ArduCopter-3.0.1 released!

ArduCopter 3.0.1 has been released and is now available in the Mission Planner,, 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 nearly crashed.
    check the status of solar storms

    M-CLASS FLARE, EARTH-DIRECTED CME: October 13th began with an explosion on the sun. At 00:43 UT, sunspot AR1865 erupted, producing an M1-class solar flare and an Earth-directed CME. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the explosion's flash of extreme UV radiation:
    Soon after the flare, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded a faint CME emerging from the blast site: movie. Based on the approximate speed of the expanding cloud, between 600 km/s and 800 km/s, it will probably reach Earth on Oct. 15-16. Polar geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice.


    2013-10-13 18-31 3.log

    2013-10-13 18-24 1.log

  • I have successfully used Auto tune in ArduCopter 3.1-4c3 on a Quad and 2 Hexas, all work much better than I could ever tune them the old fashioned way, string tune and all that.

    A video tuning one of the Hexas


    Congrats to the dev team on a job well done, thanks.

  • I currently have v3.0.0. Due to the recent CPU performance issues, I decided not to switch to v3.1 beta firmware at this time. The latest release firmware now is v3.0.1

    Does anybody know the major difference between v3.0.0 and v3.01? Any significant change?

    Also if I switch to v3.0.1 right now, do I lose my PID settings and compass calibration?


  • Is there a hard limit for the number of mission commands/waypoints you can enter, or does it just reduce the amount of logging available? I'm starting to fly long, complicated missions, (60~70+ min) and would like to enter 500+ waypoints, maybe even a few thousand, I'm just wondering if this is OK?

  • Heading hold In Loiter.

    As we all know, the position in loiter is fixed in space and the copter strongly attempts to get back to its original position when disturbed. However I have noticed that if its heading is disturbed there is no tendency to return to the original heading. There is a weak attempt to resist the yaw but then it is quite content to stay on the new heading. This may seem like an ‘I’ term function but I have tried adjusting many things to improve it but cant.

    My gimbal, like most people’s is just 2 axis so I am relying on the copter to maintain an accurate heading while filming. The Loiter position holding is spectacularly good but the heading can get knocked off on a windy day.

    Im still on the last ‘full’ release. 3.0.1?


    Any ideas?

  • I made a test today of AC 3.1-rc3. Alt Hold seems to be improved from 3.0.1 with a better feeling in Throttle adjustment. I just changed THROTTLE_IN_DEADBAND to 50 and PILOT_VELZ_MAX to 500
    I also tried the AUTO_TUNE, the result with my TBS (Quad V Frame) is not fine. After tuning, when I want to turn my copter, instead of having one side going down (with pitch down, yaw and roll right or left), only a corner of my copter is going down. For example ( M1 is going down, M2 is going up, M3 and M4 stay level, so I can't fly.
    I also tried to "pause" Tuning with CH8 in middle position, but when doing that, it seems my copter restart tuning from the beginning.
    One last thing, I also reduce DISARM_DELAY, to cut my motors quicker.

  • I have a Hexa with APM 2.5. Was happy with 3.0, then tried the beta's 3.1 -rc1 and rc2, of which all was fine and good. Decided to load AC 3.1-rc3 today, mostly for the GPS glitch function that was added, not that I had a problem with it. Anyway, I was just bench testing, was planning to fly the Hexa tomorrow.

    One problem though, as soon as I arm, on MP HUD it says armed but also failsave. Everything seems to work as it is supposed too, but the failsave stayed on. I went as always through the initial setup, all the way though I just can't figure out what is causing it to display failsave. Any idea where I can check what exactly is causing this?
  • Is it ok if the quad moves during compassmot?

  • Hello! I build Hexa X.

    Now i see problem in mission same as:

    (small time for turn more) But now RTL_LOIT_TIME is 5000. I try RTL_LOIT_TIME = 5000 and no result.

    Or problem with TX (failsafe from throttle)? But in NOT auto mission all good.

    Than is this??? Please see my log and help.


  • Developer

    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 :)

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