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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Elvin,

     But if it was your compass offsets then I would expect that Loiter probably wouldn't work as well (although loitering in one place is more forgiving than Guided which will make the copter move).  The compass interference from raising the throttle also looks quite low actually.

     It doesn't look like the copter is in guided mode for very long before it switches back to Stabilize. Are you changing the flight mode switch soon after clicking the "Fly to Here" on the map?

     You've read the wiki page about guided mode?  I've just updated it a bit now.

Reuben,

     When testing we checked and didn't find any change caused by the LEDs on the board itself.  It was just external light and it had to hit at just the right angle.  From the side actually had a bigger effect than straight down I think.

     Temperature plays a big part as you say in the first few minutes as the board warms up.  The landing controller doesn't use the absolute altitude to decide when to shut off the motors.  It just keeps coming down until it hits something.  It detects the ground by observing that the motors are at minimum but it doesn't seem to be falling anymore.  If that situation persists for more than 1 second it figures it's landed.  The only time is uses the absolute altitude is when deciding whether to descend with the regular altitude hold controller (which descends faster at 1.5m/s) or the final stage landing controller (which descends at 50cm/s).  I've added this information to the wiki here.

Jan,

     Well, there is a motor imbalance.  You've made it easy for me here by including the graph.  So the top motor is normally at 1650 while the bottom motor is at 1500.  So a difference of 150 is significant (that means it's running at about 20% faster).  From the motor pictures on this page it looks like it's the front left spinning fast and the back left spinning slowly.  The two right motors seems to be pretty much together.  That's a bit unusual...is the center of gravity off?  something heavy on the front-left side of the copter?

egaus,

     Thanks for pointing that out.  I've removed the redundant section from that general magnetic interference page and added a link back to the Advanced compass set-up page.  I've been putting a decent amount of time into cleaning up the wiki over the past two weeks as I also noticed that there was a fair bit of misinformation on it.  txs again.

Thanks for the reply Randy ..

I guess we need to let the board sit for 10 mins or so  to warm up before flight ?.. so the temps can stabilize ..then reboot before take off.. Would this give better alt hold?

I have not tested yet at what temp the board components stabilize nor the time it takes .. I will do that test later today. and report back

What about the fact the leds generate heat could they contribute to the rise in temp ..maybe its the Baro it self thats heating up ?

The baro is re-calibrated when you arm, so temperature will be normal at that point.

I'm not really sure exactly what's heating up nor how long it takes but I'd like to hear what you find!

Palo,

    Excellent news.  thanks for the feedback and good to know that AC3.0.0 is at least working on the APM1.

Bill,

     Ah, the android GCSs may not provide that warning.  Mission Planner does though (or it use to!) so I think it's down to the Tablet GCSs doing something with the fence breach mavlink message when they get it.

Thanks Randy.

I have set up one of my flight modes to guided. Does the new wiki on guided mean that I don't have to? I just use loiter then the 'fly to here' on the mission planner?

No more tx switching to guided?

is there a way to have a switch controlling motors rotation direction (ie reverse rotation to ask the copter to fly on it's back?

 

or even better have a kind of macro that run only left side motors reverse in case of X config.

 

my idea is for a water copter in case of falling inverted in water.... :-)

I find that 5 minutes is more than enough for both the baro and the GPS to settle.

Do not block the GPS antenna by leaning over the APM or standing right next to it.

Rebooting is not a good idea as the baro then has to be left to settle all over again.

If you do reboot like when swapping batteries, again wait 5 minutes.

That way no unpleasant surprises

I have one baro that drifts a lot initially [5M]  and others barely drift at all, so they are NOT all the same, the 5 minute wait works for all the baros I have and helps with GPS.

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