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.

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.

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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Hi Randy, latest software looks great, cant wait to give it a go. I spoke to you over the issue with jr ppm channel setting. Ive checked the github and i dont think the code has been written to accommodate this fix yet (hopefully Im wrong). Can i change it in the same way as 2.9.1 with rc in code 1 and 2 switch? Cheers Alex  

My money would be on a dodgy motor or ESC.

It MUST be producing the same lift as the others to fly properly but it is using higher PWM to do it. Also, from the log it seems to get slightly worse as the time goes on, perhaps as it heats up but ESC may also do that.

I has bad stability issues about 6 months ago and it was finally shown up as a bad motor by plugging the ESCs directly in the THR RX channel and giving it full power for a while, one at a time. The bad one started oscillating as the shaft began slipping (I dont think you have that – possibly shorting windings)


Thanx a lot Randy!

Your support is just GREAT!!

I'll have a look at my rates and also see if I can get vibes lower. As I accelerate forward I can hear something vibrating... 11x4.7 props might be too large for my tiger motors... ;-)


Bent Are


I have a brand new motor on it now where the previous one was a slight pranged one.  The only other thing as you mentioned might be the ESC.

I will do a few more tests tomorrow after work...

Thinking of it.. maybe some of you would like to know my setup, so here it goes.

Quadframe SIXcopter medium frame 680mm c-c

Quadframe 155mm landing gear

Quadframe GoPro gimbal

T-Motor 2216-12 800KV

APC 11x4.7 props

Hobbywing Flyfun 30A escs

2 x Gravity 3S 4000mAh 30C

APM 2.5 w/power module and 3DR LEA6 gps

3DR 433MHz telemetry to PC or Galaxy TAB 2 10.1

Frsky D8R-II telemetry receiver and corresponding tranny module on Futaba 9C

AUW 2,6Kg with GoPro

Flight time 15 - 16 minutes

By the way here's a snapshot of my PIDs this very minute.

If anyone sees any obvious very-off PIDs please let me know!

I have a feeling some of them comes from the 2.81 tuning last october... ;-)

Thanx! Bent Are

Thanks Olivier, will have a play this afternoon. Thanks for the help!

Circle mode is AWESOME! Previously I've practiced trying to do orbital moves around myself facing inward. When you get it right the footage looks really cool, and it's a shot you can't get with traditional camera rigs. But it's super hard to do smoothly.

AC3.0's CIRCLE mode is a way better pilot than me,  enter the distance and rate to circle and it does it perfectly:

I did see one glitch though. I tried and couldn't repro it afterwards but one time I entered circle mode it moved in the right way but wasn't yawing in to face the center of the circle but kept a fixed heading.

In the attached .tlog you can see the first circle around 53.5% works perfectly, but the one after it at 57% has a fixed yaw.

Tlog and dataflash log attached.


Another issue from the same .tlog:

Setting HOME during a mission doesn't seem to work. It looks like it does the right thing in Mission Planner but the copter ignores it. You can see it arms at 10% and auto-sets HOME, I do a RTL to that location around 14%, then set HOME to a different location and another RTL at 16%, which again goes back to the original arming location rather than the new HOME (there was another RTL at 14.5% but I'd forgotten to send the new mission to the copter for that one, so the 16% one is the error case).

Is this a firmware or Mission Planner issue?

Setting HOME during a mission is really important for long range missions from A to B where you pass a point of no return and won't have power to RTL home to A again. Another case is launching from a boat, you don't want to RTL back to where the boat was (as it is now an empty and unwelcoming patch of sea), but to set HOME perhaps to a nearby bit of land in case you lose contact.

Andrew, if you touch the yaw stick, then yaw does not face the circle center anymore and stay in the latest heading.

I think that it is this behavior that you did see, or perhaps a RC glitch did produce this result if you didn't touch the yaw stick.

Try again circle mode and touch the yaw stick, you will see this behavior easily, it's not a bug but a feature.

It would be nice for filming to be able to mix yaw stick input with yaw circle center tracking, so that we can offset the camera target from the center or compensate for a small phase deviation between circling and yawing.

Perhaps for next version !


Ah, ok, that makes sense. I might have made a little yaw adjustment just as I was entering CIRCLE mode.

I guess that makes sense, but I think an offset would be better, e.g. it defaults to pointing at the center but if you give it a little right rudder it will aim 5 degrees to the right of where it would normally point. I did try giving manual pitch+roll inputs to see if it would move the center of the circle around (much like LOITER repositioning), but that didn't have any effect, that would be a nice addition too, because you might not guess your center point correctly, e.g. orbiting a building you'd want to be able to move it around a bit to adjust.

well that's just the thing; rotating and flipping the board DOES affect the mag field but height does not

OK good luck. At least with motor issues its easy to swap things around to isolate the problem.

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