Propel Atom 1.0 is a great choice of entry level micro drone/wireless quadrocopter. Although it provides a good FPV experience for a cheap price, there can be a handful of problems that might take place. And that’s what we’ve discussed throughout today’s article.
Over the next sections, you’ll find a quick knowledge on Propel Atom 1.0, 6 of its common problems and their reasons, and finally the solutions to each of these problems.
Propel Atom 1.0 Micro Drone: In A Nutshell
Atom 1.0 is an indoor/outdoor wireless quadcopter from Propel Toys, and it’s one of the best starter drones for kids of 7-15 years old. It costs just around $20-25, which is a surprisingly low price for an FPV drone of good built quality and specs.
Here’s a quick round up of what you get with Atom 1.0-
- FPV camera with video streaming to your mobile phone.
- 6-axis gyro sensor for stable FPV.
- Air pressure sensor for stable flight altitude.
- Can do a 3600 aerial stunt on the go.
- Easy take off and landing with a push of a button.
- Comes with a 2.4G remote controller.
- Available in both Amazon and Walmart for $20-25 only.
When purchased for the first time, you will get the Atom 1.0 FPV Drone itself, a 2.4G Wireless Controller, a VR headset box, spare blades, a USB charging cable, and an instruction manual.
What You Need to Know Before Troubleshooting Atom 1.0
Before we dive deeper into the technical problems and their troubleshooting of Propel Atom 1.0, let’s clear up the basics.
To understand how Atom 1.0 works, you need to understand the interfaces and functions of the drone itself, the control remote and the Proper ATOM FPV App,
Part 1: The Propel Atom 1.0 Drone
Let’s check out the diagrams of Propel 1.0 drone-
As you can see, a couple of rotor blades are at both the front and rear parts of the drone. The front part can be located by the position of the digital camera, which is in between the front rotors.
On the rear side, there is a charging socket, and an On/Off switch.
Part 2: The ATOM FPV Remote
The controller, also known as ATOM FPV Remote, is used for all kinds of flight control commands. The diagram looks like this-
In the remote, the controls function to provide-
- On and Off switch.
- Direction and throttle adjustment.
- Forward, backward, left and right trim control.
- Speed controlling button.
- 360-degree stunt flip button.
- A power indicator.
Between the remote and the Atom 1.0 drone, there is a 2.4G wireless channel to make sure there is no interference when you fly it along with other drones. The control runs on 2 AA batteries, and gives a good enough runtime.
Lastly, here are some quick knowhow on the controller-
- Wireless Channel: 2.4 GHz.
- Control Range: Up to 200 feet.
- Battery requirement: 2 AA batteries
Part 3: The Proper ATOM FPV App
To access and visualize the videos and photos your Atom 1.0 will capture, Propel provides a mobile app. It’s available for both Android and iOS, and the app interface looks like this-
To let the app function, you need to establish a wireless connection between your Propel FPV drone and your mobile device.
Once you connect, you have to connect a VR glass to your phone, go to the App and start the VR option.
For more, watch this propel atom 1.0 micro drone review by Chris Walsh-
6 Problems in Atom 1.0 And their Troubleshooting
Now that we’re done with understanding the parts and functions of them, let’s have a quick look at all 6 common problems in Propel Atom 1.0, why they take place, and how to troubleshoot them.
|Atom 1.0 Problems||Possible Reasons||Troubleshooting Guide|
|Atom 1.0 Is Not Synced|
|The Drone Has No Power||Power Button is OFF.|
The batteries are not installed with the correct polarity.
The batteries are dead.
|Press the ON/OFF button and switch it to ON.|
Install the batteries maintaining polarity.
Replace the dead batteries with new ones.
|The Remote Controller is not Responding||The remote and/or drone is switched OFF.|
The weather is too windy.
The remote light is flashing.
|Switch the Remote Controller and Drone ON/OFF button to ON.|
Avoid windy weather conditions.
Take out the damaged batteries and replace them.
|The Drone Cannot Lift||Low-speed rotor blades.|
The drone needs to be fully charged.
|Hold the throttle and push the lever forward.|
Recharge the drone and make sure it’s fully charged.
|The Drone Lands Too Fast on the Ground||You moved the throttle fast.||Have control over the throttle. Bring it down slowly.|
|The Drone is not Responding||Non-functional gyroscopes.||Switch ON the Drone and reset the Gyroscopes.|
|The Drone is Out of Control||The drone flew outside the remote range area.||Make sure to fly the drone within a 20-meter radius.|
Problem 1: The Atom 1.0 Drone Isn’t Synced
Often, the Atom 1.0 FPV quadcopter can’t sync to the remote properly, leading to improper and jittery flight. Specially, when multiple persons try to sync their respective Atom 1.0 at the same time, an uneven sync takes place between the remote and the quad.
Reason: All 6 Gyro Sensors Aren’t Properly Programmed
As you might know, there are 6 gyro sensors in the Propel Atom quadcopter, and all of them have to be synced to the controller before it flies. This might not happen if-
- The drone isn’t on a flat surface at the time of syncing.
- The trim settings are not in the center while syncing.
How To Solve?
Follow this 6 steps to program all 6 gyro sensors so that they can reflect the trim commands from the remote properly-
- Power on your Atom 1.0.
- Put the drone on a flat surface and wait for the LED indicator to start flashing.
- Power on the remote. You’ll hear two beeps back to back, and the LED will start flashing faster.
- Push the throttle control button all the way forward. You’ll hear one beep as a confirmation.
- Now, bring the throttle back. A second beep will sound, and the LED will stabilize now.
In case more than one of the players are syncing their quads, there has to be an additional precaution. If all the players do the steps at the same time, there might be interference that can cause improper syncing.
To avoid this problem, the syncing should take place once at a time. Once one player is done syncing, he/she has to keep the LED ‘On’ while the next player syncs the drone and the battery.
If any of them need to redo the process, turn the controller/drone off, wait for 60 seconds and repeat the steps again.
Problem 2: No Power on the Drone or The Remote
The power indicator in both the drone and the controller indicates whether they are connected to the battery or not. In absence of any light in the LED, it means there is no power in them.
Reason 1: Power Button Switched OFF
This one is a silly mistake. Perhaps, you forgot to switch ON the power button of your drone. As a result, it’s not showing any signs of working.
Solution: Switch ON the Power Button
On the rear side of the drone, you’ll see a power switch with On-Off sides. Simply slide the switch to the ‘On’ Side, and your drone is On!
For the controller, the power On/Off switch is right in the middle of it. Slide it to ‘On’ side, and you’ll see the LED is flashing immediately. This means, your controller and drone are ready to connect to each other.
Reason 2: Reversed Battery Polarity
Another reason that calls for the drone’s power off is incorrect battery installation. If you place the batteries with reverse polarity, the drone won’t get any power. No matter how well batteries you use, the drone won’t turn on.
Solution: Install batteries with the Correct Polarity
You must place the batteries in the correct form in the battery compartment. This diagram shows how the battery orientation should be-
Here’s how you can install batteries to the remote:
- First, unscrew the battery cover and put the cover aside.
- Then, take 2 fresh AA alkaline batteries and place them inside the battery compartment. Make sure they are installed with the right polarity.
- Screw the battery cover and secure it.
- Switch ON the ON/OFF button. You’ll see a red LED flash and hear two beeps.
Now, the batteries are installed!
Reason 3: Dead Batteries
Sometimes having dead or damaged batteries can turn down the power of your drone. Whether you’re using an Atom 1.0 Micro drone or troubleshooting a Striker Spy drone, it’s the same for all drones. You have to change the dead batteries and install a fresh pair.
If you’re using the stock rechargeable batteries, the solution would be to try and recharge the pair again.
Solution: Install A Pair of Fresh Batteries or Recharge The Old Ones
The only solution here is to dispose of the dead pair of batteries and equip a new pair.
While doing so, keep these tips in mind-
- Beware of mixing a rechargeable battery(Nickel Metal Hydride) with a non-rechargeable one(alkaline or carbon-zinc).
- Don’t pair up a new battery with an old battery, even if both of them are functional.
- Don’t try to recharge a non-rechargeable battery.
- To recharge batteries, make sure it’s being done with the right charger and under adult supervision.
Problem 3: The Remote Controller is not Responding
Even though you connected the remote and the Atom 1.0 the right way, sometimes the remote controller might not respond. Possibly, it’s one of these three reasons behind this-
Reason 1: The Remote Controller or/and the Drone are OFF
First thing first, if either of the remote controller or the drone is switched off, the remote won’t respond. As it’s a two way connection, you have to make sure both of them are up and running.
Solution: Switch ON the Power Button
As obvious as it is, you need to turn on the switches of both. In the FPV Quad, the On/Off switch is in the middle of the front part. As the remote goes, a similar slide-in switch will be found at the center of the console.
Reason 2: The Weather is Too Windy or Stormy
Windy conditions are unfavorable for drone flying. So, when there is too much wind, it would interfere with wireless connections like the one between Atom FPV and its controller.
Solution: Fly in Convenient Weather Conditions
The only solution is to avoid flying when it’s too windy or stormy. As a safety precaution, also avoid flying it in some other weather extremes like-
- Snow and Fog
- Thunder and lightning
Reason 3: Flashing Remote Light Meaning Low Battery
The LED indicator reflects a number of statuses, among which ‘Low Battery’ is one. If you find it flashing instead of being stable, this points at a dying battery charge.
Solution: Change the batteries
As we’re talking about low battery charge here, replacing the old batteries with fresh ones is the only solution. Turn over the back of the remote control and install 2 AA batteries. You can follow the installation process I’ve described in one of the aforementioned [Problem 2- Reason 3] sections.
If it’s a rechargeable pair of batteries you’re using, recharge the batteries over again, and make sure they can hold on to the charge.
Problem 4: Drone Won’t Lift Off
Sometimes, you might see that the Atom 1.0 Micro drone isn’t lifting. You have powered ON the button. The batteries are all new and fresh but still, the drone doesn’t seem to take off.
You might see the same problem in Propel Batwing drones when they don’t fly. This happens when the rotor speed is too slow and the drone isn’t fully charged.
Reason 1: Slow Rotor Speed
There are in total 4 rotor blades – 2 rear rotor blades and 2 front rotor blades. These blades help the drone lift and fly. If the rotor motor isn’t working hard, the blades won’t spin the way it’s supposed to.
So, when the rotor speed is not enough, the drone can’t lift.
Solution: Change the Throttle Position
The solution to this problem is simply increasing the rotor speed. And you can do this by adjusting the throttle.
The throttle control is on the left side of the remote controller. All you have to do is push the throttle lever forward. It will increase the speed and finally, the drone will lift off.
Reason 2: The Li-Po of Atom FPV Isn’t Charged Well
Atom 1.0 drone is powered by a Li-Poly rechargeable battery. If this battery is a low charge level or has no charge at all, the propellers will not get enough power to rotate. Therefore, the drone will struggle to even get off from the ground.
Solution: Recharge the Drone Battery
As long as the Li-Po hasn’t maxed out its battery cycle, recharging it will solve this problem. Here goes the steps-
- Switch off the drone.
- Locate the Li-Po charging port in between the front rotors.
- Find the right direction(indicated by an Arrow mark) of the USB cable to connect.
- Connect a 4.8V USB charging source to it via a USB cable(provided).
- Wait for the red LED on the USB cable to light up. This indicates the charge is complete. Average charging time is 30 minutes.
The following diagram demonstrates the process in a nutshell-
Pro Tip 1: Unplug the cable from both ends when you’re not using it.
Pro Tip 2: Don’t attempt a flip rotation when the battery of the drone is low.
Problem 4: The Drone Lands too Fast
This is a problem most of the beginners face, and it’s about the drone flying too fast to control. At any moment, it can lead to a crash, let alone ceasing your excitement all the way.
Reason: You’re Moving the Throttle Too Fast
The throttle control on the left of the remote control is the key here. You see, when you’re flying the drone for the first few times, it’s okay not to be able to control it smoothly.
Solution: Try Having A Better and Smoother Throttle Control
You guessed it right. You have to slow it down. Control the throttle with ease and move it slowly. With a smooth maneuver, your drone will reach the ground safely.
Problem 5: The Drone is Not Responding
Well, there are times when you’ll find the drone isn’t responding at all. This calls for an internal checkup.
Reason: Gyroscopes are not Functioning
Now, this happens when the gyroscopes fail to function properly. A gyroscope is a small sensor that helps the drone keep its balance while operating. It measures the rotation rate and directs the drone with stability. There are 6 gyro sensors in total in an Atom 1.0.
Solution: Recalibrate the Gyroscope
When you notice such an incident, you must recalibrate the gyroscope. Here’s how you can do it:
- First, you have to place the Atom 1.0 drone on a flat surface.
- Then, sync the remote controller with the drone. Find the provided guide earlier in this article.
- Finally, pull the control sticks on the remote at a 45-degree angle (down and left at the same time)
You’ll notice an LED flash and then a solid light on your drone. This means the quadcopter has come back to stable form again.
Problem 6: Lose Control Over Your Drone
Your drone is perfectly functioning. You flew it for a while. But all of the sudden, you seem to lose control over it. The remote isn’t working and the drone isn’t acting to your command.
Reason: The Drone is Out of Range
When the drone isn’t responding to you but is flying, this means it’s out of the remote range. You’ve taken the drone too far away.
Solution: Keep the drone within the remote perimeter
So, the only solution here is to fly the drone within its range. A rule of thumb is to keep the drone within a 20-meter radius of the remote.
Pro Tip: Keep the Atom 1.0 manual close to your hand. Download the PDF from here.
Maintenance Tips for Atom 1.0 Micro Drones
Taking care of your drone can lessen the problems to much extent. Here’s how you can maintain your Atom 1.0 Micro drone:
- When you’re not using the drone, always remove the batteries from the remote control.
- Use a damp clean cloth to clean the drone. Make sure you just gently wipe out the dirt.
- Don’t let the drone get direct sunlight or heat.
- It’s made with electronic components. So, keep the drone away from the water.
- Make sure an adult is present when replacing the batteries.
This is how you can take care of your Atom 1.0 quadcopter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you reset a drone?
To reset a drone, first, you have to hold the power button for approximately 9 seconds. Wait until you hear three beeps. Then, you have to power the remote controller. After it is on, power off both the drone and the controller. The reset is done!
How do I connect the propel drone to the phone?
For connecting the propel drone to the phone, you have to connect the drone with your phone’s Wifi setting. Then, download an app for the drone that helps to connect the propel drone to the phone.
Why is the camera not working on my drone?
The camera on your drone is not working because the drone doesn’t have updated firmware. Poor calibration and having a corrupt SD card is also a culprit here. If your drone has faced any crashes and has scratches on the lens, the camera won’t work.
So far, we have discussed all of the 6 possible problems and their fixes of Propel Atom 1.0 wireless quadcopter. But still, if you find any problems that are unaddressed, seek guidance from the manual, or directly go for the warranty providers.
As a matter of fact, the manufacturer provides a 90-days warranty with Propel Atom 1.0.