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   

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • I have been running a combination of 600hz SimonK NextLevel ESC's , 880KV motors with GemFan Wood 12X4 props on a stock 3dr quad frame. This combo is producing crazy oscillations that can be seen in the attached log file. I have reduced the Rate P for both Roll and Pitch down to .06 but this doesn't help (maybe a bit better). A gust of wind is enough to cause major oscillations until it settles down. I am not sure if an adjustment to "I" or "D" terms is warranted but if someone has some insight it would be much appreciated.



    2013-06-24 16-17 1.log
  • Randy, some pages back I had a sudden uncommanded switch to stable from alt hold but I didn't have a log to show. Today after flying some 8 minutes without a problem in alt hold I switched to stable and flew around some more and at one point, for less than a second, all the motors almost shut off. If they shut off, they came back on so fast that it only lost less than a foot in altitude. In the logs you can see the z spike near the end. I wasn't near the computer to hear if it switched to some other mode causing the drop. Can you see from the log what caused the motors to semi shut down?

    I'm running v3 that was in MP a couple of days ago. I guess it's rc5 but terminal just says 3.0.0

    APM2.5 in ppm sum mode with upgraded ppm encoder, xbee900, ezuhf, sonyhad.

    2013-06-24 16-01-05.tlog

    2013-06-24 16-32 31.log
  • I love the fence feature. Really makes fun to limit the area for flying.

    That would be even more fun, if AC would support a minimum alt as well.

    Based on that teaching other to fly copters could be much more safe. 

    Moreover, what if instead of auto Land or RTL another option could be to just Loiter when hitting the boundaries? 

    Means the copter will just not pass the fence and rather than that "stick" in the virtual fence until one will control it accordingly into the allowed area.

    Just some ideas for making an amazing software even more perfect....

  • I cant to the live calibrating procedure. I get a compass_ofs_x of -214,678. I've tried numerous dances! I'm running APM 2.5. Also, what is orientation -.> ROTATION NONE?

  • Moderator

    To try get rid of interference, how high above the props can we raise the APM before it affects flying?

  • T3

    Alright, here's my flight log.  I'm seeing my copter fly curvy lines in auto and not achieving the desired velocity.  My compassmot gave back 88%, but I thought it wasn't an issue since loiter is rock solid (there's a 2 minute loiter at he beginning of the log.  It goes auto takeoff, loiter 2 min, auto, then auto land.)  So is my problem in compass interference, or PIDs?  Thanks for your help.

    2013-06-24 11-33 5.log

    2013-06-24 11-33 5.log.gpx

    2013-06-24 11-09-44.tlog
  • Ok, lots of flying today, couple of things that came to mind.... 

    a) can we change the disarm time to say 5 seconds or add it as a variable? 

    b) I like to switch off the TX on high altitude flights (photogrametry,..) I would REALLY like to be able to arm and go to auto on mission planner with the tx off.... And take off.... Unless I arm and add a little throttle to start the motors spinning, they seem to lock and there is a error build up so if you wait a few seconds AFTER going to auto then it leaps into the air. i am guessing this is not a trivial thing to fix....but would be nice.. might try it with the tx off and see if it is the same behavior as I see with the tx on,.. But i'll do it with my crash test dummy!!

    c) I love this version release. It has made a few of my friends with Naza'a quite unhappy!! and envious!

    Thanks again to the Dev team. Awesome job!!



  • Hello, I have a quadcopter and I am using ardupilot 2.5 with arducopter 2.9 . I have all ready to take off ( I tried one time and my quadcopter flew very nice ). I only want use mission planer to fly but I dont know how to do it.

    Please could you tell me how to take off with mission planer.


  • Main experiences ...

    Version 3.00 on APM 2.5 installed, but one motor was not armed. I double check all, recalibrate ESC etc.. No succes. Next morning I get nevest version APM planner 1.2.55 + reflash 3.0 version again. Problem with not armed motor was gone.

    Test flight with quick PID settings ... toilet efect on loiter, position hold, alt hold ...  bad autolanding.  Toilet efect I only see on youtube and never on main quadcopter. Now I am back to version 2.9.1b and I am happy again. I dont know what is wrong, but from main side is 3.0 unusable. 2.9.1b is running ok with almost default setings.

    2013-06-23 17-13 3.log

    2013-06-23 17-13 3.kmz

  • Moderator

    Had a minor bump yesterday, I was in Loiter trying to tune out the TB'ing with declination and as I switched out of Loiter into ALT_Hold and then Stabilize the quad pitched 47° backwards and 140° roll! It was about 2m high so as quick as I could I cut throttle so as to not break props once on the ground (heli flying experience) but the logs appear not to show any attempt by APM to correct the bizarre attitude, it may be that I cut throttle before APM had a chance but I'm sure it's reactions are faster than mine?

    2013-06-06 13-23 4DDRF_crash.log


This reply was deleted.