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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  • So I figured out the reason to my crash. Could not realize after all these successfully flights that my pids or any thing else suddenly should be "offset".

    Leonard got me on the track. I usually use 3s or 4s battery. Some how I grabbed a 5s battery for this fateful flight. This explains the oscillating problem.

    Can not help it but feel an incredible satisfaction of even having made a stupid mistake. That's how we all are getting in this project i believe  :)

    So, important message:

    For people flying more than one machine. Don't mess up with your batteries, read the label every time you mount it on your machine to confirm correct voltage.

  • Is it a valid procedure to put the Ch6 on Declination, and then adjust the declination to achieve a dead-reckoning with ground truth vs. mapping imagery?  It seemed to work for me yesterday, but I don't know if that was just luck.

    So, ie: aim the heli at a landmark, or align it with a road, and then adjust it until MP shows the direction lining up properly on the imagery.

  • After several successfully flights I changed WPNAV_ACCEL to 100 and Loiter PID to 0.2 as warned in this thread.

    After takeoff when doing some maneuvers the machine suddenly starts to wobble aggressively before it flips. Because of nearby trees i did not try to escape and the bird fell to earth. No damages and after new takeoff I tried AltHold & Loiter which worked fine. After some new maneuvers the aggressive wobbling started and it flips again. This time I broke 3 arms on the F550

    2013-06-30 10-39 6.log

    2013-06-30 10-39 7.log

  • Hello,

    I'm flying a new SpiderQuad with my early release Dec 2011 APM2-GPS daughter board.

    Firmware is 3.0 rc1 with default parameters and GPS warning #3 applied. 

    I'm happy with the results after some flights. Alt Hold is precise, Heading control is OK (Compass options on Auto).

    Position Hold is quite OK, but fine with 2 to 5 m average horizontal drift.

    I had one try on Circle with 10m radius and 5°/sec angular speed (defaults?). Quite precise with a 10 kts wind.

    This morning I logged two more 10 mn flights, with position hold, Altitude variation, translations, 360° rotations, and had a try to RTH. All fine with this firmware version. It's a real progress since 2.8 (no way to fly it, so the card was sitting in a box since last summer).


  • Is it normal for the MP to create RLOG and TLOG files when connected to the APM via the USB cable?

    I've noticed that my MP creates these whenever I connect to the APM with the cable, and when I connect to my APM via telem it also creates multiple RLOG and TLOG files but none of them seem to hold data from the full flights - they're just a few small +/- 300kb files.

    Arent these also suppose to be only 1 file per connection to the APM via telem and not via USB?

  • T3

    What happened to YAW_OVR_BEHAVE parameter?  I used to use it with ROI (Range of Interest).  I could set it to 1 and my Quad would always point to the ROI point that was set in an auto mission.  There is also an option in the documentation that talks about DO_SET_ROI, but it's not a listed option in the latest mission planner.  Is there a new parameter that allows me to fly and point my copter at an ROI point?


  • My interference was over 300% of mag field yet after running the compassmot it stays perfectly in line whereas before it wold drift almost 90 degrees at times. 

  • Just did my first test flights with 3.0.  I love it!  The Loiter is just about perfect!  The ability to adjust position smoothly is fantastic!  It went really well until near the end of the flight when I had a GPS hit.


    I had been fighting vibrations on this platform, only to find out that the problem probably isn't with my frame, but a bad MPU6000 on my APM2.5.  I spent a lot of time troubleshooting it, before coming to that conclusion.  I switched out for an older APM2.0, and the vibes are just about perfect.


  • I have been testing V3, all candidates and must say as so many other people. This is great! 
    5 different F550 with APM2.5 and 2 S800 has been tested with this DJI killing platform.

    Though I have not tested Auto functions, both AltHold and Loiter is rock solid (after doing all calibrating stuff of course). 

    Is it possible some way to save mission to disk/file in Mission Planner?
    I'm tired of repeating my missions all the time. Especially now when I consider to test all these sexy auto functions.

    Can somebody tell me the limit of power for LED's via port A6&7 on APM?
    I would like all my LED stripes pointing downward to light up when armed. Without any risk of Brownout!
    (One of those DJI things I really like)

  • MR60

    I see in the post's intructions to upgrade to release 3 that : " If you purchased an APM prior to March of 2013, update your PPM encoder to the latest firmware."

    Is this necessary even when not using PPMSum ?

This reply was deleted.


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