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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  • Hi guys,
    Just trying to understand something here, please tell me if I have got it wrong. On my hex I have RTL only works every 5th time, otherwise it shoots of in the wrong direction. The same with loiter, it does not work everytime. But when it works it works well.

    Now do I understand things right that 3.0 might fix this as they mention "Bug fix with heading on loiter, RTL, etc

    I want to understand this as I am trying to figure out if its a software, hardware or setup problem
  • Hi Randy,

    Congratulation for the team great work ! I just uploaded v3.0, and I was wondering if for logging RAW data it was the same command (enable RAW) than 2.9.1b, because I can't enable RAW, strange ?

    One last question, before till v2.9.1b I manage to make my motors spining after arming, with no throttle input. I didn't manage to do that with v3.0, could you tell me how to do that ?



  • solar disturbances page, IMPORTANT: 
    Are the bars in the diagram on "Green" everything is OK.
    If you have yellow or red bars there might be problems with the GPS-signal and the included associated features.

  • T3

    I love this code!  Tried it out on my 2kg hexa thismorning, the results were incredible!  On default params except for Throttle P which I upped to 7.5.  Auto mode was smooth and stuck to the lines.  Loiter was rock solid!  I was even able to implement auto takeoff and landing: a feature I had never been able to implement because loiter didn't used to be tight enough for me to land without "tripping" over the grass and height hold wouldn't slow it down enough.

    Here's a KMX file of a 15 minute loiter that never even strayed a meter!  Thank you for all your hard work, devs.

    2013-06-18 12-35 4.kmz

  • What I've been waiting for is solid stability in loiter, period. All I want to do at this time is fly manually to a position and engage loiter, and have the quad/hex sit there so I can work with the camera. At this time I don't care about flying to waypoints etc.  Improvements in regard to sitting still have been incremental over the past year or so that I've been playing with this, partly from tuning at this end and partly from code/hardware upgrades from your end. It's gotten a lot better and I've expected that 3.0 would be the Great Leap Forward, but my excitement at the release is tempered by the following statements from this thread:

    Randy wrote:

    Warning #2: GPS glitches can cause sudden and aggressive position changes while in loiter mode.

    And then Olivier Adler wrote:

    We can't do much for GPS glitches because they do not produce a 3D fix lost. Generally those glitches are induced by Solar activity, they can be as high as about 20 meters or perhaps more for strong solar storms. They can be induced as well by multipathing, signal blocking by obstacles, or interferences. To avoid that the best is to stay above obstacles and buildings, avoid flying inside canyons, filter radio transmitters on board with low pass filters and try to keep other transmitting antennas as far as possible from the GPS.

    The implication of the combined statements is that there could be a "sudden and aggressive" movement of "20 meters or perhaps more" when there's a GPS problem.  That is scary. It seems to indicate that loitering at low-ish altitude in anything smaller than about a football field is risky.  My question is, why is such a movement necessarily "aggressive"? I'm apparently missing something, but can't the inertial system be set up so that in loiter the small movements necessary to maintain position are aggressive, but when GPS suddenly commands a larger shift it is made at low speed? Or maybe not made at all?       

  • Hi Guys, did 2 auto flights today with a big octo (v3 r5). second flight was 11 minutes, 1.4kms at 350metres. Very happy.... I still have some more tuning to do but quite happy so far. the climb and decent still seem a little notchy at the moment. more flights tomorrow weather permitting! will swap over to v6 very soon. Thanks guys!

  • Randy, did you guys get the auto acceleration parameter in RC6?

  • Moderator

    Nice work guys - great job.

  • Hi,

    is there an issue with decimal point when entering the declination values for CH6?

    I entered 1,4 till 2,17 for Ch6 and wrote to APM. Fortunately I refreshed parameters and had a look at Hardware Options. The field there shows me now 21,7° (knob on max.)

    Could someone confirm that?

  • This is a can of cool!

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