The 3DR Solo contains, amongst many things, a Pixhawk 2.0 autopilot. The comes through a heavily customized branch of an early ArduCopter 3.3 compiled specifically for the Solo by 3DR. When you perform the early pre-flight upgrade on a new Solo (or ~ a factory reset), part of that upgrade is this Solo branch the ArduCopter. It is mounted on the Pixhawk, and also has all the crucial default parameters and customizations baked into it. That is essentially transparent to the user, occurring behind the curtains. Since 3DR is no much longer in the customer UAS business, this tradition branch the ArduCopter will certainly not it is in seeing any further updates. It to be last to update in at an early stage 2016, and is now an extremely far behind.

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Life after ~ 3DR¶

Since the Solo provides a Pixhawk autopilot, that is capable of to run variations of ArduCopter besides the 3DR customized Solo version. This post will focus on installing, configuring, and operating ArduCopter variation 3.5.0 or greater on a 3DR Solo. ArduCopter proceeds where 3DR left off, keeping the Solo a modern, advanced, and highly qualified sUAS. There are countless developments in the autopilot firmware making the a an ext stable, reliable, and agile aircraft. There room many brand-new features together as boat mode, RTK GPS, intensified telemetry, ADS-B, lidar laser altimeters, terrain awareness and following, IR precision landing, and even and “indoor GPS”.


Photos through Andrew Emmett, Matt Lawrence, Stephan Schindewolf, & Paul Dinardi

Hardware Requirements¶

The Pixhawk 2.1 eco-friendly Cube (or a traditional Cube v the interior jumper collection for 5 volts) is at this time required because that safe and also reliable usage of ArduCopter 3.5.0 and higher on a 3DR Solo. You can purchase the eco-friendly Cube from Jesters Drones or directly from ProfiCNC. The Cube has actually significantly an ext advanced components. This has 3 temperature managed IMUs and also the 5 volt signalling the Solo requirements to run safely. If you currently have a Cube, you can set an interior solder jumper to 5 volt signalling and use that in her Solo. The green Cube comes through this jumper pre-set for 5 volts.


You can install ArduCopter understand on the share Pixhawk 2.0, but it is very discouraged. It will certainly install, and it will certainly fly. But you space at fairly high threat for electric motors shutting down in flight, resulting in a major crash. This is because of an electric hardware defect in the Solo’s engine pods. The old share firmware has actually a software application patch come mostly alleviate this flaw. This is what you might hear described as “slew price protection”. You can view the password for the slew rate defense in the share 3DR firmware right here on their GitHub site. The manufacturing versions that ArduCopter, consisting of ArduCopter 3.5 execute not have this slew rate protection. That is severely handicapping and an overwhelming to regulate for a civilization of vehicles that use ArduCopter besides the Solo. The 5 volt signalling provided in the Pixhawk 2.1 green Cube efficiently solves the electrical trouble on the engine pods.

There are other potential means to mitigate the electrical trouble with the motor ford without to buy a new Cube. You could use traditional DIY ESCs and also bypass the ones built into the motor pods. Or girlfriend could develop a level converter that procedures the signalling voltage increase from 3v to 5v. None of these options are commercially available as a kit, however can be excellent on a DIY basis if you space creative. You would not have actually the benefit of magnified hardware in The Cube, yet it would certainly be simply as safe and also reliable to fly.

You cannot use the old stock 3DR Solo firmware ~ above the Cube. It is completely incompatible. This also means you cannot do a manufacturing facility reset on the Solo v The Cube still in the Solo. The factory reset tries to reload the old Solo firmware, i beg your pardon is incompatible. If you require to manufacturing facility Reset, you will must put the old stock Pixhawk 2.0 ago in, operation the full manufacturing facility reset and also update, then placed the green Cube back in. This is annoying, yet there is no method around it currently or in the foreseeable future. In short, do not require to manufacturing facility reset. I beg your pardon also way do not lose your WiFi password! perform not throw away her old share cube!


There are several great resources virtual for alteration ideas,vendors, beta experimentation firmware, troubleshooting, and support


Before beginning the update to ArduCopter 3.5 with the Pixhawk 2.1 environment-friendly Cube on her Solo, you need to finish some essential requisites.

Complete Solo and also controller in good working order, paired, flyable, and completely charged.Solo and also controller both up to date with existing 3DR Solo firmware native the early stage pre-flight update. The existing 3DR firmware is 2.4.2.Flight tested, working correctly in all respects. One untested or malfunctioning Solo need to not be offered for this process. That won’t resolve it.Pixhawk 2.1 eco-friendly CubePhilips and flat head screwdriversSolex application for Android or a Windows computer for Mission Planner and also WinSCP


Once the upgrade procedure is complete, you’re prepared to do your first flight making use of ArduCopter 3.5 ~ above the Solo. The is recommended that your first flight be conducted at a location and also time that enables you to check some straightforward functions and also safety systems. Pick a large open are free of obstructions, crowds of people, lakes, etc.

Solo/Solex application Settings¶

You will should go through all the setups in the 3DR Solo app (and the Solex app if you usage that too) to verify and also update sliders, options, and settings. Warm items to set include in this sweep include yet are definitely not limited to:

RTH altitudeRTH/RTM* & RewindMaximum altitudeA/B ButtonsAdvanced trip ModesSpeed slidersGoPo settings

Go Airborne¶

With all of the over complete, that is time to take it your very first flight on ArduCopter master!

Take off and also verify the Solo paris stable and also predictably.Test all axes… pitch, roll, yaw, climbs, descends, and even all at once.Test the trip modes you have on the A & B buttonsMake certain you are getting a great GPS lockMake sure the distance, altitude, speed, modes, and GPS data presented on the app and also controller are correct and also as you suppose to see.Let the battery operation down to the failsafe if hovering safely nearby. Watch its behavior and verify it as necessary executed the RTH/RTM procedure.


If girlfriend need help troubleshooting a difficulty during with this process or have actually questions, the Solo Beta check Facebook team is the best place come go.

ArduCopter Parameters¶

There space over 700 parameters in ArduCopter. For everyday use that the Solo, you still perform not need to worry about any the them. They’re all pre-set for you in the over processes and by means of defaults. Every the construction parameters because that the Solo that call for a value different from the ArduCopter defaults can be uncovered in the rwandachamber.org GitHub repository /tools/frame_params/ directory. These space the parameters that room loaded throughout the update process. If you are not familiar with editting parameters and have no special use situation to warrant transforming them, altering them is not recommended.

However, there room some progressed and distinct use instances that might require transforming some parameters. Some vital parameters for advanced users are thorough below. This list will certainly likely flourish as new use cases and modifications develop.

COMPASS_ORIENT is the orientation of the exterior compass.ValueMeaning
38Stock compass in appropriate rear leg
0HERE external Compass
FS_THR_ENABLE controls how the Solo respond to a lose of signal from the controller.ValueMeaning
0No failsafe. This should not be used.
1RTH/RTM will initiate if gps available. If no GPS, Solo will certainly land.
2Continue through Smart shooting or auto mission. Otherwise RTH/RTM if general practitioners available. If no GPS, Solo will certainly land.
3Land only, no RTH/RTM. This is useful for indoor flying.
FS_BATT_ENABLE controls the short battery failsafe action for Copter-3.5 (and earlier). For Copter-3.6 (and higher) examine the BATT_FS_LOW_ACT parameter. The short battery failsafe kicks in as soon as when the values collection in parameters FS_BATT_VOLTAGE or FS_BATT_MAH room breached.ValueMeaning
0No failsafe action
1Land immediately, no RTH/RTM. Valuable for indoors.
FS_BATT_VOLTAGE is the short battery voltage threshold for Copter-3.5 (and earlier). Because that Copter-3.6 (and higher) inspect the BATT_LOW_VOLT parameter. As soon as the battery voltage drops listed below this point, the low battery beeper sounds and it will perform what you have actually FS_BATT_ENABLE collection for. This worth is expressed in volts. The default is 14.0. You can readjust this higher or lower depending on use case and also preference.ValueMeaning
0No short voltage alarm or failsafe
1414 volts
FS_BATT_MAH is the battery capacity staying threshold expressed in milliamperes (MAH) because that Copter-3.5 (and earlier). Because that Copter-3.6 (and higher) examine the BATT_LOW_MAH parameter. As soon as the battery remaining capacity drops below this point, the short battery beeper sounds and it will execute what you have actually FS_BATT_ENABLE set for. The default is 520. On the solo, the is ~ above average around 1.5 minutes of flying time remaining. You can change this increase or down to fit her preference and also use case. Setting it for 0 will disable capacity continuing to be based alarms and failsafes.ValueMeaning
0No battery capacity staying alarm or failsafe
520520 MAH
WP_YAW_BEHAVIOR states the yaw habits in auto missions and also RTH/RTM.ValueMeaning
0No change. The Solo’s yaw will save pointing in the very same direction uneven you change it.
1Face the following waypoint regardless of direction that flight.
2Face the next waypoint except in RTH/RTM.
3Face forward along the general practitioners course.
NTF_OREO_THEME controls the Solo’s engine pod LED theme. This is for ArduCopter 3.5.0 and higher only.ValueMeaning
1Aircraft template with red/green front and also white strobes rear.
2Rover design template with white prior & red behind (like a stock Solo supplied to be).
AHRS_GPS_USE is for allowing or disabling the general practitioners on you Solo. The default is 1 for enabled. The primary use case for disabling the gps is for indoor flight. If the general practitioners is disabled, the cannot and also will not shot to usage it for flight, failsafes, or any type of other function. That way RTH setting is no available. You must be familiar with how the failsafes job-related without a GPS. In most cases, the Solo will land since it cannot RTH.ValueMeaning
0GPS disabled
1GPS enabled
LOG_DISARMED permits and disables dataflash (*.bin) logging as soon as the Solo is disarmed. The is currently permitted by default since it have the right to be an extremely useful because that testing and troubleshooting. However it does result in huge and frequently unneccessary logs. If you space comfortable and also confident in your Solo, friend disable logging when disarmed. The dataflash logs be lot cleaner and volumnous.

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0Disabled / No dataflash logging while disarmed
1Enabled / Dataflash logging while disarmed and armed.

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