home point location.
DJI Mini 3 Pro has GPS + Galileo + BeiDou to ensure precise location on the map every second and for the RTH function to be as autonomous as possible.
Compared to a few years back, nowadays, to bring your drone back home and land, you have to press only one button: the RTH button.
As technology evolves, we will expect better precision and accuracy of this function, although today, the return to home on the DJI Mini 3 Pro is doing exceptionally well.
The return to home function will work when initiated, where it will ascend the drone to the Auto RTH Altitude you have set and follow a direct path towards the take-off (home) point.
Then the drone will land by itself with fantastic accuracy, typically being +/-0.5m from the take-off point.
What is the Home Point in the RTH function?
The home point is usually the starting location where you launch the drone.
From the moment you turn on your drone until you take off, the DJI Mini 3 Pro will attempt to connect to a decent number of satellites and automatically set that specific location as the home point.
It is essential always to check the home point location to see if it’s updated before you launch the drone.
How you do that, you go to the map in the bottom left corner of your screen and tap on it. You should see the aircraft icon near you.
Moreover, a notification should always appear: “Home point location has been updated.”
Before you launch your drone, the next step is to check that the top right corner of the screen shows enough satellites. This will ensure the proper functionality of the return-to-home feature.
How would you know how many satellites are enough for the RTH function?
A few to a dozen will be enough. Always ensure that the satellite icon on the screen is NOT red.
If it is, don’t take off. Not yet, at least.
How is the Return to Home initiated on DJI Mini 3 Pro drone?
To answer this question, we have to understand that there are three types of RTH:
- Manual Return to Home
- Fail-safe Return to Home
- Low Battery Return to Home
Manual return to home (initiate yourself)
You can initiate your DJI Mini 3 Pro drone to return to the take-off point using either the RTH button on the controller or the screen.
Long press the Return to Home button on the DJI RC, and the drone automatically turns around and starts coming towards the home point. Pressing it again will cancel the Return to Home.
The button on the screen will open a pop-up window that asks you to either land or return to home – press and hold Return to Home to initiate it.
Fail-safe Return to Home (get disconnected)
If you lose the signal to the drone, the drone will stop and hover for three seconds and then automatically initiate the return to home function.
The return to home will continue even if you acquire a signal back unless the drone is home or you cancel it manually.
If the controller battery dies or you turn off the controller, the drone will also initiate the return to home failsafe and bring back and land your drone safely at your take-off location or set home point.
Please remember that the drone will ascend to the set RTH Altitude before it starts flying toward home, even if it’s close to you.
Low Battery Return to Home
When your DJI Mini 3 Pro battery becomes low, the drone will auto-initiate the ‘Return to Home’ to safely bring your drone back to the home point before the battery is completely depleted.
This function can be canceled mid-flight but at tremendous risk of not being able to return your drone safely anymore.
Note: The wind speed and distance will also affect when your DJI Mini 3 Pro automatically initiates the Return to Home function. You should NEVER override it.
The farther you fly your DJI Mini 3 Pro, the sooner this will initiate.
You can find out a few details about the low-battery return-to-home function:
Click on the RC screen, on the percentage battery left. You will see a detailed graph on how long until forced RTH will be initiated, how long until forced landing, and also until the battery is completely depleted.
What’s the range of the return-to-home feature?
There is no specific range to know when the return to home will either be initiated by loss of signal, low battery, or manual.
The RTH function will work at any distance; it could be either 30 meters from you or 3 kilometers.
The only important part is for the DJI Mini 3 Pro to keep the signal with satellites for the feature to work.
Best practices for Return to Home function on your DJI Mini 3 Pro
Things can happen, and we can unwittingly change a few settings that will affect the return-to-home function of your DJI Mini 3 Pro drone.
Do not deactivate the RTH function. It should be set ON by default. Still, double-check before your first flight with the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone.
Please ensure that the RTH home point is set to take off point if you have a static location or to return to RC if you move while you are flying your drone (e.g., flying from a moving boat)
You can also change it while the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone is in the air. Go to Settings > Update Home Point and then choose one of the following options:
- Set home point to aircraft
- Set home point to Remote controller
Drag and drop the home point location on the map for manual home point adjustment, if needed.
Set Return to Home altitude before you launch your drone.
You can set it in Settings > Safety > Auto RTH altitude > set it taller than the tallest obstacle around you.
I personally always keep it higher than needed, at around 80-100 meters.
What else should we know about the Return to Home function of the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone?
- The obstacle avoidance action should permanently be set to “bypass.”
- The return to home feature will accurately work once it acquires at least the signal of a few satellites before launching your drone – because you will have your home point set before you take off.
- The home point is also shown on the maps in the bottom left corner. Always double-check it before you take off.
- Do not manually update the landing location unless you change your position.
- DJI Mini 3 Pro does not have precision landing; therefore, it is possible to have small error margins and the drone to land not quite on the home point.
- The Return to Home function may only be completed if the area is suitable for landing.
- You will get a pop-up on the screen, and the landing will be canceled a meter or so above the ground if it’s unsafe to land (e.g., tall grass).
- If there are not enough satellites, please remember that the return to home may not function correctly or at all.