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.

3. 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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Steve, i did it for Radio Failsafe and submitted it to the Wiki team for inclusion.

It is now on this page in the Throttle Failsafe chapter.

It is up to date up to APM:copter version 3.0.1 RC1 and PPM encoder version 2.3.16.


Great Olivier!.. Now there is a detailed flow-chart on the page. I will study it when I get a chance...

What happens if you are using PPM SUM and the PPM encoder is in passthrough mode?
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


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


My post below this may be helpful

David Ardis

Thanks Dave! That's a dramatic improvement. - I picked up one point there that I never tried - twisting the battery to PDB cable. WIll try that when I come back to 3.x.x. My power cables to the ESC's are only 2-3cm long, so not really practical to twist those.

PS - how many times did you run compassmot? I ran 2-3 attempts for each calibration, and got big variances. The testing procedure - specifically how quickly you throttle down at the end seemed to affect mine. I would need to do more tests to confirm this (but I just don't have the time or energy right now).


And this is a perfect example of what I was going on about when I said we were going in the wrong direction with compassmot.

I know you mean well, but I'm not reading this. I barely understand it. I *can't* read it. The devs might be able to, but they're way smarter than me. I know the precept of APM is DIY and open source, but I didn't realise I needed to be a physics major to make my quads fly. As we seriously expecting people to understand this physical concept and use it to apply structural changes to their quads?

As I said - this is probably dynamite info you've posted here, and I appreciate it, but for joe public buying his first 3.0.0 APM, this is just way too much.

Just read the 3 points.

There are 8 (5 are sub points), and they still don't make sense.

"The magnetic field increases as a function of the enclosed loop area Pi R^2"

Pure gibberish for anyone who is not a mathmetician or a physist. And that's only point 1.

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