Newbie's dilemma. Mission Planner or APM planner 2.0?

Hallo to everybody!
I’ve just made some test flights with my newly received Iris and now I’m studying to set it up for some autonomous mission.

First big question to which I didn’t find an answer in theese forums is: which one of the two planners is better for a newbie to start learning?

From what I did understood Mission Planner is the oldest and actually more complete one.
APM Planner 2.0 is the future, actually lacking some of the functionality yet rapidly developed.

APMP2 is said to become more stable, but actually could suffer from early bugs (?)

I’m actually a newbie I’d like to reduce the hassles, take advantage of the Iris presets made by 3DRobotics team and, when completely confident (not earlier), starting to dig into changing parameters and exploring advanced features.

My biggest worry, related to installing theese programs is then related to their ‘initial setup’.
I didn’t even started testing connecting Iris to any of them as I’m really terrorized I could change or ‘overwrite’ any of IRIS preset.
It seems as a first step I need to upload a firware (different according to the software of choice?) to IRIS.

Prequestion!: What’s the firware the programs ask me to upload?
Is it some kind of ‘UAV portion’ just related to the Autopilot program of my choice or actually is the ‘whole IRIS’ core firmware. Maybe it’s a very stupid question, but I looked around with this question in mind and didn’t find an answer. Some simple reading that could explain it in a ‘plain’ and ‘practical’ way to better understand the Iris structure (guess is similar to the others 3Drobotics pixhawk products) would help a lot.

Now my further questions:

  1. Maybe my Iris came already with a preloaded firmware working with one of the APM 2.0 or MP version (hopefully a stable one)? Actually this is not documented, but if this were the case I would go 100% this way skipping for now the following questions.

  2. I’m assuming the firmwares are different, or at least it matters the program you used to upload it (I read it somewere). If I use one planner I need to stick with it to avoid problems. In case I change from one to the other I need to re-update the firmware. Is it correct?

  3. In case of Mission Planner (ver.1.2.98 build 1.1.5187.14200) if I choose ‘Install Firmware’ I have the choice to install to Arducopter V3.1.2 while if I choose the Wizard I can see an Icon with a Quad with wider front legs which better seems to fit Iris quad. What should I do? In case of APM planner 2.0 (RC5) it hasn’t any wizard and the nearest choice to Iris is yet only ArduCopter V3.1.2. Does it mean Mission Planner is some way more customized?

  4. When I’ll make the choice of the program to use, uploading the firmware will interfere with the Iris flight factory presets? Are there parameters I should check for or calibration I should do? It would be very interesting knowing the 3DRobotics factory preset procedure being able to reproduce it in case you loose it.

Theese are actually very basic questions. I’m surely lacking knowledge about the UAV background, yet all of the informations I can find looking around are too basic (first flight related) or too advanced, missing the middle step to get into ‘Autopiloting’ the soft way (as I previously said I’d rather avoid experimenting as it could involve $$$ losses!).
Sorry for my English as I’m not motherlanguage and maybe some of my sentences are difficult to understand (in case ask!).

Use Mission planner and do not change a thing with your firmware. You don’t need to your IRIS will fly just fine. You will be able to fly waypoint missions still.


I’ve tried running APM Planner and find it very difficult to ring docs or anything on it.
It will be nice when it’s finished, but it’s missing some big stuff.

Mission Planner gets my vote. I’ve had zero issues and I’ve run multiple missions on it. Once you learn it, it’s a solid program.

If all things were equal, my preference would be APM Planner because I am an Apple user. But I don’t use it because of the lack of functionality…so, use MP. Another reason to use MP, is because the APM Copter tutorial/manual is based on MP.

It comes down to personal preference and maybe you should play around with both and see which you are more comfortable with, but we would recommend you use mission planner.

Wish there was a mission planner for Linux, I have to use APM planner and I don’t like it as much, I also have to manually update because I run 64 bit and it always downloads the 32 bit version if I click on the update in the app

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