ArduCopter-3.0 ready for wider use

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.

3691031698?profile=original3. 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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  • Excelent news, been waiting for this release to restart my testing :)

    A couple of questions regarding upgrading from v2.8.1 to v3/(rc6) ...

    Should I upgrade Mision Planner first to the latest version (1.2.50, currently using 1.2.27) and then go through the firmware upgrade?

    Is there a parameter file for v3/(rc6) for the standard 3DR-C quadcopter (couldn't see one in the new downloads area)?

    And just one more... I have the Mediatek GPS unit, is there a new/specific firmware version for that that is required to enable it to work correctly with v3-rc6?

    Many thanks.

  • Nice job guys, well done.


    I got about 3 hours on RC6 yesterday and have the following comments.


    DO turn down the Loiter rates as advised. My copter got into divergent oscillations on a couple of occasions but is now OK with Loiter Rate P=1.2.


    The WPNAV ACCN default value was way too high for my copter (think it was 250?). Mine is happy at about 100. A high value causes ‘snatching’ at waypoints.


    If you set FRAME=3 (For H quad with reversed motors) and then do the accn calibrations, the frame will revert (because you have to choose X or +).


    I have left my previous compass offsets from log calibration and headings still look good. If I do another (3.0) log calibration will it also do the motors compensation or is that ONLY from CLI?




  • What about the old APM1? Is it supported?
  • Hi Randy!

    I would try geofence but I'm afraid of what could happen in case of a GPS glitch. I remember some people mentioned that they wasn't able to regain control during a RTL, not shure if that happend only in a failsafe mode. Is there any case we have to take care of? I have disabled all Failsafe functions except GPS(land) in advanced params.

  • I am using a TBS Discovery 'spider' style quad, but should I choose 'X' or 'V' for the frame setup?

  • Many Thank's for all DEV team.

    I feel confident with V3 like never before.

  • Nice work!


    i have questions:. which means "panorama" in circle mode? and how to setup yaw steps and delays between rotation and shot and setup automatic shutter?

  • best one ever..Thank you all!

  • Developer

    Thanks Randy, Leonard and the whole Dev team for this milestone release.
    I remind all users that want to try the V3 to minimize vibrations to the board (imperative with this release) and carefully cover the barometer, even better using the appropriate 3DR plastic box.
    To get the performance in Loiter shown in my video it's absolutely necessary to follow some steps:

    - reduce the vibrations from your quad
    - calibrate the accelerometers with the "six positions" step
    manually calibrate your compass
    - tune your motors magnetic interference with the new "compassmot" command in CLI
    - set your declination manually, and then tune it in flight with CH6

    Performance not in line with my videos are synonymous of wrong parameters tuning, too high vibrations or poor hardware (unbalanced propellers, very poor motors quality, etc.), not a malfunction of the code.

    Bests, Marco

  • Awesome!.. I have been holding at 2.9.1 for months and very soon I will be upgrading to v3.0.0-rc6.0:)))

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