I think we all agree when I say that flying your drone is one of the best feelings there is… the sense of freedom it gives us is probably what made most of us become addicted to the drone world.
Sometimes though, we just want more… More functionality, more options. Basically, more freedom. So if you’ve ever wondered whether you can squeeze out more features from your drone, you’re in the right place because in this article we’ll talk about how you can “hack” your drone – so you can do things with it most people aren’t able to.
Yes you can! Now, before you get any ideas about breaking the law, I should clarify that when I say "hack," I’m not talking about anything illegal. Instead, I’m referring to using third-party apps or techniques to unlock hidden functionalities on your DJI drone. This can include things like bypassing geofencing or removing FCC limits - all perfectly legal (and totally awesome) ways to enhance your drone's capabilities.
So let’s get to it!
So how do you squeeze more features out of your DJI drone? That’s usually done through either third-party apps or official DJI apps like the DJI Assistant 2. Just be careful to avoid scams or apps that don't work as advertised - you don't want to waste your time or risk damaging your drone.
There are many fake softwares out there that are really just malwares…
Once you’ve “hacked” your DJI drones, things get really interesting – some of the features you can access include enhanced camera settings, extended flight time, and improved control. Imagine being able to get crystal clear footage from your drone, or flying for twice as long as you normally could (almost). The sky (literally and figuratively) is the limit!
Not all functions of your DJI drone are set in stone, here are some things that can be changed or bypassed through the use of other apps/software.
In 2013 DJI first introduced the concept of no-fly zones and then three years later announced the GEO system.
The reason for why DJI introduced this geolocking feature is likely because of legal liability. After all, if they explicitly stop you from flying over an illegal zone and you intentionally find a way to circumvent that restriction, you’ll have yourself to blame while DJI won’t be held liable.
DJI’s Geofencing uses GPS signals to keep your drone out of restricted flying zones like airports, prisons, and other places where security is a concern, this can be optional or required.
DJI drones can’t take off or be flown without permission in certain regions, which are referred to as “geofenced”.
I’ve gone into how to unlock geofencing on your drone in detail in another article, so be sure to check that out!
This is similar to Geofencing, just a little more specific. And NFZ is also a no fly zone, it’s just that these can appear at any moment without prior notice – for example, an area that was once okay to fly in can suddenly become an NFZ if it’s going to be used for military purposes.
Altitude limits are as the name suggests, as you may already know there is an altitude limit in the U.S of 400 ft – usually you can’t fly above that even if you wanted to, but through bypassing that restriction you can!
To adjust the height limit on a DJI drone, go to the Main Controller Settings, and there you will see Max altitude. Here you can select a height limit ranging from 20 meters up to 500 meters, or 1640 feet. The default setting is 120 meters.
I’m sure you already know about flight modes. Basically there is the CE (worldwide mode) and the FCC (the one used in the U.S & Canada).
The CE mode has a lot of restrictions that are hard to bypass, while the FCC is a little more lax when it comes to restrictions.
The video below shows you exactly how to shift your drone from CE mode (worldwide power level) to FCC mode (US, CA power level). No more trying to use “fake GPS” to get yourself to the US or other similar “tricks''!
To change your drone’s hard coded parameters, you usually had to go through DJI Assistant 2’s debug mode and change them – which to non tech-savvy people was a real chore.
Apps like Drone-Hacks make that far easier. Drone-Hacks contains a robust parameter editor allowing changes to hundreds of settings hidden from you.
No more trying to mess around with “debug mode” using the old DJI Assistant that only supports older drones.
There are many ways in which you can squeeze out extra options from your DJI drone. For most people that’s unneeded, but if you’re like me and like to tinker with things, sooner or later you’ll find yourself searching for drone “hacks” to bring the most out of your drone.
Remember though, accessing hidden functionality on your DJI drone can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it's also important to carefully research and choose a reliable app or technique. As always, happy flying!