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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Likewise my ESC's are/were out on the arms. I'm still having TB issues but an external mag is on the way which hopefully will solve my frustrations. I suspect there's something else going on but if the external mag solves the problem then so be it.




I have been trying to get rid of wobbles in gust of wind/reducing height/loiter/land

I have found setting which seem to work for me (at the moment)!

rate roll P=0.1490 I=0.1000 D=0.0050 (reducing  'D' made it wobble worse)

Oh 450 quad 1000kv motors 10 x 3.8 props

I havent been able to go to my usual flying spot yet since I've moved my compass, but the offsets and compassmot value Im getting now looks very promissing. Im only able to do limited testing in our back yard but I need space if I want to let the copter "roam free"...

Leonard and I have just pushed 3.0.1-rc2 into the downloads areaGitHub and it will also appear shortly in the mission planner's Beta firmwares area.

The changes are mostly small bug fixes but we've also reduced the Loiter Pos P to 0.2 and you may notice that your loiter is not quite as tight as before but we'd like people's feedback on what values work well for them (it should be between 0.2 and 1.0)

Improvements over 3.0.1-rc1
1) Rate Roll, Pitch and Yaw I fix when we hit motor limits
2) pre-arm check changes:
    a) double flash arming light when pre-arm checks fail
    b) relax mag field checks to 35% min, 165% max of expected field
3) loiter and auto changes:
      a) reduced Loiter Pos P to 0.2 (was 1.0)
      b) reduced Loiter speed to 5 m/s
      c) reduced WP_ACCEL to 1 m/s/s (was 250  m/s/s)
      d) rounding error fix in loiter controller (should remove wobbles when using SimonK ESCs)
4) Stability Patch fix which was freezing Rate Taw I term and allowing uncommanded Yaw

If all goes well we will make this the official version very soon so it will appear in the Mission Planner in place of 2.9.1b.




I can't wait to take it for a spin.

Hey Randy,

Just FYI. I just looked at the Arducopter release notes and it has the incorrect date.


It reads "ArduCopter 3.0.1-rc2 10-Jun-2013", shouldn't it read as "ArduCopter 3.0.1-rc2 10-Jul-2013".

Patch for the vibrations during Loiter (with reflashed ESC and other):

I have tried now the new fix of Leonard (thanks mate) for this know problem, now vibrations completely disappeared during Loiter.
This great fix will be available in the next release.

Bests, Marco


are you talking about what Randy was referring to with

d) rounding error fix in loiter controller (should remove wobbles when using SimonK ESCs)

in his post

or is there another fix in the pipe for a later release after rc2?



That's the one :)

That one was a hard one to find and in the end wasn't a problem with loiter at all!

The good thing is that along the way I have found ways to improve Loiter and Auto further. These changes have been implemented and tested already. These will be in 3.1 so all that work wasn't for nothing :)

Thanks everybody for their help and patience!!!

Hi Randy. Will the Jr/frsky ppm fix be in this release?

wow, great guys!

thanks so much for your great job. amazing how all of you find the time to make a perfect thing even better!!!

greetings from vienna,


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