ACRO bug (fixed in 2.9.1b): while doing flips in ACRO mode, if you switch to Stabilize while inverted your throttle will go to minimum.  To regain throttle control you need to switch back to ACRO then back to Stabilize again (i.e. switch to stabilize twice).  You never lose control of roll/pitch/yaw.

Loiter/AltHold/Auto/RTL bug: if you switch into these modes with throttle at zero motors will go to minimum until you raise the throttle.

Auto mode altitude bug (fixed in 2.9.1b): setting a waypoint altitude greater than 320m over home altitude may wrap around and instead be interpreted as a low altitude.

ArduCopter 2.9 is now in the mission planner and the downloads area!

The major improvement is we use inertial navigation to improve altitude hold.  This increased reliance on the accelerometers means you must do some additional set-up before flying:

1. Perform the new accelerometer calibration in the mission planner (video).  The auto-trim metho has also changed (video).

2. Add vibration dampening foam between your frame and the APM.  Some suggested materials: DuBrogelhk foam.

 3. If upgrading from 2.8.1, modify the throttle and altitude PID values:

  • Increase your Throttle Rate P, reduce I to zero, increase D
  • Increase Altitude Hold P, reduce I to zero
  • Tune Throttle Accel P and I terms but try to keep P about 1/2 the size of I


Here is the list of major changes (a more detailed list can be found in the release notes):  

  • Alt hold using inertial navigation (Leonard, Randy, Jonathan)
    • AUTO_VELZ_MIN, AUTO_VELZ_MAX parameters control the max climb/descent rate for the autopilot (cm/s)
    • PILOT_VELZ_MAX controls max climb/descent rate for the pilot (in cm/s)
  • Landing improvements (Leonard/Randy).  Copter will descend to 10m or until an object is sensed with the sonar.  Then slows to 50cm/s descent (speed can be adjusted with LAND_SPEED parameter). (video).
  • Surface tracking with sonar (Randy/Leonard).  Copter will attempt to maintain current distance from objects in front of sonar regardless of altitude.  Only used in alt-hold and loiter, not used for missions.  Sonar can be enabled/disabled with CH7 switch. (video)
  • Failsafe improvements (Randy/Craig/John Arne Birkeland) including bug fixes, additional check for PPM encoder failure and implementation of battery failsafe.  Set-up instructions are here.
  • Mediatek gps driver accuracy improvements and use of SBAS [Craig].  Instructions on upgrading your mediatek to firmware 1.9 are here.
  • Traditional Heli improvements (Rob) including (a) bringing heli code back into the fold, (b) enabled rate controller (previously only used angle controllers). (c) fix to rotor speed controllers - now operates by switching off channel 8.  (d) allow wider collective pitch range in acro and alt hold modes vs stabilize mode  (e) bug fix to allow collective pitch to use the entire range of servos
  • Acro trainer (Leonard). Copter will return to be generally upright if you release the sticks in acro mode.
    • ACRO_TRAINER : set to 1 to enable the auto-bring-upright feature
    • ACRO_BAL_ROLL, ACRO_BAL_PITCH : controls rate at which roll returns to level
  • Camera control improvements (Randy/Sandro Benigno):  (a) AP_Relay enabled for APM2  (b) Trigger camera with CH7 or DO_DIGICAM_CONTROL command  (c) Allow pilot override of yaw during missions and fixed CONDITIONAL_YAW command.
  • PPM sum support for transmitters with as few as 5 channels (Randy/Tridge/John Arne Birkeland).
  • Performance and memory useage improvements (Tridge).


As per usual PIDs are optimised for the 3DR/jDrones quad with 850 motors and 10" props. If you're using more powerful motors/props and are seeing bad flight behaviour in stabilize, start by turning down Rate Roll P in 25% steps.

Special thanks to our testing team lead Marco and the dedicated bunch on the 2.8.1 release thread who put their copters at risk while testing the pre-release version.  Some of their videos are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Please feel free to report issues you find in the discussion below and/or add them to the issues list.


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Paul, if I'm looking at the pic correctly, it appears that both orange props are tractor props. I'll bet they're both turning CCW. I think the one on the red arm is wrong. Someone else might want to confirm.

HI Paul,

Looking at your setup, the props are incorrectly setup. The top left orange one seems to be CCW while it should be CW.

Change that prop and then also check the motor direction.

good luck,


I flew three packs this afternoon and the copter behaved itself very well. Stabilise, alt-hold, RTL, Land, Loiter, battery failsafe and throttle failsafe all worked great :-)

UNBELIEVABLE.  I'm so sorry guys.  I just realized/remembered that my front two arms were the ones that broke in the crash and thus the motors had to be re-fitted onto the replacement arms.  When i did, i obviously wired them wrong and *assumed* from there on out...

Like my high school english teacher always said.  When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.  How true she was, although in this case, it was just me.  

I can't tell you all how much i appreciate the help.  And sorry for the rookie mistake.  On the bright side, I've gained a wealth of knowledge regarding log reading and general health assessment.  Probably the best lesson is to realize that it CAN fly when the motors are configured wrong albeit in a very peculiar manner.  I would never have thought it would have actually flown at all otherwise.

Thanks again.  Now to go out for some flying!!! 

THat's perfect! Thanks. I swear I searched before I asked :)

Most shielding materials are useless for magnetic interference.  You can get a small sheet of Mu metal to put between your high-current PDB and sensitive compass.  But separation is the best solution.  (Why do you think NASA puts the magnetic and radiation sensors on arms meters away from the probes?)

No problem,

please drop me a line if this method works. I haven´t test it yet.

If you are that lazy, do like I did and buy one of these:

...and use the Lazyzero flashtool to flash them:

This way the only real work involved is cutting off the heatshrink. I am very lazy; so I cut a square around the Amtel chips and cover it with tape after flashing.

You should definitely think about flashing them. The improvement in stability will be very noticeable. Sorry... back OT.

i already had my usb asp programmer, bought from a professor from my local university.. only cost me $4. and this is how i flash my redbricks..

should be easier for F-30A, right ? so flashing then...

Its common in other industries to twist power cables to reduce their EMI but I haven’t yet seen it mentioned here regarding compass offsets.

On my next build I will twist the main power leads and ‘heat shrink’ them to keep the twist – at least where its closest to the APM.


Is it necessary to flash the atmel if you are using a specktrum radio?? My throttle drops to 952 when radio is turned off and this should trigger proper failsafe-am I correct? Are there any other other reasons for updating the atmel?

On evening, Loiter test low altitude.


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