WRT54GL Memory Mod (hardware mod)

Post new topic   Reply to topic    DD-WRT Forum Forum Index -> Hardware DIY / Hardware Mods
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
mbellot
DD-WRT User


Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 14:52    Post subject: WRT54GL Memory Mod (hardware mod) Reply with quote
I inadvertently posted this info in another thread about the v2.2 WRT54G, so rather than muck up that thread I'm starting a new one. Very Happy

OK, for the brave hardware modders out there here is the finished product.

FWIW - I used a Micron MT46V16M16 chip. It was the ECC chip from a 128MB DDR400 module that shipped with my Dell SC400, but any 16Mx16 DDR chip should work.

Step 0. Backed up wholeflash, cfe, nvram and kernel using HairyDairyMaid's JTAG cable and software.

Step 1. Sacrificial DRAM chip (Micron 46V16M16) removed from Dell 128MB DDR400 memory stick.



Step 2. Board completely removed from housing.



Step 3. 8MB Hynix DRAM chip removed from WRT54GL.



Step 4. 4MB Flash chip removed from WRT54GL (no pic).

Step 5. 16MB chip from Dell memory stick installed.

Step 6. 16MB flash chip (Intel 28F128J3) installed.

(Both chips installed)




I then hooked the router up to HairyDairyMaid's JTAG cable and programmed the cfe saved in step 0 into the new flash chip.

When that was done I TFTP'd the mini firmware into the router and waited until it rebooted. From there I used the GUI to upload dd-wrt standard firmware.


Unfortunately (if I'm reading HairyDairyMaid's info correctly) the WRT54G/S/L can only address a maximum of 8MB of flash, so I have 8MB of flash going unused. Sad

Next step will be to enable jffs and check how much free space I have.


These mods are not for anyone who is not skilled at SMT rework, and in any case:

I will not be held responsible for any damage you inflict on your own hardware.

If you choose to follow these directions you accept any and all responsibility for the state of your router when you're done.

_________________
WRT54GL modded to 32MB DRAM and 16MB Flash. Very Happy


Last edited by mbellot on Fri Jun 16, 2006 15:05; edited 1 time in total
Sponsor
mbellot
DD-WRT User


Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 15:03    Post subject: Reply with quote
A quick follow-up to the above.

1. The 16MB flash chip is 100% recognized by the router, when I enabled jffs I ended up with 12.3MB of free space.

2. If I can get my hands on a 32Mx16 DDR I just might try swapping the DRAM again. Address line A12 is the highest on both the 16M and 32M because of the row/column scheme used for memory access. In theory it should work, the Broadcom flyer claims up to 128MB of RAM is addressable by the 5352 IC.

3. If you really want to try this I strongly suggest you get some low temperature solder thats specifically used for removing SMT parts. One source for DIYers would be ChipQuik. I have no affiliation with these people, and in fact I used a different manufacturer's product (same general product tho...). ChipQuik also has a fairly easy to follow set of instructions.

_________________
WRT54GL modded to 32MB DRAM and 16MB Flash. Very Happy
goldserve
DD-WRT User


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 15:10    Post subject: Reply with quote
That's hardcore....i'll stick to my 128mb SD card for now....Thanks anyways...i knew it could always be done!
bill_mcgonigle
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 20:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
Awesome. Nice soldering job, too. What would the kind of gear you used cost?
_________________
Formerly participating under a pseudonym to counter an unjust Sveasoft practice.
mbellot
DD-WRT User


Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 20:55    Post subject: Reply with quote
bill_mcgonigle wrote:
Awesome. Nice soldering job, too. What would the kind of gear you used cost?


Thanks.

The removal equipment wasn't too bad (around $1000 IIRC) and the soldering iron was another $500. Good thing it comes with the job, I wouldn't be paying that to mod a $60 router. :D

Honestly though, if you're reasonably good at soldering SMT parts you can do it with any decent temperature controlled iron. The two most important things are lots of flux and lots of wick.

_________________
WRT54GL modded to 32MB DRAM and 16MB Flash. Very Happy
bill_mcgonigle
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 21:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
Cool, thanks for the info.

mbellot wrote:
Honestly though, if you're reasonably good at soldering SMT parts


Heh, you should have seen what my wife's iBook looked like when I got done fixing it. If anybody opens it in the future they'll probably say, "I can't believe this thing actually works!"

I need some more precise tools. :)

There's probably a market for someone who can max out a Broadcomm chip on a WRT-54G. I can think of some applications where I'd pay a couple hundred bucks for a mini solid-state linux machine that I could load a larger runtime environement onto, so if somebody wanted to setup a business and got good at it it might be worthwhile for many $60 routers. Heck, with perl or PHP it could make a pretty decent little high-availability webserver for small coin. It wasn't so long ago that 32MB made a nice webserver!

_________________
Formerly participating under a pseudonym to counter an unjust Sveasoft practice.
ro-maniak
DD-WRT User


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 23:31    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yeah, if you would sell modded wrt54gl's at a (modest!!) premium over the normal price, I would definitely be interested... Razz
_________________
If you use DD-WRT, you HAVE to make a donation! See this topic too: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=228




Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:13    Post subject: Reply with quote
You're my hero!

I've just recently started with electronics, thanks to my interest in the WRT54G. Prior to this, I'd only been on the 'other side' of things, being a low-level programmer.

I've been quite proud that I've been able to add RS232 and JTAG ports to my router, though I've made plenty of costly mistakes just getting to that basic skill level...

To be able to rework SMD components like this, and end up with such professional results, is my dream! Someday I will have the equipment necessary and skills to do this Wink.

You are my inspiration!

/me Bows
jnjn
DD-WRT User


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 445
Location: PRC

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 18:01    Post subject: Reply with quote
mbellot wrote:
bill_mcgonigle wrote:
Awesome. Nice soldering job, too. What would the kind of gear you used cost?


Thanks.

The removal equipment wasn't too bad (around $1000 IIRC) and the soldering iron was another $500. Good thing it comes with the job, I wouldn't be paying that to mod a $60 router. :D

Honestly though, if you're reasonably good at soldering SMT parts you can do it with any decent temperature controlled iron. The two most important things are lots of flux and lots of wick.


here in china, you can get tools to do that for USD$7.00. =.=
ro-maniak
DD-WRT User


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 20:45    Post subject: Reply with quote
db90h wrote:
You're my hero!

(...)

You are my inspiration!

/me Bows


Something like this?

Quote:
King of kings! (forever and ever, hallelujah hallelujah)

and lord of lords! (forever and ever, hallelujah hallelujah)

King of kings! (forever and ever, hallelujah hallelujah)

and lord of lords! (forever and ever, hallelujah hallelujah)

King of kings! (forever and ever, hallelujah hallelujah)

and lord of lords

King of kings and lord of lords

And he shall reign
And he shall reign
And he shall reign
He shall reign
And he shall reign forever and ever


Laughing

_________________
If you use DD-WRT, you HAVE to make a donation! See this topic too: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=228
mbellot
DD-WRT User


Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 2:18    Post subject: Reply with quote
jnjn wrote:
here in china, you can get tools to do that for USD$7.00. =.=



Perhaps. But they would probably work like $7.00 tools as well.

In any case, cost was not really the issue. If it were I would have just bought a more expensive router since this mod would have cost ~ $500.00 at my typical hourly rate (between the research and the actual labor), even though actual (out of pocket) cost was nothing. I had the DRAM module laying in a desk drawer, the flash chip was leftover prototype inventory from a three year old design and the tools are available any time I need them.


db90h wrote:
To be able to rework SMD components like this, and end up with such professional results, is my dream! Someday I will have the equipment necessary and skills to do this Wink.


Tools are less than 30% of the equation. Its mostly just practice/experience, and wrecking a lot of boards along the way. Laughing

So get out there and do something, unlike what your 'nick implies. Razz

ro-maniak wrote:
Yeah, if you would sell modded wrt54gl's at a (modest!!) premium over the normal price, I would definitely be interested... Razz


Problem is component cost in low volume. If I actually had to buy the parts it would have been ~ $20 for the DRAM and $17 for the flash (in single piece quantities, not including shipping costs, and most distributors that sell these parts have a $25 line item minimum...).

Add to that even a modest amount for labor and supplies (low temp. solder, regular solder, flux, wick, etc) it would probably end up doubling the cost of the router (I paid $65 for my GL).

How many people would be interested at that kind of price? Not many would be my guess.

_________________
WRT54GL modded to 32MB DRAM and 16MB Flash. Very Happy
ro-maniak
DD-WRT User


Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 365

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 9:22    Post subject: Reply with quote
mbellot wrote:


How many people would be interested at that kind of price? Not many would be my guess.


Not me, no, that is true. But I think there IS a market even at that price, because I think that a DDWRT54GL with those extended specifications would be very well able to manage quite a large network; you would still have the value of a much more expensive router at a very low price.

_________________
If you use DD-WRT, you HAVE to make a donation! See this topic too: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=228




Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts:

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 8:36    Post subject: Reply with quote
For anyone interested in SMD soldering, as I have been, check out this great video tutorial on replacing a flash ROM chip (even smaller than typical RAM chips):

http://www.tcniso.net/Nav/Video/tcn_video2_tsop48.wmv

I went and found this thread just to post this information, so I hope it's useful to someone Wink. I tried this out myself on a broken router I have and I was able to do it, despite me still being fairly new to soldering. I would be more hestitant to do it on a working device, but after a little practice it should be no problem. The biggest thnig is to make sure you don't force the chip off the PCB, as you may pull up the contacts if you do, leaving you with no option other than soldering to the traces to the broken contacts (something I had to do recently on another proejct.. not fun).
peter_m2
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:32    Post subject: Reply with quote
Awsome hardware mod!

Awsome video!
booBot
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 15:13    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've ordered this memory chip for now (it costs ~$6 in Russia).
What I'm not sure is - which timing specs should I buy?

Could you please provide more info on FLASH chip (timing and package specs) you've used as well?

Thank you in advance.

PS.
I do plan to put the 64MB chip too (it costs ~$15 here) - please report if you succeeded with MT46V32M16 chip installation.

_________________
OpenWRT RC6 powered WRT54GL v1.0 (64MB RAM mod)
RT31P2-EU(v1.30.07/v3.1.09LId)
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next Display posts from previous:    Page 1 of 5
Post new topic   Reply to topic    DD-WRT Forum Forum Index -> Hardware DIY / Hardware Mods All times are GMT

Navigation

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You cannot download files in this forum