Tutorial: Flash OpenTX (2.2) firmware to Taranis

This tutorial explains how to flash the latest OpenTX firmware to Taranis X9D plus and QX7. in order to use many new cool features, it’s required to have OpenTX 2.2 installed on the radio. Including LUA scripts that allow you to change VTX and FC settings from your FrSky Taranis TX.

By the way, Frsky Q X7 transmitter is a powerful budget TX, check out our review.

Ideally after upgrading firmware:

  • Your Models should still be there including their settings
  • You don’t have to re-bind receivers, everything should work as they were after the firmware update

Download OpenTX Companion and SD Card Content

To get the latest OpenTX 2.2 version, visit http://www.open-tx.org. The latest versions are listed at the beginning of News section.

Take a look at the release notes, if you decided to flash Release Candidate (RC), do that at your own risk. If you want to play safe, download and flash the last stable release.

Click the firmware you want to flash will open a new page.

Scroll down to the Download Links section to download and install “OpenTX Companion” on your operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux).

“OpenTX Companion” is a software for flashing and backing up firmware on your Taranis.

Backup Current Configuration

It’s recommended to make a backup of the current radio models, firmware and settings. To do that we first need to put the Taranis into Bootloader Mode.

For the X9D (plus) you need to press both horizontal trims inwards while powering on the TX (slide power button upward):

For the Q X7 you need to press both horizontal trims inwards first, then power on the TX.

For the X-Lite, you need to hold down the trim button at the center (make sure all 4 trims are pressed), then power on the TX.

Once the Taranis is in bootloader mode, you can plug in a USB cable in the radio and connect it to your computer. The screen will inform you about the USB connection.

To backup models, open CompanionTX program and go to menu: READ/WRITE => “Read Models and Settings from the radio“. It will read models and display them in a separate window. You can then save it as a file on your computer: File => Save As, you can then save the models in an “OTX” file.

To make a backup of your radio settings and OpenTX firmware currently installed, you can go to menu: READ/WRITE => “Backup Radio to file“. It will create a file that can be restored to your Taranis. Select a location where you want to keep the backup and save the file.

Firmware Download and Flashing

First we need to choose the features that we need in the firmware before downloading. Click on the SETTINGS button on the top row (the gear icon).

In the Edit Settings / Radio Profile tab you need to choose the radio type you are about to flash from the list.

Select your radio from the “Radio Type” drop-down list.

Select the following build options:

  • lua / luac– to be able to use LUA scripts
  • noheli – will exclude helicopter config

Do NOT select massstorage, otherwise you cannot use the Taranis as a Joystick on computers to play Simulators.

Optional:

  • If you want to use the EU version of OpenTX, select eu. International version can just leave it unchecked.
  • sqt5font – slightly better font on Taranis X9D screen (looks good on telemetry screen)

 

Bonus: On this screen, you can also upload your custom splash screen image to the Taranis. This is the logo that shows up on the screen at power up. This logo can only be updated with firmware flash. The required image format and size for the QX7 is monochrome BMP 128×64 pixels. For X9D the resolution should be 212×64 pixels.

In Application Settings tab you need to select all the options. This will allow the Companion to download the latest version of Release Candidate and that’s what we are after here.

Under “Startup Settings” drop-down list, select “Use releases and release candidates (testing)”, if you wish to flash a release candidate firmware (RC). Otherwise stick with “Use releases (stable)”.

 

Once that’s done press the Download button from the toolbar (icon with big arrow pointing downward):

It will open up a Download dialog, press Download Firmware to download the bin file (the firmware file).

And press Download SD contents to download the files you need to copy to the SD card.

Each firmware version might come with unique SD Card folder structure and content. Click at the file relevant to your radio transmitter model (X9D+ or X9D or QX7 or X-Lite) with the highest number after letter V (the higher number, the newer version).

Once that is finished, click Write Firmware To Radio button on the side menu:

CompanionTX will then flash the new firmware to the Taranis TX. Once that is finished, we can replace the content on the memory card in our Taranis with the content we just downloaded with the new firmware. If you want to keep your custom sounds, scripts etc. you can simply copy them back to the new folders. Folder hierarchy might change from version to version, but it largely remains the same.

For instance, this is the SD card content from my old firmware:

and this is new one:

It is important to delete the old content on the SD Card, and copy the new content there. Otherwise Taranis might give you a warning message on the startup screen, complaining about “the SD card content being incompatible with current OpenTX version”.

How to restore backed up old firmware and settings

As always, flashing Release Candidate firmware can be risky because of potential bugs and issues. But we can always restore radio firmware from the backup we created before flashing.

To do that we need to:

  • copy the backup file to the SD card
  • enter to bootloader mode and choose Restore EEPROM

If issue is more complicated it’s best to seek help online. OpenTX community is very helpful and should have the answer for you.

Updating Taranis Bootloader

New bootloader expects the SD card to be formatted differently, for example the folder “FIRMWARES” is changed to “FIRMWARE”, so if you try to update the firmware from the SD card from within the bootloader, it won’t find the folder.

However you might be able to still use your Taranis without updating the bootloader, and you probably won’t notice any difference in usage. But for some Taranis with really old version bootloader it’s necessary to update it, otherwise you could run into errors when doing things like flashing your receivers for examples using the Taranis.

Here is how to do it.

Summary

After this process, your Taranis is now running the new firmware, and is fully compatible with new features such as LUA scripts that we can take advantage of for PID tuning and Video Transmitter settings changing over the radio, which is very handy! (tutorials coming)

Edit History

  • April 2017 – guide created
  • July 2018 – updated instructions for 2.2.2; added detail for X-Lite

41 thoughts on “Tutorial: Flash OpenTX (2.2) firmware to Taranis

  1. Hank Deucker

    A question rather than a reply. I have upgraded my X9D to OpenTX 2.2.2 successfully suing your instructions The radio works just as i expected but when switching the Tx on first thing I get an error message that I have the wrong SD card. I actually updated the SD card to the suggested version and all sound files work as well as Lua script for the SxR RX. So how can I remove this error message please.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      did you try format the SD card before copying the files in there? Make sure the SD card content is the same version as the firmware.

      Reply
  2. Manuel Santos

    Hi Friend, my Taranis X9D Plus Mr. Steel Edition is LBT / EU and I would like to modify it to nonEU, with that Upgrade I can change to nonEU? Or what would you have to do to measure for nonEU? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  3. Ricardo Faria

    ERROR FLASH OPENTX – TURNIGY 9XR PRO 2018

    The TURNIGY 9XR PRO 2018 Flash with OpenTX, but I’m having a problem.
    The problem occurs for the new tested versions of OpenTX: “2.0.20, 2.1.9, 2.2.1”.
    SD card flash it displays a message: “EEPROM warning – wrong EEPROM data – Press any key”.
    After the EEPROM is installed, the EEPROM Recording process will appear, by means of a blinking screen after a while. in this context, without starting OpenTX.

    Ma makes a Flash with the ER9X version 221, loads normally.

    You can see the problem occurring on YouTube Video: youtu.be/mAB-E4ekh_g

    Could someone help me with this problem?

    Reply
  4. Phil

    Flashed my Taranis X9D + SE with the 2.2.1 went perfect , tried to flash bootloader on internal program and turned off an back on it crashed( no screen an constance buzz) so reloaded and factory set up works fine. reflashed 2.2.1 an it works as it should but can not get the boot loader to work stays on 2.1.6 also made sure micro sd card is on fat. any idea whats up . my taranis X9D flashed no problem

    Reply
  5. Dave

    Any idea how to downgrade firmware which I haven’t backed up. Can you select to download old versions of fw (bin file} through Companion?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  6. John F Sawyer

    Brand new Taranis X9D+ SE came with 2.1.6.
    I’m going thru steps to upgrade to 2.2.1 using iMac OS 10.9.5
    Using BootLoader I’ve saved 2 folders
    TARANIS with EEPROM.BIN, AND FIRWARE.BIN files
    NO NAME WITH BMP,EEPROMS,FIRMWARES,LOGS,MODELS,SCRIPTS,SOUNDS folders
    The edit settings looks like yours above, but in other settings I don’t know what folder to select or where to find it in the SD Structure path
    Thanks for an excellent tutorial…so far

    Reply
  7. Chris

    I updated my taranis so 2.2.1 works fine but now it won’t connect to my computer to play free rider or liftoff, anyone have any ideas?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      you probably selected “massstorage” option? search for “massstorage” in the article for explanation.

      Reply
      1. Ashley Lofstrom

        I cannot get my Taranis X9D+ to connect to The Drone Racing League simulator. It just says “no Hardware” on simulator. The simulator will recognize the Realflight Interlink. I do not have a “massstorage” option on my Companion to check or not to check. I tried checking the box that says “enable” on the Simulator settings tab but that just says “no joystick found” when I know it is connected, it allowed me to flash the firmware. AARRG so frustrated spent more time than I’m wiling to admit on this and it should be so simple… I have installed countless drivers and updates and fixers, even the one recommended on the DRL sim website. My computer reads the controller as a Bootloader when plugged in not in Bootloader mode and shows as a USB mass storage device when plugged in in Bootloader mode. Any suggestions would be so much appreciated!!! ~X(

      2. Oscar Post author

        In the Taranis, Model Setup, you should have a setting to set it to either Joystick or Mass Storage :)

  8. Richard

    Thanks for this easy way to update the firmware on a TaranisX7. I have a question—how do you replace the contents on the tx sd card with the new contents? You mentioned it at the end of the tutorial, but did not explain how to do it. I assume that you mean the sd card inside the TX. Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Yes, the SD card in the Taranis. Copy everything on the SD card to somewhere on your computer (backing up), then delete everything on the SD card, and copy the new content in there.

      Reply
  9. Chrys Burge

    So probably a stupid question.. I have backed up my X9D+ and have downloaded the Companion 2.2.0 Windows executable. I have the 2.2.0 SD contents and Amber 2.2 pack.
    When I go to download the firmware for 2.2.0 the only option is 2.2.1. How do I get the 2.2.0 FW?
    Thank you for any guidance.

    Reply
      1. Mitch

        This only lets you download the companion and sd card contents, not the firmware.

        I am having the memory issue with the LUA scripts with 2.2.1, I want to downgrade to 2.2 also.

  10. Larry Krause

    Hi tried upgrading from 2.1.7 to 2.2.1, on my Taranis plus with TX off, Companion said all OK but now all I get is a loud buzzing and a bright blank screen. It shows up as STM32 BOOTLOADER so I know drivers are correct and have tried on both Win 10 and 7 machines.
    On settings screen I chose correct TX (XD9plus) but I did uncheck the check hardware box as suggested on other forums.

    I then followed advice from opentx (open-txu.org/home/special-interests/curing-a-bricked-taranis/), no luck.
    Companion again said OK, this time I checked the check hardware box.
    Although I can now read the sd card but nothing else. So somethings working.

    I think I killed it. Can no longer enter bootloader mode or any mode at all.

    Is there any way to recover ? Any ideas?

    One final question has anybody used DfuSeDemo to unbrick?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Larry Krause

      Update
      Problem solved. Wasn’t easy or quick.
      Found on net a Dfu file for version 2.1.6 and using DfuSe was able then load this to Taranis inDfu mode.
      Then through Companion could load 2.1.9 all good.
      Then tried again to update to 2.2.1 same problem.
      Went back to and repeated using DfuSe and Companion to load 2.1.9.
      Now will stick with 2.1.9 if it ain’t broke dont fix it!
      Apparently the shake of death and blue screen happens often but usually only when trying to load incorrect firmware for TX.

      Reply
  11. Tony Starczewski

    Great instructions Oscar. have just upgraded a Taranis QX7 to OpenTx2.2.1 for a friend including new SD structure. I was hoping that the Model configurations on my X9D+ would transfer to the Tararnis QX7 but it says these are incompatible when I try to restore copied files from the X9D to the Model folder on the QX7. Am I doing anything wrong?
    Many thanks

    Reply
  12. Kevin

    I’ve been able to upgrade Taranis firmware by pulling the SD card out and flashing it from a laptop’s SD card reader. This has been verified by checking PG-4 screen to see that the firmware has indeed installed. Everything works and I can fly using my profiles as per usual. However not once been able to connect to a computer via the USB cable. I can get into boot-loader ok and the Taranis sees the cable is connected but the OpenTX software will not connect to the device. Both my Laptop and PC have the same issue connecting to the Taranis.

    Previously when connecting Betaflight to a multirotor I had similar issues but that’s since been resolved. Yet the Taranis USB gripe still remains an issue despite everything else working correctly. Anyone have an idea what’s going on here and why OpenTX?

    Note: Same cable used to connect to multirotor and perform serial pass through is being used so I know its good. Tried zadig-2.3 with the same results on both systems.

    Thanks in advance!

    Kevin

    Reply
  13. Tesla1856

    Oscar,
    Thanks for the excellent Blog and all the detailed R/C posts.

    My FrSky Taranis X9D (Rev.B) is still on v2.0.12. I would like to get my Taranis up to v2.2.0 with as little trouble as possible.

    1. Should I upgrade from 2.0.12 to 2.1.9 first, and then go to v2.2.0 ? Or, can I go straight to v2.2.0 without causing any problems ?

    2. I will backup my Taranis config and Models first, but should I expect to lose/change any programming during the upgrade?

    quadcopter-robotics.blogspot.com/2015/02/frsky-taranis-opentx-and-setting-up.html

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      You can just flash it to directly 2.2.
      Models should still be there after the update, but back it up anyway just in case.

      Reply
      1. Tesla1856

        Thanks.
        OK, it seemed to work fine going from old v2.0.12 all the way up to v2.2.1 (all at once) on the FrSky Taranis X9D.

  14. Robert Michael Kosick

    hi, my name is CHEDDR BOB..A 48 year old kid with an rc obsession. I am about to update my new! radio qx7. I really hope this is it it binds to the xm+ but no stick power…with old firmware..I’ll let you know.I love this radio, only thing is you need a degree to learn it!!!

    Reply
  15. Rudi Kreutz

    Hallo, I have updated my X9d plus with your instructions.
    Ther was no problem and it works perfectly. LUA connected with S6R receiver without any problems.
    Thanks for your help.

    Rudi , Germany

    Reply
  16. Doug

    I appreciate the time in creating this tutorial to help those of us that are just getting started. It took me a while to figure out how to “replace the SD Card content”. Might be good to include the steps for that.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Allan

      It took me a while to figure this out too. To overwrite the SD Content:

      1. Go to open-tx.org.
      2. Scroll down to News, click on the version of OpenTX you just downloaded.
      3. Scroll down to Download links, then click on the link for “SDCard content for x.x.x” You will go to a folder listing.
      4. In the list, select your Taranis model.
      5. Download sdcard-taranis–.zip.
      6. Extract the zip file to a folder.
      7. Connect to your SD card. This can be either through the USB on the radio (if it shows up) or directly in some SD card reader.
      8. It’s a good idea to copy the contents of the SD card as a backup.
      9. Copy the contents of the zip file you downloaded and overwrite the contents on the root of the SD card of your radio.

      Reply
  17. Rick stevens

    Qx7 download open did not backup did not like it erased all to do over now can’t update firmware and it says no directory can I fixit

    Reply
  18. Kilrah

    Please change your instructions not to select the massstorage option, or explain that it will disable joystick. People do it simply becasue you say so without knowing why, and as a result there’s about a dozen people per week asking why their jhoystick doesn’t work anymore.
    There is no reason to use this option in normal setups.

    Reply
  19. Daniel Herbertsson

    I think it is worth mentioning that if you have a custo sound pack (everyone has Amber), that needs to be updated as well once the radio has 2.2 of opentx.
    An updated version of Amber can be found open-txu.org

    Reply
  20. Mikhail

    Updated my X9D+ to 2.2 V8/ It works with quad, but none of the somulatiprs (freerider, liftoff) can see the radio. Why it is so?

    Reply
      1. Stefan

        Hi Mikhail,

        but with massstorage unchecked, are you still able to access the content of the sd card via your pc with a usb cable? Because with OpenTx 2.1.9 I am now able to access the sd card via massstorage AND use it in freerider simulator…

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