Review: Taranis X9D+ “2019” SE Radio Controller – Should I Upgrade?

Frsky released a new Taranis X9D+ 2019 radio! It has the same classic X9D+ shell with upgraded hardware and additional features. But is it as good as the original, and should you upgrade? Let’s find out!

The Frsky Taranis X9D Plus is honestly the most popular radio controller ever made in FPV. It has been my main radio for over 5 years and I am still loving it. As soon as they announced the new 2019 version, I couldn’t resist and bought both Standard and Special Edition.

Table of Content

Where to Buy Taranis X9D+ 2019?

Here are the product pages for the radios.

Taranis X9D+ 2019: http://bit.ly/X9D-2019 ($22 off coupon: BGX9DYB)

Taranis X9D+ 2019 SE: http://bit.ly/X9D-SE-2019 ($30 off coupon: BGX9DSEYB)

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3e0seFN

What’s New in the Taranis X9D+ 2019 Version?

Here is a summary of changes from the original Taranis X9D+:

  • Redesigned circuit boards and upgraded processor
  • Supports ACCESS Protocol (read about the advantages)
  • Scroll wheel replaces the 3 menu buttons on the right side of the screen
  • Momentary power button instead of slide switch
  • Additional momentary button (AUX control)
  • Loaded with OpenTX 2.3
  • Battery can be charged via USB port, barrel connector removed
  • Only supports 2S LiPo/Li-Ion battery

Everything else such as form factor, gimbals, screen, switches, trim buttons etc. all appear to be the identical. Here is my old Taranis X9D+ side by side with the new Taranis X9D+ SE 2019 (right).

I’ve done a ton of DIY mods on my old Taranis, I believe most of these mods can be applied on the new 2019 version too.

Old Taranis X9D+ sitting side by side with the new Taranis X9D+ 2019

Left: Original Taranis X9D+, Right: Taranis X9D+ 2019

The specs of the X9D+ 2019:

  • OpenTX System
  • Operating voltage: DC 6.5V – 8.4V
  • Operating current: 130mA at 8.2V
  • LCD screen resolution: 212×64
  • Weight without battery:
    • Taranis X9D+ 2019, 670g
    • Taranis X9D+ 2019 SE, 700g

Unbox and Accessories

Both SE and non-SE versions come with the same accessories

  • Neck-strap
  • Mini USB cable
  • Gimbal protectors
  • Stickers
  • Manual

Here is the Standard (non-SE) version packaging.

And here is the SE Version packaging.

As you can see the SE version comes with a nice carry case.

Beware that they no longer come with SD card and battery, which is a bad move in my opinion. One reason we like the X9D Plus so much is because it was a radio we could pick up and use right out of the box.

I will explain what batteries you can use later in this review. As for SD card, any 2GB to 32GB cards should be fine, see this post for my SD card recommendations.

Closer Look at the Taranis X9D Plus 2019

The scroll wheel is a great upgrade, it makes menu navigation so much easier. Looks kind of familiar don’t you think? :)

Still the same old LCD screen and no color screen. Personally I don’t actually mind because color screen drains the battery faster, and the mono color screen works just fine anyway. Only blue/white back light though, no more amber.

I am not a big fan of the new power button, takes longer to turn the radio on and off. I prefer the old slide switch. The only good thing about the new power button is that you won’t accidentally turn the radio off during flight, because you have to hold it for 5 seconds, even then it will still try to double check with you when the receiver is still connected.

The power button has a color LED that changes color depends on the state of the radio. It’s blue when it’s powered on, when it’s charging it goes green, encounters a warning it goes yellow and red…

The newly added momentary button located on the top left shoulder is kind of pointless in my opinion, especially for those who fly mini quads and wings.

However I would love to see a 6-position rotary switch though, it would be useful for advanced flight modes and special functions. In fact Frsky has been selling this 6-position rotary switch for DIY mods for years, but they don’t want to add it to their latest radio. (scratching my head)

On the back of the radio, we have the familiar JR module bay that fits external RF modules such as Frsky R9M, XJT and TBS Crossfire.

Below the module bay are the trainer port, mini USB port and headphone jack.

At the bottom we have the battery compartment. Inside, there is a connector on the left which is a 2S balance lead input for powering the radio. SD card slot is located in the middle, and SmartPort is on the right.

They removed the barrel connector on the side of the radio. To charge the battery, you can now do it via the mini USB port. It’s great because you don’t need a transformer for charging anymore!

barrel connector for charging removed in X9D+ 2019

Left: X9D+ 2019; Right: Original X9D+

There are some minor changes to the interface in OpenTX 2.3, but nothing major really. The Internal RF module supports the latest ACCESS protocol from Frsky.

It’s very exciting to see it also supports the older ACCST D16 protocol, so you can continue to use your existing X-series receivers without updating them, like the R-XSR, XSR, X4R-SB and XM+.

However it DOES NOT support D8 anymore (e.g. D series receivers), so if you want to bind these receivers you would have to get an external XJT module, or multi-protocol module to install on the back.

The new OpenTX firmware comes with a built-in Spectrum Analyser tool that makes it possible to check the airwaves for RF noise.

Taranis X9D+ 2019 Teardown

The whole circuit board has been re-designed. There used to be two separate ribbon cables connecting the PCB’s between the two housing, now there is only one.

Processor has been upgraded from a STM32 F205 to STM32 F407. Quoting Frsky, these changes “increase computing power and improve running of more complicated LUA scripts, optimizes overall performance such as voice speech outputs”.

However Frsky seems to be moving away from modular design, which is not good news for repair and maintenance in my opinion.

Take for example, the internal RF module is now integrated into the back PCB, which is also shared by power management and some other things. That means when you replace a particular module such as the RF module, you would have to replace the whole board, it will be more expensive.

There is an internal antenna leading to what appears to be a Bluetooth module. I think that’s Frsky’s latest “PARA wireless trainer system“. It allows you to connect your radio to another wirelessly for training purposes.

Only the Special Edition has this wireless trainer system, the Standard version doesn’t.

It has the same low quality tiny speaker. Sound quality is still not as good as the one I replaced in my speaker DIY mod. And on the Non-SE version, the speaking makes a buzzing noise for some reason.

Overall the PCB’s appear to be well made.

Differences Between Non-SE and SE Versions

The SE (Special Edition) costs $65 more than the Standard version, and has the following additional features:

  • Carry Case
  • M9 Hall Sensor Gimbals
  • Upgraded Switches
  • Removable antenna
  • Both have trainer port, but SE has PARA wireless trainer function
Taranis X9D+ SE 2019 sitting side by side with the Taranis X9D+ 2019

Left: Taranis X9D+ SE 2019, Right: Taranis X9D+ non-SE 2019

Honestly, the “upgraded” switches in the SE don’t feel too different from the ones on the Non-SE, perhaps the clicking is softer, and maybe durability is better? Only time will tell.

But the Hall Sensor Gimbals on the SE are noticeably nicer than the G9D Potentiometer Gimbals on the Non-SE. Hall Gimbals have exceptionally smooth stick travel, the “click” in the centre stick is minimal and tension is very even through the whole stick range. Hall gimbals also last longer due to less mechanical wear.

With that said, the potentiometer gimbals get the job done just fine, but the hall gimbals are the icing on the cake :)

The antenna is removable in the SE, with an RP-SMA connector. This allows you to remove the antenna for transportation, or use a different type of antenna. You can do this DIY mod on the non-SE too, but you can risk damaging the RF module if not being careful.

Does it Support Crossfire?

Yes, the Taranis X9D Plus 2019 supports Crossfire, no need to do DIY mod like with the QX7, which is nice. But you have to flash the latest OpenTX firmware to enable it.

Out of the box I could only find the following external RF protocols:

  • PPM
  • XJT D16
  • DSM2 LP45
  • R9M
  • SBUS

Only after updating OpenTX I was able to select Crossfire (CRSF).

Remember to turn off Internal RF before using External RF Module.

In OpenTX 2.3, they moved the Crossfire scripts from the top directory to the “TOOLS” folder in the SD Card. To access it you have to go to “Radio Setup”, then go to the “TOOLS” tab to access “Crossfire Setup”.

Battery Options

The Taranis X9D+ 2019 doesn’t come with battery, so you’d have to get your own.

In the manual Frsky recommends “2S Li-Battery”, I think that includes LiPo, LiFe and Li-ion (e.g. 18650).

The original Taranis X9D+ supports up to 3S, but the 2019 version only supports 2S since the specs states that the maximum input voltage is 8.4V. Maybe that has something to do with the internal charging circuit as it’s designed to balance charge a 2S battery?

Battery compartment dimension seems to be identical to the previous version, around 28x30x100mm? (not a precise measurement)

The biggest LiPo I can find that *might* fit the battery bay are these (not tested):

You can also use two 18650 Li-Ion cells, but you might have to break off the plastic struts in order to fit them, or make a 3D printed cover. I wrote about this mod here. (Note that it only supports Li-Ion batteries without protecting circuit)

It’s really disappointing that it still doesn’t have a 18650 battery bay design in the year of 2019.

Both 2S LiPo and 2S Li-Ion can be charged via the USB port. The cool thing is that you can now play flight simulators on the computer and it keeps the radio charged simultaneously.

You can also use the same old NiMh battery from the original Taranis, but it’s going to be inconvenient as you are not supposed to charge them inside the radio.

OpenTX Firmware Flashing

At the time of writing, OpenTX Companion still doesn’t support flashing the new Taranis X9D+ 2019. You have to put the firmware file on the SD card, and flash it inside the radio. I made a tutorial on how to do it.

You have to do this to get Crossfire supported.

Frsky Taranis X9D+ 2019 Silver

Frsky Taranis X9D+ 2019 Silver

Updating Internal RF Module

By the time I received my Taranis, there was already a new firmware for the Internal RF module. I had to update it otherwise it wouldn’t bind to my receivers with the latest ACCESS firmware.

Luckily it’s very easy to do, I made a tutorial on how to update Taranis Internal RF module.

How to Adjust Gimbals Tension

Adjusting gimbals tension is similar to the original Taranis with M9 gimbals. For other Frsky radios, see my tutorial on how to adjust gimbal tension.

FAQ

Can I transfer models from existing X9D+ to the new X9D+ 2019?

Yes, I’ve managed to do so myself successfully. Here is my tutorial on how to transfer and backup models in OpenTX Companion.

Can I bind my old receivers to the Taranis 2019?

Yes if the receiver uses D16 protocol, including the R-XSR, XM, XM+ and XSR and X4R-SB. And it also support LR12.

But it no longer supports D8 protocol which the D series receivers uses including the D4R-II and D8R. For these you’d have to get an external module like the XJT and multi-protocol module.

You can also update your R-XSR to ACCESS firmware so you can use the latest ACCESS protocol.

Can I Flash Receivers Firmware with the X9D+ 2019?

Yes, it works exactly the same as the original Taranis X9D+. See my tutorial.

Betaflight LUA Script Support

As far as I know, Betaflight LUA script is not supported yet. We are waiting for developers to add support for the new radio. Scripts for the old X9D+ doesn’t work as I tried.

Any other issues with it?

I only got the new radios for a couple of days, still testing it, but so far so good.

One minor issue I am having is the radio makes a high pitch buzzing noise when I connect the USB cable. Maybe something to do with the internal charging circuit?

Frsky Taranis X9D+ SE 2019 Dark Blue

Frsky Taranis X9D+ SE 2019 Dark Blue

Conclusion

Although I wish there were more improvements, and the quality was higher, but I am overall content with the new Taranis X9D+ 2019 SE.

It feels absolutely the same in terms of ergonomics (which I am really happy about), with a much easier to use scroll wheel for menu navigation. The transition from the original X9D+ to the new radio is seamless, apart from the frustrating firmware flashing hiccup (luckily not for you because I’ve made a tutorial!).

If you are a completely new user, I can recommend the Taranis X9D+ 2019 radio. You will need the ACCESS protocol in the future for sure because all of Frsky’s new receivers will use it. And I personally love the Taranis X9D+ form factor.

If you have already got the original X9D Plus, I don’t think you have to upgrade just yet. Unless your old Taranis is falling apart like mine (my buttons are not responding well and external module bay died), and you really want to give the new features a try, then it’s a good excuse to get the 2019 Taranis.

Make your purchase using these links will support the blog:

Between the Standard and SE versions, I personally would get the SE version. But if you don’t have the budget, the Standard version gets the job done all the same. You can purchase and upgrade the parts later by yourself.

45 thoughts on “Review: Taranis X9D+ “2019” SE Radio Controller – Should I Upgrade?

  1. Don C

    Great article, very thorough….

    Question: I have an X9D+ (w/2S 2500 Lipo) and a Crossfire Micro TX V2 (1W). Can the X9D+ handle the necessary current required to power the Micro TX V2 @ 1W?
    Thanks
    Don C

    Reply
  2. Luca

    Has anybody inserted the battery the battery the wrong way on a x9dplus 2019 SE?
    After the magic smoke comes out, is there any thing to do or it has to be shipped to china for repair? i’m in UK.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Sounds like it needs repairing for sure. Contact your reseller and see if they can arrange a replacement or repair? At the meantime you might also want to send the same enquiry to Frsky directly to save time in case it doesn’t’ work out with the reseller.

      Reply
  3. Peter Villarreal

    Hey Oscar,
    Any news on that high pitch sound that the radio makes when charging it? I am showing my gf fpv and she cant stand the high pitch sound the controller makes when it is connected via a USB cable to either charge or to use the Radio as a joystick for simulators. lol I just told her to put on some headphones haha

    Reply
  4. Ken Taylor

    Oscar,
    Unfortunately my very old multiplex Royal Evo9 radio has died ( that I equipped with a FrSky V8Ht 2.4 conversion years ago). Since I have all of my planes flying on the V8 series receivers, I’m looking for a new radio that will be compatible with them. I really like everything I have read about the Taranis X9 SE. is it compatible with the V8 receivers? And if not, is there a module that will make it compatible? I’ve been out of the hobby for the last 5 years, so a lot of this is new to me.

    Thanks, Ken

    Reply
  5. Michael Law

    I fly a lot of micro-racers nowadays using the D8 receivers. What a bummer that it does not support D8 mode anymore

    Reply
  6. Matt

    Hi, I have the older model Taranis x9d+ which has served me well, and I use the irange multimodule for controlling a large amount of various models. However can you tell me if the newer 2019 version work with the module? I’ve been trying to find any information on this subject but so far I keep hitting a brick wall… Any help would be gratefully recieved.

    And just reading the post above, would twitter be an alternative for the giveaway?

    Cheers.

    Reply
  7. Jeff

    I’m new to the quad hobby. I’ve purchased an Altair Aerial AA108, that came with a transmitter, but am wondering if the X9D+ would work, without modding my quad?

    Reply
  8. Billy60300

    Surprised to read some negative comments on the beginning of these Replies.
    No color on the screen is a blessing, mainly in the sun where a colour screen cannot be read, and to save battery power.
    Six position switch ? who needs so many possibilities ? if you do, then install one yourself instead of one of the two pos ones.
    Battery options ? one is enough ! connect 3 L Ion modules in series and there you are, as many as you want or can for Ampage. The usual 2×3 gives 3000 mA is easy and fits well. Nothing to complain about.
    The only point I do agree about whining is the position for the USB plug. I plan to install another one in parallell elsewhere.
    Fantastic TX and cheap indeed.
    I have no ACCESS RXs for the time being but why not when I need them ? I still have 3 pieces of XR8 RXs to use, then some 6 Sport RXs. When all this is used then I will consider.
    Now, ok you want to ‘boycott’ FRsky. Fine. Go to the competition and then you will see the cost of any part you will have to buy or choose some totally unreliable set or company !

    Reply
  9. Steve

    I think the X9D Plus 2019 edition is terrible compared to what it could have been. So many misses:

    – screen size, if not color. What year is it ? Contrast is actually pretty poor compared to some others too.
    – lack of the 6 position switch to control a flight controller. I bet 75% of all models now fly with a FC. What was FrSky thinking ?
    – not supporting 18650s out of the box. Cutting tabs off the battery tray door ? Are you kidding me ?
    – leaving the USB connector on the back of the radio instead of moving it to the top
    – the price isn’t great

    FrSKy’s policy of abandoning ACCST really irks me. When the supply of ACCST receivers dries up, I’ll be forced to buy an ACCESS receiver and that will thus make my pre 2019 X9D obsolete. Does FrSky really think that we should all junk our perfectly good X9Ds for the privilege of running ACCESS ? Are you kidding me ? Can you imagine the financial and environmental waste if we all did this ?

    I’m done with FrSky. I’m boycotting them.

    Reply
  10. Chris G.

    Hi,
    thanks for this very interesting review. I found two little updates as I now received my new SE 2019. The internal TX module doesn’t support LR12. It seems it never did, it was just added to OpenTX 2.3.0 for a false information. In the newer releases (tested 2.3.4) it was deletetd in the options. But in OpenTX 2.3.4 there is the option for external Multiprotocol 4in1 (serial) present again, I was really shocked when I couldn’t find it in the original OpenTX 2.3.0.
    The next thing is the battery. It doesn’t allow to use LiFe battery, there was a sticker on my packaging mentioning it.
    I’m reading your articles and reviews for years now and learned alot. Thanks for your great work!
    Chris

    Reply
  11. Mr. Duda

    2.3.4 is now released. My x9d plus 2019 came with 2.3.0 preloaded but I cant for the life of me can’t get crossfire to work. Not trying to run the nightly build if 2.3.x is released. I only got this radio because I fried my qx7 doing the “crossfire mod”. Someone please help. I shouldnt have to go through this when the description says “crossfire ready….”

    Reply
  12. Hank Deucker

    A short note, I had asked for help accessing the Bootloader and finally found help in doing so as the horizontal trim tabs inwards and switching the TX did not work due the new On/Off switch. Finally a post on GitHub by driedeker had the perfect work round: “Horizontal trims inwards and then press the On/Off switch twice in succession” Works for Driedeker , me and other who may want to got there.
    github.com/opentx/opentx/issues/7234#issuecomment-568996507

    Reply
  13. bamboozle

    i’m a bit disappointed. just got my brand new x9d+ se 2019. i have a really loud buz on my speaker from the antenna. i did not have that on my older taranis x9d+ (did the speaker mod on that one). any way to fix this? some people used ferrit rings or soldered caps but both solution come up with new problems…

    also the scroll wheel doesn’t feel that good. it should stand out a bit more and then it would be awesome.

    Reply
  14. Arktix

    MaxAmps makes a nice 2S 2,500mAh pack that fits in the new 2019 controllers. It was originally made for the last generation of X9D controllers, but I’ve confirmed they fit in the new one as well. You can choose any kind of charging connector you’d like. I have XT60s on mine, but MaxAmps will put pretty much any connector you want on them.

    Reply
  15. Mathieu Chateau

    Hello,
    I also have the usb noise hich pitching issue.
    I think it’s related to usb-3. If I plug it into an old Mac computer with USB-2, there is no noise.
    Did you find a solution for that ? Tried many cables, including shielded one, and different ports (usb-3) , same issue.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      nope, no solution yet, and it’s hell annoying. I tried installing ferrite ring around the cables inside, but doesn’t do anything

      Reply
  16. Raymond Henderson

    Hi, is there any way of connecting a 6 position encoder/switch to this new Taranis Access? I fitted one to my Taranis Plus but I don’t seem to see where they would be connected on this new Taranis.

    By the way this is a brilliant review and very easy to follow…Thank you

    Reply
  17. Pavel

    Hello folks.
    I’m totally new to that hobby and I want to fly quads.
    I’ve got the X9D 2019 Plus SE and have total incomprehension about what receiver to chose for that new version.
    It seems to be fine with R-XSR, but it is an old receiver.
    Do you have any idea, how to chose best 2.4 new receiver for that radio?
    FrSky site has no user-friendly information about compatibility of their goods.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Only these RX that are ACCESS compatible at the moment: RXSR, RX4R, RX6R, G-RX6, G-RX8
      And only the RXSR is small enough to be used in mini quad and micro quad, so you don’t have much choice.

      Reply
  18. Rick Soth

    I fly helicopters and use the rescue feature of the FBL controller. I need an easy to reach momentry button that I can touch with my left hand index finger while holding the case. On my old DX8 I have moved the buttons so the trainer (monentary) is
    where the toggle is on the left side and towards the back (sort of behind) the other switch is now.

    Is it possible to replace the toggle with a another momentary button in that spot?

    Thanks,

    Reply
  19. Hank Deucker

    I have just purchased the X9D Plus SE – 2019 and find it a fine radio, mind I have had a X9D since later 2013. It works fine with openTX Companion 2.3 and I have successfully imported all my models form my old X9D. I do have a problem it keeps telling me I have the wrong Version of the SD Card and the radio will not recognise my model images but more importantly my sound files as i have a lot of custom sound files. I have attempted to flash the latest version of opentx firmware but keep getting a non compatible error message. I also notice that the YAAPU telemetry will not work for my quadcopters.
    Any suggestions? If more technical information is needed please ask.

    Reply
  20. Mat

    Looks like some improvements and also, sadly, some design regressions. But it’s this in particular has me concerned:

    “You will need the ACCESS protocol in the future for sure because all of Frsky’s new receivers will use it.”

    You mention the “encryption” of ACCESS in the linked article but don’t go into detail. My problem with it is that it seems to be designed almost exclusively to prevent 3rd party TX’es & receivers from being produced (aka vendor lock-in) and that, to me at least is not acceptable.

    I have a lot of FrSky gear and for the most part really like their stuff but if they stop producing or even just start marginalising ACCST Tx’es & receivers then I’m going FlySky.

    Reply
  21. Branson

    Would the thunder power 2S 2600mAh LiPo battery work well for the SE version and a full size Crossfire? Trying to figure out if I am going to need to power the crossfire separately or if there will be a way to power them both off one lipo

    Reply
  22. Claudio Costerni

    Ergonomics…
    a very important element for me, almost everywhere, but in these controlling/piloting devices, it’s essential.
    Not easy to establish it not having the chance to try it before, only by looking pictures and on the base of the reviewers.
    It means that if I’ll find it to be not ergonomic enough, will think about whether to buy the new model of Taranis v. 2019.
    But I also have a Futaba 14SG, new never used, it’s waiting… and the new Herelink [all in one], also waiting to be connected to a coaxial octocopter.
    And also have to study this non-DJI subject, for me, new.
    Can I ask you more?
    What RC would you like to combine with, on one hand Pixhawk Cube, and on the other, one of the DJI flight controllers, so A2 / A3 / N2 / N3?
    Currently I have a pretty good experience with DJI hardware and software, very little with… the rest of the world.

    Reply
  23. Andre

    Thanks for the great review!

    I am happy to hear that it supports CRSF without having to a mod.

    Could you export your models from the old Taranis to the new Tranis 2019? I have lots of logical switches and special functions. I am currently on OpenTX 2.2.3 and I would just hate setting that up from scratch when moving to OpenTX 2.3.

    Reply
  24. WDZaphod

    Hi Oscar,
    I bought that no name 2S/3000 a while ago, and it appears to be maximum 2300mAhs. At least my iCharger states this in a charge/discharge cycle. Did you measure the capacity? Wondering if I git a faulty one, or if if’s really a wrong capacity…

    Reply
  25. Mike D.

    I knew I recognized the case when I bought the Taranis x9D being the same as my previously favored JR9303 transmitter. But was missing the scroll wheel. Now with SE its back. Guess they decided that they should of never taken it out in the first place.

    Reply
  26. Claudio Costerni

    I already have the Taranis X9D+.
    Three days ago I have ordered one Jumper T16 Plus.
    What do you think about it, could be better for some reason than both the X9D+ and this new version 2019?
    Never tried?
    I have read, as comments in Youtube, someone still prefer the T16 plus over these Taranis.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Totally fine, the only concern I have with Jumper T16 is the company – they seem to be a little unreliable, especially the firmware is maintained by them if they fail, the firmware dies with them too. This is only something I feel recently after reviewing the T16. I really liked it when I was testing it.
      But as for now the T16 is just as good as the X9D+ 2019. I am using both radios at the moment, but I use the X9D+ more because I like the ergonomics a little bit more :)

      Reply
  27. consumer

    Extremely thorough, Thank you. Spectrum analyzer, no more laptop toting. Please open the giveaway to more than just facebook! maybe via email addy?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For prompt technical support, please use our forum IntoFPV.com. I check blog comments weekly.