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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  • Hi,

    Maybe this is a non-problem, but I can't get my head around it, so I hope somebody can shed some light on it.

    When looking at my log data for Roll/Pitch vs. Desired Roll/Pitch during loiter, it seems that they don't track very well. I have attempted to adjust the Loiter_P and Loiter_Rate_P, but I don't really see any change in the log data.

    This log is from a short loiter flight in somewhat gusty conditions with 4-8mph winds.

    My motors are 750kV 400W@16V, SimonK:d ESC:s, Props are SF 1245, GPS is Neo-6M, Frame is a Tri.

    FW is 3.0.1-rc1

    FWIW, I'm quite happy with my loiter performance, I just like fixing things 'til they're broke. ;)


    2013-07-08 12-57 1.log

  • Hi ,

    anyone can help me to understand why altitude hold not working properly?

    on alt hold stay good for some time and sometime lift up ... sometime fall down

    in loiter fall down ...

    in the APM planner i can see the altitude change only about 1 or 2 meter and is very slow to change

    I use APM1 ( with some cotton over the sensor) arducopter rc6 Hexa

    4S battery (5000mA) 

    8x3,8 prop



    2013-07-07 19-08 4.log

    2013-07-07 19-10 5.log

  • Just curious.

    When will AC3.0.1-rc2 be available to be tested?

  • I was wondering how do you volunteer or get involved with the software development of APM. I've been flying for almost 6 months and I would love to be a part of the development. I just graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and I have experience in C, C++, Java, and Python.   

  • 3.0.x not working OptFlow ?

    i cant aktivate OptFlow on 3.0.x an 2.9.x works but not on 3.0.x ???

  • great,

    how will rest of us (80% I believe)  with apm2.0 use external mag ?

  • First build (by newbie)

    COMPASSMOT down to 4%

        (AC3.0.1-rc1), 3DR PM, external compass.

    Look at pictures for more info.


  • Almost went back to 2.9.1.

    3DR Hex

    880kv motors

    10 x 4.7apc props

    APM 2.5+

    Decided on Wednesday to make the move to version 3.0.1 rc1 and that was the start of the problems.

    compassmot gave me a reading of 174% which I got down to 24% by twisting the wires from the battery to the PDB and speed controllers, Instead of routing the motor wiring through the arms and back to the speed controller they now run direct from motor to speed controller via the bottom of the arms finally moved APM to the second level as per Randy's video.

    This all caused another problem although the GPS was getting a lock according to the kmz file was jumping around by 10 to 20m on in some cases. I assumed that was caused by some sort of interference off the APM which was directly below. The GPS module is now on a 30mm standoff at he back corner of the top plate.

    Still some file tuning to do but the Hexcopter is a lot better.

    Hopes this helps someone

    David Ardis

  • Loaded 3rc1 onto my quad today. All seems great from the 2 flights I had. Loiter is solid even in wind.

    In 2.9.1 I could set the low battery voltage in the prams list, this would sound a buzzer connected to one of the A# outputs when low voltage was met. This still works but where do I now set the low voltage value?

    There is a low voltage value under fail safe options, is this the same thing?

    Using the latest mission planner, .59

    Hier entsteht
  • Did compassmot and compass recalibration (posted values before, don´t look bad to me) but had almost the same problems again. RTL was better, headed towards home in most cases and stopped pretty close above home position but descent always was far from straight downward and Loiter is pretty much the same as pure Stabilize mode under windless conditions, copter wanders around without ever holding any position.

    So I am back to 2.9.1b and GPS operates properly again. Acro is good, but Pure Acro in V3 is clearly better, I hope tweaked Loiter will come soon!

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