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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The AutoTune procedure picks up from where you left off after manual corrections, but restarts from scratch after a battery change and also I believe Disarm/Re-Arm.  Leonard can confirm..

Hey @ Dragu Mihai,

Great video. How did you enable the circling mode, can you tell me that? Is this without a waypoint in loiter mode?

Any details would be appreciated!

AutoTune:

Can someone tell me if the Autotune need to be completed and the CH7 switch toggled back and forth to save the new tuning parameters. The autotune as I see might take > 9 minutes in windy conditions and under load, battery finishes.

Any idea to work around this issue?

Rob, Randy, Kevin,

I did some more tests and have to mostly confirm Kevin's theory. It seems to be vibration related so I apologize for loudly blaming the APM code. Changing the APM mounting from soft to hard made it a little better. Further switching to 9x5's improved the situation to an acceptable level. What really strikes me - and Kevin found this a lot earlier - is the difference from perfect acc values in hover to +- 0.5g noise in forward flight. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a separated acc sensor that could be placed and isolated independently.

@Kevin: can you share some pictures of your solution?

Thanks for your patience and support

Michael

Hay Josh,

The only difference between Acro and Stabilize is the Angle Boost. Angle Boost increases the throttle as you tilt the copter so you don't have to increase the throttle. What you may be feeling is that has you move around a little you need slightly more throttle in Acro because you don't have this compensation. I suspect that it is just something you need to get used to.

As for THR_MID and TRIM_THROTTLE. TRIM_THROTTLE is updated as the flight continues and increases as the battery runs down. If you want to set THR_MID correctly, fly through about 1/3 to 1/2 of a battery then have a look what TRIM_THROTTLE and setTHR_MID to that value.

Rob, Randy, Kevin,

I did some more tests and have to mostly confirm Kevin's theory. It seems to be vibration related so I apologize for loudly blaming the APM code. Changing the APM mounting from soft to hard made it a little better. Further switching to 9x5's improved the situation to an acceptable level. What really strikes me - and Kevin found this a lot earlier - is the difference from perfect acc values in hover to +- 0.5g noise in forward flight. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a separated acc sensor that could be placed and isolated independently.

@Kevin: can you share some pictures of your solution?

Thanks for your patience and support

Michael

It is interesting listening to your feedback here. I assume your ACRO has been with 3.1.rc3or4.

The roll and pitch coupling may be a cg problem or an alignment problem with the APM and the frame, but I can't see how it is directly caused by the controller. I would be interested to hear more about exactly what direction it pitches as you roll right vs left and what direction it roll's as you pitch up vs down.

As for you description of the "feel" being mechanical. This is very interesting because I suspect we may need to do some more input conditioning. One of the most difficult tasks is working out exactly what the pilot should "feel" when flying in a given mode and translating this to a mathematical representation of angles, rates, and accelerations. Now we have the basic controller design working well we can start to discuss this in more detail.

We currently just pass the stick input directly to a roll or pitch rate request. We may need to do something a little more and perhaps accelerate the velocity request. It is something we can play with once 3.1 is officially released.

I appreciate your feedback and would love to have more input from you as we continue to improve ACRO!

Yes, this is correct.

The small quad may be much further from the ideal tunes when compared to the larger quad and therefore take longer to tune.

If you post your logs I can tell you what the tuned values of Roll are so you can enter them manually and speed up the process because roll will already be much closer.

You said it fell to it's death, I hope the damage wasn't too bad!!

You don't need to do Autotune. If your copter flies fine then I would focus on having fun and getting comfortable flying and using the APM.

Autotune works best if done in calm conditions and ensuring the copter isn't moving too much. So if use autotune in windy conditions, your results may vary.

Hi Dragu,

Very nice flight there!

I have been asking over and over for someone to post how to use the ROI properly. Currently the only way I have found was to place a new Do_Set_ROI after every WP, I see you have not done that.

Would you mind posting your mission plan file? or explaining how you have set the ROI condition.

Thanks!

Thanks Leonard..

Maybe I do a video, because I can get in to a stable hover in Stab, flip to Acro, and the copter will noticeably spin the motors down a tad and as a result of course, descend.  The exact opposite is true when going from Acro to Stab - you'll hear the motors kick up and the copter will start ascending.  This is certainly more true in the beginning of the battery than the end, but still noticeable at the end as well.  I think I may move my THR_MID up a bit just to see if there is a difference.  I'll get the gopro ready and have a go, and report back.  Appreciate your feedback!

I'll also make note of the two settings half way through to see how they vary..

The Acro has been with 3.0.1, and then rc3 and 4. To be honest, each experience along the revisions has been a little different, but I wrote that off to minor adjustments to the PIDs I was making and didn't consider code versions.  I grabbed the latest compiled version off github today and uploaded it (is this what you guys said NOT to do, or said was ok to do?) so let's see how it goes.

The main reason I bought this frame was to prove out the APM (and ultimately its newer, younger, faster, smarter, sexier, buffer, and neater younger brother) as a solid acro flight controller.  I've showed pics to Craig and his first response was (and I'm paraphrasing) "build me one."  I may bring it over to 3DR soon and just have him give it a go to see if he can see what I'm feeling, but at the same time I can't help but go back to the issue of tuning, and wondering if once it is tuned really well that the "mechanical" feel will go away.  I never expect to lose the axial characteristics of a quad, but with the CC3D the feel is definitely different right now.  

Let me go do a test real fast on that other topic and I'll get back to you - but yes I'm definitely keen on giving you all the feedback I can on Acro!

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