Mavic Mini Return To Home – How Does It Really Work?
Now, return to home sounds like a really simple thing to do, and a lot of quads on the market brag about their return to home capabilities, but honestly, under the surface, there's a lot of sophisticated technology that has to work perfectly in concert to enable that feature On the Mavic mini alone, there's circuitry that's monitoring all those important functions like GPS, IMU, compass battery levels, signal strength back to the remote and all of those circuits together are what the quad uses to determine how it gets back to its takeoff point now, a few Things to remember on the Maverick Mini in particular, the first is it has to know where it took off. So when you first power up your quad and it's sitting on the mat, when you elevate off the mat, you should make sure that you've set your home point. You'Ll, know that because the application will say home point said. That means that the quad knows exactly where it took off so when it gets far down the field. If it needs to come home and you hit the return to home button or it's triggered automatically, it can find the exact spot. It took off another important thing to keep in mind is that you have to set a return to home height. Now the default is about 20 meters you're 60 feet if you're flying in a field with any size, trees you're going to run into a tree on the way back, because the Mavic mini doesn't have a crash avoidance system built in.
So the first thing I'll tell you before you ever test: the return to home is go into the application and set that return to home height at 150 or 200 feet. That way, you'll be sure to clear most obstacles you're flying near, but that's really important. The last thing I'll say is that there's a couple of different ways that return to home can be triggered. You can trigger it manually or certain conditions inside the drone will trigger it automatically and those are the safety features that will keep you from having the drone fly away on you or landing someplace, because the battery is too low, so there's really three different modes. They talked about four in the manual, but it really comes down to three. The first one is called smart return and that's, where the pilot triggers the return to home. You can do that by hitting the button here or hitting return to home button on the application. What that does is forces the quad to stop what it's doing elevate to your return to home height turn back towards the home point, fly back and then land now, unfortunately, the Mavic mini doesn't have precision landing so it's not going to land exactly where it took Off but it's going to come down within a couple of feet of where you actually took off and the nice part is, you can use the controller to sort of dial it in to land it back on that mat.
The other two modes are called failsafe mode and low battery mode, and both of those have nothing to do with the pilot and everything to do with the drone. So in the failsafe mode, the drone is constantly monitoring. Both the control signals from the controller to know that the pilots still in control, as well as the video feed from the drone back to the controller, if either of those fail for more than eleven seconds. The drone takes over triggers are returned to home and will actually fly back and land exactly where it took off. So failsafe is really important. The last one is low battery mode now. Low battery mode is something that occurs when that quad gets to a point where it's far enough away and there's only enough power left in the batteries to get it back to its home point and land and it's going to yell at you an awful lot. So when it gets to that point where it's saying I'm at a critical battery level, you better bring me back home, it's gon na start beeping like crazy. If you ignore that it's gon na trigger or return to home now you can cancel that. But if you cancel it in a low battery mode, it's, typically gon na land, wherever it happens, to be when the batteries run out so it's, always gon na have enough battery power to get it down from height to land it. But if that's over a lake it's over a forest or a field with really tall grass, you're gon na have a heck of a time trying to find your drone.
So those three modes are really important. Now I'm gon na take you outside the minute and show you how all three of those modes work I'm actually going to turn off the controller. To put it in failsafe mode. I'M. Gon na fly it down to a level where the battery's low enough, where it triggers its own low battery return to home and I'll, show you how to instigate it from a pilot perspective. But the key thing to remember, with return to home is it's. One of those safety features that will prevent flyaways it'll. Make sure that the drone, in conjunction with the pilot, is constantly monitoring all the circuits that matter inside the quad and if something inside the quad says I'm in a sketchy situation, because I've lost connection with the controller or my batteries are low. When the pilots, not paying attention it'll, take over trigger that return to home and bring it safely back to that takeoff point now, if you stay tuned, I'll take you out in the field and actually show you how all three of these work then I'll come back With some conclusions at the end now I'll demonstrate the three different return to home scenarios, but before we get started, there are a few things to keep in mind and the first one is the golden rule of flying any time. You'Re going to fly your quad. Take a breath never rush into a flight, always let the quad boot up.
Let the controller boot up make sure you have a strong connection between the two that gives the quad a few minutes to acquire the GPS satellites to know exactly where it's setting, because if you trigger that return to home – or it happens as part of an emergency, The quad really needs to know where to come back to it needs to know its takeoff point and the only way it can figure that out is by having those GPS coordinates locked at the point of takeoff, so I've already booted up the quad and the controller They'Re connected the next thing you want to be sure of is that you have a good number of GPS satellites and the way you can check that is in the upper right hand, corner of the screen there's a couple of dots up there. If you hit that it'll list, how many satellites you have right now, I have 14, which is more than enough to give that quad a 3d spatial picture of where it's sitting on the planet. So it can find its way back home. The first one I'm going to demonstrate is called Smart return to home and that's the one where the pilot actually triggers the return to home event and that's a great one to have. Because if you're flying somewhere and you lose sight of the quad you're, not sure exactly where it is or maybe you're getting too close to trees or something like that, you can hit the return to home button on the controller or you can hit that little circle.
With the H in it on the actual application and that'll trigger the return to home now before I take off, the other thing I want to check is my return to home height, because you have an adjustment you can make on that. You can't really go below 60 feet, which, for this field would be a disaster, because if I was over there behind those trees, it would rise to 60 feet and try to come home and it would clip those trees on the way back, so I've set it At 60, feet right now just to demonstrate to try to keep it in frame because I'm gon na send it straight across the field. But you definitely want to set your return to home height well above any obstacle in the area. So in this field, I'd probably put it at 120 or 150 feet, so it would clear all the trees on its way back. You have to remember that, unlike a lot more sophisticated quads, the Mavic mini doesn't have any crash avoidance, whereas some of the other quads that are smarter, if you set it too low and it sees an obstacle, it'll stop and typically go over it and continue its Route home, but in this case, if you don't, set a height it's, going to stop at 60 feet and then come home and again that could be a problem in the field. So let me put it up and I'll: send it down field now I'm.
Gon na keep it kind of low, so you can see it and I'll get it out there a little bit make sure it's out more than 20 meters, all right so it's pretty far out now. What I'm gon na do is trigger the return of home. By holding this button, you'll hear it start beeping all right now, right now, it's rising in the sky up to should stop at 60 feet, let's see what happens and it's still facing the direction. It was all right, I'm, at 60, feet now, it's turning back towards me and it's, coming back at an incredibly fast clip, so it's gon na, probably hopefully stop right. Above me, all right, slowing down there we go and it's figured out its figured out its 3d position in the sky and now it's descending. Now it doesn't have a precision landing yet on the return to home, but it's coming down just nice here, nice and slow and it's, making some minor adjustments as it's coming down so it's, not quite right over the mat. The nice part about that safety return to home is, I have control over it. So as it gets closer to the mat, I can see I'm going to be off a little bit so I'm, going to back it up and I'll move it to the one side. Back it up a little bit more move it to the other side, and you can kind of guide it in to make sure that you get it on the mat which I'm pretty close on right there.
There we go and that's it that's pretty much. The safety return to home and that's the one that I'll occasionally use it again, if I have lost sight of it or if all of a sudden I realize I'm over behind those trees, and I shouldn't really be. I got to keep a visual and a sight on it, but if it gets away from me, I can hit the return. A home it'll go high enough. Where I can see it, then I could abort the return to home and actually fly it where I need to so that's a really handy one to have and one that I recommend new pilots get familiar with, because if you get close to an obstacle that may Be something you want to trigger to get it back home safely now stay tuned, then I'll show you the other two. This next mode is called failsafe return to home and, as that name implies it's one of the many safety features built into the Mavic mini to help prevent flyaways. It automatically triggers whenever the connection between your remote controller and the drone is gone for more than eleven seconds. Now that can be the control signals from the remote to the drone or the video feedback from the drone and it's almost like the drone is pushing the return to home button, because it's lost connection to the person flying and that's a really good thing. So it immediately will elevate to your return to home height and fly home, just as if you hit the button it's just that the drone is setting the button.
So I'll demonstrate straight that now by sending the drone down field and then shutting off the remote control, which is simulating a loss of connection between the two. What I expect will happen and I'm actually hoping will happen, is it'll elevate. The 60 feet fly over top and then land down here now I won't be able to actually adjust the landing so it's gon na come down somewhere in the grass over here, but let's give it a shot all right. So let me spin up the props: send it down field again, I'll, try and keep it in frame. As long as I can all right. I'Ve got good GPS connections I'm. Now, turning off the remote remote sawed off should take about eleven seconds for it to realize it, and once it realizes I'm no longer talking to it, it's gon na elevate to sixty feet there. It goes alright, so it's going up. I can't tell how high it is that's about sixty feet. Okay, it stopped spinning around and it's gon na fly back and better stop right here. Alright it's coming back pretty quick. Now remember the GPS. Coordination is in the drone. It knows where it's going alright, so it stopped right over top of the mat and it's coming down now, I'm, not gon na turn the remote back on its off this whole time, but it's going to come down somewhere in the grass here. So it may be. A little a little messy when it lands yep it's coming straight down over the mat, seems like it's a little bit farther side but again.
For me, the beauty of this is that I've lost connection. The drone realizes that, after about 10 seconds and says I better get back to where we took off – and here she is right here now I could hand catch that and turn it off, but I'm gon na. Let it land down here cuz the grass isn't that high so that's your failsafe return to home that's a really good feature to have, because a lot of people that are flying drones worried that if the connection gets broken or they run out of battery on their Remote that the drones just gon na fly off somewhere else and the truth is it won't, because it realizes I'm not talking to a pilot. Maybe I ought to take charge and get back to where we started so that's exactly what happens with that? Failsafe return to home, the third mode is called low. Battery return to home, which is a great safety feature that automatically triggers when the power level of the drone is just high enough to get it back to its takeoff point now. That can happen for any number of reasons. For example, if you're at an abuse, laughter noon like this and you're flying your drone, you're not paying attention to the battery level, and it gets to a point where it becomes critical and the drone realizes hey I've got just enough power to make it back to The takeoff mat – maybe I to let the pilot know like that then I'm, at a critical power level.
Once you hear that beeping you have a couple of choices, you can turn it around and spin it back, which is what I recommend you do. If you ignore this for a period of time, what's going to happen is the drones gon na take charge and it's gon na actually force it return to home from the drone, so I'll. Let this thing timeout and we'll see what happens. Essentially, it should elevate to that 60 feet, which is what I've set it at the return to home height spin around and head back home. Now, if you decide to ignore this and continue to fly because I can cancel it, it's gon na land, wherever it lands when power is low enough for it to force it to land. So I could fly it back now, but I'm gon na. Let the returned to home take over it's, now elevated to 60 feet, it's spinning around just like it did, and only other scenarios and it's heading back and that's, telling me I'm at a really critical power level and a danger here is if you're flying on a Really windy day, there may not be enough power to fly into the wind to get it back, but today it's, pretty calm, alright, so we're at 60 feet right over the landing, mat and it's coming down. Now the beauty is, if you let this, handle the remote or return to home for you, you can actually still navigate as it's coming down so it's descending right now, we'll get close to the mat and then I can actually use the sticks to make sure I Land, it correctly, but I love that safety feature, because it ensures that if I'm not paying attention – and I should be – but if you take your eye off it for a little bit, you may not that it's going to come, find its home point and land.
So it sort of protects me as a pilot from being a goofy guy, and you can see how I can control it on the landing and there you go so again, home, safe and sound. I love these safety features built into the quad because they prevent flyaways. They make sure that I'm not going to lose a drone in the tree, because the battery level got too low and I wasn't paying attention all things considered: it's an incredibly smart drone, one other really important thing to keep in mind with all three of these return To home modes is that the drone needs to be at least 20 meters or about 60 feet away from its takeoff point for them to work correctly, if you're closer than that and the return to home is triggered in any of those scenarios. Instead of that, drone elevating to its return to home, finding its home point and then landing it'll, just land, and that can be really dangerous. If you're flying near tall grass or over water and you're thirty feet offshore and a return to home is triggered it you're. Gon na expect it to go up and find its home point and it's gon na go down towards the water. Now the good news is, you can abort the return to home. You can control it manually, so you can bring it in, but it's really important. You know that and I'll demonstrate it now so I'll spin up the rotors I'll, send it down feel about thirty feet now trigger the return to home here on the controller and I'm, expecting it to go up and look what's happening, it's heading down now, if that's Tall grass or water that's a really bad situation, so I'm gon na cancel the return to home and again I can fly it manually and it's, not really that big a deal, because if you're far enough away where you can barely see it, it's going to go Through return to home, but again, if you're on the edge of a shore or a field with tall grass and you're, not paying attention to it, you're looking for it to go up and the things going down, it's going to land in that tall grass and really Tear up those propeller so just be mindful of that.
I hope you found those examples. Helpful and return to home is one of those wonderful functions. That'S built into Mavic made that you typically only find in more sophisticated drones. Now again, it doesn't have precision landing like some of the larger Mavericks do, but it comes down close enough to your takeoff point where you can take control from the joysticks and actually land it right in the mat like I showed you in a couple of those Examples I love the fact that the quad is smart enough to sort of. Second guess me as a pilot, because you're supposed to keep track of all the stuff that's going on like battery levels and signal strength, but you can get excited out in the field you're flying the thing around and all of a sudden, you realize I'm at 15 Battery and I'm way down the field. I better get back here so it's nice that it lets. You know, hey Rick, you should be paying attention, but I'm downfield and I'm running out of battery. I love that. I also love the fact that it's smart enough to get back to the take off point and then still allow me to land it. A lot of the other quads take over control at that point, so they're gon na fly back and come down wherever they happen. To land and if you're flying it like, I was today in a field and I've got a Matt down with a lot of tall grass around it.
I really want to have control over that drone when it's descending, so I can dial it right in on the Matt. So I love that feature inside the drone. It is a little bit different than some of the other drones that I fly. So I hope I explained it well enough for you guys to understand it. If I've missed anything or you have questions about it, please drop those in the comments below and I'll get back to quickly, as I can. If you need accessories for your mafic mini, we have a ton of accessories available for this product. I'Ve actually got the leg extensions on it now, which is something I love because again, if I'm landing it in grass I'd like to have a little bit extra clearance. Underneath it, but if you need accessories to help, you fly a little bit safer, a little bit more fun when you're out in the field, I've got a link below as well that'll. Take you to our website. You can check that stuff out there.