Time has finally come!! ArduCopter Alpha 1.0 is here

We have been talking about this release for a while while it's been in development and testing, but it's finally ready for daylight. Its been long and exhausting 4 months or so that we have been doing this project, there has been a lot of long nights and will be more. But today is a huge milestone: on behalf our whole team, I'm happy to release our first official ArduCopter Alpha 1.0 release for our users.

This code has been tested over multiple ArduCopters, they all worked out of the box after proper installation eg. EEPROM reset and calibration and we have not found anything alarming but I am sure that there are bugs lurking behind the corner. If you are afraid of bugs, then better to wait till we are in beta but if you think you can handle some small issues this is now ready for ou to play with.

What you need to know of this release are:
  • This is an First Alpha release so there might be some bugs waiting, we just haven't found any yet.
  • New orientation system: Always mount your APM/IMU aligned by Front/Rear Arms eg. in + configuration. X mode is switched from software it self and you are not allowed to rotate your APM on frame.
  • Before switching to X mode, test your settings and Artificial Horizont on + mode. When X mode it activated from software, Artificial Horizon on Configurator shows AH incorrectly (this will be fixed later on Configurator itself)
  • On X mode, your original "nose" rotates 45° to CCW eg Front becomes Front/Left
  • New variables and default settings so RESET your EEPROM by doing Initial Installation procedures
  • Unzip file and copy all Libraries from this zip file to your Arduino/Libraries folder and replace them if you had some of the libraries already installed. This Alpha release is designed to work with Libraries included on ZIP file.
  • Zip file contains Arducopter_alpha_RC1 folder where all firmware codes are and also libraries folder is there.

Alpha 1.0 Features:
  • Acro / Stable modes, changeable by switch input from radio
  • + and x modes, changeable from software code, APM orientation always as +
  • Magnetometer support (optional, default is off)
  • Finetuned PID controllers on stable mode
  • More cleaner code
  • 200Hz main loop

Sorry guys, no GPS features yet. We have some issues with it so we temporary took it out. We try to find it out as soon as possible. This is built on the APM code, which has full scripted GPS navigation, so as soon as we turn it on ArduCopter will have full UAV functionality.

For feedback please use #47 ticket on our issue tracker in here.

If you find bug or expect that you have a bug, please open new issue for us so we can look it. But before opening issues, try to reproduce your problem 2-3 times at least. If you can reproduce it, post an issue for it.

Also if you have code proposals of feature proposals you can post them too as new issue. But again before posting, check our wiki pages to see if someone has proposed it already of it or proposed feature is already on issue lists or on our software roadmap.

General help can be found from our Wiki pages at GoogleCodes ArduCopter Wiki

Happy flying guys/gals and don't do anything that I would not do :)

File download: ArduCopter_Alpha.1.0

(Current and future files can be found from wiki download areas too,
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  • need help when compling file show expected class-name before '{' token
  • I understand. Was simply curious on where the user interest was. I've worked as a software developer for 20 years and really want to design software for it more than I want to fly it.
  • Developer
    Michael, pre-order page says:

    ArduCopter Quad v1.0 KIT Contains:

    * ArduCopter v1.0 Frame as seen in DIY Drones
    * Motors designed to ArduCopter use, 850kv
    * ESCs designed to ArduCopter use, 20Amp
    * Propellers designed to ArduCopter use, 10x45
    * ArduPilot Mega Flight controller board
    * ArduPilot Mega OilPan IMU board
    * MediaTek 3329 GPS + 10 cm Cable

    So that is everything needed to make it flying and a bit more. Magneto/Sonars/IR and other extras are not included due they are not needed. Basically even GPS is not "needed" to make it flying but we wanted to provide that with the packet. Magneto and all others can be included later if there is a need for it.

    I personally never used magneto when I fly.

    About your question takeoff/landing on same path. Well it really depends on how good you are on programming. I know that there are indoor tracking systems that are totally based on gyro/acc measurements and their accuracy it matter of meters so I guess that it would be possible to make quad to fly back it's own path too but why to use gyro/accs for that when you have GPS.. Unless you do it indoors too :)

    This is anyways a open sw/hw development platform so you can do what ever you want with it. And hack programs as much as you want. We just develop it to one direction and provide our code for it, to develop it to another direction is up to every user them selfs. And that's what whole DIY is all about.
  • Maybe I'll add one of these. :)
  • @michael: not a chance only using gyros and accels. Their purpose is stabilization of orientation, not absolute position determination or hold. And no IR sensors are included because the current code doesnt support it and will most likely not do so for a while. The complete kit nets you only what you need to run the current software version. (actually gps is not used in current software from the last time I checked, but likely they are anticipating it)
  • Sounds good to me! So the IR sensors are included?

    How accurate of the gyros and accelerometers? Is it reasonable to use those for calculating position within an inch or two? For example, if I wrote software that flew 20 feet from takeoff can I calculate a return path using collected data from the gyros and accelerometers only?
  • 3D Robotics

    The magnetometer is not required, so it's just an optional extra. Everything you need (except for RC gear and your battery/charger) is included. We're assuming everyone already has a USB cable ;-)
  • I ordered mine this morning but now I'm a little confused. It appears to come with the Mega Flight and Mega Oilpan boards. That takes care of most of the features list. What items on the features list at the ordering page do NOT ship with the kit? It looks like the magnetometer is one item. We already know there is no radio, receiver, or battery. So far so good. What else is missing from the complete kit?

    As a software developer I am very interested in putting my own code on the board. What tools are needed to get software compiled and loaded? If that last question generates an RTFM response I apologize in advance. I've been evaluating several different copter designs and the ArduCopter is still new to me.

  • Developer
    Ed, testings has been gone well and they are not anymore in testing phase. We are now waiting them to arrive from factories. Also Pre-Orders will open in few days, look more DIY Drones site in next few days.

    ETA to start deliveries is around end of this month/first week of next. Depends on how all parts are arriving. We already have some incoming but a lot is still missing to have complete sets.
  • Any news on how the testings going on the new motors and ESC/s? Will the ESC's use standard R/C throttle inputs, I2C or both? ;-)
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