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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  • Doing the compassmot check the first test I had 268 so I added some 30mm stand off so now the APM is 50cm above the PDB. Now the reading is 136.  I'm now shielding all the wires etc.  How likely is the USB cable to give off a lot of RF noise and how would you test that and to eliminate its influence? Ive read a while ago USB cables can give out a lot but have yet to test it

  • Hi guys,

    Need some help regarding failsafe:

    Today I had an RTL failsafe which I would like to know why it happened.

    I had setted throttle fs and GPS fs but none of this seems to be the case.

    The only difference between this flight and previous 2 (which were just perfect, congratulation dev/test teams!) was that in this last flight I fixed a 720p "wing cam" 10-15cm distance from the radio receiver.

    Here is the log file and the video onbard (failsafe starting around 7:58):

    Any help would be much appreciated.



    2013-06-30 18-21 8.log

  • Today i did some test flying and wanted to check out the vibration on the board.

    But i could not get raw logging to enable. Did i do something wrong?


  • So I installed 3.0.1 rc1, watched all the videos, did all the calibrations and checks and setup a fence. Compassmot at 103% but all else looking okay, still need to tune PID's better though.  Went to my flying field to check out V3.0,  flew around in alt hold for a few minutes at about 10m, then suddenly the copter went full throttle (I think) and shot for the stars, wow it sure can climb.  I got it back by switching to stabilize and parked it until I figure out what happened, pretty freaky when it rockets off on its own.  Never even got to try Loiter.

    So looking at my logs I see my barometer suddenly went from 10m to -60m, thus causing a sudden acceleration as it tries to get back to 10m. I don't believe I hit 100m alt for the geofence but even if I had the APM thought I was at a negative altitude so it would not have worked.  Here is the altitude log:


    Anybody know what might have caused this?  By the time I landed the barometer was showing correct values again.

    The only other thing I can think of is that the weather was changing quickly, sunny when I got to the field, clouded over while I was flying and raining by the time I downloaded and looked at the logs.  But a sudden change in the weather does not explain why the barometer values were correct when I landed.

    I do have the APM in the case, with the foam it came with and my quad also has a cover, been flying it quite awhile and have never seen this before.


    2013-06-30 11-06 2.log

    2013-06-30 10-39-06.tlog

  • Hi Randy,

    i totally destroyed my copter with the last very short flight. Maybe you can have a look at the log. I don´t know what went wrong. I tuned stabilize P and Rate P. I had a nice fligtht. After changing the lipo i started again, but the copter went into the sky like a rocket. Throttle was either zero or full, nothing between, so i couldn´t control it safely - or do a controlled landing.

    I didn´t log RAW. I turned it of after checking the vibration level, which was really low.

    I attached two logfiles. Number 9 is the bad one.

    Now i need a drink.

    2013-06-30 21-43 9.log

    2013-06-30 21-40 8.log

  • Is it mandatory to update the PPM encoder to run 3.0?  If so, maybe add in the PPM update before March 1, that it is required. 

    I guess it is assumed, but just to make sure.

  • How/where can I determine the version of the APM PPM encoder before going into the update process if neccessary?  I received my APM 2.5+ close to March 1.  

  • Should AC 3.0 work with HIL testing? I have followed the wiki instructions for HIL setup with FlightGear and basically it appears the APM board is not responding to HIL state input. 

    If there's a developer or developers interested in working on this, I'd love to work with you to fix or work around the problem.

  • Moderator

    Randy, attached is a tlog of my attempts earlier today to try get my quad to fly straight using CH6 declination tuning. The TB'ing is nearly gone but the quad flies yawed off to one side in a mission. From 77% on the tlog is a simple 2 point out-and-in mission run a few times. My compassmot calibration was 37% (but using throttle based measurement, no PM).

    I have a external compass on the way but it will take a while and I hoped this log might give a better insight as to trying to solve this on my quad.

    Dips in altitude in forward flight are also noticeable.

    2013-06-30 09-06-37.tlog
  • is my copter tracking well or do i need to work the pids?

    My setup is:

    Tarot fy650 quadcopter

    Turnigy multistar 390kv

    Hobbyking 30amp esc with simonk firmware(latest version)

    turnigy wooden props 15x4.5 

    4s nanotech 4000mah battery 



    2013-06-30 15-00 7.log

This reply was deleted.


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