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ArduCopter Configuration and Tuning Basics

Learning how to tune your copter for best performance can be a daunting task. The ArduCopter configuration software, Mission Planner, is loaded with all sorts of dials and parameters that you can tweak. What is P, I and D? Where do I start? What does it even mean to have a "well tuned" copter?

This talk is an attempt to demystify the "black art" of tuning your copter. We will discuss the following topics:


• The ArduCopter Pre-flight checklist - managing vibrations, balancing your propellers, calibrating ESCs, compass and accelerometer calibration, and of course, safety and crash prevention.

• Robotics 101 - The basics of PID control and a high level discussion of how it is implemented on ArduCopter.


• ArduCopter 101 - A detailed discussion of the knobs, bells, and whistles in Mission Planner and what the heck they all do.

• Summary of the ArduCopter tuning process. (i.e. now that we know what all the knobs do, where to start)

• Tools you might want to buy or build.

• Using CH6 for tuning in-flight.

• How to save your configurations and share with others!

• Open discussion - share your experiences, tools, and tips with other users!

More details:

The event is free, but we would appreciate your donation of $5-10 to support Nova Labs for offering their space for us.

Join or login to comment.

  • Joe B.

    Thanks for the session. You mentioned using sonar altitude control when setting THR_RATE. Is there a specific sensor you would recommend for the group build? Thanks

    August 27, 2013

    • Christopher V.

      The mount works for all of the versions.

      August 27, 2013

    • Joe B.

      Sounds great. How much would one be? Will you be at the Fly-in this week?

      August 27, 2013

  • Christopher V.

    the relevant rate parameters from my F450 quad:
    Pretty much everything else is defaults. Holds steady in loiter with and without payload.

    August 27, 2013

  • Jose C.

    Was this session recorded?

    August 26, 2013

  • Jerry R.

    Cris did a great job, as usual.

    August 26, 2013

  • Stephen

    Very informative; good presentation by Vo.

    August 25, 2013

  • Bob L.

    Chris, thanks for the presentation. You've made me have to order an APM in addition to my Naza and Ruby. Great intro and it was good meet everyone. See you all at the MD fly-in.

    August 25, 2013

    • Jens

      Thanks Christopher! I found this session very helpful.

      August 25, 2013

  • Christopher V.

    OK here's the deal everyone, there's way too many people RSVP'd for this workshop, but there's not enough space. So here's the deal: 1. Definitely do NOT park in front of Nova Labs. Park at the park&ride across the street.

    2. Please do bring $5-10 to contribute to Nova Labs for offering the space for us to use. 3. We'll consider the seating first come, first serve. If you don't want to be standing around, then get there on time!

    August 24, 2013

  • Jeffrey H.

    Have to head to Pittsburgh to see dad. Have a great meeting.

    1 · August 23, 2013

  • Sarah W.

    Hi, can someone help me configure that quad that Chris sold me to communicate with the Devo 10 I bought from Larry that's set to control a different drone, please?

    1 · August 22, 2013

  • Ian L.

    Any chance this will be recorded? It's a bit hard to get there from Sydney.

    1 · August 15, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      +1 I'm new to the group but have to be away this weekend and this topic looks to be vital info for newcomers.

      August 19, 2013

  • Jens

    Christopher, thanks for scheduling this. This will help me a lot. Will you also be able to explain how to set a throttle profile?

    July 31, 2013

    • Christopher V.

      I won't cover specific details on how to set up a throttle profile on your specific controller, but I will talk a little theory about it.

      1 · August 1, 2013

  • Daniel A.

    Thanks for offering this Chris! Now that we have Arducopter 3.0.1, tuning is going to be a different and any tips are welcome. BTW have you tried 3.0.1, I've been having issues with flight modes.

    July 29, 2013

    • Daniel A.

      The flight modes are not available in MP, they are just blank. But so far 3.0.1 is pretty smooth, but it needs tuning.

      July 29, 2013

    • Daniel A.

      Nvm it works now, and MP doesn't hang. It needed an update.

      July 29, 2013

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