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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  • Developer

    Apologies to all those people who's logs I haven't been able to look at over the past few days.  I'm on vacation so I've fallen behind a little bit and there's a couple of small issues that Leonard and I are trying to sort out before we push out 3.0.1-rc2 and hopefully the final release to the mission planner.  The issues in case you're wondering are:

        1. make the red arming light double flash when your APM fails the pre-arm checks (done!)

        2. smoothing out the nav controller's outputs so that SimonK ESCs don't wobble while in Loiter

  • i'm using mp 1.2.59 and it's still impossible to connect via terminal to do the compassmot. I connect mains to APM and then connect via xbee to MP and then within 20 seconds I go to Terminal and press Connect APM. Then all i get is a string of garbage characters and i don't see the APM rebooting. I've tried many times. Is there any other way to connect to Terminal or do compassmot?

  • I just installed 3.0.1rc1 over 3.0rc6 on a 6kg octo and am trying to get rid of the infamous TBE. It must be a declination issue so I'm going to tune that with ch6 but in the mean time I noticed in the magnetometer section the log calibration so I tried that using the previous flight flog. Just some hovering and small circles overhead. What I got was -35, 49, -95. Is that within range? I've never had any magnetometer interference with this that I know of because the APM is pretty far from the PDB.

    Also should I still do the Live Calibration or does one overwrite the other?

    Is there an rc2 around the corner?

  • Hi; i'm Pablo from Argentina...I just made my first flight with my quad shaped TBS (clone) and version 3.0.1, and I encounter the following problem. When I leave in a fixed position, a few moments are rotated 45 degrees to the right and then keep turning but very slowly, so flight to orient to another position and the same thing happens again rotated 45 degrees to the right...

    I performed the calibration of the compass 2 times as indicated by the video, I put the magnetic declination manually or automatically and continues all the same.

    I tried disabling the compass and the problem disappears; remains perfectly pointing to the position I instructed.

    What is happening to me?

    What should I check?

    Thank you!


    I have my failsafe set trough my Tx. If a signal loss occurs, Rx will go into failsafe mode and activate RTL on APM.

    I did NOT use APM failsafe function. Is there any disadvantage not using the APM failsafe?

  • Hi guys,

    I had a bad crash today running AC 3.0.1rc1 on APM2.5 : everything was fine, playing around with Stab/Alt Hold/Loiter flight modes, and all of sudden, copter crash without any kind of warnings...

    Here is the log, can you understand what happens ? I don't !



    2013-07-05 18-54 40.log

  • Can anyone give me any ideas on where to look to see where these spikes in the accelerometer data are coming from. It seems that when they occur I get a 3 to 6 meter drop in altitude. I have only seen this in ALTHOLD but that maybe coincidental.

    Thanks for looking



  • Guys where can I get the rc6 version. When I click the beta it just uploaded the rc1

  • Today I had a scary RTL experience with version 3.0.1-rc1 where after arriving at home, instead of descending for landing, it climbed rapidly to 57 meters, then I had to switch into STABILIZE to bring it back down and land. During the return to home, it was flying into a headwind, and was losing a lot of altitude. By the time it got to home, it was only about 15 meters up, instead of the 25 meters RTL_ALT that I'd set. It then proceeded to climb rapidly straight up to 57 meters, where it started to level out, then I brought it down in STABILIZE mode. Log attached. Anyone have any idea what's going on here?

    See the log line 4126: RTL engaged with channel 7 switch

    See also the log line 5390: STABILIZE engaged at 57 meters

    Thanks for any insight into this abnormal RTL behavior.


    2013-07-05 11-02 2.log

  • I test loiter and RTL (WP_YAW_BEHAVIOUR = 1) and had little wind (2-3 knot) by 3.0.1-rc1.

    Controller : APM 2.5 and GPS uBlox LEA-6H
    Frame : Tarot Quad 650
    Motor : T-Motor MT4008 600KV
    ESC : T-Motor 40A
    Prop : Carbonfiber 15x4
    Battery : Zippy 4s 8000 mAh 30C
    Radio : Turnigy9x Upgrade Frsky Module
    Hover Time : about 24 - 26 mins.

    I need decrease loiter speed to 0.200 (from 1.000) and decrease WPNAV_ACCEL to 100 (from 250)  and Increase loiter rate to 1.300 (from 1.000). Because, It have sudden and aggressive when fast turn yaw or auto waypoint. But now, I like it when after tuning to finish.

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