ArduCopter-3.0 ready for wider use

ArduCopter 3.0 is ready for widespread use.  To make the transition easier, this time we are asking people to voluntarily upgrade from 2.9.1b for the next month or so before we make 3.0 the default firmware downloaded by the mission planner.  The new version can be found in the Mission Planner's Beta firmware's link,, GitHub and the new Downloads Area.

Warning #1: A bug was found in the FENCE in which if you lost GPS it could lean at extreme angles as it tried to maintain an invalid position.  This is fixed in AC3.0.1-rc1.

Warning #2: This release has not been fully tested on Traditional Helicopters

Warning #3: GPS glitches can cause sudden and aggressive position changes while in loiter mode.  You may wish to reduce the WPNAV_ACCEL to 100 and Loiter PID to 0.2 (from 1.0) to reduce aggressiveness.

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.

2. Click on the MissionPlanner's Firmware screen and click the "Beta Firmwares" link on the bottom right.  The version numbers should update to "ArduCopter-3.0.1rc2", then click the appropriate frame icon and it should upgrade as per usual.

3691031698?profile=original3. 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. If you purchased an APM prior to March of 2013, update your PPM encoder to the latest firmware.

5. Try out the new version in stabilize mode first, then alt-hold, then loiter and finally RTL and Auto.

Special Thanks to MarcoDaveC and the rest of the beta testers for putting 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.  

Added by Craig:

Please watch Randy's videos on setting up and flying APM-Copter 3.0 before you go flying.  They are excellent!

3DR Quad Set-Up Suggestions
AC 3.0 "Live" Compass Calibration
AC 3.0 CompassMot Setup      
AC 3.0 Pre-Arm Checks            
AC 3.0 Fence                               
AC 3.0 Maiden Flight Checks   

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  • Did you end up with the s800?
  • Hello,

    I have three AP;  one 2.0, another one 2.5 both are from 3DR  for my aeroplane and copters and one 2.5 from chine that I used to run some tests

    Two month ago I burn the 3,3 regulator of the chine one I read the topic with the procedure to change it.

    When I was in the investigation process to find a solution I think that somebody had written that if you installed de 3.0 release in a chine AP board you could burn the 3.3 regulator.

    I have my test chine board again alive and I have installed 2.9.1 release and is working with no problem in a small test quad. , but I would like to installed the 3.0 or 3.1 firmware.

    I would like to know if somebody else has read what I think I read please let me know if I am right or wrong

    Can  I  update this board with 3.0 firmware?

    I am looking forward to hearing from you guys any comments.


    Thank in advance, Leopoldo

  • I have one question:


    If I've FS_GPS enabled, when I arm the copter (indoor, with no GPS fix) at the beginning the motors run and 0,1 sec later its stop. If I've FS_GPS disabled this doesn't occur.


    This could be a bug? How can I fix this?


    Thank you so much!

  • I just updated to 3.0.1 and after update, I am not able to connect anymore to the APM and see my params.


    I however can connect with terminal and see that 3.0.1 is loaded. I reverted back to 2.9.1b and seems to work...


    Any clue what's happening here?

  • I built my 3DR Hex from a kit. I got it flying in January.  It has always flown great 'right out of the box' using both the 2.9 and 3.0 firmware.  It had a steady Loiter and  AUTO mode was nice and crisp.  The Hex stayed "within the lines".   RTL would bring it straight back to less than a couple of paces from the takeoff point. The thing was a dream to fly..

    Then I had a crash a couple of weeks ago.  It was apparently from some mechanical fault.  The crash cracked the top fiber ring that supports the arms.  I repaired it and put everything back together exactly the way it was originally.

    It still flies great in Stabilize, but the Loiter has become hit and miss. Usually the Hex toilet bowls in larger and larger circles.  It holds the altitude well, but not the position.  

    What's confusing is that sometimes, the loiter does work properly.  I'll click loiter on my TX and the Hex sits there like it always used to, flat and still..  But if I go to Stabilize and then switch back Loiter a few minutes later, it starts toilet bowling again.  On rare occasions, it doesn't circle at all in Loiter, it just flies off in some random direction.

    I checked the compass in flight using telemetry.  It's accurate.  When I point the hex to the north, the ground station compass shows north.

    I initially had the 'Auto Compass Declination' set to on.  This worked well for me before the crash.  I tried changing the declination to a fixed value as shown on the declination web page, but that made no difference.   I did a compassmot today and I'm getting 53%.  Not the best, but everything is attached the same as it was when the Hex flew perfectly.  And as I say, some loiters are perfect, but most are bad.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on what I need to tweak in order to get my stable loiter back?   I've been messing around for a week now with no luck... (Logs attached).

    In this flight, I activated loiter 4 times..  The second one drifted a bit, but settled down properly and sat steady  The first third and fourth loiter attempts were all over the place.

    2013-07-17 21-16 1.kmz

    2013-07-17 21-16 1.log

    2013-07-17 21-16 1.log.gpx

  • Hi,

    I just put an apm25 on a hexa. I am having some problems with altitude hold.  In althold mode it is pretty good but when I switch to loiter it wont hold alt well at all.  it also has a hard time with land mode. 

    I thought maybe it is vibrations, though I do have it on dubro foam.  here are some vibration data, does it look within specs?

    this is with rubber bands holding the apm down


    this I removed the rubber bands and just use servo tape on the dubro foam


    I will also attach the log and tlog

    thanks for any help.

    2013-07-12 19-06-39.tlog

    2013-07-12 19-30 1.log
  • Been playing around with 3.0.1 but having a hard time with drifting.  Been trying to raise pids slowly for Loiter - is that correct because I am not seeing any improvement.  I have the APM on a (failrly heavy) test quad - not a Arducopter - just my kluge of parts - but has worked pretty well in the past.  Any suggestions for tuning?  Or could it just be a bad manual compass calibration?

  • Randy

    Could you run your eye over the enclosed log file.

    In particular

    vibration should I be trying to improve it some more.

    Is the compass within limits.

    This is in a

    3DR Hex

    880kv motors

    10 x 4.7 apc props

    APM 2.5 

    Version 3.0.1

    Thanks for any suggestions

    David Ardis

    2013-07-11 21-48 3.log

  • Question 1:

    Does Arducopter 3 now autostart the MAVLink streams as they are configured in the parameters? Or is it still necessary to send a stream start command via telemetry?

    It's a bit unpractical if you don't have a laptop and want to just go FPV-flying using MinimOSD-Extra...

    Question 2:

    How important is the vibration issue REALLY? I mean, is AC3 totally unflyable with vibrations? What's the absolute limit?

  • Installed v3.0.1 today and after setting declination tuning on ch6, I got some very stable loiters. I put the range for the setting from 0 - 2 and started at 0 during flight. I ended up getting the best loiter at 0 and a lot of TBE at 2. How can I lock that setting in? Declination in my area is -38 and with the slider at zero I saw the declination change to -20. I'm use to how the ch6 tuning works in the PID tuning screen where you can read to see the value to fix it and then turn of ch6 tuning. Is the declination reading automatically displayed as soon as you get to the screen where you adjust that?

    The High VSpeed alert in minimosd is because I didn't have it set right.

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