Posted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 22:34 Post subject: Flashing the Fonera FON2200 (the easy way)
Took a bit of work, but I was able to flash a FON2200 AP with DD-WRT via a regular Cat5e cable.
I'd been scanning online for an easy method. Nothing really existed, or it did at one point, but doesn't seem to any more. Found tons of ways to create a serial cable for a direct connection. I wanted an easy way for people to flash it. So I took a little of 'this and that' from the internet, and figured out a process that works. At least it worked great for me. However, you're responsible for your own devices, and if you muck it up or the process doesn't work for you...don't come whining to me. Your chances of this working are high, as I got it flashed perfectly for 3 FON2200's.
I used the LaFonera 2200 because I got a few for free, and they're not too expensive online. Sometimes you can get them for about $5 - $10. Or go to fon.com and get one for around $20. Supposedly, all models will take DD-WRT, but all I had was the 2200.
Anyway, I used the following:
Putty - Telnet tool
WinPCap - Allows you to run AP51
AP51 - Flash program (I used the gui version for WinXP, which was easy enough)
root.fs - root file system for the Atheros chip from DD-WRT.
vmlinux.bin.l7 - Can't remember what this is off the top of my head and not gonna look it up, but I found it here a DD-WRT.
As time goes by, the files tend to change, so I've noted the versions and attached a .zip file below of what I actually used. You can click on the items above to go to the places where I got these items from. It's probably best to use the most recent items, but who knows if they'll still be there in the future, or if they'll work the same way.
Here's the process. First I had to reset the unit. NOT AN EASY TASK. You'd think it would be since there's a nice little reset button on the bottom. Plug in only the power cord. Wait up to a minute for the unit to boot. The power and the WLAN light will BOTH be on when it's running. Press the reset button and hold it in for 30-45 seconds. Release it. Now wait about 1 minute for both lights to come on again. They may both be on as soon as you release the reset button, but it hasn't rebooted yet. After it has rebooted, press and hold the reset button AGAIN. After 45 seconds, and while continuing to hold the reset button in, remove the power plug. Wait about 5 seconds and release the reset button. Plug the power back in and wait 1 minute for it to boot up again, waiting for both lights to come on. now, Press the reset button, and hold it for 30-45 seconds, release it, wait for the reboot and both lights, press reset AGAIN for 30-45 seconds, and release and wait for the reboot. Reason for this is because you need to reset all setting, and remove any recent updates that may have automatically been added to the unit.
Now connect your PC to the FON2200, with an ethernet cable, and set your PC IP to: 169.254.255.2, subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Open a browser page and type 169.254.255.1 in the address field. The new page should show the router status info. The version should show something like: 0.7.1 r2 which means you reset your router correctly. Now unplug power from the unit leaving the ethernet cord plugged in.
Install WinPCap 4.02, as this allows you to use AP51. Once installed, use ap51-flash-fonera-gui-1.0-42. This opens up the program that is going to flash the unit.
In AP51, I checked the box "Create Nvram Partition (for DD-WRT)". Also checking the boxes of Rootfs and Kernel, to use External files. Then browsed for the root.fs and vmlinux.bin.l7 files I downloaded earlier. May have to choose "All File Types" in order to select the correct files. In the interface field, choose your ethernet adapter (NIC card), that the unit will connect to. (See picture)
Make sure all other programs are shut down, screen savers disabled, and any other programs that may pop up during the time you are flashing the unit should also be disabled. The flashing process may take up to 30 minutes. Mine took about 15, but it can vary on different PCs. Now click Go. It'll pop up a repeating message, while it's doing this, plug in the power to the FON 2200. You cannot have power on before you click 'Go' in AP51, as the flash process needs to interrupt the boot process to work correctly. While it's running, it may stop at points and look like it's doing nothing, but if you open your task manager, you may notice it using about 50%-100% of your processing power.
Once the flashing process is done, the FON2200 IP address will have been reset to 192.168.1.1, so you're going to have to change you PC IP address to 192.168.1.2, 255.255.255.0 (heck you can add the default gateway of 192.168.1.1). Unplug, the power from the unit and plug it back in to get a fresh reboot. Wait for all 3 lights to come on. You should now be able to ping the unit and get a good response.
Now open Putty, and set up Telnet with an IP address of 192.168.1.1 Port: 9000
When you open it up, the command window should say something like DD-WRT- Login:
it will then ask for password:
and it should then show you the DD-WRT command line access page.
The unit has been flashed successfully. Now you can adjust settings via the command interface, or close the window, open a browser, and type the IP address 192.168.1.1 which will bring you to the DD-WRT GUI.
You should be able to use any Atheros DD-WRT update in the firmware upgrade section. I'm planning on upgrading to a final version a little later and will post my results.
Joined: 02 Oct 2008 Posts: 4 Location: Germany / Leipzig
Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 15:39 Post subject:
Did you used a patch or crossover cable?
I recently tried to flash my FON 2200 with 0.7.1 r2 firmware using patch cat5 cable , but nothing happened, the 0.7.1 r2 firmware still inside ROM (((
PS: OS win vista ultimate SP1
Network card: Marvell Gigabit Eth. contr.
PPS: the flashing process was about 1h long and CPU load was about 50% on each of CPU-cores.
@Sash - I think the wiki on the portal for DD-WRT is already directed here.
@MadOverTolik - I used a standard patch cable. I believe these devices (but don't quote me on it) have autosense capability, so it might not make a difference. But again, I did use a patch cable.
Here's a screenshot of the unit's status. The version is v24 Beta:
Because I can, I'm hoping to crossflash another DD-WRT firmware to one of the units and get a controlled "brick". Maybe I can figure out an easy way to recover. If not, I'll try to simplify the recovery process. Just way too much superfluous information out there, and it's getting unnecessarily complex for those of us who just want something quick and simple.
Should I plug off the power cord after CPU load goes to 0% ?
When AP51 finishes, you should unplug the ethernet, and then unplug power. When you plug power back in, wait for Power and WLAN lights to both be on for it to be fully operational again. The internet light will be on if you plug in a patch cable that's connected to another device. All that means is you have a connection there. If you can't get the WLAN light to come on after 5 minutes, the device may be bricked. The first time I did it, I left the patch cable connected, and it worked fine, but you do have to unplug power and then plug power back in to reboot the unit.
This is something I hope to acheive with a controlled "bricking", so I can find a simple way to recover it. So if you DO mess up, there might be a way to easily recover and attempt to reflash it correctly.
It has been "bricked". Apparently, the standard Atheros upgrade will brick this unit. You HAVE to use the beta version I initially installed it with. Maybe I just did it differently than it should have been done. I had chosen the 'Firmware Upgrade' option in DD-WRT, so I would recommend not doing that unless you are trying to troubleshoot or test the unit. I accomplished the task I meant to.
Now the fun begins. As I stated before, If the WLAN light does not come on, it is "bricked". My WLAN light does not come on, and the unit is unresponsive to pings, telnet attempts, and trying to access the GUI.
Well, I figured I'd get started with redoing the initial setup method I spoke about above. So using the AP51 application, I will follow the same set of instructions to see what happens. I'll let this run for a bit, and we'll see where we go.
EDIT: While it's going through the process, I'm realizing the most I have for a direct serial connection is a couple of serial Rollover cables for the Cisco switches and Routers I have here. I may have to search online for a cable creation. Reading online about this unit, it seems the capacitors or resistors used for the serial connection are just to reduce the voltage and filter it. I might be able to get away with just directly connecting the Tx, Rx, Vcc, & Gnd to the appropriate points. If not, and I fry the thing....I've got a few extras. If it does get fried, you might have to wait until I get the necessary parts together to build a proper cable.
Well, it's been a long time since I ran the AP51, and it's stuck on "creating nvram". I'll let it go for quite a bit longer, since it's using about 50% CPU power. So something is happening.
I also did some research, and it looks like I'll need to get myself a MAX232 chip in order to run a serial connection to the unit. There's a Fry's Electronics not too far away, so I'm hoping they carry it. If not, I'll either have to scrounge through things I have here, or order online. I may just order it online.
Now I said I have a rollover cable, but that's not entirely true. I have a DB-9 to RJ45 adaprter, that you plug an 8-wire untwisted flat cable to connect to the RJ45 serial connection on a router. Since everything on the PC side is the same (you should be able to use hyperterminal or, my personal preference, teraterm).
We'll find out soon enough, but it looks like it's gonna crap out on me.
It's still stuck on "Creating nvram", so I'm going to stop the process and attempt another method.
I don't have a MAX232 chip, but I can probably get away with a couple of MOSFET transistors and resistors. If I remember correctly, I'll need a PNP and NPN with a couple of resistors. I don't have any inverter chips or I could work out a circuit that way.
Dang. Maybe I should've looked into getting the cable BEFORE bricking the unit. No worries. I still have a few more methods I'd like to try recovery with.
No need for the cable.....yet. i'm going to have to try a harder method to brick this unit.
FIX FROM BAD UPGRADE FLASH
This may not be the case for all issues, but it'll be a base starting point, for every time I mess this thing up.
Run the AP51 program, Only DO NOT check to use external file, nor check the box to partition for DD-WRT. Basically, open the program. However, you do need to pick the ethernet port or NIC card that your FON2200 will plug into. Plug only the ethernet cable into the PC and 2200 unit. Don't plug in the power, yet. Click 'Go' in the AP51 application. Now plug in the power to the 2200.
Let the program run. It should complete in about 30 minutes. If you haven't already realized this, when the program is done -it usually closes by itself.
Once the first part is finished, unplug the power to the device. Wait 5 seconds and then plug it back in. Wait about 1-3 minutes, and all 3 lights may come on. I say 'may' because I crapped it out a couple times and I'm guessing the flash had somewhat of an effect. The unit still comes back to life after you finish the following process. Unplug the power from the unit and proceed to the next step.
Now open the AP51 program, Again. Follow the flashing instructions as stated previously by checking the boxes for using external files, and then searching for the root.fs and vmlinux.bin.l7 files. You will also need to check the box for creating the nvram partition for DD-WRT. Don't forget to choose your ethernet port or NIC card. Now click 'Go'. once you see the responses show up in the bottom, plug in the power to the 2200.
It should run just like the last time you did this process. Give it around 30 minutes.
When it's done, proceed to verify the flash, same as in my first post.
Now -Time for a little more drastic approach to bricking this thing.
UPDATING THE 2200
It seems that any time you use the firmware upgrade tab in DD-WRT, the 2200 craps out on itself. Maybe it'll work for others, but out of 3 units and a bunch of attempts to upgrade through DD-WRT, the unit just doesn't take it. Gonna have to do it the same method as initially installing DD-WRT.
I did notice that you can safely create a back up of your current settings.
Follow the process of a bad upgrade flash. Use the AP51 program by only choosing your ethernet port or NIC card and leaving everything else untouched. When completed, go to the DD-WRT directory, find the version of DD-WRT you want to install and download the root.fs and vmlinux.bin.l7 files of that version.
Now open AP51 and follow the process to install DD-WRT using the new files instead.