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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@Darrell I am not sure what your referring to. Your comments about me being critical of the devs / contributors hard work is definitely not true. I acknowledged this hardware change is not a reflection on the developers in my post.  I have always have been supportive in this forum which I have contributed to over the many years I have been involved.  However, what has been misunderstood is my note about the APM2 board.  I was simply referring to the hardware only not the code.  My reference is to the point about CPU and memory limitations Randy made.  It has been clearly expressed there will be no further hardware upgrade of the APM2.6 as it is now.  Thats not anyones fault either its just moving forward a newer platform is needed.  I personally prefer Arduino and that is my choice to make and the fact I cannot understand yet or work on a new development environment diydrones is using for PX4 / pixhawk is also no cause to be critical and turn this into a compliant.  We are not all brilliant programmers.  Ardunio is a familiar environment for me to use and I also plan to fly my quads on APM2 for some time to come.  Yes I am currently looking at other autopilots to see if any offer more stable operation.  I have not reached any conclusions yet and looking now at a different mode of operation, while I still keep the development side of my interests ticking along.   If you would like to discuss this further offline you have my email and I would be only happy to explain my situation better so there is no bad feeling. This forum is not a place to target individuals though.  I appreciate any feedback just not personal attacks for having my own interpretation of the data at hand. For example, I learn't some items from Rob's reply I did not know and acknowledged the help in the forum. 

Actually turning back to matters at hand have you noticed any performance issues with using the latest code on your quad versus octocopter?  Would be interested in your findings and feedback

Randy thats good to know.  Is there a list or design document yet of what functions are planned to be easily turned off with a simple #define ? Its certainly great we will be able to customize the run environment liek this for new features like autotune.

Randy thanks for this update. Appreciated.  I will have a look at the AC3.1-rc3 today.  I have a new test system I am building so look forward to seeing how the enhancements go.  

This is kind of off the world thinking but would there be any way to tandem say two APM2.6 boards to share some of the processing load? For example when working with more PCM inputs on say octocopters.  I did look at using a smaller arduino board once to process I2C for the sonar rather than taking the block calls on the main APM cpu.  Has anyone else thought about way to do parallel processing with more than one APM?

Hi Kevin,

I had a good look at your log screen again. It really increases z vibrations a lot with increasing ground speed. I have one question: was this logged in AltHold or Loiter? Or did you fly plain Stabilize or Acro?

Thanks,

Michael

Development on the APM 2.X is not stopping!!!

I would like to make it clear that the APM development is not stopping. In Randy's hast to communicate to the community the limitations the Dev's are facing on the APM platform and Robert's discovery of the processor issues with mount, some people have the impression to some that 3.2 will be the last APM release, or that the APM isn't up to the task. This isn't the case.

Some facts:

1. New features like scripting and automatic path planning using stored maps will not be added to the APM because they require cpu power the APM simply doesn't have.

2. Some existing features may be removed or only available with a custom compile because no body uses them or they are outdated. Things like toy mode, position hold (loiter with manual throttle), and mount.

3. New features like auto tune or spline navigation may be added in the release or made available as a compile time option depending on their requirements and significance.

4. Improvements to the basic controller design will continue to be made as they generally will reduce the code size rather than increase it. (Randy and I are working on this now)

5. Bugs and problems will continue to be fixed. (the only problem with this is there aren't many of them left!)

6. Tridge and Randy have implemented a large number of CPU performance improvements that have given the APM significantly more processor headroom for low priority tasks.

7. As we update the code to make the most of the PX4 hardware, many of these changes are also improving the performance of the APM hardware!

8. For the foreseeable future there won't be separate code base for the APM and PX4. This means all the basic bug fixes we implement on the PX4 will also be fixed on the APM.

In short, the Dev's are still working on the APM hardware with the intention of polishing it to an unarguable thing of absolute beauty and reliability. This is in term acting as a fantastic spring board for the PX4 based features that are sure to come with the added processing capability and memory.

Future releases of the APM, post 3.2 (or 3.3) will begin to have absolutely no new features or major changes, just reliability and efficiency improvements. We are so close to this now and this is why people have suggested that 3.2 will be the last major release for the APM's.

The APM is a fully featured autopilot and great control hardware platform and I believe it will make controllers like the Wookong look silly for a long time. (It is also excellent for ACRO and FPV)

I personally think this is a very proud time for the APM's :)

Thank you for that Leonard,the APM is very good now,and ive preordered a Pixhawk,the only thing I whant in it is the auto tune to be a feature in M/P with out compling it,and I beleive Randy is going to do this in RC4,A big thank you to all the developers,marty

Thanks Leonard!

Auto tune is a 3.2 feature, not 3.1.  It will not be in 3.1rc4 (or 3.1)

Iwas just going on a post by Randy,he said it would be in RC4 no probs Craig,and thank you,Marty.

Leonard excellent summary and update. All very good news for existing APM users.

Leonard

Brilliant news as I had only in the last few months upgraded to APM2.6.

Thanks very much for clarifying the future as you see it.

I was pretty happy with 3.0.1 as I just do simple flying with a camera.

Although, I have had some unexplained Tx/Rx problems with lack of response and ALT variance in Loiter.

Thanks again

I am definitely relaxed now after Leonard's post. 

Thank you...

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