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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Thanks Olivier,

So what do you recommend I do next?  Should I do a few more Loiter tests facing all four directions to see if there's any TBE?  Should I tune the declination so that the heading of the copter matches the heading on the MP? 

I will only be able to test the Auto missions on the weekend again...

Use this https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9028

The voltage is scaled to 3.3v so you can effectively measure up to 135.45A with the 90A sensor, i.e it outputs 5V at that scale. Just set AMPS_PER_VOLT to make it work which is 27.09. The voltage divider is 15.7

Yes you can do that. If it does not work, use Ch6 in the field to find the right value.

You should not have any problems now with your higher compass.

Should I tune the declination so that the heading of the copter matches the heading on the MP?

It is important to use the current PPM encoder software in order that the Failsafe functions work correctly.

I have looked yet further at the 2 dataflash logs and can confirm that the issue ocurred (increase in altitude) at around line 8140 in log 2 and line 8700 in log 3. In both cases the altitude reported by GPS increases whereas the baro alt decreases slightly. It is more pronounced in log 2 as it was slightly longer before I realised what was happening and dropped the throttle to stop the quad climbing.

 

Andy.

I run Windows 7 64bit and had no trouble at all upgrading the 32U2 PPM encoder firmware following the instructions in the wiki here: http://goo.gl/IXvUZ

And what about the LARGE compass offsets I am getting now?  What could be the cause and is it safe to fly with them?

Hi 

I have just upgraded to Mission Planner 1.2.58 and set about upgrading my apm 2.5 to AC3.0.1-rc1.

Two problems to fix:

1. Logs are no longer being created. Terminal Mode no longer works properly - displays an error in Terminal.cs line 415

2. In Alt_Hold mode, the quad 'hunts'.

Hello

I have been using 3.0-rc1since it's available with pretty good results (Stab,Alt_hold,loiter & RTL).

Yesterday while in Loiter the quadri went wild ,and I could 't controlled it ,the bird finished against a tree !!!

I am very lucky only minor damage ( Landing gear ,props).I am well aware of the warning # 3.

I just wonder if this is a GPS glitch  ?

Here is the flog for this flight.

Thanks for your opinion.

Attachments:

This is quite an issue I suspect that may eventually see some hardware components like the mag, baro and may be some other sensitive components be removed from the board an be fitted to an external module similar how my YS-X6 and the DJI have their setups.

Fressinet,

    Do you have dataflash logs?  They're better for this type of analysis.   From what I can gather from the tlogs a number of things went badly.  The GPS Hdop values are high and the num sats is low so this may explain some of the problem with loiter taking off.  So if you look below the num sats (scale is on the left) starts at 6 which is quite low and more importantly the hdop (scale on the right x100) should be below 2 (i.e. below 200).  It's above this for the whole flight and it has nasty looking jumps up to 7 (shown as 700).  That's most likely caused by some kind of interference I think maybe from the radio, camera or cell phone.

The copter does not do what the loiter controller wants it to which I would normally conclude is because of some kind of mechanical failure or bad tuning but it might also have been made worse by the throttle being pulled low which would have robbed the controllers from some power to correct the roll and pitch errors.

Re the loss of control, I see all the RC inputs go flat soon after the event.  I see you have your throttle failsafe set-up, have you ever tested that channel 3 goes below 975 when you turn off your trasmitter?  I this case it didn't trigger which makes me think the receiver hasn't been set-up to pull the throttle low when it loses contact with the transmitter or maybe you never lost radio contact.

Last thing is that the mag field gets very very large during the event.  Your magnetic interference is actually very low I think so I'm at a loss to explain this.

Tony,

     Can't help with #1 but for #2 you may want to reduce the Altitudue Hold P value to 0.5 (default is 1.0).  That's just a guess it could be something else.  If you have dataflash logs I can have a look or you could just try tuning the alt hold a bit.

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