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, firmware.diydrones.com, 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.

http://ardupilot.com/downloads/?did=63

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.

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. If you purchased an APM prior to March of 2013, update your PPM encoder to the latest firmware.

http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-ppm-encoder/

http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-ppm-encoder-apm2x-atmega32u2/

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        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33Tl_rjhQEE
AC 3.0 "Live" Compass Calibration  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmsueBS0J3E
AC 3.0 CompassMot Setup                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vZoPZjqMI4
AC 3.0 Pre-Arm Checks                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZ3H2eLmStI
AC 3.0 Fence                                         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDnGdo54o-4
AC 3.0 Maiden Flight Checks             http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOQPrTdrQJM

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Hi guys,

So cool the 3.0 is finally ready, and congratulations to all the dev team for the job you have done so far !

I currently fly with a Cinestar 8 on APM 2.5 with 2.9.1b firmware, it does fly pretty good but I will try the 3.0 tomorrow !

Just one thing before I go, could someone tell me is the vibrations on this log looks good or not ? In my opinion it does, but I just would like to have someone else opinion's :) It was a short hovering flight without wind.

Z accel is same kind as X and Y accel ;)

Thanks !

Tristan

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Yes this is normal but can be enhanced.

Actually what you can do is calibrating your radio and your ESC normaly, and use a switch on your transmitter with throttle cut / motor idle function on it.

Like this you will be able to arm only if this switch is in the cut position, and after arming you change the switch position, effectively starting motors at the idle speed.

The advantage of doing this is that you'll never have a motor stop during flight that could cause an ESC resynching problem with the associated motor freeze.

Nevertheless this is not a perfect solution because motor cut will work only in manual modes (stabilize, acro).

For version 3.1 we'll certainly have a new motor kill function, available on channel 7 and 8, that will kill motors regardless the flight mode for better safety.

Another advantage of doing it like this is that we could get back the lower range of the throttle PWM values for normal motor control instead of wasting this region for motor stop. So in the end we'll be able to have at the same time a more precise altitude control.

Olivier

Marco,just a question,my declination is -2.54,what would I set the values to in the low and high box of the channel 6 tune to,many thank's,Marco,and keep up the good work

Yes seems good with about 0.1 G of noise only.

You can add APM dampening for even better results if you don't have that yet. See the wiki for some examples :

http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/vibration-damping/

Olivier

Many thanks for your help.

I've completed the calibration, so will see how I get on tomorrow.

Thanks ;)

I currently only have 3mm double tape foam, Futaba style. I will try this way, that would be cool if I don't have to change my setup :)

Daniel,

      Here are some videos (1, 2, 3) taken during testing the GPS failsafe.  As Olivier says you can see that we have only about 10seconds until the position begins drifting off.

Vince,

     The compassmot can only be done from the cli.  In the future we might be able to combine it with the log based compass offset calibration but not yet.

     Thanks for the report on the FRAME issue.  That's probably an MP bug so I'll raise and issue and alert MichaelO.

Christian,

     When tuning the declination you should set the Min to 0 and the Max to 1/10th the angle you want.  So if you want to tune the declination to be between 1.4 and 2.17 degrees the best you can do is make it -3deg to +3deg by setting Min to 0 and Max to 0.3.  I know it's weird...the problem is we can't pass a really big value in for the min and max.

      By the way, tuning the declination by a degree or two isn't going to be noticeable I think.  If you're seeing toilet bowling or curved lines it's more likely that the heading is off by at least 10 degrees.  Endless toilet bowling (where the copter never stops circling) only starts when your heading is off by at least 45 degrees.

Rob,

    Yes, so if you find the copter too aggressive you can reduce the WPNAV_ACCEL from the default 250 (means 2.5m/s/s acceleration) down to something calmer like 100 (=1m/s/s) which was the default for 2.9.1b and earlier versions.

Greetings all.

Just sharing my "backyard" test flights with varying results spanning 4 flights using UBLOX NEO 6M (1st 3 flights) and UBLOX LEA 6H (last flight).  Must say that my flights with UBLOX LEA 6H have been consistently stable and uneventful.

Kudos to all the devs..

commit 757adacf8a025726a62f9e0b88ac3cc4966620e2
Date:   Tue Jun 18 17:01:31 2013 +1000
    autotest: added $HOME/APM to PYTHONPATH
APMVERSION: ArduCopter V3.0.0
T30b-es-QC01, 8 min. flight
     2.125 Kg UAW 750mm quad, 2x3S t5 A Lipo for ESCs/motor, 3s 1.3 A Lipo for other elect. system,  GoPro on
     UNDER TRIAL UBLOX NEO 6M GPS
     Weather:   occassional mild wind, generelly calm
     Location: Backyard, modes: stabilized, alt-hold and loiter
     -   stabilize throttle altitude control stable and very linear
     -   alt-hold mode also very linear with throttle alt control, no altitude drift during calm moments
     -   loiter locked in once engaged, stops firm and strong switched from alt-hold fast movement
     -   loiter mode locks 3D strong, full stops accurate hardly with any drift, from  full stick relocations,  
         blender turns, varying snap yaw turns and fast up-down altitude change
     -   yaw in all modes locks in firm, did not observe drift in the turns, even in the 360 deg. blender turn
     -   1 occurrance of  twitch after 6-7 min of flight
Notion: recalibrate accelerometers
T30b-es-QC02, 8 min. flight
     2.125 Kg UAW 750mm quad, 2x3S t5 A Lipo for ESCs/motor, 3s 1.3 A Lipo for other elect. system, UBLOX NEO 6M GPS, GoPro on
     Weather:   occassional mild wind, generelly calm
     Location: Backyard, modes: stabilized, alt-hold and loiter
     -   stabilize throttle altitude control stable and very linear
     -   alt-hold mode also very linear with throttle alt control, slight altitude drift (<.25 m)
     -   loiter locked in once engaged, stops firm and strong , occassionally with < .5 m drift
     -   loiter mode locks 3D strong, full stops accurate, from  full stick relocations,  blender turns, varying fast yaw turns and
         up-down altitude change
     -   blender turns intermittently cause very slight < .25 altitude loss
     -   yaw very stable in all conditions
     -   no occurrence of  any twitch throughout the flight, recalibration  (using leveler) seem to have eliminated this completely
Notion: change-adjust throttle trim parm to try eliminate blender turns altitude loss

T30b-es-QC03, 8 min. flight
     2.125 Kg UAW 750mm quad, 2x3S t5 A Lipo for ESCs/motor, 3s 1.3 A Lipo for other elect. system, UBLOX NEO 6M GPS (final try), GoPro on
     Weather:   occasional mild wind, generally calm
     Location: Backyard, modes: stabilized, alt-hold and loiter
     -   basically same as above with improved altitude hold
     -   1 occurrence of  twitch and 2 occurrences of fly-away-fast (aggressive) pitch-forwards, crash (grab peripheral trees ;-)
     averted with quick switch to alt-hold mode
Notion: change GPS from UBLOX NEO 6M to LEA 6H


T30b-es-QC04, 8 min. flight
     2.125 Kg UAW 750mm quad, 2x3S t5 A Lipo for ESCs/motor, 3s 1.3 A Lipo for other elect. system, UBLOX LEA 6H GPS, GoPro on
     Weather:   occasional mild wind, generally calm
     Location: Backyard, modes: stabilized, alt-hold and loiter
     -   stabilize throttle altitude control stable and very linear
     -   alt-hold mode also very linear with throttle alt control, no altitude drift
     -   loiter locked in once engaged, stops firm and strong switched from alt-hold fast movement
     -   loiter mode locks 3D strong, full stops accurate hardly with any drift (< .25 m), from  full stick relocations,  
         blender turns, varying snap yaw turns and  up-down altitude change
     -   yaw in all modes locks in firm, no drift in the turns-stops, even after 360 deg. blender turns
     -   consistently no twitching or erratic pitch forward behavior observed
Notion: seems like UBLOX LEA 6H gives much better stability, eliminates aggressive pitch forwards as compared to to UBLOX NEO 6M per these test observations.

Cheers.

Daniel

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