DJI Wookong M Multi Rotor Flight ControllerWritten by Jonathan Malory
The DJI team periodically update the software for the Wookong M flight controller, which the user downloads onto the main unit via a USB cable with a laptop or PC.
With DJI's updates there are sometime additional features and functions added to the DJI Wookong M flight controller, so I will try to keep this page up to date with the current Wookong M functions.
Having said that, there are a few main features or 'modes' that most people are interested in, so I shall begin with those.
Main DJI Wookong M Modes are assigned to a 3-way switch:
Manual mode gives over more of the control to you and takes it away from the Wookong M flight controller. For a beginner this is the least favourable mode as it makes your quadcopter or hexacopter etc more difficult to control. In Manual Mode your DJI Wookong M multi rotor machine will increase power from about 10% throttles upwards, rising into the air very quickly at full throttle.
The hover position will depend on your particular power setup, batteries, motors and propellers. Beginners will find it pretty difficult to control their Wookong M multi-rotor machine in this mode as it may seem quite eratic, giving you very little assistance in terms of levelling and hovering.
One may ask what possible reason could one have for flying their Wookong M in manual mode? Well, to be honest, the short answer is most people don't. Having said that, the other two main modes make it almost impossible to flip your multi rotor machine (again a good thing for most people) but some people like to flip their quadcopters etc. There may be occasions when you want to try barrel rolls and loops, even with an on board camera so you can show of your elite DJI Wookong M flying skills. I must admit this is not for me, I'm much more a slow and steady multi-rotor flyer as I use my Woomong M for aerial photography and filming things like architecture and particular subjects. There are plenty of people out there though who are very much into stunt flying, who also makwe some awesome videos with their DJI Wookong M in manual mode.
I always think 'Atti' is a bit of a misnomer because, even though it does control your attitude (i.e. keeps you level) this mode keeps you at the same altitude. For me, and I think most DJI Wookong M owners, this is the mode used the most.
It self levels your quadcopter or hexacopter etc when you let go of the elevator/aileron stick, and also keeps you at the same height when your throttle is at mid stick. Anything above throttle mid stick increases the Wookong's altitude, while anything below mid stick decreases alitude. Furthermore, the rate at which you climb or fall is variable - depending on how far away your throttle is from the mid stick position. For example, if you have your throttle set a tiny amount above mid stick your Wookong M quadcopter with rise very gently, almost imperceptibly in fact. However, if you push straight to full throttle your Wookong quad will increase height rapidly. The same is true for descending, where just below mid throttle you will descend very slowly etc. WARNING: Never drop your throttle below 10% while in flight as you are likely to crash. In fact rapid descents are never advised as they can be very difficult to recover from before hitting the ground. It's always better to descend slowly. If you want to land in a hurry, desend quickly in short segments - throttling down to say 25% then back to 60 then 50% to level off every few seconds untill your near the ground, then descenty very gently.
Lifting off your Wookong M in Atti Mode, which I recommend, requires you to extend the throttle beyond the halfway point. I usually throttle up to about 70 or 80% to get off the ground, then quickly back down to 50% to hover at height hold 6 to 10 feet in the air. Then, after checking everything seems ship shape with my DJI Wookong M hexacopter, I go off and fly my intended mission.
GPS Position Hold Mode
The DJI Wookong M comes with a GPS antenna that stores satellites and uses data from the to calculate the position of your multi-rotor drone. For this to work effectively you need to place the antenna away from sources of interference, i.e. your other DJI Wookong components and whatever else you have on board your drone, and ensure you have a good GPS lock before you lift off.
This is in the flight manual, but anyway you have to wait until there are no fashing red lights on your LED status indicator. If you have your DJI Wookong M set in Atti Mode, when you first switch on you will get 3 red flashes then 2 yellow flashes. The two yellow flashes indicate you're in Atti Mode. As you get satellite locks your red flashes with go down to two and then one. When you have enough satellites locked in the red flashes will disappear altogether so you are left with only yellow flashes in Atti Mode. In Manual Mode there will be no flashing lights at all. in GPS Position Hold Mode you will see purple flashes. When flying in Atti Mode you can confirm that GPS Position Hold Mode is activated by looking for the purple flashing lights. If you see blue flashes your radio is switched off, malfunctioning or not set to the correct model - blue flashes indicate your DJI Wookong M is in Failsafe Mode (see below).
Another element that increases the efficiency of your GPS Position Hold is inputting the correct measurments in your DJI Wookong software. This is so important I've made a special page for it here.
Failsafe mode is an automatic mode that is engaged when your DJI Wookong M flight controller loses the signal from your radio. Unlike other systems that will let your quadcopter or hexacopter etc come crashing down to the ground if the signal is lost, your DJI Wookong will go into Failsafe Mode, hover in the same position for a while to see if the signal is restored, then fly back to the home point (where you powered up your Wookong drone) and slowly and and switch itself off.
You can test your Failsafe Mode, or use it as a Return to Home Mode, by switching off your radio during a flight. I have tested this a few times now and can tell you it's quite terrifying the first time as most RC flyers do not want to switch off their radio. However, when you see the DJI Wookong M Failsafe Mode in action it is, to say the least, a very thrilling spectacle. You can have fun by putting a marker on the ground under your drone before lift off, fly across field and switch your radio off - then watch your Wookong machine fly itsef back to the start point, think for a few seconds then slowly descend almost to the exact spot from where it started.
NOTE: For Failsafe Mode to work your radio needs to support Failsafe on multiple channels, in this case your main 3-way mode switch for the above modes and your throttle, and you need to bind your radio so that when you switch it off it puts the throttle to around 48% and your 3-way switch into the Failsafe area on the DJI Wookong software and choose 'Go Home and Landing' for your Failsafe option. Also, you need a good satellite lock, with no red lights, before you take off.
Other DJI Wookong Modes
The DJI Wookong M has other options or modes added to it as and when DJI update the software for the Wookong flight controller. I don't personally bother with these so much as I'm either flying within easy sight of my drone or flying FPV (first person view) so that I dont need the below options. However I can see how they could be useful for many pilots.
Intelligent Orientation Control
If you have a spare 3-way switch on your radio you use it for the Intelligent Orientation Control modes. The three switch positions are Off, Course Lock and Home Lock.
Course Lock is used to keep your DJI Wookong drone heading in the same direction. This is useful if you want to fly in a straight line, say for filming along a straight course so you can concentrate on your camera view while pushing the stick forward keeps you on the same course with the Wookong computer making corrections to keep you on the same line. The Course Lock direction is determined by which way you face you quadcopter/hexacopter etc when you switch it on - after a while you will see rapid blinking green lights that indicate you Course Lock heading and Home Lock position has been recorded. You can override the Course Lock direction in flight by quickly switching between off and Course Lock 3 to 5 times. You will see the green lights flashing again if this is successful.
Home Lock is perhaps the most exciting of these two modes. For this to work properly you need to face your drone in the direction you want forward to be, then power up. After you have a full satellite lock and you've seen the flashing green lights, you should lift off in GPS Mode. Home Lock only works in GPS Mode. Now when you push forward on your elevator stick (forwards/backwards stick) your DJI Wookong drone with always fly away from you in a straight line, regardless of which way it is facing.
For example, if you fly 50 feet away from yourself then yaw around until your drone is facing you, pushing forwards on the stick will make still make your drone fly away from you. Of course the opposite is true, so if you pull back on the elevator stick your DJI Wookong drone will always fly back towards you, regardless of which way it is facing.
Furthermore, moving the aileron stick (left/right banking stick) left or right with always move your drone left or right from your position, regardless of which way it is facing.
Some people call this Carefree mode because you don't have to worry about orientation, which way your drone is facing, as left is always left and right is always right, back is always back and forward is always forward, regardless of which way your DJI Wookong drone is facing.
NOTE: Home Lock mode is only useful if you stand or sit still, don't move from the spot where you took off. It is also only useful as a line of sight tool, and will be totally disorienting if you're flying your DJI Wookong FPV with video goggles.