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 have went through the code and from what I can see, there are a number of places where RTL accepts radio inputs. This appears to be what caused your fast yaw during RTL. I normally only comment on control stuff so Randy may correct me here.

Now my rant:

I have stated a number of times that we should not accept any user input during any emergency autonomous mode (LAND, RTL) by default. Any user input that is passed while in one of these modes should be set up as a special case where we do a number of checks to ensure that it is safe and expected. Unfortunately many in the community want partial control while letting the autopilot do what they perceive as the 'too hard' bit.

People want to be able to reposition the copter when in LAND to avoid an obstacle. I regard this as blatantly unsafe. The pilot should switch to LOITER, ALT_HOLD, or STABILIZE so they can not only reposition the copter but also control the descent rate to give themselves as much time as they need to avoid the obstacle. If the pilot wants to they can even switch back into land when they are happy with the position of the copter.

People want to be able to maintain yaw control during RTL. Why, maybe they want to be able to come home but still point a camera. Although I don't think we should even allow this, fine, use a RTL_yaw parameter that we only use when not in a radio failsafe. In any case, when it goes into the final land it DOESN'T let the pilot control the yaw (go back up to LAND).

My message: By insisting on having partial control of auto modes because a pilot is too lazy to take complete control (I am talking Loiter here) has unnecessarily complicated modes like RTL and Land when these modes are primarily for failsafe and emergency situations. In turn this has resulted in unnecessary crashes or brown trouser moments.

I would like to see RTL, LAND (with GPS), and LAND (No GPS) made as simple and as clean as possible. I would like to see any ability for the pilot to control these removed. They should be as simple and predictable as possible. It is my belief that they are there to attempt to prevent the vehicle from being lost and minimise damage it does. I don't believe these modes should be assistance modes for poor or lazy pilots.

Your noise isn't great but I think the main problem is that your THR_ACCEL P and I are too high. I would suggest that you try something like P = 0.5 and I = 1. If you find this still isn't working try P = 0.3 and I = 0.6. After that it is really only vibrations and air being blown over your barometer that could be causing the problem.

Hi Leonard,

What are the values of: RATE_PIT_IMAX and RATE_RLL_IMAX. I see as per the Wiki it shows to be 0 to 500 (with increments of 10). In my mission planner, it was earlier set as 5 and not 500. What should I set it as? What is really considered the default value 5 or 500.

This is because my flight behaviour changes accordingly and I want to be in tune with what others are using here..

Thanks.

Thank you Leonard. I fully second your view.

Michael

I am not sure what the mission planner sets it to but in the Parameter list it should come up as 500 I think. I am not sure if the mission planner scales this one in the gui though.

Sounds pretty reasonable to me. Want control? Switch modes, easy.  If people need to auto land because its smooth and easy they had better keep practicing manual flight/landing.

Thanks Leonard,

Here's the frame, pretty standard 3DR Quad. Note the heavy camera and gimbal towards the front is exactly balanced by the 5200 mAh battery in back.
Power train is stock no-name 3DR ESCs, with T-Motor MT2216 KV800 motors and APC 10x4.7 props:

Vibration isolation under APM is a sheet of 3M double sided foam tape. It's not much, but I assume vibrations are not a problem because alt hold and loiter are so rock solid and flawless:

Motor mounting is now very sturdy and securely attached to the arms:

Let me know if there's anything obvious I'm doing wrong here. I certainly appreciate your help!

Hi David,

Nice looking installation, just as couple of thoughts.

That clear plastic cable tubing sticking up to the servo (ESC) leads on the APM can't be helping the vibration. I'd suggest you cut off the last inch or so of it at least and possibly pull a bit more slack in the wires.

The same is true for the 2 other clear wire covering tubes, the only way that would work well is if they were super flexible silicone and I don't think they are from your photos.

In some copters, the heat shrink or cable covers have been the primary transmission medium for vibration.

A lot of people think double sided foam tape works OK for them, but there are a lot of different foam tapes and some work pretty well, other don't.

From what you have said yours seems to be working OK for you.

Generally I find Kyosho Zeal Gel pretty much always works really well.

I did write the Copter wiki page on vibration and although a few people have other methods, the ones I describe will work pretty much every time.

Hi David,

It looks good. Everything looks very well secured and very little to vibrate. As Gary says, keeping the weight of wires connecting to the APM is also good practise but I don't think this is your problem.

Ok, I have been looking over your logs again and I think I have the problem. You are going too fast. You are flying around at maximum throttle and making the stability patch work overtime. This means that any command input takes power away from the others, and altitude too. This means that your copter is constantly struggling to maintain attitude and altitude with only just enough power to do so.

My advice is chuck 11 inch props on there and give it another go. You are only drawing 11 Amps and 130 W at each motor when going flat out so you should have plenty of headroom to do 11's. You may also like to try 4s batteries.

I hope that fixes your problem!!!

And don't worry about being relatively new to Arducopter, I have only been doing this for one and a half years myself :)

thanks for all your help, I calibrated everything again and it helped. so now I'm out to fly.

Hi Gary,

Thank you for your reply and suggestions. In this case I think the vibration is not an issue however, as when I turn on IMU logs they look to be well within the tolerances (just a bit wavy, since I was fighting gusty wind to log this):

Leonard, your advice about using larger props makes perfect sense, so I will definitely try that as soon as it stops raining here!

Hi Randy & Leonar

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