This tutorial explains how to flash the latest OpenTX firmware on your radio. To stay up-to-date with the latest OpenTX firmware development for bug fixes and new features, it’s recommended to keep your radio firmware updated.
The same procedure should work for most if not all the radios running OpenTX, including the Frsky Taranis X9D, X9 Lite, QX7, X-Lite, Horus X10/X12, Jumper T12/T16/T18 and RadioMaster TX16S.
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 before
Should You Update OpenTX?
You don’t have to update OpenTX if you don’t want to. But do check the firmware release note and see if there is bug fix or new feature you must have. I do recommend updating OpenTX regularly to avoid surprises and potential bugs.
Download Latest OpenTX
You can download the latest OpenTX firmware from: http://www.open-tx.org/downloads
I recommend flashing only stable releases, if you decided to flash Release Candidate (RC) or Nightly Builds, do that at your own risk.
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
Make a backup of your current radio models, firmware and settings in case something goes wrong during the update. To do that we first need to put the Taranis into Bootloader Mode.
For T16, T18 and TX16S, you need to press both horizontal trim buttons inwards and powering on the TX:
For the X9D (plus):
For the Q X7:
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.
Start OpenTX Companion, it’s a program you just downloaded inside the firmware folder.
There are 3 things to backup: models and settings, EEPROM and existing firmware.
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 EEPROM , you can go to menu: READ/WRITE => “Backup Radio to file“. It will create a file (.bin) that can be restored to your transmitter.
Finally, to back up the existing firmware, click on the “Read Firmware from Radio” button on the sidebar (left), and save the FIRMWARE backup file (.bin) somewhere on your computer.
Alternative Way of Backing Up EEPROM and Firmware
Not officially recommended by OpenTX, but you could also try this if you can’t use Companion.
When connecting the radio to computer in Bootloader mode, it will mount a new external drive and there are two files inside the drive: FIRMWARE.bin and EEPROM.bin, and these are the two files we want to make a backup of.
To backup EEPROM, you can also go to Radio Settings, scroll to Hardware (V2.3 and newer) or Version (V2.2 or older), long press the Enter button to make a backup file of EEPROM in the EEPROM folder on SD Card.
Compiling OpenTX Firmware
We have to “compile” the firmware first by selecting the features we want to have, then we can download the firmware file and write it to the radio.
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
- If you want to use the EU version of OpenTX, select eu. For International version, just leave it unchecked
- sqt5font – slightly better font on Taranis X9D screen (looks good on telemetry screen)
- flexr9m – if you use Frsky R9M module with Flex firmware, you have to select this option
- internalmulti – select this if you have internal mutiprotocol module (for Jumper T12 / T16 / T18 and Radiomaster TX16S)
SD Structure Path: You have backed up your SD card in the radio already right? Then just select the copy of your SD card here. This allows OpenTX companion to populate the model image selector with the images that are on the card, and do the same for audio files.
Stick Mode and Default Channel Order: Select Mode 2 and AETR because this is the default in Betaflight. See this post if you don’t understand the meaning of this.
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 can just copy my settings here and it will download the latest stable release.
If you wish to flash a release candidate (RC), under “Startup Settings” drop-down list, select “Use releases and release candidates (testing)”.
Once that’s done press the Download button from the toolbar (icon with big arrow pointing down):
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 with the highest number after letter V.
Writing Firmware to Radio
Once you’ve complied and downloaded the firmware file, click Write Firmware To Radio button on the side menu:
Companion 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.
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)
- April 2017 – guide created
- July 2018 – updated instructions for 2.2.2; added detail for X-Lite
- Jun 2020 – updated instructions for T16, T18 and TX16S