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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Sure it is not a secret. Some people already did it. It requires some DIY work.

You will need to get an external magnetometer module. It is a cheap stuff. Probably $15-20. Then follow the below instructions to disable the onboard module.

External Mag. Mod.

And the last step is to connect the external mag. just like you do your GPS module. You place it as far possible from your APM as you can. 

Hmm, the logs don't have motors turned on but the attitude clearly shows the copter flipping over and the desired attitude being zero.

I would hold the copter in my hand and make sure it reacts correctly as I tilt it. I would set it to stabilize on just above minimum throttle and tilt it back and forth to see if it tries to correctly level it's self. As this is dangerous I wouldn't suggest anybody else do it......

I think you are right to look at your prop position and direction. Have you set it as a H frame or + frame?


I have one of the new combination GPS/compass modules and it works just fine with my APM2.5. As a matter of fact, I was able to get 10 sats indoors on a day so cloudy I could not see the sky.

Though I have told Craig Elder that I thought that the compass cable should be about 2 inches longer for easier placement of the module.

Also, don't forget that the compass is now upside down compared to the APM2.5 compass so make sure you change the orientation in the MP.



Yes, unfortunately I forgot to turn on the motors on the logs.

Really, I don´t know how to perform this procedure you are telling me without hurting myself.. Anyway, till yesterday (V2.9.1) my quad always flew very well. My compassmot values are very good (7%) also I had not to rewire my quad and so I'm sure I have not made ​​any mess with the hardware... The frame configuration is also correct (Quad X).

Brilliant TC! I thought as much.

My credit card awaits punishment when 3DR finally uploads it.

May as well get 3, for all my rigs...
The same thing happend to me, so I redid accelerometer calibration and everything worked.
And thanks for the link Alex! If I can't get original 3DR modules, I'm following this to the letter (will probably need to anyway!)

Hi Igor, thanks for your reply.

New calibration?,

Ok. I'll give it a try. I'll report the results tomorrow.


Ok, so assuming the worst (ie no 3DR external modules tomorrow), I've gone and purchased:

3 x

3 x

3 x DF13 4 30cm cables from....certainly not 3DR...They want a *minimum* of $38 shipping! For $7.50 of cables weighing less than 200g! Sorry 3DR...another international sale lost due to your shipping...

One thing I really love about helicopters.  You can test this stuff in safety.  Don't turn on the motors, but the swash still moves.  So you can tell if it's doing the right thing. It's so nice for developing.

Robert, is any v3.0.0 testing done on conventional helicopters?

Did compassmot and compass recalibration (posted values before, don´t look bad to me) but had almost the same problems again. RTL was better, headed towards home in most cases and stopped pretty close above home position but descent always was far from straight downward and Loiter is pretty much the same as pure Stabilize mode under windless conditions, copter wanders around without ever holding any position.

So I am back to 2.9.1b and GPS operates properly again. Acro is good, but Pure Acro in V3 is clearly better, I hope tweaked Loiter will come soon!

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