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 thought you said you haven't used DR yet?

I think what a "noticeable" difference is will depend on pilot skill and flying style. I have flown my high precision pylon racers with both 512 and 2048 setups (D99 w/ Hyperion digitals and super slop free linkage). To me the difference was very obvious. With 512 the step around center was either too high or too low and the recentering also was somewhat random. With 2048 I could easily dial in for a level lap, and return to center was always dead center. Shooting a quad through small gaps I feel requires precision similar to pylon racing... flipping and rolling a quad over an open field is similar to flying a plane 3d... whole different ballgames with very different equipment requirements. ;)

Also, I'm not sure what you mean about 1ms resolution? I'm using a 512 link on my copters like most FPVers (limited by PPM sum). My understanding is that 50% DR would reduce my resolution from 256 to 128 steps per side. 128 seems like a lot of steps, but human thumbs can have much higher resolution (again depending on style and skill level). I figure our rigs are flexible enough that 2048 may well be pointless. However custom acro rigs can be quite stiff and precise. So until I try tx DR for myself I have to assume I would notice the difference in stick resolution. If I could, I would also want to try a 2048 link between my thumbs and Pixhawk.

800kv 4s5000 10" can be a potent setup depending on the exact motors used (most "800kv" motors are not actually 800kv, and some are more efficient than others). That's the setup many folks use to carry a gopro on a 450 class rig. Regardless, too much lift is never quite enough.

Robert, did you  try 3s lipo for your setup?

If it was me, I would either try 3s pack or, different props (like 8" or 9")

@ Jani

As far as I know, they upgraded some hardware in APM1 towards the end of the production. So if yours one of the earlier production APM1, it may not run 3.1-rc5

Also it is claimed that APM2.5 came to its limits and we are moving onto Pixhawk for that reason.

So how could a firmware barely works on APM2.5 work on APM1? This just doesn't make much sense to me...

How do you guys test RC failsafe? Just USB connected and watch MP?

How about a motor spin compromise?

0 = now spin

30 = motor just twitches (just like in motor setup)

> 50 = motor spins at desired rate

Default to 30. So indication about armed motors is given without actually spinning.

Oliver, I use 2 clones. The one that's bad is a HK hextronik 2.5.2 - the working one is a RCtimer. I think Bruce uses a fairly new original 3DR board.

I've just pulled my hextronik board out and disconnected everything, re-soldered the external compass jumper back to internal and still have the twitching with 3.1 RC5. I put the two latest logs here, one before and one after CLI reset and erase.

My other board works with 3.1RC5 and all my external connections.

A scope is hard to get for me to look at the 3.3V.

Attachments:

@ Steve, auto-disarm while the copter is up-side-down must be a piece of cake. I am not a programmer but I think it would take a few lines to be added to the code; that's it.  

@ Josh

As for the spin upon connecting the USB, I am not getting how this is related to prop spin on arm feature !..

If the copter motors are spinning while connected to USB, that could only mean that the main battery is connected and copter put into armed state. Simply this is an entirely different issue that needs to be addressed, and I think it would be a very good safety feature if the copter autodisarms when connected to USB.

When I connect my copter to my computer, I don't leave the main battery connected. That way no risk of accidental prop spin. USB would supply enough power to APM for programming anyways.

I don't have access to a scope.  My board was purchased from 3DR in July.  Gonna take a close look at it under magnifying glass for any visible signs of production issues and the like.... 

MHA,

     There's some instructions on the wiki but in any case, I connect my apm to my computer, then look at the mission planner's failsafe sceen (under mandatory set-up) then arm, lift throttle (no batteries of course) and then turn off my transmitter and it should go into land or rtl (depending upon whether you have gps lock or not and whether you're two meters from your home position).

Yes, AC3.1 should runner better on the APM1 than AC3.0.1 did because some of the performance improvements we did will apply to both boards.

The APM1 and APM2 actually use the same AVR 2560 cpu but the APM1 runs a little slower because it has to do extra work to sample the accelerometer and gyro values and the filter them all in the main CPU while the APM2 can simply pull the complete filtered results from the does-it-all MPU6k chip.  The APM2 also has a much better barometer of course so altitude hold on the APM1 will never be quite as good as on the APM2.

Hey Spring, better start reading :) Lots of new stuff coming along.  3.1 not quite out yet but it seems it is not far.  I believe compass and vibration restrictions are the same. The real game changer is the new Auto-Tune, works really well on most setups. Also watch for the "props spin when armed" feature it may be enabled by default and will catch some by surprise if they upgrade without doing some reading.  Not sure about 3.0.1 but 3.1 betas won't allow you to arm unless several pre-check requirements are met. Such as GPS HDOP <2, compass calibration done ect.   The documentation wiki has been really good especially for the auto-tune feature.  The current beta release is 3.1rc5 and is working awesome for me and most (maybe all) others. 

You still flying helicopters?  Dean Scarrow says hi. Cheers from Terrace

We've got a patch in the works that tries to determine if there are errors on the SPI bus and if there are then it reduces the speed.  Just need to test it a couple more times myself before asking Detlef and Bruce to give it a try.

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