This tutorial walks you through how to setup the Radiomaster TX16S radio. I will try to explain everything you need to know how to use the TX16S for the first time, including battery, radio settings, model setup and gimbal calibrations.
The TX16S and T16 are actually very similar, you can follow this guide to setup both radios.
There are several battery options for the TX16S. The most common being two 18650 cells, and that’s what I personally use. The radio comes with a 18650 battery holder, so it’s pretty much plug and play.
There are other options thanks to TX16S’s large battery compartment:
- 2x 21700 Li-Ion Cells (5000mah) – https://oscarliang.com/product-pk4h
- RDQ 2S LiPo (5000mah) – https://oscarliang.com/product-27gr
- RDQ 2S LiPo (3000mah) – https://oscarliang.com/product-qd5e
To turn on the Radiomaster TX16S, simply hold down the power button in the center of the radio for a few seconds.
Startup Warnings and Why
Brand new radios shouldn’t give you any warning when you first turn it on, but in case you do, here’s a list of possible warnings and how to fix them.
- Throttle Warning – your throttle stick is not at the lowest position when the radio is turned on. Simply move the throttle stick all the way down will get rid of this warning
- Switch Warning (aka Control Warning) – some of the switches are not in their default positions. Simply put all the switches to their UP position to remove this warning
- Failsafe Not Set – Go to “Model Setup” (press MDL button), scroll down and find “Failsafe”, set it to No Pulse
- Alarms Warning – This warning will appear if Sound mode is set to mute
- SD Card Warning – SD card content version does not match the firmware version. If you get this warning, follow this guide to fix it
If everything goes well, you should get to the default home page, which should look something like this.
Hold down the “SYS” button (top left) for 2 seconds to access the Radio Setup Page.
The things to change right now are:
- Date & Time
- Battery meter range (for 18650, 6.0 – 8.4V, for 2S LiPo, set 7.0 – 8.4V)
- Battery low => for 18650, 6.6V, for 2S LiPo 7.4V
- Inactivity => 10m (if the radio is untouched for 10 minutes, it starts beeping)
- Sound off => Disabled
- Check RSSI on shutdown => Enabled
- Mode => Keys (only menu buttons would activate backlight, sticks and switches won’t, this saves battery as you don’t need backlight while flying)
- Duration => 15s (backlight stays lit for 15 seconds)
- OFF brightness set to lowest to save battery
- Alarm => Enabled (backlight turns on when there’s a warning on the radio)
- Pwr Off delay – the time it takes to hold down the power button to switch off the radio, this is basically a safety feature to avoid accidentally turning the radio off. I personally set it to 1s for faster shut down, but if you want to play safe just leave it at default (2s)
- USB mode – set it to ASK
- (Optional) lower haptic strength and length, default was a bit too strong
- (Optional) set Sound to “All” so you get the “beeps” when scrolling
Here’s my whole radio setup:
To exit and go back to the main screen, just press the “RTN” button.
Calibrating Gimbals and Sliders
Go to Radio Setup page again, then press “PAGE” button a few times to go to “HARDWARE” page, select “Calibration” option to calibrate the sticks and sliders. Just follow the instruction, it’s pretty straight forward.
The gimbal stick calibration interface looks like this:
Make sure you only move the sticks as shown in the following image. For best result, do not move the sticks in circle.
Calibrate Battery Voltage
To ensure accurate battery voltage reading, you should calibrate the radio’s battery voltage.
Put the battery back in the radio, go to the “Hardware” page (hold SYS button and press PAGE button), scroll down to Battery Calibration and verify if the readings are the same. You can adjust it with the roller wheel button.
Although you can transfer models between OpenTX radios, but I highly recommend creating model profiles from scratch to avoid any conflicts and incompatibility issues. Once you created one model, you can use that as a template and just duplicate it for your other models, so it’s really not that hard.
Some people prefer to create a new profile for every single drone they have. But if you have a dozen of models like I do, it becomes a lot of work, and it’s hard to manage.
So what I personally do is only create a model profile for each RF protocol, and I bind all my quads that use the same protocol to that profile. For example, I only have four profiles, and they are for Frsky D8, D16, Crossfire and FPV simulators.
The other benefit with this method is consistency, as all your quads would have exactly the same radio configurations.
To create a new model, first go to the “Models” page by holding down the roller button for 2 seconds from the home screen, then select “Model Select” option.
Here you can view all the model profiles you’ve created. You can do a number of things by holding down the roller button.
Creating Model Profile From Scratch
To create a new model profile for quadcopter, go to the “Models” page (hold down the roller button, and choose Model Select).
In Models page, hold down the roller button again and select “Create Model” option.
Here you can choose a model template based on the type of aircraft, but currently there are still no multirotor, only glider and plane available. Don’t worry, we can work around this, hopefully the missing multirotor template will be added in future OpenTX firmware update.
For now, to create a model from multirotor, just select “Plane“, and then go through the following steps (press PAGE button to move onto the next step)
- “Does your model have a motor?” Yes
- “What channel is it on?” CH3
- “Number of ailerons on your model?” One, or two with Y cable
- CH1 (A)
- “Does your model have flaps?” No
- “Pick the tail config of your model” One channel for Elevator and one for Rudder
- CH2 (A), CH4 (B)
Once you have created the model, you can also use it as the template for future quadcopter models. Simply duplicate this model instead of creating a new one, but note that it will also copy all the model settings.
Creating Model for Fixed Wings
For fixed wings, the steps are exactly the same as a quadcopter model. However you do need to change the mixer settings as described here: https://oscarliang.com/taranis-mixer-for-wings/
After creating the profile, now is time to setup your model, such as the Model Name, RF module setting etc.
To access “Model Setup” page, press the “MDL” button from the main screen.
RF Module Setting for Frsky
- Set External RF module to Off
- Change Internal RF module to MULT, Change sub mode to the protocol of your choice
For example, for Frsky 2.4GHz receivers, like the R-XSR and XSR, choose Frsky and D16. Some tiny whoops might require D8.
Note: you can’t change channel range to “Ch1 to Ch8” for lower latency, the only option is “Ch1 to Ch16”. I think this might be a bug and hopefully will get fixed in the future.
Don’t forget to set Failsafe method to “No Pulse” (this is your choice, see why I choose no pulse here)
Finally, you should fine tune RF Frequency to optimize range. This is only needed when using the internal Multi-protocol module.
RF Module Settings for Crossfire
Crossfire is a popular long range radio system. Once you’ve installed the Crossfire module in the module bay of the TX16S, you can enable it by:
- Set Internal RF module to Off
- Change External RF Mode to CRSF
There are more settings related to Crossfire in the Crossfire Configure Tool (hold down the SYS button), including Failsafe and Frequency.
Switches are not setup out of the box, they can be used for arming the quadcopter, activating beeper etc.
Enter Model Setup page, then go to the Mixer page by pressing the PAGE button a number of times.
In here, create a new mix on CH5, under “Source”, select the switch you’d like to use (Pro tip: just flip the desired switch, it will automatically appear).
Repeat the same steps on the following channels (e.g. Ch6, Ch7 and Ch8) and add more switches and sliders. There are 16 channels available for SBUS (Frsky D16) and Crossfire, minus the 4 channels used for the sticks, you have a total 12 channels you can use to assign to switches, knobs and sliders.
Can’t figure it out? Here is a more detailed step by step guide.
Duplicate Model Profiles
If your models have more or less the same configurations, you can simply duplicate your the model you’ve just created.
Personally, I don’t create profiles for different models, that’s a lot of work if you have a bunch of drones. I create profiles only for different RF protocols. For example, I have one profile for Frsky D16, one for Frsky D8, and another for Crossfire. Each profile is bound to multiple models that are using that RF protocol.
It’s totally up to you how you manage your model profiles by the way, there is no wrong or right way :)
Create Model for FPV Sims
Duplicate from one of your quadcopter models, and set both internal RF and external RF to off. you don’t need to use RF module when flying FPV simulators via USB cable, this will save battery and keeps your RF module cool :)
Adjust Gimbal Tension
The TX16S offers gimbal adjustments at the back of the radio. By removing the back rubber panels, you can access the screws through the holes to change the stick spring tension.
However I personally find it difficult to do as I can barely see those screws.
So I normally just take the radio apart. You can find out how to do this in my review. And here are the screws responsible for the gimbal stick tension.
You don’t have to update firmware, unless there is a bug with your current version, or the new firmware offers a feature you really want. You can follow this guide to flash OpenTX to the TX16S and T16.
Beware that flashing new firmware might reset radio settings, and it’s best if you backup your models before doing so in case something goes wrong.
Tips and Tricks
Custom Sound Pack
You can download custom sound pack and replace the original one. My favourite is Amber sound pack, the sound quality is better than the original.
Download here: http://open-txu.org/home/version-2/v2-2-resources-2/
Unzip and replace the files in the SOUND/en folder on the SD card.
Playing Custom Sounds
You can play custom sound files on your TX16S. I have a tutorial on how to create custom sound file for OpenTX radios. You can even play your favourite songs.
Make sure the filename doesn’t exceed 6 characters, and the file extension doesn’t exceed 3 characters, or the file won’t show. And it doesn’t like symbols in the filename either.
File format: 32000khz Mono Wav
Custom Interface Color and Layout
See my tutorial.
Model images must be PNG file, filename 6 character max in one word no space, no symbols. Put them in the image folder in the SD card.
Splash screen (startup screen): 480×272 pixel, name it splash.png and place it in the image folder in the SD card.
Assign Volume Control to Knob
I found it really convenient to be able to adjust radio sound volume using one of the potentiometers (S1 or S2).
Go to Radio Setup Page again, then press “PAGE” button a few times to go to “Global function” page, and assign volume control to a knob. You can also do it under model setup, special function, but I prefer doing this in Global function so it takes effect on all models.
Replacing Internal Button Cell Battery
If your radio stops saving settings such as date and time, you probably need to replace the button cell battery inside the radio (or it’s missing). You can buy this quite cheaply online.
Lithium 3V CR1220, Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3yDyDBe
- May 2019 – article created
- Nov 2019 – updated for T16 Pro (internal module), added model dup/lication and model setup for simulator
- Feb 2021 – updated for TX16S (all settings and images), added sections ‘start up warning’, stick adjustment, battery calibration,
- May 2021 – added tips and tricks