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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I'll do a few ground tests, and then also enable the NAV-log and see if I can determine which is which.

There is a section in the wiki on how to modify the APM2 to work with an external mag


The most common problem with the auto functions not holding altitude properly happens when you switch into the auto mode when THR_MID has not been set properly.

In addition to the wiki Randy mentions we have a whole section in the new wiki

Please join the drones-discuss google group and we can get you started.

Yes, it's starting now.  Josh Potter flew it first.  But there's a bug in the 3.0 code in trunk.  There's a filter running on the Roll and Pitch Rate controllers that is much too slow, so basic stability is affected.  It's not necessarily going to cause a crash, but it doesn't fly well.

I've fixed this on my 3.0 fork and test flew it myself, and it went quite well.  I expected to have a problem due to vibrations on the 450, but it really wasn't bad at all. Loiter was pretty awesome.

Can you post a log file where you have the vehicle oscillating? 

Have you tried putting the compass up on a stick yet?  That's the #1 easy solution.  That is DJI's solution, and it's perfectly valid for people who aren't interested in mucking about with this stuff.

If you aren't interested in working on your airframe, and don't want to put the mag up on a stick, then yeah, this system just isn't going to work out for you.  We are not magicians.  We can't make the magnetometer work when it's subject to interference.

Leonard, yes, using the same battery I think is a big deal.

Remember the problem I had at AVC with the compass?  I had to really skew the declination to get it to fly straight.  I was using borrowed batteries.

Back at home now, I'm using my regular batteries, and I just put the declination back to auto-declination, and it's perfect.  I think the reason the mag was so bad at AVC was because of the different battery I had to use.

there is a repo somewhere for 3.0.x?
and anyone know how far is the fix for OptFlow and sonar?

The repository is located here

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