ArduCopter-3.2 beta testing

Warning #1: PX4/Pixhawk users upgrading from AC3.1.5 (or earlier) may need to re-do their compass and accelerometer calibration because AC3.2 also uses the backup compass and accels.  Pre-arm checks have been added to ensure this has been done.

Warning #2: on the APM2.x the logs must be downloaded using MAVlink instead of the terminal.

AC3.2-rc14 is now available for BetaTesters through the mission planner’s Beta Firmwares link.  The full release notes can be found in ReleaseNotes.txt and changes from -rc13 can be seen below.

     Feel free to raise issues found during testing on this discussion or in the new support section in the APM Forum.

     It’s a big release with “the onion” restructure and a bunch of new features (including these 57 closed items) so we need to re-test almost everything including all flight modes, all mission commands and all the new features.  Marco and I will be maintaining (and adding to) this testing list.  Issues reported will first be checked by Jonathan, Marco and I and then confirmed bugs/issues will be put on the github issues list (and then hopefully fixed).

     Thanks especially to the beta testers who put their copters at risk testing each release.  Enjoy!

Changes from 3.2-rc13
1) Safety Features:
     a) fail to arm if second gyro calibration fails (can be disabled with ARMING_CHECK)
2) Bug fixes:
    a) DCM-check to require one continuous second of bad heading before triggering LAND
    b) I2C bug that could lead to Pixhawk freezing up if I2C bus is noisy
    c) reset DCM and EKF gyro bias estimates after gyro calibration (DCM heading could drift after takeoff due to sudden change in gyro values)
    d) use primary GPS for LED status (instead of always using first GPS)

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      • Loiter.

  • Not sure if it's me or some parameter left overs, but I can't seem to calibrate my newly installed Pixhawk with 3.2-rc7.

    I have an external compass configured and the Device ID reporting is:

    COMPASS_DEV_ID = 73225

    COMPASS_DEV_ID2 = -1

    After calibration I only have values for: COMPASS_OFS_X/Y/Y, but not for COMPASS_OFS2_X/Y/Z. If I study the code it's doing some iteration on the number of compasses and checks if all the offsets for that particular compass instance are 0. Additionally it tries to load the parameters for that particular device ID. If the ID's do not match it will also result in a Compass Not Calibrated message.

    What I can't figure out is:

    1. Do I need the values for COMPASS_OFS_X/Y/Z for both compasses simultaneously? I.e. have values stored for both COMPASS_OFS and COMPASS_OFS2.

    2. Is the code picking up some old non cleared parameters from a previous version? (I had 3.1.5 on this device before)

    Or is it something completely different?

    • Developer


      Maybe there's a couple of problems.  The first one is the compass-dev-id2.  That should be 13xxxx.  the "-1" should only be reported if you're using an older firmware (like -rc5 or -rc6) or maybe the board hasn't been power cycled since the firmware update?

      Next I suspect the old version of the mission planner is being used for the compass calibration.  If there are two working compasses then it should show two globes when calibrating.  I run the beta version of the mission planner (Mission Planner build 1.1.5360.31789) although it's a bit like running beta versions of arducopter in that there can be issues.

      • I went outside and did Live Calibration again. Takes some time, before I got enough samples. (Using telemetry for this). I observed very poor offsets (>500) on one axis for the second compass. (Pixhawk internal?).

        Did a small test, loiter performance is very good(!)

        Now how useful is this second compass? Wouldn't it be better to have the possibility to just rely on the first compass and have no redundancy. (I believe the PreArm checks still check 'Compass Health' between 2 the compasses?)

        FYI, I'm running the Pixhawk inside a TBS Pro frame, certainly not interference free.

        • I've got the same, but much much worse problem on one of my helicopters.  The Pixhawk is about 1cm from the motor.  So the internal compass offsets are >5000.  It's completely useless.  The compass pre-arm check fails, and I can't do anything to fix that.  Therefore, I have to turn off the compass pre-arm check to even be able to arm.  This is not great, as I lose the benefit of the compass pre-arm completely (ie: if the remote compass fails or has another problem, I won't know).  

          I think something will have to be done about this as I'm sure you and I will not be the only ones with this problem.

          • yep, same thing here!  one of the internal compass offset is around 500. 

          • I've built 2 frames with a Pixhawk now, and the bad compass results are consistent. (In a sense that 1 compass is always having very high offsets). I also turned off the PreArm Compass check, because it tends to give Bad Compass Health PreArm failures. Also, not sure if it related, I find the calibration procedure quite cumbersome. I've seen the calibration dance and Randy's video about calibrating the compass, but in my case it always take alot more time to perform a live calibration. I dare not even to compare it to the simplicity of my Naza based Hexacopter..

            Would it be useful to open a ticket for this. (Second compass bypass/configuration) ?

            • Developer

              We need to be careful that we're not mixing up multiple issues here.  There are a number of checks surrounding the compass because it can go wrong in multiple ways but any one of them can cause a fly-away.

              So there are 3 separate issues being discussed:

              1. Rob's issue of internal compass offsets that make it un-useable as a backup and triggers the "PreArm: compasses inconsistent" message during the pre-arm checks.  @Sander, yes, an issue to allow disabling the compass would be greatly appreciated.

              2. Sander's complaint that he's seeing "Bad Compass Health".  Is this the exact message displayed?  There's a "PreArm: Compass not healthy" but this is actually a health check and should not be related to the large offsets.  The Mission Planner may print "Bad Compass Health" if a compass's health goes bad, again, not related to offsets though I think and could be related to an actual failed compass.

              3. Cumbersome Calibration.  The latest Beta mission planner is much more relaxed.  By the way, the compass calibration code is completely within the mission planner, there's no code in ArduCopter to do with calculating the compass offsets.  Feel free to ping Michael Oborne about when he plans to release the next version of the MP.

              • 1. I'll review the process how to raise an issue for this.

                2. I need to correct myself; I have had issues with Compass calibration by utilizing APM Planner 2.0.14, which only stores the first compass. This triggers the  "PreArm: Compass not calibrated" message. Resolution is to use the Mission Planner, not sure who maintains the APM Planner codebase, but this could be frustrating as you cannot calibrate the second compass. I'm not enitrely sure what PreArm failed afterwards; Looking at the code the "PreArm: Compass offsets too high" could only be triggered on the Primary compass. I'll retest and report back.

                3. How do I switch to the beta Mission Planner? I'm running 1.3.10 build.1.1.5369.11976.

                • Developer

                  APM Planner 2.0.15-rc1 and newer have Dual Compass Calibration support. you can trigger these 'beta' releases by selecting the option in APM Planner 2.0 Config under Conder 'Config/Tuning' view

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