ArduCopter 3.0.1 has been released and is now available in the Mission Planner, firmware.diydrones.com, GitHub and the new Downloads Area.

Warning #1: Compass calibration and reducing interference is far more important than with 2.9.1b

Warning #2: GPS glitches can cause sudden and aggressive position changes while in loiter mode.  You may wish to reduce the Loiter PID P to 0.5 (from 1.0) to reduce aggressiveness (see image below of where this gain can be found in mission planner).

Warning #3: optical flow is not supported but will be back in the next release (AC-3.0.2 or AC-3.1.0).

Warning #4: loiter turns does not maintain altitude.  This bug will be fixed in AC-3.0.2.

Warning #5: This release has only been lightly tested on Traditional Helicopters.

Improvements over 2.9.1b include:

  • Inertial Navigation for Loiter and Auto meaning much more accurate control (Randy,Leonard,JonathanC)
  • 3D navigation controller follows straight lines in all dimensions between waypoints (Leonard,Randy)

         WPNAV_SPEED, WPNAV_SPEED_UP, WPNAV_SPEED_DN, WPNAV_ACCEL allows configuring speeds and acceleration during missions

  • "compassmot" to compensate for interference on compass from the pdb, motors, ESCs and battery.  (Randy,JonathanC) (Set-up video here)
  • Safety improvements:
    • simple Tin Can shaped Geo Fence
    • pre-arm checks to ensure all calibration has been performed before arming (can be disabled by setting ARMING_CHECK to zero).  (video description here)
    • GPS failsafe - switches to LAND if GPS is lost for 5 seconds
    • stability patch improvements to stop rapid climbs in very overpowered or overtuned copters
  • Circle mode improvements including "panorama" when CIRCLE_RADIUS set to zero (Randy,Leonard)
  • SONAR_GAIN parameter added to allow better tuning of sonar surface tracking
  • CH8 auxiliary switch (same features as CH7)
  • works on PX4 (some minor features still not available) (Tridge,PatH)

How to upgrade:

1. Make sure you are using Mission Planner 1.2.59 or newer (get it here)

2. Click on the MissionPlanner's Hardware, Install Firmware screen.  The version numbers should appear as "ArduCopter-3.0.1", then click the appropriate frame icon and it should upgrade as per usual.

3. Reduce the Loiter and Alt Hold PIDs if you have modified them from the defaults.  The modified PID values for the 3DR frame can be seen in the image below.

Note: Nav parameters have been combined with Loiter so do not be concerned if you can't find them.

4. Although not directly related to this release, if you purchased an APM prior to March of 2013, update your PPM encoder to the latest firmware (instructions here).

5. Try out the new version in stabilize mode first, then alt-hold, then loiter and finally RTL and Auto.

Numerous How-To videos are available:

Special Thanks to MarcoDaveC and the large number of testers on the pre-release thread who put their copters at risk during the extended testing period.  Some of their videos can be found hereherehereherehere and here.  Thanks also to MichaelO for the MP changes required for this release.

All feedback welcome.  Please put your questions, comments (good and bad!) below.

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John,

Yes, we do not need agressive platforms. All we need is stability and longer flight times. When it comes to stability larger props sounds better than smaller ones. But for the flight time, it seems to me that higher voltage has advantages. Why? Because I look at from the "power" perspective. Every platform needs certain power level to hover/fly. Power required is always the same and it is volt x amp. So if voltage increases, required amp should decrease which lets the pack last longer. But this is the theory. Practice is never this simple...

I frequently read articles about the efficient power setups. So far I rarely see people prefer low voltage setups.

If find out 3s would be a better choice than 4s, I would go for it most likely... 

"ArduCopter (VR Brain)" VS "DJI (Wookong-M)" - Position Hold comparation:




Bests, Marco

Awesome Marco! 

Wow....nice work

Another complication to throw in is that most if the old NASA testing on coaxial props was done with them joined by gearing so both going at the same RPM. On our machines the APM would be giving equal signals to the ESC pairs (in steady state) to provide equal power% to the motors (I stand to be corrected but its only the heli guys that run their ESCs in RPM mode).

So this could get quite complicated. Probably the lower props would speed up to absorb more power in the downwash, negating the argument for larger pitch on the lower ones. From a practical point of view I would prefer to only have to carry spare CW CCW props of one pitch.

With all the various people having problems with vibrations on the z-axis, why not have a switch to basically disable it.

Why try and guess the current position using relative changes reported by the z accelerometer when one can use absolute values that are reasonably accurate such as gps or sonar. Sure they are not exact and can be off by a meter or two, but it would appear that the z accel can go really wrong and make your copter take off or at best be more than 2m wrong in height.

How is using z accel a better thing ?

I thought the compass was basically responsible for orientation. How could a bad compass cause rolls & pitches. Im not an exprert im just thinking out loud hoping others point me out for being wrong and why.

To set the low voltage per cell, APM must have a way of determining how many cells there are in the pack. Checking the overall voltage isn't the right way to do it. For example, APM power module could have a plug to connect to pack's balancing tab. Not impossible or difficult to do but I doubt it is at the top of their to-do list at the moment...

Beautiful Marco!!!!

What airframe is that?

Changing battery voltage is not a good practice because it does have effects over a lot of things :

- max motor current

- stabilization

- weight

- battery failsafe settings

- flight duration

This means that a lot of APM parameters should be changed to adapt to a new battery voltage and eventually hardware things as well (propeller size for example) to keep max motor current below manufacturer spec.

This is something i discourage for a safe flight experience.

Yes I do agree with you Oliver. But one of my remarks and main concern was that MP doesn't reset the power module alert settings in the hardware page in MP if you change to a different copter.

If you plug in a different copter the alert voltage and percentage settings stay the same. Now that's ok if you use all the one type of battery on all your copters. But I have 4 copters and some using 4s and the others using 3S.

Why isn't MP detecting the settings for the power module from the APM for each copters settings?

John, you could open a new issue here :

https://github.com/diydrones/MissionPlanner/issues

Olivier

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