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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  • Hey all,

    one question regarding the onboard compass on an APM2. Is it possible to simply unsolder the compass, attach wires and put it higher on the frame?



  • I've noticed in recent versions of MP/Terminal/Log Download that it has a checkbox "is arducopter"

    It's necessary to check that when downloading logs or is it for something else?

  • I was comparing my log files to someone elses and noticed that the BarAlt reading on the APM2 is much smoother than on my APM1.  Just to confirm is this purely because the APM2 uses a better baro or is it perhaps something else?  And yes my baro is covered before somebody asks... ;-)



  • Hi Olivier/Vince,

    The problem related to my M4 motor was indeed the ESC.  Yesterday whilst I was fiddling with the quad (even before I got to flying it - luckily for me) the motor started making weird and random beep/tweet sounds.  I swapped the ESC out last night and did a quick test flight this morning - the quad lifted up perfectly level.  It is ever so slightly drifting to the right but I will calibrate the ACCs again on a different "flat" surface tonight.

    One thing that I did notice is that there was a slight wobble during LOITER which wasnt there on the previous flights.

    Log file is attached.

    Thanks again guys...

    2013-06-25 06-59 1.log

  • this morning it happend to me again...CRASH... everything was perfect...and then i lost control...i am suspecting that conecting my 6th chanel to AlexMos brusshles gimbal controler (signal and ground wire only) for controlling pitch made a mess to of this logs i guess..can someone please help

    2013-06-25 07-20 1.log

    2013-06-25 07-20 2.log

    2013-06-25 07-22 3.log
  • Can't beleive it finally happened to I thought my copter was doing so well. I guess my number finally came up.

    So far I've flown about 25 missions with v3.0 Finally dialed in my PIDs for 12" props (the 10s already worked well with stock PIDs). Flew some short auto missions...everything looked good...and it was even a bit windy...the copter handled it well.

    On the final auto mission,longer & higher, a WP about 50meters high, the copter just dropped out of the sky. I was sitting in my car watching it do the WPs. Then I noticed it decending. (I thought it was just coming down to the next WP) And all the sudden, it just dropped.

    Weird thing is...I checked the logs. GPS was strong, current, battery, was ok...right to the very end.

    Now the worst part...I thought I had some amazing footage from the onboard cam. But the SD card actually cracked in half...what are the chances of that happening!!! It was inside the HK 720p wing cam.(now trashed also)'d think that would be the last thing to go. VID...damn would of been good.

    would you mind taking a look at my logs. I'd really like to know if this is something that may occur again. timeline will notice a complete loss of GPS. This is due to the GPS separating on impact.

    2013-06-23 19-39 9ngps.log
  • I spent some time with 3rc6 on the weekend. Everything works well except loiter seems problematic. I am using a TBS discovery frame. Stabilise and alt hold work perfectly stable quick to snap pack to position without overshoot etc. however in loiter if I fly fast forwards or back it has a violent kickback then over corrects and sometimes keeps trying to correct itself more and more aggressively to the point of instability. Left and right works fine. I have it setup as a v frame. Using moon gel etc. Tried reducing the p I d values even unlinked the pitch, also reset to stock values. But still not able to fix this problem. It doesn't happen in stability or alt hold only loiter, especially moving forwards with a bit of speed then releasing the sticks. Altitude hold is fantastic, always.

    Any ideas?
  • Weekend with AC 3.0 (about 12 flights)

    Followed the instructions and upgraded my apm 2.5 dji 450 beater - everything went smoothly.
    CompassMot was pretty easy too w/ a 28% interference score.
    Had to adjust the PIDs a bit resulting in settings closer to the defaults than before.
    Onto the fun stuff...

    LOITER - buttoned down tight - very very good, better than my Naza quad. Was dead calm on Saturday, very windy on Sunday (30kmph w/ strong gusts). Loiter worked great both days - really impressive.
    Moving around in loiter is MUCH improved - very nice now with precise proportional control. This was great for flying straight lines while focusing on the subjects being recorded on Sunday when it was really windy. Awesome.

    AUTO/NAV - nice straight lines - only had time to try some simple rectangular patterns w/ 100+ meter legs.
    WPNAV_SPEED was set to CH6_TUNE (500 - 1500) and assigned to the left side lever (proportional) on my dx18 to vary the speed between waypoints in flight - turns were very abrupt at max speed :)
    On the return leg it was approaching too fast for comfort so I dropped the lever to min position - the quad pulled up *steeply* and flipped over! It was 30m high and recovered with room to spare - pretty cool to watch but unexpected. Apparently the sudden deceleration was more than the airframe could manage - have to watch for that in the future.
    Maybe a parameter to dampen sudden acceleration/deceleration in a future release may help avoid this.

    CIRCLE_MODE - much improved, works great now. Very smooth entry and exit from/to LOITER, accurate flight path with constant angular velocity. This will be great for ROI shots.

    RTL/LAND - worked for all flights (like before) - the last 10m or so of the descent seems slower than 2.9 w/ gentler touchdown, also less wobbling on the way down.
    Once however it did try to move just after touching down - looked like it was in danger of flipping so I switched to STAB and shut it down. It was gusty at the time so that may have been the cause.

    Really enjoying all the improvements - thanks guys.
  • Looking to try 3.0 on my H8 Octocopter "Pulsar" soon.  How do these vibes look?

    The Z-axis is a bit more than I'd like, but the X and Y seem to be pretty good.  I'm not having any problem with Alt_Hold, though it's a bit less smooth than I'd like.  I suspect that might because I'm running Raw logging on 2.9 with an Octo?

    Good to go for 3.0 Loiter?



  • T3

    No reply yet to my logs from thismorning, but I've decided it was probably the magnetometer.  I've moved to an external magnetometer which only records 16% in compassmot, so hopefully my test tomorrow will be much improved.  I have a Udrones Hexa-C, and boy is its stock magnetometer terrible: the APM is sitting just 1 cm above the power distro board.

This reply was deleted.