Methods to Flash ExpressLRS Receivers by way of UART utilizing FTDI Dongle (Radiomaster UART Flasher)

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Ever discovered your self with a bricked ExpressLRS receiver after a nasty firmware replace? Or are you unable to flash your RX utilizing FC Passthrough nor WiFi? That is the place an FTDI dongle comes into play. On this information, I’ll stroll you thru the method of flashing ExpressLRS receivers by way of UART utilizing an FTDI programmer, such because the Radiomaster USB UART Flasher.

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Why Use FTDI for Firmware Updates?

Whereas the best strategies to replace firmware are by way of Betaflight Passthrough or Wi-Fi (which I’ve lined in a earlier tutorial), there are cases the place these strategies would possibly fail, corresponding to a lack of connection. These points may end up in bricked receivers, the place the bootloader turns into corrupted.

An FTDI programmer, which permits flashing by way of UART, can come to the rescue. This methodology can be helpful in the event you’re not utilizing a flight controller or don’t have entry to Wi-Fi. It’s a flexible resolution that works with all manufacturers of ELRS receivers, for each 2.4GHz and 900MHz, with out the necessity for specialised software program.

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Radiomaster Uart Tool

{Hardware} Requirement

For this activity, you’ll want a USB to serial programming device, generally often known as an FTDI Programmer. Many producers supply devoted instruments for this function, such because the Radiomaster USB UART Flasher, obtainable right here:

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Radiomaster Uart Tool Unbox Accessories

Whereas BetaFPV additionally gives the same device, the ExpressLRS Restoration Dongle (https://oscarliang.com/product-9zim), I’ll be utilizing the Radiomaster mannequin on this demonstration. The steps, nonetheless, are related for each.

A generic FTDI programmer is a less expensive choice (https://oscarliang.com/fpv-tools/#FTDI-Adapter), although it lacks the comfort of spring-loaded pins and different devoted harness that facilitate solder-free connections.

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Radiomaster Uart Tool Connection 2

The FTDI programmer is simple to make use of. You’ll be utilizing 4 pins: RX, TX, VCC, and GND. VCC is 5V, GND is floor, and RX/TX are the info connection.

Step 1 – Plug in FTDI Dongle

Begin by opening the ExpressLRS Configurator and noting the obtainable COM Port (COM port quantity might be completely different in your laptop).

After connecting the FTDI dongle to your laptop, choose the newly appeared COM port. If no new COM port seems, chances are you’ll want to put in the cp2102usb driver.

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Uart Tool Configurator Select Com Port

Step 2 – Join Receiver to FTDI Dongle

To replace by way of FTDI, the receiver should be in boot mode.

This sometimes includes holding down the boot button on the receiver whereas connecting it to the FTDI Dongle (you’ll be able to launch the button as soon as the LED activates). Some receivers could require bridging two solder pads as an alternative of urgent a button (you’ll be able to take away the solder bridge after flashing).

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Radiomaster Uart Tool Boot Button Bridge Pads

Join the receiver to the FTDI Dongle utilizing the spring-loaded pins (whereas holding down the boot button). Right here’s the connection order to comply with:

  • VCC – 5V
  • GND – GND
  • TX – RX
  • RX – TX

Ought to I take advantage of 5V or 3.3V? For many ExpressLRS receivers, the 5V setting is acceptable. 

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Radiomaster Uart Tool Spring Loaded Header Pins

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Uart Ftdi Programmer Usb Dongle Wiring Connection Tx Rx Boot Spring

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Uart Ftdi Programmer Usb Dongle Wiring Connection Tx Rx Boot Servo Header

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Uart Ftdi Programmer Usb Dongle Wiring Connection Tx Rx Boot Er6 Er8

The Radiomaster UART Flasher additionally features a cable harness for receivers with out solder pads.

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Radiomaster Uart Tool Connection

As soon as linked, the receiver ought to energy up with a strong LED, indicating it’s in boot mode and able to be flashed.

Step 3 – ExpressLRS Configurator

Proceed with the usual setup within the ExpressLRS Configurator. Select your firmware model, system class, and particular mannequin. Make sure the flash methodology is ready to UART.

Flash Expresslrs Receiver Uart Tool Configurator Select Flashing Method

Configure the remaining in response to your preferences, and ensure the COM port of your FTDI programmer.

Step 4 – Begin the Replace

Click on on ‘Construct & Flash’ to provoke the replace. As soon as the method completes efficiently, you’ll be able to disconnect the receiver from the FTDI dongle.

Conclusion

Figuring out how you can replace ExpressLRS receivers by way of FTDI is extremely helpful, significantly when different approaches fail. This tutorial goals to supply a transparent, step-by-step information to effectively recuperate and improve your ELRS RX utilizing an FTDI programmer, such because the Radiomaster USB UART Flasher. This course of would possibly save your bricked RX from being discarded. Keep in mind, all the time double-check your connections and settings to make sure a profitable replace.

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