ArduCopter 3.2 ready for wider use

After months of testing, ArduCopter 3.2 (aka APM:Copter) is ready for widespread use and we invite all users to give it a try.  In order to manage the support load at first it will be available only through the Mission Planner and APM Planner2's Beta Firmwares link.  This link is visible from the regular "Install Firmware" page if you check the "Advanced View" on the Config/Tuning >> Planner page.  On APM Planner2 the "Advanced View" it is under the File menu.

In about two weeks we plan to replace AC3.1.5 with AC3.2 as the default version dispensed by the ground stations.

The full list of changes can be found in the ReleaseNotes but here are the highlights:
Flight Mode Enhancements:

  • PosHold flight mode: similar to Loiter but with direct response to pilot input during repositioning
  • ACRO mode handling improvement EXPO (for faster rotations)
  • Drift mode uses "throttle assist" (similar to AltHold)
  • Smoother transitions between flight modes (i..e when entering Loiter or RTL from high speeds)

Mission Enhancements/Fixes:

New Sensors/Devices:

Safety Features:

  • EKF/DCM check will switch to LAND mode if heading error > 60deg for 1 second
  • Baro glitch detection
  • Pre-arm check for Gyro calibration success
  • Pre-arm check that internal & external sensors (gyros, accels and compass) are consistent (Pixhawk only)
  • Parachute support (Pixhawk only)
  • Feedback to Pilot when taking off in AltHold, Loiter, PosHold (i.e. motors spin up a little as throttle is raised)
  • EKF (new attitude and position estimate system only used for reference in this release)

Bug Fixes:

  • Pixhawk GPS driver buffer overflow that could lead to missed GPS messages
  • Pixhawk I2C bug that could lead freeze up if I2C bus is noisy

Known issues/Warnings:

  • Pixhawk users will need to recalibrate their compasses
  • PosHold won't show up as option on FlightMode screen if you have an old version of mission planner.  Please select Help > Check for Updates
  • Landing detector is more strict meaning it may take longer to disarm after RTL, AUTO
  • Set THR_MID parameter especially if you have a very powerful copter because "Feedback to Pilot" raises throttle to 1/2 of THR_MID
  • Spline twitches slightly as it passes a waypoint especially if WPNAV_SPEED is set > 500.
  • Dropped support for NMEA and SIRF GPS on APM boards (ran out of Flash space)
  • Dropped ssupport for sonar for MultiCopters on APM1 and TradHeli on APM1 & APM2 (ran out of Flash space)

If you hit issues, please post them in the APM Forum and include a dataflash log file if possible.

Special thanks the Marco and the Beta Testing team from the AC3.2 beta testing thread who put their copters at risk in the pursuit of a smooth, safe release.  Here are links to some of their videos: Marco's DJIs900, Holger's Water Tower, Josh's Acro, Ray's TradHeli2&FPV, Raph's Hawaii, PhillS's CommandYawThor's Zombie Run&FollowMePhanivyas's Test, Rob's TradHeli, Christian's Test1&Test2Balloon's Spline, JimJ's FPV, Ultrojo's ROI & Spline&FollowMe1&FollowMe2, Troy's Mission

Thanks also to the code contributors to this release including Tridge, Jonathan, Leonard, RobL, Paul Riseborough, MichaelO, Julien Dubois, David Dewey, Andrew Chapman, Emile, Allyson and many more.  If you want to get involved check-out our dev wiki.

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  • Would you have to redo a Auto Tune after upgrading?

  • @Doug Walmsley... thks


  • @ John Anderson...  No you shouldn't be too concerned about second compass.  That one is part of Pixhawk and has been known to have a higher value due to the proximity of it to the ESC, PDB, and other electronics.  The external one is the primary compass.  

  • I upgraded to 3.2 on my Pixhawk Octo today and re-calibrated my compass.  Have a question.  I got -113 -15 -142 for compass and -265 -135 128 for compass 2.  Compass numbers are ok but compass 2 are pretty high.  Should I be concerned about compass 2 numbers?

    Also would like to add a big thanks to the DEVs for all the hard work getting 3.2 out.  AWESOME job.


  • @Randy, is there any change in regards to the stabilize mode? As there is a large portion of your video in this mode I was wondering if there was anything special to demonstrate there. 

  • Congrats to the devs and testers.
    It is awesome.

    Long way to get here...
  • Moderator


    I see in the wiki that there is support for a second External GPS, but not for a second External Compass. The available paramaters for Compass seem to suggest that it is possible to support a second External Compass. Could you clarify this? If you can support a second External Compass, does the Pixhawk Internal Compass automatically get set as a tertiary compass (External always comes before Internal)?

    Best Regards,

    Nathaniel ~KD2DEY

  • PQcopter, I think he means that sonar will not work on APM2 for Tradheli.  

    If you are planning to fly Tradheli AC3.2 on APM2, you should be aware that I have not tested that at all.  

  • Congrated, Randy and Thank you for attached my video on the list.
  • sorted Thx,

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