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.
This article is written by Artur Banach. 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. Note that V2.2 is still a Release Candidates (RC), so use it at your own risk.
RC versions are listed under the section, News. I downloaded the latest version RC14, first link in the list and it will take you to the download page.
Scroll down to the section, Download Links where you need to download the OpenTX Companion for your operating system (Windows, Mac or Linux). Then follow the relevant steps to install it on your computer.
You need to download these two files:
- SDCard Content
- OpenTX Companion
Each firmware version comes with specific SD Card folder structure and content. Click at the file relevant to your radio transmitter model (X9D+ or X9D or QX7) with the highest number after letter V (the higher number, the newer version).
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 while pushing the power button briefly.
This will put the Taranis into bootloader mode. Then you can plug in a USB cable in the radio and connect it to your computer. The screen will display information 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 the following build options:
- lua – to be able to use LUA scripts
- sqt5font – slightly better font on Taranis X9D screen (looks good on telemetry screen)
Do NOT select massstorage, otherwise your Taranis won’t work as a Joystick on computers to play with Simulators.
If you want to use the EU version of OpenTX, select eu. International version can just leave it unchecked.
Bonus: On this screen, you can also choose your custom splash screen image to upload to 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.
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 FW to download the bin file (the firmware file):
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 replace the SD Card content, otherwise Taranis will show a warning message on the startup screen, complaining about the SD card content is not compatible 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.
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)