Registering Your DJI Drone – What is the Process?
The FAA states that all drones that weigh 0.55 lbs. and above need to be registered with them, with an even more extensive rule applied to those will use their drones for commercial purposes. This article isn’t about that, though – this is about simply registering your DJI drone with the brand’s very own registration system.
It may seem awfully redundant to have to register a DJI drone twice but think of it more as pairing your DJI drone with your online DJI account. How does this process go and what benefits does this registration system provide?
Sign up for an online account with DJI
The first step in the process is to set up an online account with DJI. This is done by going to the DJI Account page, as you would with any online service. The online account will be needed if you plan on buying anything in the DJI online store. You can also opt-in to receive email marketing from DJI.
Pair your DJI drones to your account upon activation
When you buy a new DJI drone, pairing it with your online DJI account will be a part of the drone’s activation process. This is a fairly straightforward process whether you do it via the DJI GO or DJI Fly mobile app. The remote controller for the drone will need to be connected to a mobile device to do product activation.
The actual activation process will vary depending on which DJI drone you’re using, but it generally involves assigning a unique name to the drone, choosing your preferences on video formats and control schemes, and activating your drone’s warranty. The pairing of the drone with your online account typically happens at the tail-end of activation.
What you can do with your DJI account
Show off your DJI products
An online DJI account gives you access to the DJI forums, a fairly active online community of drone pilots and DJI administrators. To be clear, you don’t need to own a DJI drone to participate in this community. All you need is the DJI account.
A nifty feature of the DJI online account is that it adds an icon to your forums profile whenever your pair your account with a new DJI drone. Icons are unique to each type of drone, allowing you to flex that brand-new Mavic 2 Pro or even an Inspire 2. It’s not even unusual to see profiles in the forums that have more than five drones to their name.
Your inventory of DJI products also shows up on your personal homepage.
Aside from providing a quick inventory of the drones you own (not many people lose track), the icons are just a fun way of showing off your enthusiasm about drones. It’s always nice seeing a new icon show up in your profile whenever you get a new drone.
Consolidate your flight hours
Also related to the previous item, having a DJI account paired to your drone lets you rack up flight hours and show them off in your online profile. Again, this is just a nice statistic to look at and gives you a little more gravitas when you post in the forums. Commercial drone pilots might be able to find more utility in this number as a measure of their drone flight experience.
Request for unlocking of GeoFence
The GeoFence feature is a relatively new addition to DJI drones that prevent them from flying into or taking off in pre-designated “No Fly” zones. All controversies related to this feature aside, a verified DJI account is one of many pre-requisites before one can apply for a Self Unlock or Custom Unlock through the DJI GeoFence system.
Download firmware updates
Upon activation of your new drone, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is to download the latest version of the drone’s firmware. In drones with smart batteries, the firmware of the batteries will also have to be downloaded and installed separately. As you would expect, automatic firmware updates will only be downloaded to remote controllers or drones after they have been paired with a verified DJI account.
What happens when you sell your DJI drone?
This is a common question that comes up – how can you transfer the registration of a DJI drone if you sell it? In the case of the FAA, this can be done via the IACRA website in case you registered the drone under Part 107 rules. However, the answer isn’t as straightforward when it comes to DJI registration.
Right now, there is seemingly no way for a drone to be “deregistered” from your DJI profile. What this implies is that your registration details will always be a part of the drone you bought, even if it changes ownership.
However, that’s not as bad as it sounds. The new owner of the drone will have to log in to either DJI GO or DJI Fly with their own account. From this point on, all flight data collected from the drone will be associated with the account of the new owner. The insurance for the drone will also transfer ownership, as it is tied to the drone’s serial number.
In terms of liability, the status of drone registration with DJI is much less important than its FAA registration. As we have covered before, a drone that has been registered under Part 107 can be deregistered through the FAA DroneZone website. The new owner can then register the drone under their own name.
Signing up for a DJI account and pairing it with your new drone is just part and parcel of buying into the DJI ecosystem. It’s not a terribly bad concept, as the online account lets you keep track of how many hours you’ve flown your drones and lets you show off the DJI drones you have. The DJI online forums are also a nice little community that can be helpful if you have problems with your drone.
The only real problem of this whole system comes up when you sell your used drones. Some may consider it a minor inconvenience, although we don’t see why DJI doesn’t just let owners unpair their accounts if a new owner will take their place.