DJI Mini 3 and 3 Pro Return to Home Tutorial

The return to home is a crucial and often misunderstood safety operation for a drone

We will see how to set the Return to home in the safest way in the DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro and how these drones behave in order to avoid possible accidents

I have done other articles dealing with safety issues with the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro that you might find interesting

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How to Set the Home Point in the Mini 3 and 3 Pro

The first thing to know is how and where the position of the Home point is set. Many users believe that the Home Point is where the controller is, but this is not always the case

The icon displaying the number of satellites connected on the top right of the screen
The icon displaying the number of satellites connected on the top right of the screen

After switching on the aircraft, the software initiates the connection to the different satellites, as shown on the top right of the screen. In order to get a connection with the satellites the drone must be in an outdoor location

Once a certain number of satellites are connected, about 12, a voice message tells us that the home point has been set, and a message also appears on the screen. The operation takes less than a couple of minutes and it is suggested to wait for it before taking off so that the home point will be exactly where the aircraft takes off

Max flight altitude is 30 meters before updating the Home Point
Max flight altitude is 30 meters before updating the Home Point

It is possible to take off before the satellites are connected. in this case, the home point will be set at the aircraft’s position. Notice that until the Home Point is updated, the maximum flight height is limited to 30 meters

How to Update the Home Point

If the operator moves during the flight, for example on a car, on a boat, on a bicycle, or while hiking, the home point remains in the original position and this is something to be aware of. If a return home is initiated, the drone might fly in an unexpected direction, maybe even further away from the operator. This can be dangerous because of obstacles or when running short of battery

The position of the Home Point is shown on the map

It is possible to check the position of the home point on the map, it will be shown by a yellow circle around an H, while the position of the remote controller is shown with a blue dot and the aircraft by a triangular shape

Update Home Point option in the Safety tab of Settings

It is possible to modify the position of the home point at any time in the tab Safety of the Settings by selecting the option Update Home Point

A map appears on the screen with the position of the Home Point relative to the aircraft and to the controller. It is possible to drag the yellow circle on the map to move it manually, or it can be automatically updated to the position of the aircraft or the controller by tapping on one of the two icons on the right

How to Set the Return To Home Altitude

In the Safety tab of  Settings, above the Update Home Point, there is an option for setting the Auto Return to Home altitude. In the case of a Return To Home, the aircraft will ascend to that altitude, then fly to the home point before lowering the altitude for landing

Setting the RTH altitude
Setting the RTH altitude

It must be set at a height above all surrounding obstacles, but not too high, as otherwise it will take longer to ascend and redescend for landing, which could be dangerous if we are running out of battery. In most cases, in a flat environment, a height between 40 and 50 meters is suggested

How the Mini 3 and 3 Pro Behave in case of Signal Loss

A lot of care is needed when flying under a canopy of trees or with other obstacles above. If a Return To Home should be initiated for any reason, the aircraft will immediately rise to the selected RTH altitude. Since the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro don’t have upwards obstacle detection, the drone might crash against the obstacles

Here is my in-depth analysis of the obstacle avoidance system of the Mini 3 Pro

A lot of care is needed when flying under trees

For this reason in these situations, a lot of attention is needed. I recommend landing immediately after having done the filming and photo shooting

Advanced Safety Settings to specify the behavior in case of signal loss
Advanced Safety Settings to specify the behavior in case of signal loss

In the Advance Safety Settings, it is possible to specify how the drone behaves in case of signal loss with the following choices: Return to Home, Descend, and Hover. When planning to film or take photos in woods, under bridges, or other restricted areas, it is strongly suggested to select Hover to take manual control and avoid accidents

Another situation that requires extra planning and attention is when flying in a hilly environment where the altitude varies considerably from the starting point

The Auto Return Home Altitude is computed based on the elevation of the home point, if the aircraft starts the return home on much higher ground, it will not raise in altitude at all before initiating the return. Under this scenario, it is suggested to plan for the difference in elevation and set a much higher RTH Altitude

How a Return To Home is Initiated

Manual Return To Home

Manual Return To Home
Manual Return To Home

A manual RTH might be manually started at any time by the same button used for taking off on the left of the screen. After taking off the icon change to an H for Home. After tapping on it we are presented with a choice between landing or starting a return to home

Another possibility is to press and hold a couple of seconds the RTH button on the left part of the remote controller, in this case, the return will start immediately, without the option for landing

It is possible to cancel a Return To Home and retake manual control of the drone by tapping on the same icon on the left of the screen or by pressing the RTH button on the remote control

Return To Home Due to Signal Loss

A Return to Home is also initiated in case of prolonged signal loss. On the top of the screen, next to the battery time indicator, there is an icon showing the strength of the signal. The bars are white with a good signal, they turn to orange when the transmission starts to deteriorate and finally to red in case of very poor signal, close to disconnection

Icon showing the signal strength
Icon showing the signal strength

When the signal is lost, the aircraft wait for a few seconds and then initiates a forced RTH. The same happens when the remote controller is turned off

More details about the signal transmission in the Mini 3 and 3 Pro are in my specific article

Return To Home Due to Depleted Battery

The last cause of a Return To Home is when the battery of the aircraft runs below a specific level. A warning prompt will appear in DJI Fly when the battery level is low. Low Battery RTH is triggered when the Intelligent Flight Battery is depleted to the point where the aircraft may not be able to return safely

Battery level indicator at the top of the screen
Battery level indicator at the top of the screen

Running out of battery is probably the main cause of losing a drone, so I suggest paying close attention to the battery indicator at the top of the screen and avoiding going below 25%

Extra info is shown by opening the battery time indicator
Extra info is shown by opening the battery time indicator

The icon with a green, orange, and red circle around shows the percentage of the battery time remaining, by tapping on it we access the remaining time to a forced return home, to a forced landing, and to complete depletion of the battery

Differences in Return To Home Between the Mini 3 Pro and the Mini 3

A significant difference between the two models is the presence of tridirectional obstacle sensors in the Mini 3 Pro. The obstacle avoidance system is activated in case of a return to home. If the aircraft encounters an obstacle, it will stop in front of it, and after a couple of seconds, it will find its way above the obstruction

But the Mini 3 Pro cannot detect obstacles above and to the sides, therefore the same attention as for the Mini 3 is suggested when planning a flight


VicVideoPic

I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgaBlrFDONJ4BSEUHa2cLKg My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkeoY8rPPj-fypUKHckTtwQ I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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