The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the latest addition to DJI’s famous sub 250g line. These drones weigh less than 250 grams and hence don’t need drone registration with the FAA.
The new DJI Mini 3 Pro is a very capable drone with all the cutting-edge features, including a long range transmission.
Today, we are going to discuss the DJI Mini 3 Pro range and see how far it can go from the controller without losing signal strength.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro has a maximum range of 12km (7.5 miles) when you are in an open area with no interference and obstacles. It uses the newest DJI transmission system – OcuSync 3.0.
However, physical obstacles, signal interferences, and local regulations limit how much distance the drone can actually travel.
Real life experience of early Mini 3 users have a lot of different views where some have claimed very poor range experience. Read this blog till end to fully know.
DJI Mini 3 Pro Range
When we talk about how far can the Mini 3 Pro fly in flight range, it can mean two things:
- How far can the drone receive transmission signal from the remote controller (transmission range)
- How far can the drone go from the remote controller before running out of power (battery range)
Let’s discuss both and see how the DJI Mini 3 Pro performs on both of these.
1. Transmission Range
The DJI Mini 3 Pro uses the proprietary DJI transmission protocol called Ocusync 3.0, which has a theoretical range of 12 km.
The drone can transmit and receive data from the remote controller at that distance, provided there is no interference and no obstacles.
In practice, however, the range is limited by a few factors.
Every region has different regulations when it comes to transmitter power.
Although the Ocusync 3.0 and the DJI remote controller hardware are technically capable of producing strong enough signals to cover a radius of 12 km, not all countries and regions permit that.
Due to this, the DJI has different models and certifications for each region.
The certifications are usually notified on each drone & remote controller, and the transmitting power is locked in the firmware.
The 4 most famous certifications are below, along with their max allowed transmitter ranges.
FCC: If your drone is marked FCC at the bottom sticker, that means it is designed to be used in the United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and other regions that follow FCC certification.
In these drone models, there is no lock on the maximum range, and you are allowed to utilize the 12 km range of your drone (if other conditions are satisfactory, like no signal interference and no obstacles)
CE: If your drone is marked CE, that means it is meant to be used in the UK, Russia, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Macau, New Zealand, UAE, and other regions that follow CE certification.
The maximum allowed range under CE certification is 8 km.
MIC: This certification is for use within Japan only. The maximum allowed transmission range under MIC certification is 8 km.
SRRC: This certification is for use within Mainland China. The maximum allowed transmission range under SRRC certification is 8 km.
|Certification Type||Max Allowed Range|
Drones shipped to the EU and North America usually have both CE and FCC certifications at the bottom sticker.
The drone will switch to the appropriate certification rules based on your GPS location.
Some people use GPS location spoofing to fool the drone into thinking it is flying in an FCC area while, in actuality, it is in a CE area (not recommended, though)
To check if your drone is operating under FCC or CE, you can go into your DJI Fly App (tap 3 dots >> transmission) and see the signal graph closely.
If you look at the signal graph, you can see than there is two horizontal lines, one for the ~1km and one for the ~4km.
If you are flying in the CE mode, the ~1km will be below 90 dbm/MHz, between 90 and 100dbm/MHz and the ~4km line is between 100 & 110 dbm/MHz.
In FCC mode, the ~1km line is above 90 dbm/MHz mark between 80 and 90 dbm/MHz and the ~4km line is above the 100 dbm/MHz mark between 90 and 100dbm/MHz.
If have explained the difference between FCC and CE mode in a separate blog post if you want to go into details.
Interference & obstacles limit
Even if you are allowed by law to fully utilize the 12 km range offered by the Ocusync 3.0, interferences and obstacles always reduce the effective range.
In urban areas where there are a lot of cell towers, home and office WiFi, and other interfering signals, the range is considerably reduced.
The range is further reduced if you fly from behind the obstacles like skyscrapers and towers where you have no direct line of sight.
As per DJI, here is how the effective range is reduced in different environments.
- Urban areas – strong interference, limited line of sight = 1.5 – 3 km
- Suburban areas – medium interference, open line of sight = 3 – 7 km
- Rural areas – very low interference, open line of sight = 7 – 12 km
When talking about ranges, they usually talk about transmitter range and remote control signal strength. They usually ignore battery range limits.
In fact, even if you are in a fully open area with no signal interference and no legal limits, the DJI Mini 3 Pro range can barely reach the 12 km mark.
You will consume half your battery before that and must return home or risk a crash.
If you have been flying DJI for a while, you might have noticed that the drone always prompts for Return To Home (RTH) mode as soon as the battery is half consumed.
At this point, if you don’t initiate an RTH, you risk losing your drone due to a low battery on your way back.
The Mini 3 Pro comes with two types of batteries:
- Intelligent Flight Battery: It has a capacity of 2453 mAH and offers 34 minutes of flight time. It can fly your drone for 18 km of distance at a 43 km/h speed. That means you can cover 9 km before you have to return home.
- Intelligent Flight Battery Plus: It is a slightly bigger version with 3850 mAh capacity and offers 47 minutes of flight time. It can fly your drone for 25 km, so you can cover ~12 km before hitting the RTH button.
Of course, all these numbers are theoretical and recorded by DJI under ideal conditions. Actual conditions can produce very different results.
In summary, although the remote is powerful enough to control the drone at a distance of 12 km, the battery is barely big enough to get you safely back to your home point.
DJI Mini 3 Pro poor range issue
As with many consumer products, the advertised specifications are rarely accurate in the real world.
This is not unexpected, BUT the DJI Mini 3 Pro has been getting negative reviews from initial testers and pilots around the EU and US regarding range.
Some pilots have experienced the drone is losing signal after going a few hundred meters from the controller. Many people have been complaining about the poor range of DJI Mini 3 Pro.
In the video below, Henrick from Tech Drone Media tested the new DJI Mini 3 Pro in an open airfield without any interference and could only get a range of 2 km.
You can watch the video below
A lot of other people are complaining in the forums and Reddit subs about the poor range and it begs the question – what is going on with the new drone despite all the promises and shiny specs?
One answer could be unfinished firmware.
So, it might be that DJI released yet another unfinished firmware.
If this is the case, it’s not all bad as DJI can release a firmware update in the coming days and fix the range issues.
However, if the fault is in the hardware of either the drone or the remote controller, that can be a real issue. A product recall might be in order if that’s the case.
Since it’s a new product a lot of public testings are in order to really know the extent of the range issue. DJI has no official response to all the public board messages yet.
Before bashing DJI for a faulty product, it’s important to know a few common reasons for poor range. You might get a poor range if:
- You are flying the CE version, and the firmware lock limits the range. If you are not in an area where CE is applicable but your drone is still going into CE mode, you can use GPS spoofing or try using a moded fly app (these are grey areas, so I am not going to link to the resources here. Try at your own risk)
- You are flying in a heavily populated area where other wireless sources interfere with your remote controller. This is the most common cause of lower than advertised range.
- You are flying from behind an obstacle, and there is no clear line of sight. Especially in urban areas, where the more popular bandwidth i-e 2.4Ghz, is overcrowded, your remote will try to shift to 5.8Ghz. Higher frequencies are even more susceptible to physical obstacles and hence will cause a lower range.
- Your antenna is not correctly positioned. Remember the rule of thumb: never point the tip of your antenna towards the drone. Keep them perpendicular at all times for best performance.
Even after taking care of all the points above, you still cannot reach DJI Mini 3 Pro max distance, maybe it’s the issue we discussed above.
In that case, let’s wait for DJI to come out with an explanation.