RC Radios, Transmitters, Receivers, Servos, gyros Discussion all about rc radios, transmitters, receivers, servos, etc.

Spektrum Firmware Updates

Reply

Old 03-03-2019, 05:37 PM
  #1  
rcflyertim
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Bridgewater, VA
Posts: 151
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Post Spektrum Firmware Updates

Guys,

Just wanted to share with the Spektrum users the experience and solution I have experienced when updating the firmware on the DX line of radios. So if you follow these guidelines you WILL have success every time but you have to follow the sequence. Disclaimer - This is assuming you have a working transmitter at the time of the upgrade and you have already made a backup copy of the original firmware and models. DO NOT SKIP THIS PROCEDURE. If you have a brick, a white screen of death, or a flashing Spektrum icon there are other things you can try but certainly not a guarantee.

With a working TX with a SD card slot:
1, Buy a new SD card (1 GB is about average). Do not mess around with a used one! i'm trying to save you any headaches
2. Make sure the SD card is UNLOCKED! there will be a tab on the side of the card that you slide back and forth to lock / unlock
3. Insert the SD card in your computer card reader slot and wait for the disk to be recognized.
4. Format the SD card. This will erase everything on the disk just in case.
5. EJECT the SD card. DO NOT JUST REMOVE IT!!!! Use the right mouse function and do it properly
6. With the TX off, insert the SD card in the slot the CORRECT way. YOU can force it but will damage the card if installed upside down. NOTE: Different versions of DX radio have opposite orientations so make sure it is slides in smoothly. If not flip is over and try. Once pushed all the way in it will click into place that stay until you want to remove it. Then you just press in a little more and it will eject out.
7. Hold down the scroll button and Turn on the transmitter and you will be at the "System Setup" page
8. Scroll down to "System Settings" and click the scroll button
9. Scroll through to the NEXT is highlighted and click the scroll button
10. Scroll through that page as well to the NEXT button is highlighted and click the scroll button
11. This page should say "Serial Number" and look at the number under the word "EXPORT". This is your current version of firmware
12. Scroll down and highlight EXPORT and click the scroll button. This will save your Serial Number on the SD card for later use
13. Tap the "BACK" button 3 times which will bring you to your loaded current model
14. Turn off the radio and remove the SD card
15. Insert the SD card in the computer
16. GO to www.spektrumrc.com/MyAccounts and log in. IF you have not registered your TX and/or you do not have an account with Spektrum Community then all that will have to be done before you proceed any further. It will ask for your Serial number which you have placed on the SD card. Link the path to the file and download it to the appropriate box when asked for. This is where all updates will be hosted for your TX and the newer RX. It will show all firmware version and information on hold to download. NOTE: This help guide is not about how transfer files or use a computer. IF you need that training as well I can do another post later.
17, NOTE: Once your TX is registered it will stay there until you "Deregister Product" it and should be done any time you are going to sell the TX. IT will allow the next owner to place it on his account. The Serial number, model number and date you registered and a icon of the unit it will show up on the "MY SPEKTRUM" page
18. Go to "Download Updates" and click on the link and a new page will generate showing all available updates for that particular TX. Each firmware update will give you the release date and a orange box that says "DOWNLOAD". Also, right below that will be light grey wording that usually has a PDF for instructions on how to install. Click on what ever files you need and save them on your computer in what ever filing system you use.

THIS IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU FOLLOW THE NEXT STEPS EXACTLY AND UNDERSTAND - READ IT SEVERAL TIMES IF NEEDED
19. There are 3 kinds of extension files you are going to be dealing with:
.XML - this is a readable file of your Registration number
.SAX - this is your firmware file
.SVX - this is your voice file
Transfer a copy of the firmware update to the SD card by doing a "save as" file. DO NOT just save the file as this will make a "spmtx.sax" file. This is NOT what you want to do because it will try to boot from the SD card when you turn the TX on. It will erase the software on the TX and this is where SO many people run into trouble. The screen will flash and go into a loop and may end flashing the processor and you end up with a brick TX. (I'll show you how you can fix that later if it happens to you) Remember this is a new SD card that only has your exported Serial Number on it and nothing else. Do not get this confused!!!! When saving, remember to use the option "save as" and give it a name like "spmtx201.sax" ( I use a number to associate the version of firmware I downloaded like v2.01). Place some additional letters or number it so it doesn't erase or boot from this card.
20. EJECT the SD card from the computer. Again make sure you always! use the eject option and never just pull the SD card out of the computer. You can corrupt the file if you do!
21. Install the SD card in the TX and turn on the TX holding down the scroll button to get to the system setup menu
22. Notice that the orange bars will not be illuminated as the TX is not in RF signal mode. Scroll down to "Transfer SD Card" and tap scroll button
23. You will have 3 rows Options:
Status:
Folder: /
24. Highlight "options" and push the scroll button to make the box beside Options flash on and off
25. Scroll down to "Update Firmware" and click the scroll button
26. You will be at the "Select File" page and scroll down to find the correct and click scroll button to initiate, These are files stored on your SD card. Once selected click the scroll button
27. This will flash the new firmware onto the TX. It may turn off and on several times and can take up to 5 minutes to complete. Do nothing!!!! The TX will finish and then reboot to home page.
28. You are done!

The Sounds file (.SVX) are done primarily the same way. Just follow the sequence. Only difference with sounds files is they are mush larger and you will see a progress bar at the bottom of the screen. When complete, it will auto lauch back to the home screen

SO..... you messed up somehow and it didn't work and now you have a dead TX. Here is a fixed to get you back to the original firmware. Hopefully you followed my steps and noted to make a backup copy before you began. All you have to do is to take a new SD card do a full format disk and load the original "spmtx.sax" only on the SD card, install and turn on TX. The radio will boot from the SD card and should reload the original firmware.

Ok, just in case you failed to read instructions and follow procedures above and/or you really have a dud on your hands. You have two options if it's not under warranty:
1. Send it to Spektrum to see if they can flash the processors and get it working again- will cost you some cash and no guarantee
2. Search the web for the correct .sax file for your TX model. I have had success in finding a few of these for people on rcuniverse and spektrum forums

GOOD LUCK and hope this helps
rcflyertim is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 06:15 AM
  #2  
BarracudaHockey
My Feedback: (11)
 
BarracudaHockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 23,125
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

Some notes.

"buy a new SD card"
The "new" SD cards are generally Class 10 high speed cards and large capacity. Make sure you get a Class 4 card, the high speed cards don't work well.

As for Formatting the card, don't use your computer to format it, go to SDCard.org and download SDFormatter, use that to format the cards. https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/
BarracudaHockey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 08:06 AM
  #3  
AndyKunz
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: White Heath, IL
Posts: 2,753
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

Originally Posted by rcflyertim View Post
Ok, just in case you failed to read instructions and follow procedures above and/or you really have a dud on your hands. You have two options if it's not under warranty:
1. Send it to Spektrum to see if they can flash the processors and get it working again- will cost you some cash and no guarantee
2. Search the web for the correct .sax file for your TX model. I have had success in finding a few of these for people on rcuniverse and spektrum forums
Option 2 is a no-go. The files are serialized. You may have had success finding a sax file for somebody else's serial number, but it won't work in your radio.

The Spektrum version of the post above can be downloaded as the "How to" file immediately below the big orange DOWNLOAD button on the firmware update/download page. It comes in the same 5 languages as the transmitter screens. It is attached here for your convenience. It's also on the RCG Radios forum in several posts.

Enjoy!

Andy
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
How_To_Update_AirWare.pdf (124.0 KB, 8 views)
AndyKunz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 10:03 AM
  #4  
rcflyertim
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Bridgewater, VA
Posts: 151
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

Good advise guys. I have had excellent results just using my OS to format the SD card. Also Wal-mart sells a 1G SD card for $5.99. Those who are computer savvy can re-use an existing SD card and can make it work flawlessly but for the first timer or for the guy who is not a computer guru it makes sense to just use a new SD card

The .sax file on a brick unit not working on other units is a great point. The original file WILL BE unit specific! I did not clarify that at all. Good catch. There is a work around for this but requires a lot of computer chip experience with flashing software. So what can the average joe do if he has crashed his TX and did no make a backup of the original firmware? Unfortunately, the files are not open source which means you can not get spectrum to show you the architecture and software file.

Here are two suggestions:
1. Buy a junk radio of like kind (maybe one with broken gimbals or case or the switches are broken off) and use the motherboard off that unit and rebuild with necessary components from your good unit. The junk TX will have to be a working processor in order to retrieve the info needed. If not, your going to be right back where you started
2. Do a hard reset ( each unit is different) but usually starts with pressing and holding certain buttons while turning on and then flipping a ombination of toggle switches several times. I have been successfull doing this on a DX7 and a JR 9503 both of which were brick units when I received them. It would be nice if some spectrum guru with firmware could make a file showing the combination of sequences to get to the root menu for each unit.
rcflyertim is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 10:57 AM
  #5  
AndyKunz
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: White Heath, IL
Posts: 2,753
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

Originally Posted by rcflyertim View Post
There is a work around for this but requires a lot of computer chip experience with flashing software. So what can the average joe do if he has crashed his TX and did no make a backup of the original firmware? Unfortunately, the files are not open source which means you can not get spectrum to show you the architecture and software file.
The "workaround" is "write your own bootloader and application code." There isn't another option.

The average Joe has a very easy solution - send it to Horizon's Service department. They'll take great care of you.

There isn't a need to keep a copy of the previous code - you can download a copy from your account and flash it in. Or you can flash the current version in. It's pretty simple.

This is because the system is very good at protecting itself from damage. You can't brick the radio with a bad update. You just restart the update if you did something like unplugging the battery midway through.

I'm getting the feeling that you don't really understand how our system works.

1. Buy a junk radio of like kind (maybe one with broken gimbals or case or the switches are broken off) and use the motherboard off that unit and rebuild with necessary components from your good unit. The junk TX will have to be a working processor in order to retrieve the info needed. If not, your going to be right back where you started
Better yet - send both radios in and Horizon will fix them up for you. Usually free of charge...

2. Do a hard reset ( each unit is different) but usually starts with pressing and holding certain buttons while turning on and then flipping a ombination of toggle switches several times. I have been successfull doing this on a DX7 and a JR 9503 both of which were brick units when I received them. It would be nice if some spectrum guru with firmware could make a file showing the combination of sequences to get to the root menu for each unit.
Well, I'm the Spektrum Guru. I wrote nearly all of the 250K lines of code in the transmitter. There is no "hard reset" function available in any of the Airware radios. Save yourself time, money, frustration - send it in for our Service guys to fix up.

Andy
AndyKunz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 05:51 PM
  #6  
rcflyertim
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Bridgewater, VA
Posts: 151
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

"Option 2 is a no-go. The files are serialized. You may have had success finding a sax file for somebody else's serial number, but it won't work in your radio." - EXCELLENT POINT
"I'm getting the feeling that you don't really understand how our system works."

Andy,

Thanks for chiming in and offering excellent advise. I don't work for, nor have I ever work for Spektrum, Horizon Hobby or anyone in the manufacturing of RC related products. Heck, I am not even a software engineer, and I don't program code for a living other than to dabble as a hobbyist. IF you say it can't be done, then so be it.

If you have a brick.........Send it to Horizon Hobby IS the best option by far. Totally agree.

I'm certainly not trained or experience to prove you other wise.

However,,,,,A "Workaround" - I will wager to say, that someone who IS a guru and has the original software that built the firmware can ,,,,plug into the servo port or by reader card soldered to the motherboard would be able manipulate that firmware. NO one ever designed code that does not have a back door to manipulate the code. Maybe I'm wrong but.....This is how updates and revisions are done! Right?
rcflyertim is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2019, 06:21 PM
  #7  
AndyKunz
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: White Heath, IL
Posts: 2,753
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

First off, you won't make a brick. So you don't have too much to worry about there.

There's not a back door. I have worn out many SD cards and multiple card readers developing the code for these radios over the past 10+ years. When I'm developing my code, I make builds to the SD card, pop the card in, and use the update. Sometimes hundreds of times a week.

The bootloader is flashed at the factory by JTAG and everything after that is done using an SD card.

Andy
AndyKunz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2019, 05:58 AM
  #8  
rcflyertim
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Bridgewater, VA
Posts: 151
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

That would make sense and provide security to the system for sure.

So....back to the original post. Everything I said about the install of firmware updates is correct. From what I know and have read the biggest flaw is in some of the wording and instructions of the original PDF about how to do it and some end up having issues

i think my instructions eliminate that

thanks again for your feedback and contribution on the whole for the spectrum line of radios
rcflyertim is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2019, 06:13 AM
  #9  
AndyKunz
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: White Heath, IL
Posts: 2,753
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

Security is of prime importance for us.

It's funny you should say that the PDF is in error, or difficult to use. When our customers e-mail us and say they have problems updating, we send them the PDF and we often get back "thanks, that solved my problem." I can't remember anybody ever saying they had difficulty.

Andy
AndyKunz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2019, 07:20 PM
  #10  
DGrant
My Feedback: (4)
 
DGrant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Clovis, CA
Posts: 1,927
Gallery
My Gallery
Models
My Models
Ratings
My Feedback
Default

Frankly, I find Spektrums PDF instructs very easy to follow. The original post is a train-wreck waiting to happen. Sorry to say, as obviously someone took a long time to write it, but everything in that post is smashed together, and over written. It's not that difficult to update a Spektrum radio... not by any stretch. I've done it a few ways, none of which I'm qualified to write an essay on.

I've owned and read about the DX line of radios for years, and sure there's few glitches people get into when updating, but if they happened upon that first post and tried the likes of an update like that, they'd be lost before they even started. I've never heard that "many" have problems. I could probably surmise one had a problem though.
DGrant is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service