I've been away from the Arducopter community for around 2 years now. I never got the early APM1.x to work stable, so I've been using other FC's the last couple of years.
Do you think the newest Arducopter is a stable/solid solution now? Is it advisable to trust it for professional use with expensive equipment and cameras, or does it still have "bugs"? I will, of course, test the system extensively, but I would like your opinion before getting involved again.
The multirotor is a well built Cinestar with quality components. There should be no issues with it.
I have read about motors shutting off and fly-aways with Arducopter. But it is hard to know if these are user/pilot errors or bugs.
Do you know of any professional aerophotography companies that use Arducopter APM?
I recently fried my Hoverfly Pro board and switched to APM. I do like all the features and flight modes that APM has. For example Hoverfly does not have GPS waypoint or Loiter or Land or any of that. But I will say that the Hoverfly is perfect ut of the box, super stable, little tuning needed. I think I will be fiddling with the APM for a while to get it close to the Hoverfly. So have had the two boards...if you want something out of the box simple and stable buy a Hoverfly or DJI. If you are willing to fiddle and tune and are ok with dealing with the lack of corprate support buy a APM, I think the extra features are worth it
Don't forget the new board, PIXHAWK that blows past a couple of high cost systems for capability.
Well, I had one flyaway on an older version of AC and that was due to bad tuning - besides others, no I value tuned.
I have had bad toiletbowling problems but those went away with an external compass.
I had one "runaway" (flyaway on ground level) that was a mix of pilot error and bad HDOP.
Bottom line, judging by estimated users vs. problem threads on DIYD and looking at those problems 99% being human error, I would dare to say that 3.0.1 is exceptionally stable - provided that you RTFM and OBEY it! When in doubt or if you don't understand something, ask and you will receive help! Randy and the others really tore themselves apart to answer every single question in the forums, no matter if redundant, formulated in abusive language or otherwise.
Thank you guys! I think I will give it a try. Is APM 2.6 a good choice, or would you go for the PX4? I really like that APM is packed in a plastic container. Can't wait for the Pixhawk.
Just ordered a APM2.6 With external Compass/gps.
I think it is a good choice to start with. Pixhawk is still in its enfancy and does not have yet the massive user's experience tests/feedback that APM has right now. If you look at what what NASA does for example, you will notice that they explicitly prefer to work with 10 years old electronics CPUs and components for a question of experience and knowledge of how the components work in every situation.
So since your worry is about reliability, go for APM right now and wait that experience builds up on PX4 to move on to pîxhawk.
Another point in favor of choosing APM for your case is that you will find much more comlpete documentation and support than for PX4 (maybe it will be different in six months but at the moment PX4 doc and community knwoledge is still low).
Just an opinion.
I fly only cheap stuff and don't do ANYTHING at all serious, but I take safety seriously and I trust the APM and the latest code to fly safely as long as I do my part. That said, it is a little bit like we used to say about computers -- the great thing about a computer is it does what you tell it to do. The bad thing about a computer is that it does EXACTLY what you tell it to do. In other words, the APM with Arducopter is VERY configurable and it is easy to configure it into an unstable platform. If you pay attention and take care with the mechanical aspects of the vehicle as well as things like interference and component placement, it is very solid and reliable in my experience.
Every problem I have had is self-inflicted, so far. The software is complex enough that it sometimes behaves mysteriously and we must pester the Randy's of this world to examine chicken entrails (also known as "logs"). As Arthur C. Clarke put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". And boy have I had some evil spirits and bad juju on my various flying things to date. But in the end it always seems to come down to me doing something stupid.
Like Stefan said, If you RTFM, and pay attention to the details, it's very reliable. Blow through stuff and wing it, not so much.
I've used almost every kind of FC there is, including Arducopter on APM1.x. The last year I've only used DJI WKM professionally, and I'm VERY confident with it. I stick to the firmware version I trust, taking no chances. After hundreds of missions, I trust WKM competely(well, almost). But now I need controllers for more crafts, with ground station ability, so I decided to give Arducopter a new chance. Will report how it goes! :)
Wait for a version without "glitches" that suddenly ground your expensive copter.