All You Want to Know About Repair FPV Drone

Updated on
All you want to know about repair FPV drones blog cover

Crashes. Failures. Malfunctions. It happens to the best of us. That’s just part of the thrill of FPV drone flying. In this complete guide, I’ll walk you through all the options for repairing your FPV drone, from Do-It-Yourself techniques to professional services. We’ve got you covered whether you just need to replace a prop or two or you’re dealing with a full-blown flight controller failure.

First step: troubleshooting and DIY repair

When something goes wrong with your drone, the first step is always to troubleshoot and try to diagnose the problem yourself. Understanding the Issue will determine if it’s something you can fix at home or if you need to seek professional repair.

Arm yourself with knowledge

Troubleshooting starts with arming yourself with the right repair knowledge. Here are some great educational resources to get the DIY process going:

  • Manufacturer Documentation: Check the user guides and support sites from DJI, Eachine, BetaFPV, and others. They often have troubleshooting tips and walkthroughs for common issues.
  • Drone Repair Courses: If you’re interested in learning more about drone repair, Udemy has inexpensive courses that teach everything from soldering to flight controller repair.
  • Forums & Communities: Places like RCGroups and /r/Multicopter are full of repair wisdom from experienced FPV pilots.
  • FPV Drone Repair Videos: YouTube is packed with step-by-step drone repair tutorials like the below BetaFPV drone guide.
5 Troubleshooting Tips to Get Your Drone Flying!

The DIY fix

Once you understand the problem, it’s time to try your hand at repairing it yourself if possible. Here are some best practices to follow for safe, effective DIY drone fixes:

  • Disconnect the Battery: Always remove power before doing any work on your drone to avoid shorts and electric shocks.
  • Secure the Drone: Use clamps, vices, or foam stands to keep the drone steady as you work on it.
  • Clean the Components: Use compressed air and isopropyl alcohol to clean dust and debris from circuits before repairing them.
  • Follow ESD Safety: Ground yourself with an antistatic wrist strap and work on an anti-static mat when handling flight controllers and other sensitive electronics.
  • Double Check Connections: Make sure all connectors and wires are securely attached after finishing a repair. Loose plugs cause many issues.
  • Test Thoroughly: Do a full suite of tests hovering at low altitude before attempting to fly or race your drone after a major repair.

If you don’t have the technical skill or confidence to safely perform a complex repair yourself, move on to the professional repair options below. But for minor issues like replacing props, antennas, or doing motor swaps, DIY is the fast and frugal choice.

Seeking professional drone repair services

For major repairs beyond your mechanical abilities or available parts, it’s best to seek professional FPV drone repair services. Here are your options:

Local hobby shops

The go-to choice for many pilots is their local hobby shop. If you’re lucky enough to have a nearby RC hobby store specializing in drones and FPV gear, search for repair help there.

Benefits of hobby shop drone repair:

  • Technicians with experience across many quad brands and models.
  • Fast turnarounds, sometimes same-day service.
  • Often have a selection of spare parts in stock.
  • Support a local business and community.

Downsides to be aware of:

  • Inconsistent skill levels – Some hobby shop techs are better than others.
  • Limited to shop hours for drop-off and pickup.
  • Can lack repair support for less common drones.

Ask fellow pilots in your area for recommendations on the most respected FPV drone specialty hobby shops.

Drone repair businesses

In recent years, drone-focused repair shops have been popping up to meet the growing need. These businesses cater specifically to multicopters and FPV racers.

Dedicated drone repairers offer:

  • Expert technicians trained explicitly on drones.
  • Experience with the full range of consumer and racing quads.
  • Faster service since drones are their entire business.
  • Online mail-in repair options.

The downside is availability – since this industry is still young, there are only a handful of well-known dedicated drone repair companies so far.

Top names in this niche like Drone Plus.

Their skilled technicians are well-versed in every facet of drone maintenance, from firmware updates to fixing motors and cameras. Whether you fly drones professionally or just for fun, Drone Plus team is equipped to swiftly diagnose any issue without charging you a dime.

Drone manufacturer service centers

For drones still under warranty, contacting the manufacturer is always a smart move. Major consumer drone brands like DJI, Autel, and Parrot have authorized service centers that can provide professional repairs covered under warranty.

Benefits of sending your drone back to the manufacturer:

  • Expert technicians specifically trained on that drone model.
  • OEM replacement parts guaranteed to integrate properly.
  • Repairs are covered under warranty at no additional cost.

Downsides to be aware of:

  • Lengthy turnaround times – repairs can take weeks.
  • Voided warranties if you damaged specific components by opening the drone.
  • Repairs are painfully expensive after the warranty expires.

Local electronics repair shops

Don’t rule out your neighborhood electronics repair shop for drone fixes. The more reputable, long-established ones with experienced technicians onboard offer a few advantages:

  • Shorter lines and wait times compared to big box stores.
  • Much cheaper rates than brand name service centers.
  • Techs are skilled at precision soldering and circuit diagnoses.

Just be wary of shops with no specific drone expertise. And make sure to research reviews before handing your quad over.

Online drone repair services

Can’t find good local drone repair options? No problem! You can get professional repairs via mail from the online services like DroneNerds.

DroneNerds’s repair service offers cost-effective flat-rate pricing, making it affordable for customers. While specializing in DJI drones, they are also capable of servicing other brands. Moreover, they provide the convenience of free shipping both ways, including a prepaid shipping label.

But when using an online mail-in repair service, make sure to pack your drone securely according to their guidelines to prevent any damage during shipping. It’s also wise to invest in shipping insurance to protect against potential transit losses or damages. Additionally, always inquire about the estimated turnaround time before sending it in.

Consider DIY drone repair

If you have the skills and confidence, DIY drone repair can be fast, fun, and save money.

Top tips for successful DIY FPV drone fixes:

Get the right tools

Having quality tools suitable for small electronics work makes a huge difference for DIY repairs. Useful items include:

  • Soldering iron with fine tip
  • Multimeter for diagnosing faults
  • Metric hex driver sets for dismantling quads
  • Anti-static tweezers, mat, and bracelet
  • Magnifying lamp for working on small components
Tools & Supplies for FPV

Learn soldering skills

Expert soldering is essential if you’ll be repairing things like loose motor pads or damaged battery leads. Invest time into practicing your technique before tackling important repairs.

Recommended soldering improvement tips:

  • Use leaded solder instead of lead-free – it melts at a lower temperature.
  • Get a soldering iron with adjustable temperature – start cooler with sensitive parts.
  • Use quality flux cleans surfaces and helps solder flow into joints.
  • Watch YouTube tutorials on proper soldering methods from makers like Dave Jones of EEVBlog.
  • Solder and desolder scrap wires and PCBs to hone your skills before moving to drone components.

Know your quad inside out

FPV quads come in an endless variety of frame layouts, each with their own repair quirks. Studying your specific drone model’s unique mechanics, wiring, and component locations will make repairs much smoother.

Ways to intimately familiarize yourself with a new quad:

  • Slowly disassemble and reassemble it, carefully noting how everything connects.
  • Examine HD photos of its guts, such as those in repair tutorials.
  • Probe around with a multimeter to understand the electrical pathways.
  • Consult detailed schematics if available from the manufacturer.

Having the confidence to repair your own drones is incredibly rewarding. But it does require developing specialized skills and knowledge first. Dive into these DIY preparation steps before attempting repairs on your prized racing or freestyle quad!

FPV drone repair costs – what to expect

A crashed racing drone or busted commercial camera quad can be a major investment to repair. Understanding typical FPV drone repair costs helps you budget and make the best choice – DIY fix vs. professional repair.

Here’s an overview of average repair expenses for common drone issues:

  • Broken propellers: $3 to $10 per replacement prop.
  • Burnt out motors: $15 to $35 for a new motor. Higher for premium brands.
  • Cracked frame arm: $15 to $50 for replacement carbon fiber or 3D printed arms.
  • Stripped/broken screws & bolts: $2 to $10 for replacement hardware kits.
  • Broken camera/VTX: $25 to $100+ depending on model. More for high-end FPV cameras.
  • Damaged flight controller: $40 to $300+ depending on the FC. Higher cost for separate gyro and OSD boards.
  • Fried ESCs: $15 to $100+ per burned out ESC depending on amperage rating and features.
  • Lost drone recovery: Hourly rates apply. Can range from $75 to $250+ for multi-hour searches in difficult terrain.
  • Full repairs: Anywhere from $100 to $1000+ depending on damage extent and replacement part costs.

Labor rates to service or install the replaced components typically add $50 and up per hour on top of part costs.

As you can see, repairs for critical components like ESCs and flight controllers can get expensive in a hurry. This is where having DIY repair skills really pays off!

Getting your drone ready for repair

Whether you’re fixing it yourself or sending your FPV drone to a professional, it’s essential to prepare correctly to ensure a hassle-free repair.

Gather info on the issue

First, document the problem in detail. Record any flight incidents before the issue arose. If you have blackbox logs, go through them to spot any irregularities. Take pictures of any noticeable damage to the drone. To narrow down the exact problem, try to replicate the issue through bench testing. Providing a detailed report of the issue can speed up the diagnostic process once your drone is at the repair shop.

Back up configurations

Before sending your drone in, remember to back up all its settings. Save the flight controller firmware version, rates, PID tuning, and other essential parameters. Also, jot down the radio trim and switch settings. This ensures you can easily revert to your preferred settings once repairs are done.

Remove props and batteries

For safety, always remove the propellers and disconnect or take out any LiPo batteries before shipping. This step reduces potential hazards during the drone’s shipping or handling.

Clean and examine your drone thoroughly

Use compressed air to clear out any accumulated dust or debris. Look over wires, connectors, and other components for any damage. Ensure there’s no loose hardware or parts that might have led to the malfunction. A clean drone helps in identifying issues and ensures nothing is missed.

Package securely

Lastly, when packing your drone for shipping, do so with care. Cushion the drone using foam pads or bubble wrap, paying special attention to protruding parts like antennas or camera mounts. Once the drone is wrapped, place it in a sturdy shipping box with added padding. Label the box with “Fragile” to alert handlers to handle with care. Proper packing avoids any extra damage during transit.

Trust me, these practice guidelines can help repair technicians in swiftly identifying faults and ensures a seamless repair process from beginning to end. Putting in the effort for pre-repair diligence truly pays off!

Repair tips to save your time and money

Learning a few key troubleshooting and maintenance habits will minimize the need for repairs and give you the best chance at quick problem resolution when issues do occur.

  • Inspect and replace props regularly: Cracked, unbalanced, or undersized props lead to vibration issues and even mid-flight collisions with other props. Change them before they cause damage.
  • Check all hardware: Over time, screws and connectors can work loose from vibrations. Check them periodically and use blue threadlocker on essential screws.
  • Monitor battery health: A puffed or deteriorating LiPo may deliver reduced voltage sagging under loads. Replace aging batteries.
  • Analyze blackbox logs: Review logs after any odd flight behavior to identify problems while they’re still small.
  • Learn to solder: Being able to solder wires, connectors, and new components will get you out of many jams. It’s a fundamental DIY repair skill.
  • Have spare parts on hand: Keep common replacement parts like motors, ESCs, and props on hand to minimize down time. Stock up on your drone’s wear items.
  • Ask for help: Don’t waste hours guessing – the experts of Reddit and RC forums can quickly identify issues from a few photos and flight details.


Final words

I hope this guide has prepared you to breathe new life into your broken FPV drones! Just take your time, follow the proper procedures, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. You’ll have that racing quad zipping through bandos again in no time.

Did you like this article? Rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Photo of author

Written By Kristen Ward

My name is Kristen R. Ward. I’m an adventure Filmmaker and I run a production company based out of New York. FPV drones are integral to my business. I'll be teaching you everything I've learned over the years creating videos for clients.

Leave a Comment

RChobby Lab