Introduction:

Extensive testing is necessary in order to determine whether or not problems exist in the drone system. Testing differs from troubleshooting in that you test before you know there's a problem.

Thus generally, you will need to have done some kind of testing before you can begin troubleshooting.

This checklist template will guide you through a range of tests in order to highlight issues that you may not have been aware of so that further troubleshooting or repairs can be performed.

Once you've finished this checklist you can use the information to inform your maintenance or repair technician as to any issues that your drone is having.

Let's get started.

Preparation:

Record basic details

Initially, take note of any relevant information that will help to identify the drone being tested, as well as the technician or pilot doing the testing.

Complete the form fields below.

To make it easier to forward the report from this test, record the email address of your department's drone repair technician below.

If there is anything else worth noting about the job in question, record that information below.

Equipment check:

Inspect all components for visible damage

Before you test the system itself, you should make sure all parts are in good condition.

First of all, check each component for visual damage. If the part is damaged, it will cause the drone to behave incorrectly.

Use the sub-checklist below to check each part of the drone.

Remember to power down the drone fully before handling.

  • 1
    Chassis
  • 2
    Propellers
  • 3
    Motors
  • 4
    Gimbal
  • 5
    Indicator lights
  • 6
    Screws
  • 7
    Global Positioning System
  • 8
    Landing frame
  • 9
    Batteries
  • 10
    Electronic Speed Controller
  • 11
    Compass
  • 12
    Wiring
  • 13
    Camera

Replace or repair damaged components

You've identified a problem with the drone. The next thing you need to do is let your maintenance technician know so that they can perform any repairs.

Make note of exactly what needs to be repaired in the form field below.

  • 1
    Chassis
  • 2
    Propellers
  • 3
    Motors
  • 4
    Gimbal
  • 5
    LEDs
  • 6
    Screws
  • 7
    GPS
  • 8
    Landing gear
  • 9
    Batteries
  • 10
    Electronic Speed Controller
  • 11
    Compass
  • 12
    Wiring
  • 13
    Camera
  • 14
    None

Once you've specified repair work to be done, you'll want to export or print this checklist and send it over to your maintenance technician.

Check and charge all batteries

Make sure all batteries are sufficiently charged including drone, controller, additional control station units and any spares that you might have.

You shouldn't overcharge your batteries; nor should you allow them to completely drain. Ideally, the charge should be kept within the range of 30 - 90%.

  • 1
    Check drone batteries and charge them to 75% (if necessary)
  • 2
    Check controller batteries and charge them to 75% (if necessary)
  • 3
    Check additional component batteries and charge them to 75% (if necessary)
  • 4
    Check spare batteries and charge them to 75% (if necessary)

Motors:

Test motors

Time to begin testing the drone.

Before we see how the propellers perform in-flight, we should test that the motors are working correctly.

Complete the sub-checklist below to see if your motors are all installed correctly and free of debris.

  • 1
    Remove propellers
  • 2
    Insert drone batteries
  • 3
    Insert controller batteries
  • 4
    Power on drone
  • 5
    Power on controller
  • 6
    Refer to manual for correct motor direction
  • 7
    Test motors are rotating in correct direction

Test propellers

Check that each propeller is moving freely whilst both powered down and active.

Before handling the drone, make sure the batteries are removed and the propellers are completely wound down.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Install propellers
  • 4
    Check propellers are correctly oriented
  • 5
    Check propellers are moving freely (by hand)
  • 6
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 7
    Power on drone and controller
  • 8
    Perform test flight

Camera:

Test gimbal

The gimbal allows the camera to rotate along the vertical and horizontal axis. Check it's working correctly by performing basic control commands to move the camera along the X and Y axis.

Follow the sub-checklist below for the gimbal testing instructions.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Remove propellers
  • 4
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 5
    Place drone on a stable, flat surface
  • 6
    Power on drone and controller

Now you're ready to test the gimbal is working correctly.

  • 1
    Check that camera is properly installed
  • 2
    Refer to model-specific manual for gimbal control
  • 3
    Perform horizontal camera movement
  • 4
    Perform vertical camera movement

Test camera

You can test the camera by simply observing the quality of the video feed and assessing variables like image quality (in combination with capture conditions) and specific camera functions (such as night-vision).

The following sub-checklist will guide you through the process of testing that your camera is in working order.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 4
    Place drone on a stable, flat surface
  • 5
    Power on drone and controller

Here we can begin to gauge the camera functionality, after isolating common problem areas with the previous protocol.

Continue with the subtasks below.

  • 1
    Clean camera lens
  • 2
    Activate camera feed
  • 3
    Assess camera image quality
  • 4
    Test special functions (night vision, etc.)

Test compass

Testing the compass is as straightforward as launching the control software and observing both compass readings and local interference levels.

Follow the subtask checklist below to complete the testing. To begin with, you'll want to make sure the batteries have sufficient charge to perform reliably during the test.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 4
    Place drone on a stable, flat surface
  • 5
    Power on drone and controller

Now you'll be ready to open the control software and observe compass readings.

After completing the subtask checklist, comment on your observations in the form field below.

  • 1
    Open drone control software
  • 2
    Check compass readings are correct
  • 3
    Check for local interference
  • 4
    Perform test flight

Test Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS is the basis for a number of advanced drone features including Return to Home (RTH), position-hold, and autonomous flight.

By following the two subtask checklists in this task you will be able to check that your GPS coordinates are accurate and determine whether or not the GPS is affecting additional system behavior.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Re-install propellers
  • 4
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 5
    Place drone on a stable, flat surface
  • 6
    Power on drone and controller

You are now ready to test the GPS system readings. After you've checked the GPS coordinates against a secondary GPS source, you should perform a short test flight to ensure that navigational systems are performing as expected.

After completing the subtask checklist, comment on your observations in the form field below.

  • 1
    Open drone control software
  • 2
    Check GPS readings are correct
  • 3
    Check readings against secondary GPS
  • 4
    Perform a position hold at low altitude
  • 5
    Continue to observe GPS readings

Test Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)

An Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is an important drone sensor system. A typical IMU will contain an accelerometer and a rate gyroscope.

An accelerometer measures linear acceleration, a rate gyro measures angular velocity. These are the only quantities the unit will actually measure.

Your system should have features that allow you to track the data readings of the IMU. By following the subtask checklist below, prepare your drone for an IMU test.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 4
    Place drone on a stable, flat surface
  • 5
    Power on drone and controller

The next task is to check sensor readings. This can all be done in-app and will require the drone to be airborne.

After completing the subtask checklist, comment on your observations in the form field below.

  • 1
    Open drone control software
  • 2
    Check IMU readings
  • 3
    Perform a position hold at low altitude
  • 4
    Continue to observe IMU readings

Test Return to Home (RTH)

With a Return to Home (RTH) failsafe in place, the drone remembers the spot from where it took off from and will automatically return to this spot when prompted.

Because the RTH system is designed to be a failsafe, you should execute caution when testing the system. Ideally, if a test flight must be performed, make sure the altitude is as low as is practical and that the distance is not too far from ground zero before RTH it is activated.

The subtask checklists below will begin the RTH testing process.

  • 1
    Remove drone and controller batteries
  • 2
    Check and recharge drone and controller batteries to 75%
  • 3
    Re-insert drone and controller batteries
  • 4
    Place drone on a stable, flat surface
  • 5
    Power on drone and controller

Next, test the RTH system is actually working.

After inputting RTH coordinates, you should perform a short test flight to ensure that the failsafe is operating as expected.

After completing the subtask checklist, comment on your observations in the form field below.

  • 1
    Open drone control software
  • 2
    Input RTH coordinates
  • 3
    Input maximum flight altitude
  • 4
    Perform test flight
RTH test on DJI's Spark

Finishing up:

Forward test report

Now that you've completed this checklist you can forward the report to your maintenance technician for repairs and further troubleshooting.

The easiest way to do that is by printing a paper version of the checklist or saving it to a .pdf file.

If you choose to export a .pdf then you can send that file from within this checklist - just use the form below.

Sources:

Sign up for a FREE account and
search thousands of checklists in our library.

Sign up for a FREE account and search thousands of checklists in our library.