Firmware Update Turns DJI Mini Drones Non-Compliant for Commercial Use

Unintended Consequences of a Firmware Update

Surprisingly, the latest firmware updates for the popular DJI mini drones, specifically the and Pro, have inadvertently rendered these devices illegal for commercial use by drone pilots when flown with standard batteries.

This issue was initially brought to light by James van Booven of Delightful Lunatic Photography and has since been confirmed through our further investigation.

UPDATE 2/2 7:40 p.m.: DJI CLARIFIES MINI DRONES COMPLIANCE: A CLOSER LOOK AT REMOTE ID REGULATIONS

The Core of the Issue: Remote ID and Weight Limitations

The heart of the problem lies in the drones' (RID) functionality, the impact of the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus, and DJI's latest for these mini drones.

Before the update, both models supported RID, a feature crucial for compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

However, post-update, RID activation for the DJI Mini 3 and the DJI Mini 4 Pro is now contingent on using the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus.

While this larger battery extends flight time, it also increases the drone's weight beyond the 250-gram limit. This weight gain necessitates RID under FAA rules.

DJI appears to have assumed that only recreational pilots would use the mini drones with the standard, lighter battery, thus eliminating the need for automatic RID activation.

READ: DJI UNVEILS C1 UPGRADE FOR EU PILOTS OF MINI 4 PRO AND MINI 3 DRONE

Commercial Pilots Left in a Regulatory Bind

This firmware update places commercial drone operators in a difficult position.

To comply with FAA regulations without the automatic RID broadcast, pilots must either switch to the heavier ‘Plus' batteries, thus activating the RID broadcast or install one of the still hard-to-obtain RID modules.

This situation raises questions about the DJI Mini drones' continued compliance with FAA Declaration of Compliance (DoC) requirements, especially with the RID compliance deadline looming.

Awaiting Resolution for DJI Mini drones from DJI

With the critical date of March 16th fast approaching, DJI is now under pressure to resolve this hopefully unforeseen complication.

The drone community eagerly awaits a firmware update to rectify this issue, ensuring that the DJI Mini 3 and the DJI Mini 4 Pro can continue to be used legally by commercial drone pilots under FAA regulations.

READ MORE: REMOTE ID UPDATE FOR DJI MINI 3 AND MINI 4 PRO

Potential FAA Action: The Need for Swift Resolution

The possibility of FAA intervention further heightens the urgency of the situation.

If DJI fails to issue a corrective firmware update promptly, the FAA may have no choice but to rescind the Declaration of Compliance for these mini drones.

This action would have significant repercussions for DJI and commercial drone operators relying on these models for their work.

The potential withdrawal of the FAA's Declaration of Compliance underscores the critical need for DJI to address this issue swiftly, ensuring that their mini drones remain viable and tools in the commercial .

How do DJI Mini series users comply with the Remote ID rule?

As per the FAA Remote ID rule, all drone pilots required to register their UAS must operate their aircraft in accordance with the final rule on and after the second compliance deadline. According to FAA requirements, drones that weigh 0.55 pounds or less (less than 250 grams), and are flown exclusively under the Exception for Recreational Flyers, do not need to be registered. Therefore, if you are operating a drone with a take-off weight of 0.55 pounds or less (less than 250 grams) for purely recreational purposes, you do not need to register your drone and comply with the Remote ID rule. Here are additional notes on the Remote ID functionality for the DJI Mini series.

DJI Mini 4 Pro & Mini 3: These aircraft support the FAA Remote ID functionality. However, for the latest aircraft firmware (v01.00.03.00 for Mini 4 Pro and v01.00.04.10 for Mini 3), the Remote ID will only be activated when the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus is used.

From DJI Support.

According to DJI, the DJI Mini 3 Pro supports the FAA Remote ID functionality regardless of whether an Intelligent Flight Battery Plus or Intelligent Flight Battery is used. The DJI Mini series (e.g., Mini & Mini SE) and series (e.g., Mini 2 & Mini 2 SE): These drones have a nominal take-off weight of less than 249 grams (including a battery, propellers, and a MicroSD card), and do not support FAA Remote ID functionality.

Firmware Update Turns Dji Mini Drones Non-Compliant For Commercial Use.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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22 Comments

  1. Who cares? Commercial work requires registration of the drone anyway so whether it’s > or < 250g makes no difference. It must be registered and must be broadcasting RID.

    If you want to do commercial work just get the bigger battery and you’re compliant again. Not sure why dronexl brought up the registration part

    • This whole “register the drone” concept is wrong. It is the pilot that is registered it’s the pilots ID that is displayed on the drone. The only time a drone itself is registered is to register it’s RID.

      • It’s adorable everyone’s talking tech about this. Zoom out folks. Whenever someone creates a regulation that restricts your ability to do business, that’s not an accident. Discuss

    • The issue is not about whether the drone is registered or not, yes, it must be registered if its being used commercially.

      The issue is when the drone is flown with the regular battery, the drone is not provisioned to broadcast remote ID information and therefore is in violation of commercial drone flight rules.

    • Exactly, I feel like the author doesn’t understand drone regs. This is a MUTE point. For those who feed into this article, they should not be flying commerical. Sometimes I feel like authors write articles without thinking first.

      However, for those new guys who don’t know you still have to register your drone if it’s over 250 grams and over.. (Even if you’re flying purely recreational)

  2. Whaddya mean who cares, you can just buy the battery? They sold the drone providing a certain functionality and now they took it away! Possibly by accident but perhaps not. You wouldn’t tolerate your car maker pushing an update that turned off cruise control unless you paid them again for what you already own.

    • DJI probably listened to their customers who complained that they are hobbyists and only bought the Mini 3 Pro due to being under 250g which means it shouldn’t broadcast RID because it’s not required by the FAA. If you’re part 107 just buy the bigger battery and mind your business.

      • You’re just paranoid. Everyone should be required to register. It takes 5 bucks and 5 minutes. Don’t be a whambulance. Everyone should also be required to show some aptitude and training before being able fly these drone. They aren’t “toys” and frankly if you’re a felon should NOT be allowed to own one. Back ground checks should. E required also.

        This is shared airspace and should be treated accordingly.

        So with no due respect, you should just keep your mouth shut and understand the the reasons for regulations being in place. It’s not unreasonable, and is required.

        • How would one gain this aptitude without flying 1st? You realize that felons can get a commercial pilots license, and even their ATP cert. You should probably shut your mouth and get back in your whambulance

        • With no due respect. It’s very much a toy! Until you get into several thousand dollars drones with high end cameras. Get real! Let people do what they’re going to do. It’s up to them to face the consequences. But us to tell them otherwise is not our job. Go do what you got to do. Follow the rules how you want to follow them. We are all not the same.

        • Little hard on people that’s got a felon thank they have enough rights taken away from them now if they two or three I might see your point. But it’s not like it’s a gun. But I got a mini 3 pro got in when they first came out registered when I finally got it they basically fly there selfies with little comingsence

        • Ok you commie. How about you go to China and they’ll give you all the government regulations you can handle. I don’t need the government telling me how to do anything. Idiot.

  3. Here’s an idea, tell the gov to go sit on a di*k and do whatever you want with the product you purchased.

  4. So I have to buy a larger battery just to stay compliant due to a firmware update? What kind of B/S is that? I have like 4 standard batteries which are also less expensive.

  5. So, DJI new software update made the Intelligent Flight Battery USELESS for those of us having them. Now DJI has forced us to purchase the Intelligent Flight Battery PLUS in order for the drone to function properly with the FAA regulations. DJI wants more money from the end user.

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