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 P = I is deliberate. It defines how quickly the copter reacts to a constant outside force like when you enter fast forward flight. I recommend I = 1 to 4 times P but we use the conservative number by default.

Post the log with a detailed description of the quad. A couple of pictures of the frame and the APM mounting would also be helpful.

We have found that on frames with soft arms or really soft mounting of the APM the Autotune aborts because it reaches dangerously low values for Rate P.

Can you post a log for me to take a look. The specifications of the copter would also be great.

Provided your original pids can recover from any attitude, Autotune is pretty safe because it doesn't keep the tuned values loaded all the time. Instead it loads them just before the twitch then reloads the originals to ensure a safe recovery.

So I would say, if you are nervous, pick a very calm day and do the tune at about 20 meters to give the copter plenty of time to recover if something does happen. (But it shouldn't unless your original gains aren't able to recover)

You are correct Steve, you don't need to cycle Ch7 to save the autotune. Just land with the switch in the HIGH or tuning position.

There are three things I think mess up auto tune. soft arms, over soft APM mounts and very bad CG.

I would be tempted to try a firmer mount on your APM. I use 4mm double sided foam on all my copters. And I cut it to cover the whole underside of the quad so it is quiet firm!

Here is what I use:

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__8999__Peel_n_stick_foam_...

Your pitch looks fine but it looks like you may have some movement in your roll axis of the APM.

hi glenn,

kindly check your boards vibration. I come across this kind of thing before but after fixing that vibration problem it all gone. loiter and althold is great! I just hope we have the same problem though.

Finally had a chance to try out autotune on my quad, the results were spectacular, wonderful job Leonard, can't thank you enough.  The whole process completed in about 3-4 min and I had to re-position twice.

The frame is a Tarot 650 and the APM is glued to 4 small pads of moongel and held with 2 rubber bands.  I was concerned that this was too soft but she flies like a dream now.

I found it interesting that rate roll P (.0950) and rate pitch P (.1200) ended up quite different from each other. The values were locked together before.  It seems to make sense though since I have a camera and gimbal up front  and the battery balancing that out in the rear, all of which is hanging under the belly.  Thus it should take more uumph to pitch than roll.

I am happy you like it Dean!!

I was also pleasantly surprised that my stock 3dr quad with 4500mAh battery was different in pitch and roll and the only thing that it could be is the orientation of the battery. Goes to show how critical the weight distribution is on multirotors!

Generally it looks like we have Rate P too high, Rate D too low, and Stab P too low for the defaults on the APM. Better ones might be something like 0.1, 0.008 and 6. Something I will have to play with when I get a chance.

The really cool thing about Autotune is that we can now compare the tuning values for a whole range of different copters using a consistent tuning method. This should really help us set up our defaults!!!

Super Happy! No more manual tuning, I hated that, and was never satisfied cause I sucked at it and I don't particularly like hanging onto it when its running. The tuning part is probably what has driven people away from APM.  Now if I change my setup, extra battery or heavier camera I can simply autotune and save those PIDS for a particular setup. 

No longer a RED LED.

Using vs 3.0.1 with a APM 2.5.

Something happened and I've no Red Led. I was only connecting to fly. The GPS Blue does its thing correctly but, I've no Red. I can Arm the copter and fly it. I can Disarm, connect to MP, collect logs, change, write and refresh parameters. HUD updates normally.

I've reflashed Firmware - I've erased EEPROM and then reconfigured. I've dismantled the copter and even with only connecting the GPS and APM to the USB still no RED. Do they burn out? I've not tried to connect external LEDs yet.

Another unrelated oddity.

I did notice in my search an odd situation. If you connect to the MP via USB then open a terminal window you get the datastream from the vehicle. I could not close the app and had to kill it. I restarted then connected to the vehicle through the Terminal APM connect. The APM seemed to be stuck in some loop because when I went into the Terminal and connected to download logs a stream of odd characters again streamed in the window and I could not shut down MP again without killing it. After another cycle of killing and starting the MP I did get back into the logs to download them. Yes, I know you are not supposed to connect via USB and terminal. Could you put the USB connect and disconnect button back onto the terminal screen? Often you are connected and go into terminal and with no indication or ability to disconnect you have to go to another screen to do so.

Gerrie,

     You're just running out of flash space on the AVR.  If you try to compile with Arduino (which uses a slightly older version of the compiler) it won't fit anymore.  You'll need to turn off some features before doing the make.  Check the APM_Config.h.  You'll see a bunch of #defines in there to easily turn off OPTFLOW or MOUNT or some other features that you might not need.

Brian,

     I've never heard of one of those LEDs burning out but I suppose it's possible.

     Re the terminal window...the weird stream of characters are mavlink messages.  Not readable by humans but mission planner can decode it into all the altitude, position data etc that you can normally see through the flight data screen.  Normally when you enter the terminal window the first thing mission planner will do is force the apm to reset (i.e. reboot).  Maybe that reset is not getting through sometimes.  By the way, if you're not using the USB cable (i.e. you're using telemetry), the APM will refuse to reboot if it's been powered up for more than 30 seconds or if the motors are armed.

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