5 Most Common Problems with Parrot ANAFI (Explained) | Droneblog
The Parrot ANAFI is right up there in terms of quality and performance when it comes to consumer drones. This lightweight foldable drone comes with great 4K HDR capabilities and a 21-megapixel camera.
Despite a few shortcomings and quirks, the Parrot ANAFI, which was released in 2018, is a good entry-level drone to capture some amazing aerial photos. However, the Parrot ANAFI does have some notable quirks and design flaws worth mentioning.
Some of the most common problems with the Parrot ANAFI are connectivity and range issues, parts availability, as well as a few hardware design flaws.
There’s nothing more disappointing than pulling your dusty ANAFI from the closet shelf excited to get some awesome footage only to realize something has gone wrong and you’re grounded.
Let’s discuss some of the most common problems you may encounter with your Parrot ANAFI drone and how to fix them to get back in the air and more importantly, how to prevent the issues from happening in the first place.
1. ANAFI replacement parts availability
Parrot released the ANAFI drone in 2018 and is no longer providing support. Parrot also does not offer any after warranty or repairs on the ANAFI drone and replacement parts are scarce. This can be a big problem if you own a Parrot ANAFI and find yourself needing a repair or spare part.
The good news is most common issues that arise with the Parrot ANAFI can be solved in a few simple steps. To add a light at the end of the tunnel, user-made aftermarket hardware is also available, depending on your issue.
2. Connectivity and range issues
Let’s face it, losing connection to your quad midair is a scary situation. You find yourself flying along capturing some great footage and then suddenly your screen begins to lag or becomes frozen, and before you know it, you’ve lost all connection to your drone. You’re left standing there in a state of panic praying to the drone gods that the RTH home feature on the drone will save the day.
When it comes to the ANAFI quad, Parrot opted for Wi-Fi radio technology, which makes the connection highly susceptible to interference creating a weak signal, especially in developed areas.
This is a common issue which affects many other WI-FI drones as well. However, when it comes to the ANAFI, the issue becomes further complicated by the quads lack of ability to properly switch channels. Normally, the ANAFI’s transmission system should automatically switch to the best wireless network channel available, but users report that even after several updates, the transmission continually does a poor job in completing this task automatically.
You may have drastically better results by manually switching the drone to the clearest channel via the network screen on the ANAFI Freeflight 6 app, especially in urban areas where there is a lot of radio interference.
Another way to quickly re-establish connection while in midair is to make sure you are pointing the antennas on your controller in the same direction as the drone. Sometimes, just re-adjusting the antennas can fix the problem and restore a full signal.
Also, keep in mind that the higher you fly the quad the less communication interference you’ll face. If your controller screen suddenly begins to flicker or lag, indicating a weak signal, one of the first things to try would be to quickly ascend to increase altitude.
Flying higher can avoid connection disruption created by obstacles in the flight path such as buildings and treetops which can significantly reduce the signal.
It’s also worth mentioning that before you take off for your flight Parrot recommends setting your phone to airplane mode to minimize the risks of communication disturbance.
3. Broken Card Slot Hinge
The SD card slot for the Parrot ANAFI is located under the battery in a lockable slide tray with a metal hinge latch, which has proved to be a major design failure. Parrot ANAFI owners discovered that the metal hinge on the lockable tray is fragile and easily broken or damaged.
In order to place the memory card into the drone, it’s necessary to lift the metal gate door on the slide tray, insert the SD card, and then slide the gate back and click to lock. The thin metal hinge that holds the cover of the mechanism is so delicate that with frequent use it becomes fatigued and eventually breaks off. It’s so flimsy that even putting too much pressure on the gate when you’re in a hurry can result in the hinge popping right off the mounting pins.
Being that there is no internal storage on the Parrot ANAFI, an issue like this can ground your drone and make for a very bad day, because what’s the use of flying a drone if you can’t film what you’re flying? To make matters worse, this is not a part that Parrot makes or stocks.
Previously, Parrot owners who encountered this problem were stuck with a broken drone with no other option except to take it apart and replace the whole internal board as one piece. The average consumer drone user lacks the tools and skills it would take to undertake such a major repair, so this became a major letdown among Parrot owners facing this issue.
Luckily, the folks over at DRONE VALLEY took it upon themselves to manufacture a simple memory card holder replacement, which is a lifesaver to ANAFI drone users.
The simple replacement door fits perfectly and is a breeze to install for even the most novice drone owner. The kit makes it easy to just snap the new gate door onto your quad and the issue is resolved and you’re back in the air filming something spectacular.
If you happen to own the Parrot ANAFI, I recommend keeping a spare SD card holder replacement kit with your gear. And make checking the integrity of the hinge mechanism part of your routine drone inspection to avoid the disappointment of losing the whole thing in a field somewhere and having to wait days for a replacement to come in the mail.
4. Drone will not sync with controller or mobile phone
You’ve found some great views to capture with your Parrot ANAFI drone but while prepping to fly the quad you discover that your drone won’t seem to connect to your mobile device. How frustrating!
To fix this problem it’s necessary to reset the ANAFI’s Wi-Fi.
You can quickly reset the Wi-Fi on the ANAFI by following these steps:
- Turn on your drone.
- Push and hold down the power button for a full 8 seconds.
- The red lights will begin turning on one after the other.
- Wait until all 4 lights are on before releasing the button.
- The drone Wi-Fi will then reboot.
If this solution doesn’t work and you still can’t achieve connection, the next step to correct the problem is to try a different USB cable to determine if a faulty cable is the culprit.
Reboot your phone and set up the drone as you normally do, but this time use a different USB cable to connect Skycontroller 3 into your mobile device. If the Freeflight 6 app launches this is an indication that connection has been restored and you’re good to go.
At this point, if using a different cable failed to correct the problem it’s time to delete the Freeflight 6 app from your device and then reinstall it. Before continuing to this step, it’s important to backup and save all your Freeflight 6 media on your device or on a computer because uninstalling Freeflight 6 WILL delete all your photos, forever.
Once you’ve reinstalled Freeflight 6 on your device and your ANAFI and device have restored connection, plug your device into your Parrot Skycontroller 3.
If all the above efforts fail to restore the connection, the ANAFI Controller may need further repair or replacement. The issue may be related to another unfortunate design defect with Parrot ANAFI regarding the prongs on the USB connecter of the Skycontroller 3.
5. USB connector of Skycontroller defect
Another major design flaw in the Parrot ANAFI that users overwhelmingly report as a problem is in relation to the USB connector of the Skycontroller 3. The plug receptacle on the Skycontroller 3 appears to be poorly connected to the internal circuit board with tiny solder points that can easily break free or be accidently damaged.
Being that Parrot no longer sells the Skycontroller 3, if this situation happens, the only option is to find a repair shop on your own or hope to find a used replacement controller on sites like Ebay. For this reason, it’s important to always take a little TLC when plugging your USB cord into the port on the Skycontroller 3 to prevent such a catastrophe.
Given this known issue, it’s important to never force the cord into the port or yank it out quickly which can easily damage the prongs. An ounce of prevention will keep your Skycontroller 3 in good working order.