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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Why would you suggest not removing it?

It seems to me that it was an option when I purchased mine that the shield could either be soldered to the main board, or separated with a cable to link them.

My biggest motivation in removing it would be to move the compass further away.  Secondary is GPS antenna improvements and tertiary to cover the baro.

And GPS was updated in the move to 2.9

Steve,

     AC3.0.0 is the same as -rc6 so you should be good.

My assumption is that the tighter timing is causing sometimes some vibrations because of resonance  between the output timing and the ESC / motor impulse response specially for unfiltered ESCs (Simonk, Wii-ESC...).

A solution could be to try other ESC update frequencies. The parameter is RC_SPEED, can be set from 50 to 490 hz in 1 Hz increment.

I'm not sure if it will work but could be interesting to test.

Olivier

I just upgraded to .56 and got the same problem, looks like .55 for the netbook.

And what about the little bird in the background?  He seems to be doing a loiter as well in the high winds.  flapping like crazy and getting nowhere.

We have lots of people working with .56.  There is little point in going back to an old verion.

What OS are you working with?  Did you use the MSI?

What troubleshooting have you done?

Also the Menus and the Work Flow are different in Mission Planner.  The Firmware and Configuration Tabs have gone away and are replaced with Hardware and Software Tabs. 

Nick,

     Yes, it's possible although they seem very severe to me.  It's over 3G of acceleration...but I've never measured the amount of accelerometer noise on a fast, wobbly descent.  We should test that and make sure the inertial navigation doesn't get thrown off by a really bad wobble.  I'm sure it's fine with "normal" wobbles 'cuz we've done lots of high speed descents during testing.

OK, thank you. I should have pointed out that I am using SimonK firmware on ESC from HK.  I can try changing that parameter tomorrow.

Andrew

Moving the compass would help but so would using an external one or moving the APM

I'd like to actually understand why you "would not suggest removing the shield".  Please assume I am capable of the work, and that I have valid and rational reasons to do so.

I have done that Olivier but never made a video.  I also have one quad with both an APM 2.5 and a PX4 on it.

You can't tell the difference between them.

Thanks for posting the screen shot.  I'll get this to Michael ASAP.  We should have a fix within 24hrs.  I appreciate your help

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