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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OK microseconds makes a lot more sense to me. Let me put my tumbler of high res spiked koolaid down and explain myself... :)

AFAIK the PPM spec allows infinite resolution. It is the Tx+Rx that determine how many steps that 1000-2000us range is broken up into. Most modern tx+rx's are 1024. So they break that range up in to ~1us steps. The exact value depends on end points, trims, etc... you get more steps using 150% end points etc... but 1us/step is doable with a properly setup 1024 tx+rx. Higher end 2048 setups offer ~0.5us steps, and I just learned that some of the newer digital servos offer a rediculous 4096steps. They must use really good pots I guess, and they need 4k radios to reach their full potential. The point is, many users are sending commands to APM in 1us increments, some may be sending in 0.5us increments, and soon they might be sending 0.25us steps to APM.

APM is probably not as precise as a 4096 servo. You mentioned APM has a 1us input resolution? If so, a properly setup 1024 tx+rx is all you need to maximize "stick to APM" resolution; you'd get 500 steps left, 500 steps right. Taking that same setup, and switching DR to 50%, you get 250 steps per side. That may not be a noticeable difference on most rigs. If we hook up a 2048 setup, you can have 500/500 steps with both 100% and 50% DR, because it's limited by APM input resolution... the 2048 setup would be for "pro acro dudes". ;)

OTOH, let's take a 512 res tx+rx setup (the limit of most UHF systems). It starts off with 250 2us steps per side, which is already less than what APM can see. Now cut DR to 50%, and you get only 125steps per side (4uS). IMHO, that is getting well in to territory where most pilots will notice a difference. Besides the extra holding power, higher resolution is why planksters just love upgrading to digital servos... many el cheapo servos have just 4us res, where as digital servos can actually deliver discrete changes per 1us steps.

I understand what you mean regarding centering & dead zone.I picked a bad example. In the context of APM acro, it is the off center movements that count. FWIW, my Atlas digitals have adjustable deadband and range too. I haven't seen the resolution specs for them, but they have programmable travel. I have my pylon racer setup for full 2048 (150% end points), I programmed the servos for just 60* total travel, 1us deadband and I can actually see my surface jump to the next position with every single trim step (yes a single 0.5us step per trim click with 2048, not the JR default if 4x that gives 2us steps per click even with 2048... 8us per click with 1024 :/ ). The mechanical precision those Atlas servos offer is amazing really... I highly recommend trying a set on your next CP heli. There are more expensive servos, but they aren't really any better quality. ;)

is.gdCrunchbase: is.gd is a company (Consumer Web), acquired by Memset.

Not understand. How else should I fly in Acro?

Please see this logs.

And see what with yellow led and battery FailSafe message in flight data screen.

Attachments:

Hi Dean, cheers to all!

Thanks for the info, I'll delve into the documentation wiki.  I'm reverting to 2.9.1 B until this whole enterprise moves out of the beta testing phase.   Too much tinkering, not enough flying and still lots of unexpected excursions, it seems.  I get the e-mail feed but the volume is unmanageable; the signal-to-noise ratio is way too high.

For worry free flying, maybe the arducopter is not the right platform?

Thanks again Dean, Cheers . . . . . . . . Spring

Ning's lack of search sucks, I agree. I found that bookmarking "permalinks" really helps me organize key info. To get a permalink, click the chain icon next to the "Reply by ..." on the top of each post. The permalink will always bring you to the post in question.

LeadWikipedia: Lead is a chemical element in the carbon group with symbol Pb (from plumbum) and atomic number 82.

Hey David,

I think you sent me the wrong log file for the tune. And could you also tell me where you see the oscillations you are talking about in the second log?

Doing two autotunes, one to get close then one to fine tune is a good idea I think. I also got the feeling that a low battery near the end of the tune was effecting pitch a little if I started from defaults.

Hi Springfield,

If you are still on 2.9.1b, take your time. Version 3.X is a whole new level of performance and reliability compared to 2.9.X. So take your time to read the wiki setup pages before you update.

I would try paralleling 2 of those 3s 2200 packs and see what it gives you.

10" props on a 4s setup seems like an overkill unless your platform is super heavy. I don't think this is the case since you are saying it is overpowered...

Hi Spring, yes lots of tinkering and lots of reading to get it all just right but it has come a long way since I started a year ago.  Now recently finished my third build, I believe I have found success, some key things I have learned on my journey; use good quality parts, you will pay more in time and cash in the end using cheap clone stuff.  Get a handle on vibrations to APM and magnetic interference right away and I think you will be pleased. I'm really happy with my new setup, think I'm done tinkering, now just flying and learning all the features, working on my camera setup, longer range missions and an FPV setup now.  But APM is working great.

I don't think there is any such thing as worry free flying when it comes to autopilots, they all seem to have their issues, DJI has lots of issues too (fly-aways) but also many happy users, arducopter has many happy users too.

OK, appreciate the thoughts.  I'm into reading so will press on.  However, is there any point with an APM 1?  Without extensive vibration mitigation and remote compass, etc., etc. is there much point in moving to 3.x with this unit?

Perhaps another board is a more efficient route.  I'm for more flying and less tinkering although I understand the need for some tweaking but not forever.

Thanks, cheers . . . .

3.1 actually has performance improvements that will make the APM1 work better. These changes take some of the load of the CPU.

I have to say mate, radio controlled modeling in general isn't the right hobby for someone who doesn't enjoy tinkering and tweaking. No autopilot or aircraft will remove the need to do it.

Ok you are safe!! :)

Did my autotune, took less than 5 minutes with 3 times correcting the position. Feels allot different after the tune - for the better as far as I can tell from the short flight after (the mosquitoes were eating me alive). The rate PIDs only changed a little the biggest change was STAB P going from 4.5 to 9.375.

Thumbs up for the devs!!

Oliver, I just did a test flight with auto-tune on my quad with my other APM board (RCtimer). That one performed flawless with the 3.1 RC5 at 8MHz. The problem must be on the hextronic board and not in the periphery or power supply.

Detlef

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