OK, THIS IS A RANT!!
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,
and SO SHOULD YOU ALL!
Replies are closed for this discussion.
I will fess up! I started with Arducopter and an APM 2.5. Used a cheap clone quad to test out the software and to also learn it so if/when I crashed it, I would not be out too many dollars. What a mistake. I could never get it tuned right, that stupid dome only protected from crashes and did not do anything else. I had random altitude problems, and one day it would fly great, next day like crap. I bought a nice frame, nice balanced motors, better quality esc, put the APM in a case, nice well balanced props and BINGO. Battery one half used in auto tune which took maybe 3-4 mins, battery two tested different modes, Battery 3 and 4 testing auto modes. I tested ALT fence, GEO fence, RTL, and 6 modes of flight. ZERO issues. All along i swore it was issues with the software. It wasn't. It was issues with my build and choice of products. As the developers have stated many many times.... Vibrations, cheap props, and sunlight on the baro will make your copter fly like crap! I too had the quad to very odd things prior to the rebuild, but they turned out to be an error induced by vibration somehow. I think this platform is amazing and the quality will only get better, and the possibilities will only grow. I still cannot believe that of all the items on a quad the controller would be the cheapest to get a good flying machine! My buddy flies NAZA and its good, but in no way does it have the functions and customization of Arducopter. In full disclosure I did crash lightly on the very first flight. But that was my error by moving a decimal point in the PID. There is a huge difference between .0500 and .0050!!
>Perhaps the community needs to take a step back, put a hold on features/enhancements
Are you saying we should not enhance the features we currently have?
>Additionally, who in their right mind walks up to a copter with their "thumb on the throttle"?
And we cannot yet program out the user! ;-) Cars crash, so do multi-rotors!
There is considerable effort going on to improve the code base by enhancing features already implemented and adding new features (like GPS glitch detection). How does your comment help with going about that?
I find that your comments are just platitudes and make no sense based on reality. Get involved before making these grandiose statements. Your profile says you are a software dev, you may just have the skills required for this project and help implement the things you feel need correcting. Thx
hi, anyone noticed that dark "smoke mark" on the left housing (3min56) when watched in full-screen.think the missing solder was not the only problem...
that aside there is almost no 100% save
i had a ardupirate before and switched to the "original" when 2.5 came out, since that no fly aways...
i only have the rtl on signal loss active, cause if it doesn't get a signal from the receiver its probably better for it to at least "try" to go home.
and i have huge respect for
a) the developers
b) my copter (it after all is a batterie with motors and sharp props)
wishing all only minor incidents for 2014
AU CONTRAIRE other Tom.
I do understand how difficult creating this is.
Thumb on throttle down firmly, so no accidents, even if I fall on my face!
So in yours.
I'm still out there, version 10 is almost done.
I find the comment about "When we don't know what happened we open them up" I think thats one of the key differentiators with using APM in that you have dataflash logs and tlogs to do post flight analysis. If it was user error, mechanical failure or software issue the logs are able in a lot cases to show that. Which makes the product safer for all.
Reason this thread is so popular is bcs. people are not used to Forum so they like to come here and find any post they can and put questions and answers inside!
On this flippen Earth, if you have installed and configured the code correctly, in fact, if you have a stock standard 3DR quad or other machine, and you went through the setup procedures, WITHOUT props on, it will NOT bite you.
You can't even arm it, if it isn't in STAB mode.......
I flew my 3DR quad numerous times today in auto, at times the current peaked at 19 Amps, that is WAY too close to the specs of your switch......
You want at LEAST double that, for safety !
Wow, this crash turned into a big deal. And again, I'm impressed that so many stepped up to figure out what went wrong, and Randy trying to write out the possibility of it ever happening again, to anyone.
I read instructions, but I did not see the the part of the wiki about foam on the barometer. If I missed it, anyone can. I guess I'm trying to say that this platform is very complicated, and little details like that can be very easy to overlook. I have a suggestion for the wiki:
An IDIOT CHECK list, (call it Do not fly until you've checked, and completed.....etc...), one page, big letters, so little details like this can not get passed over.
It's easy to say how "easy" this is to do when you do it full time, and get paid for it, but some of us struggle to afford this and find the time to do it.
When I got into this, I had a former friend telling me that he could write arduino code and that it was easy to do and that he was not scared of this. Well, his ADHD caused him to give up very quickly. He couldn't figure out tuning, and gave up. This after I spent a lot of $, and time. So I learned how to tune it, and I did. I guess I spaced out on the little foam detail, probably because I was overwhelmed by everything else. Still, not a good excuse, just a reason.
I apologize to all at 3DR for being so harsh when I started this discussion, but I wanted to hit home the fact that if this can happen to me, and I am a smart guy, it can happen to anyone. I love this stuff, and want to see it become a full on industry, but with the FAA and Congress, and Google, not yet having decided our fates, a bad accident that makes the news, IS the last thing we want.
I also fly a custom, hopped-up 500 size reg heli, 2200 rpm head speed with carbon fiber blades, that CAN cut your head off. I have ducked a few times, scaring the crap out of myself, more than once. Standing over your machine to check the indicator lights seems like the wrong thing to do. I'm not very close to the 500 when it's spinning up! How about an external super bright LED pack on a wire, so that it can be mounted somewhere easy to see. I have flown without MP and the computer before, but not anymore.
Again, GLAD this turned into a safety meeting.
Thomas, I understand your concerns about standing near a heli looking at those little lights. That is why I created the CopterLEDS code. It's an easy way to get some big bright LEDs on your machine. Alternatively, with Pixhawk, you can plug in the multi-colour LED module that does a similar thing.
I always fly using a GCS, or the external LED lights at a minimum (but even that is rare anymore, 99% of the time I have my laptop).
I agree. I have had continuing unresolved drift, runaway, etc issues, but have always had great stable flight in stabilized mode. I too limit "auto" flight modes to a max of two so that I can get out of them and return to stabilize without much thought process.
One of these days I WILL upload some log files for those of you who understand what it all means to analize for me.
Heck, figuring out the problems is half the fun of the hobby.
I have had the same experience and posted previously without resolving the issues. As here there were a lot of "it could be this" our I think it was that", but I ended up with a totally trashed quad. It was a 3dr receiver ready quad purchased from 3DR - APM 2.5, Ublox GPS, Sonar and Telemetry which I flew for 8 months with great success - UP THROUGH 2.9.1!
When I upgraded to 3.0.0 it flew great in stabilized mode, but went nuts in loiter/ah/land - ANY auto mode.
What was the big change between 2.9 and 3.0?
Something is weird.