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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  • Loiter and RTL  

  • I'm trying to follow Randy's video for the AC 3.0 maiden flight checks and set the log mask, in the video is shows that being right beneath the filter selection of the MPU 6000.  I've gotten v3.0.0 loaded and the mask selection isn't anywhere in the advanced parameters.  There isn't a single line anywhere in the Advanced parameters that has log as part of its title.


    Mine is a quad in X config, APM2.5+ with the 3dr voltage/current sensor and GPS.  In the terminal connection it says V3.0.0 and a couple lines later fw ver: 120.


    Did something get moved around in one of the updates?  Or...



  • Randy, got a question.  I am going to give 3.0 a shot on my 450 heli soon.  One of the things I want to do is try undo the autotrim I have done.  As you know, heli's need a bit of roll to the right to hover in place, to counter the tail thrust.  But I wonder if this is going to confuse things more than anything.  I'd like to try having the "level" set to actual level, and then let the Loiter controller automaticly compensate for the tail rotor thrust.  Not sure how it will work out, but I'm going to try.

    Which parameter should I zero-out to unlearn the autotrim I have stored?

  • Randy, Marco and other developers,

    I installed the v3.0.0 already and going through the setup. The first thing in my list is the live compass calibration.

    I watched Randy's video a few times and I am still a bit confused:

    1. Do I need a compass to do the calibration accurately?

    2. Do I need to do the each axis more than once? It seems Randy is doing each axis more than once in the video. Not sure why.


  • So far 3.0 for the most part has been really good! The only thing I am having an issue with is Loiter mode, in which if I set my mag dec manually (it's -13.5 for my area) I get the TB effect almost instantly. If I set my mag dec to + 13.5, it loiters pretty good which has me confused. With the 2.9 release I would always manually set the dec to my area which is -13.5 and it worked with loiter mode. 

    I did try using auto mode with a 3d lock and waiting over 5 minutes just to make sure and even though it set's the mag dec to -13.45 I still get the TB issue in loiter mode.

    I attached two logs, first one from yesterday from just hovering to different modes including loiter. The second log is from today with mostly loitering. I have done all calibrations except for the compassmot one because I do not use the 3dr power module. My quad is a hoverthings flip fpv, t-motor 900kv motors, 20amp simonk esc's and of course the 3dr apm2.5 with lea6 gps all running on a 4s with 9x4.5 props.

    I've done calibrations quite a few times, results are pretty much the same everytime, and there's a worn out spot on my lawn from the mag dance!! If anyone could take a look at the logs maybe I missed something? I would really appreciate it.

    2013-06-20 19-35

    2013-06-21 09-46

  • help!

    I just upgraded my hex to firmware 3.0.0 and nothing is working. the firmware uploaded and said 'done' but now I cant connect via usb or my wireless link. I have the latest mission planner GUI to. whats happens is,  the motors randomly spin and make an ascending 'beee bep' tone. any advice? because now I cant connect to try to load the firmware again!



    many thanks!

  • hello,

    last time i had strange behaviours in AUTO.

    WP_YAW_BEHAVIOR set to 1

    1. Only in some WP yaw was working like it should be, means turning to next WP, but not in all.

    2. Two WP were set in "Circle" set 1, but there were no any cycle. Only after when I changed from 1 to 2 cycles it's Cycled one time only WP 5 was set to cycle 2 times but it's started to land.

    IS it related to V3 or mainly to mission planner?

    tlog is attached.

    2013-06-20 19-15-29.tlog

  • Thanks for helping, all works good (90%). Stab, Alt-hold and Loiter.
    RTL is not working, the quad is holding the position but not moving to home position. Any idea what to check?
  • Hi all, 

    Parameter on mission Conditional_YAW, to where direction it will start heading when the degree set to zero degree? Is it North?


  • Randy and Dev Team,

    I've been testing 3.0 on my tricopter. It's been working wonderfully; however, I noticed that the yaw servo twitches when the tricopter is hovering in Loiter, Altitude Hold, and Stabilize modes.

     What setting in the advanced parameter list do I need to change to make the twitches go away?

    Like always, thank you for the support that you all give to everyone. 

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