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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A Question about planning a mission. 

Is it possible planning a mission on a why the turns are smooth, At this moment it is for me only possible the quadcopter stops at a wp, makes a turn and flies to the next wp.

gr.

Dick Gerritsen

Dutch mountains, 

the Netherlands

Just connect via MP and move the board around.  You will no longer see the heading update.

APM 2.5 when you cut trace to disable Magnetometer/Compass the heading in Mission Planner WILL CONTINUE to display and move correctly if you yaw/rotate the board - but the actual heading will be wrong as it always starts at North when power is applied..

What is different with no Magnetometer/Compass connected is that if you place the board down and don't move it, connect Mission planner the heading will be North regardless of which way the Front of the board is actually pointed, when power is first applied the heading is assumed to be 0.

Want to be sure you cut the trace, position the front of APM 2.5 facing South, apply power, connect to Mission Planner if your heading is South, you have not cut the trace, if your heading is North you have cut the trace.

Actually even without a compass (or a non functioning one) the HUD heading will still respond to board movements as the inertial navigation loops still provide yaw data.

For a cursory compass check, each time you connect to the APM it will point +/- north if the compass is not working no matter which way the board is pointing at boot time, to check properly go to the Terminal Tab and type: test > compass.

What I don't understand that with an external compass attached, tested and working, my heading still only changes when the board rotates, mystifyingly the heading does not change when the external compass rotates. Fluctuating Mx, My and Mz clearly show the external compass is working and responding. The mag_field also fluctuates when something mildly magnetic is brought near the external mag.

The bearing however only changes when the APM rotates, nothing happens when the ext mag rotates, bizarre!

Can someone please confirm that they get the same response or does your heading change when your external mag rotates independently of your APM?

Well once you've cut it from the mainboard, you have to tell the software that you have an external mag installed in the initial setup screen of MP.  Have you done that already?

Josh, where do you tell it (besides the orientation field) that there is an external compass?

I'm hoping that Orientation screen is bugged/incomplete honestly because mine never refreshes back to say that it uses the "APM with External Compass" radio button, however the "Manual" radio button is also not selected but the ROTATION_ROLL_180 populates.  

You can also wander over to Full Parameter list and evaluate COMPASS_USE.  Mine is set to 8, which is "Roll180" which seems to correspond with the above setting.


This is with a 2.6, so, using the external mag was built in and I've not modified these settings.  I intend to apply them to my 2.5 that I still need to perform the cut on.

Hi Graham, I am successfully using an external mag. There is no setting to change as far as I know. The external sensor is exactly the same and is on the same SPI bus as the built in sensor. The APM does not know any difference. This is why we have to cut the trace - to avoid conflicts. If your new external sensor is mounted in a different orientation then this requires setting changes to compensate. The heading as determined by the APM is a combined measure based on both the magnetometer and gyro sensors. The gyro data is weighted to be more dominant in the short term where as the mag data is more dominant in the long term. If you remove the magnetometer then you still get a variation in displayed heading based on the accelerator data (gyro).This gives accurate relative rotational information but the absolute heading will be off. If you have both sensors attached but just rotate the mag independent of the APM, there is little change in the heading as the gyro data dominates. I hope this helps

Thanks James, yes it does, to an extent. I expected that rotating the ext mag independently of the APM would cause some variation of heading (even if it took some time), but I see no response at all even after 5 minutes, so faulty hardware, intentional behaviour or a bug were my first thoughts. 

I was 99% sure there was no setting specifically for an ext mag and leaving the trace uncut would combine the two mags causing peculiarities amongst other things.

My problem is that I'm still getting the dreaded TBE even with the ext mag and compassmot at 1% and thus am investigating why. The ext mag is a stopgap for a problem that only surfaced with v3.0 and I wondered if the code is complete for it?

The internal / external setting separates the gyro and accel frame of reference from the magetometer frame of reference.  The two sensors are mixed together so you will see the heading change when the main board is rotated.  

If you don't see the heading change when the external compass is rotated then you are not connected to it.

Most likely that is going to be for 1 of 2 reasons.

Either the trace is not cut on the board and there is buss contention between the two magnetometers or

There is a problem with the external mag i.e. not powered wrong power, bad wiring etc.

You can tell if the trace is cut by disconnecting the external mag and rotating the board.  Check the Mag Field MAVlink messge.  You will see it changing  if the trace is intact and you are getting data from the internal compass.

If you have the external compass connected and look at the same message while rotating the mag board and the Mag Field MAVlink message does not update then you have a problem with the external mag

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