Bricked my ASUS RT-N16

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barryware
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 23:36    Post subject: Re: Also bricked my rt-n16 Reply with quote
raftguide3r wrote:

Do you know if Asus will honor a warranty claim on a router that had dd-wrt on it? I assume dd-wrt couldn't have caused the hardware failure, I wasn't overclocking, I didn't change Tx power on wireless.

Don't tell'em. just say what happened.. it was running, then just took a crap.

If it does matter, it won't for long:

http://promos.asus.com/US/ASUS_DD-WRT/index.htm

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JuiciPackets
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 21:11    Post subject: Re: Also bricked my rt-n16 Reply with quote
barryware wrote:
I have said it a million times.. when a router is happily running and takes a crap out of no where, it usually indicates a hardware failure (not all the time though), and power supply failures are common.


@barryware: by "hardware failure" do you mean "catastrophic hardware failure" (e.g. CPU is toast) or do you also include bricked routers issues here? I'm trying to figure out if it's worth investing time, money and effort into this JTAG thingy (hoping to ressurect my RT-N16) or if it is just gone for good.

Cheers
barryware
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 21:47    Post subject: Re: Also bricked my rt-n16 Reply with quote
JuiciPackets wrote:

@barryware: by "hardware failure" do you mean "catastrophic hardware failure" (e.g. CPU is toast) or do you also include bricked routers issues here? I'm trying to figure out if it's worth investing time, money and effort into this JTAG thingy (hoping to ressurect my RT-N16) or if it is just gone for good.

Cheers

A hardware failure means just that.. A component or multiple components of the router which includes the power supply has failed. It could be the processor (rare), flash chip, ram chip, some little pos smt resister or capacitor, anything.

Look...

After reading through your pages and pages of outputs.. lets review..

you came back home after a bit and found your router had reset to defaults. Probably your nvram filled up while you were away or the hardware failed. Because you could still access it at the time, lets assume nvram filled up and the router reset itself.. Maybe a traff data save at midnight put it over the edge.

you went through all of nvram and unset everything. This is where you fucked up.

when you erase nvram, the router will boot and discover that there is no nvram variables and rebuild nvram with defaults..
In your case, you unset everything. If you even left one behind, that means nvram is there but everything is set to null so the router is not going to rebuild it.

It won't run either because if you indeed did unset everything, you have no macs, no radio power setting, no ssid... nothing, etc, etc, etc.

nvram_variable="" or just does not exist.

I know of no one that has done what you did.. Well actually some time back, some knucklehead decided to mtd erase 1, mtd erase 2, up to 10.. something like that and toasted his 600 to the point serial didn't work.

you need serial console to erase the nvram partition at the cfe prompt. Then it should boot and rebuild defaults. Assuming that the hardware doesn't have a problem, it should be good to go.

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JuiciPackets
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 19:19    Post subject: Reply with quote
You certainly have a special way with words Shocked But I do appreciate your answer anyway - I won't get stuck on the language, I'll focus on the useful bits, thank you very much! Smile

First of all, the "pages and pages of outputs" are there as a result of reading the Peacock Thread FAQ:
Quote:

"post the exact message you get from your initial ping attempt, the message you get during and after a power cycle, and the message you get when pinging during and after a hard reset. Be sure to post this information in your thread. You will ALWAYS get a message/response when you try to ping;(see the first paragraph for note 6, above) be sure to post exactly what those responses are. Also post what each light in the front of the router is doing, and whether something is plugged into any lan port. Finally we will need to know what operating system you are using on your computer to assess the message you get. POST ALL THIS INFORMATION IF YOU WANT USEFUL ASSISTANCE"

(I hope nobody has a problem with this.)

For what it matters I was closely monitoring the nvram usage since January to avoid traff data from filling it up. The available space was around several kb for months; just before I left it was around 3kb - I can hardly believe it was all used at once during the one week I was away (the traff data for a month is usually around 150-250 bytes).

I do suspect a flash memory failure, but then again I don't have any experience with flash memory failures on dd-wrt to be 100% sure - this is exactly why I turned to this forum for help. I can't think of a better place to ask this type of questions but if anybody else does - please let me know.

I admit what I did was kind of foolish but in my defence I was overly tired, fighting a really bad cold, on strong medication and - on top of it all - trying to do this for the very first time. Not a good combination if you ask me now.

Nevertheless, if you look closely at the log I attached you'll see that I did not just unset all the nvram variables, I also set them back to the values they used to have just a few days prior to the incident. In brief, it went like this:

1. unset all nvram variables, one by one
2. make sure no nvram variable remained set
3. restore all nvram variables to the values saved just a few days prior to the incident
4. make sure they all appear ok in nvram ("nvram show" returned "size: 29701 bytes (3067 left)")
5. nvram comitt (my typo, but absolutely no error returned)
6. again, make sure variables appear ok in nvram ("nvram show" returned again "size: 29701 bytes (3067 left)")
7. sync (pretty useless here, but anyway) and reboot

Now, if you look at the sequence above, I think there could be only 2 possible outcomes:
1. either the "nvram comitt" was unsuccessful and the nvram variables remained unchanged
OR
2. the "nvram comitt" was successful (as "nvram commit") and the old (before the incident) nvram variables were restored.

I can't see how they could end up undefined - unless, of course, "nvram unset" also does an implicit "commit" (does it?).

Assuming the worst scenario ("nvram unset" does an implicit "commit" and "nvram comitt" silently fails) - why doesn't the CFE work? From the ping outputs I attached it looks like not even the CFE is running - that's why I suppose the serial console thingy may not be enough. Anyway, I'll try it tonight if I manage to find that old Nokia DKU-5 cable I used a long time ago.


Thanks again for your answer (I honestly appreciate you took the time to answer) and please don't assume other people on the forum are "knuckleheads" - even though they may initially appear that way to you there may be things that you simply don't know about them or the circumstances they were in...

Cheers
Murrkf
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 19:48    Post subject: Re: Also bricked my rt-n16 Reply with quote
barryware wrote:
you need serial console to erase the nvram partition at the cfe prompt. Then it should boot and rebuild defaults. Assuming that the hardware doesn't have a problem, it should be good to go.


QFT.

Just.do.it

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barryware
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 20:12    Post subject: Reply with quote
JuiciPackets wrote:

I admit what I did was kind of foolish but in my defence I was overly tired, fighting a really bad cold, on strong medication and - on top of it all - trying to do this for the very first time. Not a good combination if you ask me now.

Kinda like drinking & driving Razz

JuiciPackets wrote:
Thanks again for your answer (I honestly appreciate you took the time to answer) and please don't assume other people on the forum are "knuckleheads" - even though they may initially appear that way to you there may be things that you simply don't know about them or the circumstances they were in...

Cheers

I didn't call you a knucklehead.. A little name calling on my part is meant more as humor than an insult... "Dipstick" is my favorite.

good luck with your rt..

this the the "knucklehead" I was referring to:

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=54291

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JuiciPackets
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 21:03    Post subject: Reply with quote
barryware wrote:
Kinda like drinking & driving Razz


More like drinking and *learning* how to drive! Cool

barryware wrote:
I didn't call you a knucklehead..


And I never said you did Wink

barryware wrote:
A little name calling on my part is meant more as humor than an insult... "Dipstick" is my favorite.


To be honest it's kinda difficult to tell from the 'Rx' end Wink - I can see how it may offend some thinner-skinned people Very Happy

barryware wrote:
good luck with your rt..


Thanks, I'll report back after I'll find the cable.

barryware wrote:
this the the "knucklehead" I was referring to:

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=54291


We call them "engineers" Twisted Evil (BTW, I'm one myself...)

Cheers
JuiciPackets
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Joined: 26 Jan 2011
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:41    Post subject: Re: Also bricked my rt-n16 Reply with quote
Murrkf wrote:
barryware wrote:
you need serial console to erase the nvram partition at the cfe prompt. Then it should boot and rebuild defaults. Assuming that the hardware doesn't have a problem, it should be good to go.


QFT.

Just.do.it



Ok guys, I found the converter cable, I connected it to my laptop and to my router and I powered the router - nothing. And I mean *absolutely nothing*, not even one single character.

The cable is ok, I just tested it on the serial console of another router that also uses TTL (3.3V) signals and I could see the boot process no problem.

The GND and VCC pins from the Asus RT-N16 serial console do provide 3.3V (tested with a multimeter) but I don't get any output at all using the converter cable. I also tried reversing Tx and Rx, just in case, but still nothing.

This is exactly what I feared when I could not get the CFE to answer the pings Sad It looks like my only chance would be JTAG... but, believe it or not, in this godforsaken country I can't find the 100 Ohms resistors and the IDC connectors to solder on the PCB! Mad (I found & bought the DB25 parport connector, a foot of ribbon cable and a bit of desoldering wick... 20 USD!)

Looks like I'm on involuntary hold now Sad If you have any other ideas - by all means please do let me know.

Cheers

LE: I found this old post by barryware:
barryware wrote:

I would use pogo pins on the jtag port or just lightly solder the wires to the holes. Don't bother installing a pin header.. If you decide to, install a socket (female) and not a pin header. Then, you can use solid cat5 wires to just slip into the socket.

BTW... You don't need resisters in your cable Razz


What do you mean by "You don't need resisters in your cable"? None at all? Does it still work without any? If that's the case then I may give it a try - using matchsticks to hold the bare wires in the JTAG port holes. I'm worried though not to fry anything without those resistors.


Last edited by JuiciPackets on Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:00; edited 1 time in total
barryware
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
you got the serial pin-out right?

vcc - rx - tx - gnd

test for ground with an ohm meter to make sure you are looking at it right (right to left / left to right)

What forsaken country are you in that does not have 100 ohm resisters?

My favorite wiki:

http://infodepot.wikia.com/wiki/Asus_RT-N16

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JuiciPackets
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:16    Post subject: Reply with quote
barryware wrote:
you got the serial pin-out right?

vcc - rx - tx - gnd


Yes, they're neatly labelled on the Asus RT-N16 PCB.

barryware wrote:
test for ground with an ohm meter to make sure you are looking at it right (right to left / left to right)


No need to do that, but I just did anyway. Conclusion: they're correctly labelled Smile

barryware wrote:
What forsaken country are you in that does not have 100 ohm resisters?


"Jamaica, mon"... I've got blisters on my feet (I'm not joking) from walking from one "electronic parts" shop to another, asking about 100 Ohm resistors and IDC connectors... You should have seen their faces when I showed them the connectors' pictures... priceless.
JuiciPackets
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Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 0:07    Post subject: Reply with quote
After another half a day of searching I finally found the 100 Ohm resistors (50 US cents each - got 6, just in case) and the pins for the JTAG header. This one was a little trickier - I found an electronics repair shop that lifted just 12 pins (in 2 pieces) from an old scrap PCB... I had to pay the guy 12 US dollars for them! (in the US you can buy 80 pins for 72 cents)

Now I have all the hardware to make the JTAG cable, I just need the software. Could somebody please point me in the right direction for it, please? I will be building this cable http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/files/basis_for_making_jtag_cable_770.jpg and using linux (not windows) on the PC.

Also, will the cable work OK with just those 4 pins connected (TDI, TDO, TMS and TCK)? I've seen that the Asus RT-N16 JTAG connector has 2 more pins (nTRST and nSRST): http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/JTAG_pinouts#Asus_RT-N16

Cheers
Murrkf
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Joined: 22 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:45    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tornado, the one who spent hours creating tjtag, charges $5.00 for the program. PM him for a copy.
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I'm trying to teach you to fish, not give you a fish. If you just want a fish, wait for a fisherman who hands them out. I'm more of a fishing instructor. So See this:
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LOM: "If you show that you have not bothered to read the forum announcements or to follow the advices in them then the level of help available for you will drop substantially, also known as Murrkf's law.."
JuiciPackets
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Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 22:17    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks Murrkf, I sent a PM to Tornado last night but I guess he has a busy life outside this forum Cool

Meanwhile I soldered the header on the router's PCB (I couldn't believe how difficult it is to clear the solder from the holes with a 30W iron & wick but without a suction pump - especially from the GND holes) and I built the unbuffered cable. Now I'm anxious to test them - either I resurrect the router or I destroy it for good Very Happy

Is there any way to at least test the cable before Tornado gets a chance to reply? Yesterday somebody wrote that Asus RT-N16 does not work with an unbuffered JTAG cable but that post was gone in a just few hours.

Cheers
fggs
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Posts: 1716

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 22:33    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes, that was me.

I don't know why the post got deleted either.

Anyway, the first version of tjag that supported the RT-N16 CPU was broken for unbuffered cables. Tornado fixed it in a later version (3.0.2-RC5 if I recall).

But I'm not sure if this router (and E3000 which has the same CPU) really needs a buffered cable or it was needed just because tjtag software was broken for unbuffered cables.
JuiciPackets
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Posts: 60

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've sent both a PM and an email to Tornado and I'm eagerly awaiting his answer... hopefully he has a tjtag version that works with Asus RT-N16 via an unbuffered parallel JTAG cable (BTW, is it the /cable:dlc5 I saw in different posts?)

For reference, this is what I found so far related to this topic:

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=146568&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=34
Posted by Tornado: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:29 pm Post subject: DLC5
Quote:

DLC5 was broken in the software version 3.0.2, I think I have fixed it, that why I ask if you wanted to test it.


http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=145627&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=8
Posted by redhawk0: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:30 am Post subject:
Quote:

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...but doesn't the RT-N16 require you to use buffered mode JTAG in order to work?
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