Copter-3.3 beta testing

Warning #1: an issue has been found with Tower's Pause button which can cause the vehicle to fly to an old position if the vehicle has not sent a position update to Tower in some time.

Warning #2: Copter-3.3.2 fixes a bug found in Copter-3.3.1's desired climb rate initialisation which could lead to a sudden momentary drop when switching from Stabilize or Acro to AltHold, Loiter or PosHold.

Warning #3: Copter-3.3.2 fixes an issue found in Copter-3.3.1 which could lead to hard landings in RTL or AUTO if the WPNAV_SPEED_DN was set too high (i.e. >400 or 4m/s) and/or the WPNAV_ACCEL_Z was set too low (i.e. <100 or 1m/s/s).

Warning #4: a bug was found in Copter-3.3 which could cause a sudden crash if you abort a Take-off initiated from a ground station.  Video description is here.  The bug is fixed in Copter-3.3.1 so we recommend upgrading.

Note #1: AC3.3-rc8 corrected a long standing bug in the HDOP reporting.  HDOP values will appear about 40% lower than previously but this does not actually mean the GPS position is better than before.
Note #2: if upgrading from AC3.2.1 the vehicle's accelerometer calibration needs to be done again.
Note #3: set SERIAL2_PROTOCOL to "3" and reboot the board to enable FrSky telemetry like in previous versions.
Note #4: the wiki will be updated over the next few weeks to explain how to use the new features

Copter-3.3.1 is available through the mission planner.  The full list of changes vs AC3.2.1 can be see in the ReleaseNotes and below are the most recent changes since AC3.3.

Sadly this version (and all future versions) will not run on the APM2.x boards due to CPU speed, flash and RAM restrictions.

Changes from 3.3:

1) Bug fix to prevent potential crash if Follow-Me is used after an aborted takeoff

2) compiler upgraded to 4.9.3 (runs slightly faster than 4.7.2 which was used previously)

Changes from 3.3-rc11:

1) EKF recovers from pre-arm "Compass variance" failure if compasses are consistent

Changes from 3.3-rc10:

1) PreArm "Need 3D Fix" message replaced with detailed reason from EKF

Changes from 3.3-rc9
1) EKF improvements:
    a) simpler optical flow takeoff check
2) Bug Fixes/Minor enhancements:
    a) fix INS3_USE parameter eeprom location
    b) fix SToRM32 serial protocol driver to work with recent versions
    c) increase motor pwm->thrust conversion (aka MOT_THST_EXPO) to 0.65 (was 0.50)
    d) Firmware version sent to GCS in AUTOPILOT_VERSION message
3) Safety:
    a) pre-arm check of compass variance if arming in Loiter, PosHold, Guided
    b) always check GPS before arming in Loiter (previously could be disabled if ARMING_CHECK=0)
    c) sanity check locations received from GCS for follow-me, do-set-home, do-set-ROI
    d) fix optical flow failsafe (was not always triggering LAND when optical flow failed)
    e) failsafe RTL vs LAND decision based on hardcoded 5m from home check (previously used WPNAV_RADIUS parameter)

Thanks for your testing!

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    • +1 For that!

      • Developer

        It's tentatively on the to-do list for Copter-3.4 but I can't promise it because things sometimes get bumped.  I know Leonard Hall wants it as well so that increases the chance that it'll happen.

        • If that happens, please enable pixhawk to be an ESC configurator hub similarly to how it's done in clean/betaflight. This way people can bury the xRacer board inside the 250 frame for better ptotection. 

          • This would likely be a new request, so you'll want to submit that as a request on the GitHub repo.

            • yes please, oneshot support and blheli 1wire update through copter software

              So I can use a pixhawk for 250 racers which needs fast updates to esc and processor of pixhawk is fast enough and software is excellent

              RTH functions on a racer with all the close proximity interference of all the electronics ..... :(

              Could case a lot of complaints about the excellent software which is designed for stability and not for racers, compass mot V3 for mini racers???

              I for see a lot of questions

  • Hi,

     Do the latest firmwares support V and T setup for hexacopters at all?


    • I have used standard Octocopter code to fly an H-shaped Octocopter (like your hex shown, but with 8 rotors).  It worked out OK.

    • Developer


      I'm afraid we only support X and + for the Hexacopters.  It's not super hard to add support, just need to come up with the motor mixing for roll, pitch and yaw.

  • Hello, 

    While following the wiki to configure PX4FLOW and Lidar-Lite v2 on AC3.3.1, I am wondering when does the autopilot actually use the PX4FLOW camera. Would anyone mind to let me know if I am right or wrong in the following.

    - Autopilot reads PX4FLOW only in OF_Loiter flight-mode? 

    - Autopilot reads PX4FLOW in all GPS-assisted flight-mode, but does not read it at all in non-GPS flight-mode?

    - Wiki requests EKF_GPS_TYPE = 3 during PX4FLOW test flight. After that I should set it back to EKF_GPS_TYPE = 0 in normal flying?

    - Whenever the flight mode requests X/Y position estimation the autopilot reads both GPS and PX4FLOW. EKF then blends them together for autopilot to use?

    - OF_Loiter is a flight-mode that needs X/Y position estimation but does not read GPS. It only reads PX4FLOW?

    Thanks for clarifying my confusion,


    • I'm also completely confused on whether I can use optical flow sensor without lidar or not.
      Wiki says it does not use sonar readings anymore and I see flat line for EKF5.meaRng.

      Lidar is additional $200...
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