I am done with Arducopter! I have been trying to get this platform to be reliable for way too long.

I don't even want to add up all the damage, time and money I have wasted trying to get this flight

control system to work as advertised.

I actually thought with the new firmware and M.P., that the developers had finally got out all of the



As I write this, I notice that the top discussion is unexpected scary start-up.

This is what happened to me:

I dumped all programs from my computer, and reset my APM 2.5, I started over.

I downloaded the new versions clean, without any of the zillions of updates.

I was so excited to see that my project was finally working very well, a doing what I told it to, and it

worked very well for two days. On the third day, without any changes at all to anything, it did a full

throttle cut. I turned it off, rebooted my computer, and started over. It behaved normally for about two

minutes, then two motors cut out. I was only up about six feet, and over a lawn, so no damage.

As I approached my machine, to unplug the battery, two motors started to spin at different speeds.

Then they all spun up to full throttle. I always carry my Aurora 9 with my left thumb on the throttle

stick, so there can not be an accident.

OFF IT WENT, into the sun. Hit return to home, no joy. I said goodbye to it, as it went to an unknown

altitude, and into the sun, (downwind, it was just trying to go straight up).

I found it the next day, see the picture. Two miles of walking and searching and cussing.

I went over the logs, and determined that there were error codes all over the list, and it breached the

geofence, but kept going anyway. It had a mind of it's own, TOTALLY NOT COOL, and VERY, VERY


If this had happened in a more densely populated area, I might be in jail right now, or being sued, or

worse. "Drone kills baby", on the eleven o'clock news. My machine is big, heavy and damn-near

indestructible. I do not know how far it fell, I going to guess at somewhere between 700 and 1000 feet,

(angle of sun, do the trig.) Now it's broken.

I want the FAA to let us do this, but if these kind of failures keep happening, someone's going to get

hurt, and then the Government will make it illegal!  Game Over!

What is up with all the flaws in this platform? Ardu may kill any chance for guys like us to go out and

make money with this tech, before the FAA and Congress even make their decision next year.

Oh, and by the way, I was to show and demonstrate my machine to a government contractor, with a

C.O.E., who shall remain nameless, the very next day. I got to show them a hulk. The only plus was  

they were impressed by my build, because it's still repairable, and the expensive stuff lived.

My suggestion to ARDU is to get your shit together. Something very bad is going to happen, it already

has to me, and if someone had gotten hurt the other day, and I was being sued, I would sue ARDU.

Then it's all over the news, and all over for us. This "mishap" was of no fault of mine. Does the

software rewrite itself? Did someone embed malware into it? Did the hardware just "decide" to melt


You guys need to perfect this, or it's not going to go well with the FAA.

If they were to ask me if it is a safe and reliable platform, I would have to answer "HELL NO!, take it of

the market, before somebody gets killed." I am not giving up on this technology, just Arducopter,



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I agree with this completely, and actually suggested it about 4 months ago, but didn't seem to have much interest from 3DR.


Now that we have a working acro mode, it makes even more sense, because Arducopter could be used for any kind of sport flier, and could be a "gateway drug" into the full blown autopilot world.

James, that's a neat little board, but you should do WHATEVER you have to do to get rid of that extra little ear sticking out!

I have been building two to four APM based units a week for the last five months.  I have built countless APM based rigs over the years beginning with the APM/1280 based boards.  "Almost" every situation that involved a crash was due to improper hardware setup, or operator error.  Sure, there have been instances where the software was buggy, but this was almost always in beta releases, which is flown with a known risk.  

It kills me at the number of people slapping hardware together after little to no experience working with it, and then trying to strike it rich selling their "frankencreations".  When it doesn't work as expected they blast the hardware manufacturer for their problems, and they do this when they don't even know how to properly retrieve and evaluate log data!  Really?  I am all about helping people when they have problems with their drones, but not when they come out swinging.  It would behoove those needing assistance to exercise a measure of civility when coming to these forums.  It will get them a lot further in their efforts.  

I have zero crashes after hundreds of flights directly due to anything Arducopter based. A few wobbles but all recoverable. My Naza V2 caused massive destruction of my gorgeous octo so go figure. Anything will cack at some point but so far the most reliable option has been Arducopter. Numbers don't lie.

The tab is actually designed for people to cut off who don't want it. There is no ground plane running there. The board also has nothing on the back so it can be double sided taped to whatever and then you just rotate the board angle in software. My thinking was shoving it on the side of some of these little helicopters (but every time I try and fly my 450 I boom strike, break a servo and quit.

Honestly, I just designed exactly the board I wanted. Compact and high performance (IMO it flies much tighter than CC3D). It can also take a daughter board on the back and controls a gimbal, http://vimeo.com/66987484 and then talks via CAN to the main FC board. I used this for POI tracking while flying. Fun times. Some people seem to like it and want it which is nice :)

If anyone does have interest in porting arducopter to it send me a PM. It crossed my mind after seeing the performance from Brit, but I'd prefer to hack on our own code base TBH.

Thanks Brit. Awesome work on your first autonomous mission with Ardupilot too.

+1 Todd, +1

I found this discussion extremely facinating. In the beginning a furious pilot. After a number of replies and fruitful discussion, I hav learnt a lot on Ardupilot an possible errors and hinderings for a Ardu-beginner.

Thanks to all the contributors!

Give that man a Bells!

My personal opinion is that alot of the problems with arducopter come from its appearence of being a reliable and foolproof plataform and it is not, I think that our responsability is to advise to everybody who uses the APM softwere of its issues, and it is a task that is not being well accomplished.

When I say that this is not a reliable plataform what i mean is that it really need you to beware of a lots of things. And that is fine, this is a open source comunity and no one is responsable of what anyone does with his multirotors, but the comunity is indeed responsable to make sure that anyone who uses arducopter is conscious of its limitations. It can not happen that someone thinks that he can buy the APM and fly it without being very carefull and taking all of the necessary cautions.

It is not acceptable for any product to have this kind of failures that although occasional are a truly potential damage which could cause serious consequences to a unprevented user, we are handling dangerous tools!

I have been looking around the arducopter code and the truth is that i can understand why that kind of mistakes happen. It is a very messy code, and is easy to say that it have been overwritten many times by many different people and without any well documented wiki. I don't want to upset any developer with my words since I dont have anything else to say to them but thanks for their work which opened the way to allowed me to research on drones, but I do believe that a restructuration is needed if 3DR and DYID wants arducopter to become a reliable plataform which can be used as a RTF, foolproof, aereal photography or any of the others fields where a drone could be usefull.


The heat from the sunlight can change the temperature of the baro, affecting the range it reports to the FC.

Carles, who has ever said that Arducopter is "foolproof"?  Can you show an example?  We have been talking until we are blue in the face about how complicated it is to set up Arducopter.  There is a massive wiki here:


If you can suggest what we could possibly do to make any of this more obvious and more clear, please do so.

I'd also like to see some examples of where you find the code is messy, and how you would restructure it.

I agree with you Rob.

I see someone complaining there is not using the OOP (object oriented programming) for this architecture. I can tell you, I did work 5 years as programmer (yes, ANSI C...) for real-time aviation simulation (now working as programmer in .Net) and OOP is not always good for real-time (what you need when you fly). So, "messy code" is not spaghetti as we say, but maybe just simple avoiding (for critical code) the inheritance, with is not always a good friend with real-time coding.

I really like your suggestion: "...how you would restructure it." Who will answer?


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