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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Well said indeed Rob. I was expecting a bit quicker answer to those comments but you addressed them all for sure...

It is obvious that the development is ending but how is it going to end?

Which one would be the final code? (v3.0.1)? or will there be something else after that?

If we knew this clearly, we could better decide what to do... 

I would definitely spend money on the next platform(pixhawk) but at the same time seeing my APM 2.5 reliably fly my hexa would be a plus.

Well stated Rob, and actually thanks to Rover & Plane, APM development technically is not ending. ;)

A great example of a "you're doing it wrong"... 433mhz control rx's... STM32@72mhz has a matching 6th harmonic. Almost the same day a community member proved 433 noise was coming from his FC, an open source overclock patch was released to fix it (80mhz clock). A few days later the same group of FPVers showed that Naza has the same problem. Naza boys will be lucky if DJI ever admits to that problem, let alone patches it. If they also sold UHF they'd fix it right away... that's just wrong. I have a few local FPV buddies who could not get UHF to work on their Naza rigs. Let's just say they were not excited to see that spikes on the spectrum analyzer.

Exactly. I can also confirm that Naza has great interference over 72mhz frequency.

I experienced this first hand last year and it was a nightmare. 

And whatever you said about the DJI is spot on in my opinion...

Alex O:  There will be at least one more significant release for APM.  It should be 3.1.  I know for a fact Randy and Tridge have spent days doing everything they can to make all the auto modes perform the best that is possible given the hardware restrictions.

For example, they've rearranged things so that the Alt Hold is a higher priority, and the scheduler will automatically drop less important things.  For example, as we all know, telemetry used to stop first. Well, now logging will automatically stop too.  And Mount will stop.  Simple mode just can't stop, but Randy made it faster.

So, no guarantees that Octo will be able to use all the features, but it should be "safe".

If all those are done, it would be a good ending for APM2.x

I do not plan on operating Octo with it. Hexa will be the max. I would go.

Thanks for the answer Rob; I will be anxiously waiting for the final release.

 

Yes, I think all the developers are committed to delivering what was promised on the APM.  The performance is basically there, we're just making sure it is as reliable and safe as possible at this point.

+1 on the great post, thanks Rob.  I feel bad Greg and some others are misinformed or are having bad experiences, but I just put yet another quad in the air today for its first true maiden with the APM2.6 (3.0.1) and had a fantastic experience with Stab, Loiter, Auto, and some fun stick mashing.  The wind was pretty high as well and I was still able to get 3 great flights.

Anyways, thanks again, and I hope the devs keep up the great work!

...now, about this "sport" mode... can I go upside down? :)

Arducopter 3.1 rc3

No bug reports, no complaints, no .tlog .log etc, only good experience! Tested new lipos (5Ah+4Ah) on HexaCheers for Loiter, ~3.5kg. Cheers DevTeam!

 http://youtu.be/PSNEKXNfs3c

That's awesome Ivan!  I just uploaded it to my sport quad and am waiting on batteries to charge.  Pretty excited!

Think you'll need a heli for that. ;)  

Actually, in Acro you can flip a quad for sure.  

I plan to work on inverted Stabilized hovering on helis though. :)

Heh.. no helis for me!  

I don't want to hover upside down, (Sorry, didn't mean to suggest I want the magic of collective pitch, w/o actually having collective pitch!)  but to do inverted hangs, flips, rolls, etc, that's what I'm after.  The wiki points me to a parameter "AXIS_ENABLE" that doesn't exist, but I did try changing ACRO_BAL_PITCH and ACRO_BAL_ROLL to 0, along with ACRO_TRAINER to 0.  I've also bumped ACRO_RP_P from 4.5 to 7 (315 degrees per second) to mimic what I'm doing with CC3D.  Now I'm just waiting for my batteries to charge so I can go try again.  I'll upload a video later to show you the results, but I'm pretty excited.

Hi Rob thanks for you well informed notes, especially on the Arduino IDE modification. I also achieved my goal in sparking a healthy discussion on APM2, 3.0.1 and futures :-)

First and foremost my post was not a complaint. That would be ridiculous given this is a develpoment forum. However I made observations from my persective but again not critical of the developers. I did acknowledge that in any system limitations are reached. I just expressed my view I would have liked to see an alertnative Arduino dev board so that given a choice I could work on code I am familiar with and runing native not in a virtual or emulation mode. I have also enjoyed many fine Arducopter moments but there are issues now especially with my Octocopters and needing to review other autopilots to seek better perfromance. Hoepfully I can find a faster Arduino based system with larger memory to experiment with.

I would like to clarify a few things for everyone so I am not misunderstood. I also am not aiming to argue with anyone either. I offer my observations freely and repsect others opinions and feedback as well. I have been a strong contributor to this forum especially on Sonar and analysing data on other issues

So my bad I mentioned 2.9.1 and forgot the important b:-) Even so on release dates and code age 2.9.1 came out in Jan this year followed by 2.9.1b in April and now 3.0.1 in July noting that there is a beta Update in the mix at the moment.

When I referred to APM2 EOL I was talking only about the hardware its self not the code. If there is further development of the actual hardware, CPU / chip updates I stand corrected. My post was centred on the comments made by Randy and others that due to the fact the APM hardware has reached capcacity, new features for say pixhawk could not run fully on the older hardware. Also I note there will be a way to trun off features in the code so future versions of the code could be run on the older APM2.

I should not have used GPS glitch as a focal point. I was targeting positional issues and fly aways which I on examing my logs was more to with were the copter was tracking versus wrong GPS data or a dropout. Also the note I only referred to in 3.0.1 release notes which does not caveat this only exists if you use a media tek. I have ublox too by the way and as Rob noted people have had fly away or unexpected flight conditions unreleated to the GPS problems.

Finally I have not stated anywhere DJI is better, I said I was looking at the new DJI and other autopilots on the market. There is nothing wrong with this and gives me an objective view of what others are doing. I have read there are issues with other systems as you say. Good points. I will be still using my APM quads for experimentatn I am just looking to try other systems now for my larger octocopters.

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