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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Rob,

    Well, the problem is not caused by compass interference nor GPS accuracy issues.

     I really think there is something wrong with the compass heading.  Looks like the compass orientation has been left as the default which could be ok but it depends upon how the compass is attached to the frame.  There's a wiki page here about it.

     I guess you've done the live calibration since attaching the external compass?

     Ah, one other thing - your baro data is a bit spikey.  Have you got foam over the baro?  Another possible cause is lighting hitting the baro - maybe put some black electrical tape on the case around where you can see the foam through the case (we really should do a wiki and/or blog post about this baro light issue).

In case you're wondering why I think it's compass orientation it's because when graphing the NTUN (navigation tuning) dataflash message's Desired Velocity (DVelX) vs actual velocity (VelX) for the period the copter is in Loiter they don't match up at all.  For example the actual velocity in the lat direction in green (aka VelX) should follow the Desired Velocity in red (DVelX) but it doesn't...instead it looks like it's having an effect on the vel in the lon direction in white (VelY)...it's a little hard to be sure but that's how it appears to me.

One other thing you could try doing is tuning your declination with CH6.  This is mentioned here on the wiki.

John,

     Could be related to SimonK although I have tested the SimonK based ESCs throttle curve (i.e. pwm -> thrust) in the past and found them to be very similar to non-SimonK escs.

     Someone once mentioned that they thought that motors speed up faster than they slow down and this could lead to momentary rise because when yawing we send the speed up and slow down commands at the same time but if say the speed up commands were being acted on more quickly then that could cause a small rise.

     Sure, happy to have a look at the logs.

Had the same issue with 3DR ESCs on my Hexa. I tuned Rate Yaw P and Rate Yaw I (in my case a little bit higher). After that I adjust Stab Yaw P which was most important. Still not 100 % perfect in my optinion. Throtle mid was set. In the log you see a chrash at 95%. Maybe someone could assist what happened?

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I just want to chime in that I have really grown to like 3.0.1 now that I have the tuning down, know how to read the logs and have gotten comfortable with the flight handling. I am by far no RC expert but I have now had 5 successful missions building up from stabilize to just flying loiter for the first time tonight.  

Having read the recurring theme of stability issues with loiter and copters flipping I was really nervous to jump into this release.  At first I had my fair share of issues as well, including a few flips and some broken propellers.  I also lost a motor but I suspect that was something that was coming and had nothing to do with the flips I had.  

I found that making sure the calibration of the compass and acceleromter, along with a good compassmot test were the biggest key. I have my quad flying as stable as ever now, exponentially more than at any other time since I started this hobby.  Additionally, finding a really good throttle_mid was also key because I was chasing the sweet spot pretty bad early on.

I attribute the majority of this to Randy's updated documentation on the logs. That opened up so much more info that I am not guessing anymore. Thank you so much for that.   

I haven't let the quad go to far away from me as of yet. On my last flight tonight I started pushing it out further.  I hit my battery limit and had to pull it back.  But I did several iterations of stabilize to loiter tests, I had flown successfully switching to Alt_hold last night that I felt comfortable going to loiter.  Every time it switched It dead stuck to its position.  One thing I did notice is that when I tested roll and pitch while in loiter it seemed very sluggish and not nearly as responsive.  I had seen others mention this feeling, but on some cases that was while it was in auto mode and switched to loiter. 

I was surprised looking at my logs how well the quad performed, as I still need to improve my vibrations. They aren't crazy but it can be improved.  All in all I am very pleased with how this version has performed now that I am getting comfortable with the calibration.   

but if you'll have connected gimbal to digital outputs you'll see values as well?

Gregmaan,

     Can you repost the file in a zip instead of a rar?

Audrius,

    That would make sense but, no, I'm afraid not.  The RC out message only includes the motor information.  In case you're comfortable looking through the code you can find it in the GCS_Mavlink.pde file in the send_radio_out() function.

John,

I experience the same on my quad.

Pitch and roll are ok but when I yaw the quads back end jumps up.
I'm at the point now of changing my ESC's to eliminate that part.Will keep you posted on my findings.
Hopefully get it done during the weekend.

Cheers

Thanks Randy! I will check that! :)

Hi Richard!

It might be, but I think the connections are all ok, I removed the 5V wire from my ESCs BEC because I am using the 3DR power module. I only have de GND and signal wires connected to the APM2.0. Would that affect it in any way?

Thanks for the help! :)

Hi all,

I really love the board with al it functionalities but I lost total controll over my copter a couple of times, I think it was between switching flight modes, can one of you help me with looking into my logs for searching for the problem?

The copter is a flame wheel with afra 30a esc with 1000kv motor

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