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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No Philipp, at the moment is not possible.

Hey Leonard, don't be so hard on yourself about the yaw bug.  In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal.  Yaw control has been much, much worse in the past than it is now. ;)

Maybe something like how the compare parameters works. Now we load up a saved parameter file but what if a button was added there that would instead load the default parameters for that version so you can compare and even load the ones you want.

Euan, I realise that you have worked hard to make your copter more than prepared for 3.0 and the frustration you must feel. I and I suspect many of the developers and testers feel directly responsible for every frustrated user.

It is also very frustrating for the developers to not be able to find the problem and fix it. When we see someone who appears to be doing everything and the logs don't show enough information to diagnose the issue we are left with little more than a statistic. If we could get hold of problem examples (the actual frame) the job of fixing problems would be significantly faster and easier.

Don't worry about being critical. The dev team spend most of their time focussing on the negative (problems, bugs, and usage issues) and reading feedback from frustrated or confused people. But it is this process and the pressure from the community that has driven the community to get this far. Constructive criticism is a vital part of this process.

On a personal note I really appreciate each person who puts a quick ''working great and thanks'' post up. It is just good to see that everybody isn't having problems.

I've always only ever flown my quadcopter with the sonar enabled.  I now want to try alt_hold without it.  Which PIDs would I need to tune if it's not holding the height, "Altitude Hold', "Throttle Rate" or "Throttle Accel"?

I understand relocating the APM board is a major job; it will require time and money. I am in the same boat. I will have to relocate it.

There is one other possibility: Have you consider disabling the internal compass and using an external one?

As far as I know this is possible. Not a very easy job but if it can be done, you at least won't change everything on your set up. This will move your compass away from electromagnetic interference.

Thanks!

I did compassmot three times in a row and always ended with 29% (75% throttle). That´s how my compass parameters look like:

COMPASS_AUTODEC,0
COMPASS_DEC,0.052 (Weißenbach, Styria, Austria)
COMPASS_LEARN,0
COMPASS_MOT_X,-3.266
COMPASS_MOT_Y,-50.392
COMPASS_MOT_Z,-83.803
COMPASS_MOTCT,1
COMPASS_OFS_X,32.159
COMPASS_OFS_Y,-13.663
COMPASS_OFS_Z,9.338
COMPASS_ORIENT,0
COMPASS_USE,1

Vibration logs show levels lower than being considered as acceptable for Flamewheel frames in Wiki´s topic on vibration control.

So it should work, I suppose? I hope it stops raining soon!

I've definitely considered this; in fact I can't wait until the supposed announcement by 3DR of the external 2.6, due tomorrow.

Yes. I think it is the only point in releasing APM 2.6: External Compass. I don't think they changed anything else...

I don't plan on buying APM 2.6 at the moment. I will just disable the internal compass and use an external one... 

Much cheaper solution...

Let me know how you get on - supposedly the 2.6 external compass will work with a 2.5 board, but if you have a cheaper solution, all the better!

Maiden flight today with the V3.0.1-rc1. I opened gas to take off and, suddenly, the quad has turned on itself and crashed to the ground upside down. The quad has not gotten off the ground. The shift was immediate.

I've tried twice. The first time, the quad turned backwards, the second forward.

I have to say that so far my jalopy has flown always very good. Of course, I checked the propellers (I have not left any of them backwards after the compassmot procedure), reviewed the rotation direction of the motors, etc.

I hope someone has time to review my "flight" logs

Thanks.

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