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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I am currently using the MP 1.2.53 and the APM fw v3.0.0

- Everytime I start the MP, it says "New update found" but never tells me what it is. I think it is 1.2.73. 

Should I go for the update? Is there any issues with it?

- Should I update the APM firmware as well? 

Yes to both

Install the MSI for Mission Planner

http://ardupilot.com/downloads/?category=4&sortby=date

Thanks Leonard, it's correct, i mean alt-hold! ;-)

Is this (MSI)  something new? I thought updating the MP would bring everything with it.

There has always been an MSI.  Windows can be a little testy sometimes.  The MSI works in some cases where the internal update does not succeed.

Well 3.1 has ACRO with a three position switch to control various levels of help or trainer functions. It also has simple mode for SPORT mode (earth frame acro). Randy has alowed setting the propellers to spin once armed and broken up loiter into blocks to improve performance and hopefully add spline legs to our missions. Oh and take off, land and arm in ALTHOLD and LOITER.

3.2 should have spline navigation fully integrated into our standard navigation (Thanks Dewey). We have some "place" and "pickup" command ideas that look fun. We will also ensure the code can handle motor out situations on a hex as well as Y6 Octs and X8 it is OK now but can be improved further. The last thing in the works is quite significant but I won't say any more until we are sure it works. Call it a teaser.

However the most important thing aren't features at all. Randy an a number of other Devs are constantly improving the reliability and ensuring there are checks in there for stopping people doing silly things. Also the way detectable failures are handled is being constantly refined and improved.

Sounds awesome!

So... what is spline navigation?

I'm pretty excited about the prop spin on arming, that'll be sweet!

Randy, Marco,

Hopefully your expertise will help me. I have had numerous successful enjoyable flights with 3.0.1. However, as indicated before I also had some propellers break in flight. The last time it happened, the Quad ended up flying diagonally in to a tree with minimal damage. I repaired the damage, but replaced the plastic props with carbon ones. I balanced each blade and checked the motor shafts for 'true ness' (so that the prop blades would track properly).

Then I started flying.....I noticed the quad to be sluggish. Like it was tired. Full power did not yield as much of a climb rate as before, but it was still fine. 

Then I did some fast wobble in STAB: worked fine. 

ALT hold: fine.

Loiter: fine.

Then...... RTL:

all fine until the descend (51% in log file): the quad started to wobble until out of control and not recoverable. This happened twice (first time I thought it might be a battery problem, so I used a different fully charged one the second time). It landed in shrubs and no serious damage was done. However, it just puzzles me what it would start to wobble out of control. Logs are attached, but unfortunately I did not have RAW enabled. 

Any insight would be appreciated: I just suspect very inefficient props (HK carbon props some of which needed serious balancing (you get what you pay for) and I'm now a believer that even for simply things like props, I should stick with what the trusted suppliers are selling). 

Not asking for your opinion about the suppliers, but I do like to know your insights what could be wrong. 

My next steps are to try with different props (grey plastic) and RAW enabled to monitor vibration levels.

Thanks!

AlexP

Attachments:

Hey Tom, I successfully ran this mission today :)

btw if anyone is interested in this silliness, here is the droneshare for this flight.  I had some dataloss in the telemetry stream around the top of the S but it did succeed:

http://www.droneshare.com/view/cj4dntq

@Craig/Randy - thought you might lol..  :)

the first virtual nazca line

readable from web space :-)  nice job!

WOW, better redundancy for hexacopter? That will be huge! :) Thanks to all developers for their amazing work :)

John.

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