When DJI first briefed us on their one-handed Motion Controller, we were confused why it wouldn’t be available for all DJI drones. We respect that it launches as an exclusive controller for the DJI FPV drone, but why? The answer is simple, it changes the way you fly your drone.
All of us seasoned Mavic pilots are familiar with the two-stick videogame-style drone controller, well, the Motion Controller has no sticks. Let’s explore.
DJI Motion Controller overview
The first thing you need to know about the DJI Motion Controller is that it is designed for one-handed operation. That’s pretty obvious when looking at it. For those of you familiar with piloting a drone, you know there’s a delicate balance of controls required, often you’ll use two hands, and as many as six fingers working in unison to accomplish a delicate flight procedure. So, how can one-handed operation even be possible, particularly without any joysticks?
This is where I’ll ask you to stop for a moment. Us seasoned Mode 2 GPS drone pilots will have to re-wire our brains to use the new remote. The Motion Controller simply does not operate a drone like we are used to.
The left stick on a typical remote provides altitude and yaw controls. The right stick provides forward/backward and side-to-side motion controls. The Motion Controller does only half of that, providing forward movement, yaw control, and adjusting your angle of attack. That is, the Motion Control just turned your quadcopter into a fixed-wing RC airplane.
DJI Motion Controller operation
Don’t worry, DJI provides lots of information on how to use the Motion Controller. There’s a tutorial in the FPV Goggles V2 when you connect, there’s written documentation, and you can always come back here.
Buttons and switches on the remote:
- Accel trigger
- Tilt slider
- Record button
- Lock button
- Mode button
- Brake button
- Power button
What the buttons do, by operation:
- Power on and off — Use the familiar two-click tap and hold technique on the Power button.
- Connect to the drone — If your remote is not yet connected to your drone, simultaneously press and hold the Power button on both the remote and the controller at the same time, they’ll pair, then fire up the tutorial in the FPV headset.
- Take-off — Double-click the Lock button to arm the propellers. Then, long press the Lock button to take-off. The drone will come to a hover a few feet off the ground.
- Land — Double click the Lock button again.
- Brakes and RTH — Before we show you how to go anywhere, you should know about the “Stop” button. Tap the big Brake button once to bring the drone to an immediate halt, it will hover in place. Long press the Brake button to initiate the Return to Home function.
- Photos and video — The Tilt slider controls the camera Gimbal. Long press the Record button to change between phot and video capture, then tap the Record button to take your photo or start/stop video recording.
Finally, how to fly:
The DJI Motion Controller is gyroscopically controlled, this means it is important that you keep the remote upright during operation. There is a green-dot target in the FPV goggles that shows you the orientation of the remote, use that as one tool to help keep things in control. Please practice movements with the remote before you launch the drone.
- Move forward — The Accel trigger is your forward motion control. Start slow, depress the trigger until the drone is moving forward at your desired pace. Remember, you cannot move backwards, plan your flight!
- Turning — Tilt the controller left and right to make the drone turn (spin) left and right. The remote does not offer a strafing mode, but you can spin in place.
- Altitude control — Tilt the controller up and down to control the vertical direction of the drone. The remote does not offer a method to go straight up and down, you are simply changing the angle of attack for when the drone is in forward motion, like an airplane.
Remember, no matter how or what you fly, you have to follow the drone laws in your area
Should I buy the DJI Motion Controller?
The DJI Motion Controller is a unique and fun way to control your drone. At launch, the remote only works with the DJI FPV drone, because that’s the only drone that officially supports the new flight modes used by the new remote.
If you are buying the FPV drone, we think the Motion Controller is totally worth the $199 price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions
At this time, the DJI Motion Controller only works with the DJI FPV drone. While it is a very fun way to operate a drone, it lacks many of the navigational tools required for a successful camera drone flight.
At this time, the SDJI Motion Controller is only supported on the DJI FPV drone. Though, savvy users may be able to get connected through third-party apps.
The original MSRP was US$199. Watch for frequent sales of 5-10% off the MSRP.