Unable to upgrade DD-WRT on Linksys EA6900 v1.1

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titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 15:06    Post subject: Unable to upgrade DD-WRT on Linksys EA6900 v1.1 Reply with quote
Good evening/morning All,

I'm hoping someone can show me the light as to where I'm going wrong.

Equip: Linksys EA6900 v1.1
DD-WRT: v24-sp2 (02/19/14) std (SVN revision 23598M)
F'ware flashed: ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2013/2014/02-19-2014-r23598/linksys-ea6900/

as per the instructions in egc's install guide; https://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=291230#291230

I have successfully (twice now) achieved initial flash to DD-WRT. In between times I managed to get back to the linksys UI and again flash from there.

In Linksys UI, I started with F'ware; FW_EA6900_1.1.42.161129_prod, so no locks on that one apparently. And I proceeded to flash via, Linksys UI, with the above DD-WRT initial flash file.

I have not "flashed it twice" per egc's thread;

"...As this router has a dual boot setup you should probably repeat this procedure so that both partitions have the DD-WRT firmware, otherwise the router will revert back to stock firmware if there is a lock up..."

as I do not understand how I am expected to get back to a Linksys UI in order to flash twice.

Further, I have now arrived at;

"...If everything works you can flash the latest build, either the builds made by BrainSlayer which can be found at..."

Way I read this statement is; "as long as I don't want to flash the XVortex CFE, I can simply flash/upgrade the DD-WRT f'ware via GUI."

However, I have tried twice now to upgrade the router to the;

dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_ARM_STD.bin

f'ware with no success. I get the success - f'ware uploaded screen in the UI that the UI has been successfully upgraded. However, thereafter the router just sits there spinning wheels and a PING response never comes back from it. And I have waited for it to respond over 6 mins in one attempt.

I do not understand what I am doing wrong. I have power cycled the machine post initial flash. I have cleaned up the NVRAM with (option 2 only);

Code:
for line in `nvram show | grep =$ `; do var=${line%*=}; nvram unset $var; done
nvram commit



I have Factory Reset the DD-WRT firmware before I try to continue and the router does eventually come back online, but I don't seem to be able to get it flashed with a newer version.

I also note "egc's" comments about;

"The following procedure can be used to flash the latest DD-WRT builds:
1. Open the WebGUI and reset to factory defaults
2. Set your IP address to 192.168.1.9 mask 255.255.255.0
3. Open WebGUI and set username and password
4. Telnet to your router (remember, username is always root)
5. Execute the following commands


And he then proceeds to offer steps to flash via cmdline.

But the way I read that is that's only necessary if you put the on Vortex CFE underwear.

Hence, I would be truly grateful if someone could point out to me where I'm going wrong please.
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CEGN
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi titan.

First to understand the process of the dual boot; there are 2 partitions: "linux" and "linux2", when the router boot it go to partition "linux", if it find any problem during the boot process it will go to partition "linux2".

Now, you complete the initial flash of dd-wrt. The first thing to do is enable SSH to telnet and do a backup of NVRAM and CFE (even if u will not change the CFE is better to have a backup). Then flash the new build from command line.

My EA6900 is working with vortex CFE so i can tell that if i flash via GUI the router boot on "linux2" after reboot. there, using "cat /proc/mtd" i make sure that can see both partitions so i flash the newest beta on "linux" and keep the old that works well on "linux2".

On page 9 theres a post from "jwh7", simplifying the process.

Also read this guide, even if u dont want the CFE Vortex:

http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/asuswrt-merlin-xvortex-on-linksys-ea6900-supports-tomato-dd-wrt.71718/

----------------------------------------
the code:

for line in `nvram show | grep =$ `; do var=${line%*=}; nvram unset $var; done
nvram commit

Is used because the stock CFE bug that if NVRAM go higher than 32kb, the router became unstable
----------------------------------------
egc
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 1484
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:51    Post subject: Reply with quote
@CEGN is right. If you are flashing to the original linksys partiton you have to flash with the initial build per my guide because the later builds do not fit.

On page 9 of my guide are instructions to set the boot partition, but it is easier to follow the instructions of @CEGN , but to be on the safe side flash with the initial build to begin with after that use Kong's build, I am using Kong's test build 34015 which is working.

I Hhave not personally tested the dual boot stuff the last years as I am using XVortex CFE (recommended Smile)

_________________
Router Netgear R6400, Linksys EA6900 (XvortexCFE), Linksys E2000 (converted WRT320N), WRT54GS v1.
Install guide see Linksys EA6900: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=291230
titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 22:55    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi @CEGN & @egc,

thanks both the replies. To addr. each of your points in order.

I understand there are two partitions.

I have/already had completed the NVRAM/cfe backup.

I had not tried to flash any updated build from the cmdline as egc's thread indicated that if I did not want to run Vortex's CFE, I should just be able to flash it from the DD GUI. That is the origins of my thread here.

I have actually read egc's thread through, including the first page of cybrnook's merlin/tomato (which you ref.) thread. But admittedly only the first page as I discounted it due to cybrnook's own very specific targeting definition of the thread (i.e. Vortex CFE, XVortex or Tomato). It is from there I got the NVRAM/cfe backup procedure.

I do understand the code was all about the 32k limit. But given I am/was trying to avoid the Vortex cfe, this was the next best option of the 3.

If I'm understanding egc's above reply correctly, I'm "guessing" the reason the newer build won't load - having been flashed via DD GUI - is also based on the 32K NVRAM limit. I.e. the newer build just doesn't fit inside the 32k limit - on the right track here??

With respect to setting the boot partition/knowing which partition I am flashing/booting DD from, I don't know and do not appear to be able to find out. As mentioned I had read the entire thread and had seen jwh7's post. Being naturally curious/cautious in these things, I had also tried the ubootenv cmd to see what was going on.



I don't know what to tell you, but the initial version I have flashed does NOT appear to have the ubootenv cmd included in the busybox install.


So, I'm at a bit of a loss, hence the thread.


IF however, my summation above - being the newer versions just don't fit inside the 32k limit - it might be that I just have to go down the Vortex cfe route.

I have attempted to avoid that till now as I like backup plans and had wanted to try to keep a std linksys OS available if I ever wanted it. But given I have since tried re-flashing the original linksys FW and the router still comes up with the initial DD GUI, I guess I might be a bit screwed there anyway.

My last concern with respect the Vortex cfe comes from the fact you all seem to be doing this from Windows. Putty - WinSCP - and even CFEEdit.

I know my way around a cmdline and have done everything so far via MAC (scp, ssh, telnet, etc all unix staples).

And with the threads seeming to indicate that CFEEdit was a required part to upload the Vortex cfe.bin and no MS base host, I figured just leave it dual partition.

I do note somewhere in one of the threads someone suggested they could use a Win VM to upload, but there was no later mention of success using that method, so I wasn't game to be a further guinea pig.

But I am beginning to think the CFEEdit is ONLY about actually EDITing the cfe before uploading and that uploading could still occur from my root host (OSX). If that is the case, then I would happily have a shot at going that route, editing in VM and then back into OSX cmdline to upload.

If someone could confirm that please, I would be grateful.
raximus21
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 30 Dec 2017
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 23:02    Post subject: Re: Unable to upgrade DD-WRT on Linksys EA6900 v1.1 Reply with quote
titan160 wrote:
Good evening/morning All,

I'm hoping someone can show me the light as to where I'm going wrong.

Equip: Linksys EA6900 v1.1
DD-WRT: v24-sp2 (02/19/14) std (SVN revision 23598M)
F'ware flashed: ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2013/2014/02-19-2014-r23598/linksys-ea6900/

as per the instructions in egc's install guide; https://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=291230#291230

I have successfully (twice now) achieved initial flash to DD-WRT. In between times I managed to get back to the linksys UI and again flash from there.

In Linksys UI, I started with F'ware; FW_EA6900_1.1.42.161129_prod, so no locks on that one apparently. And I proceeded to flash via, Linksys UI, with the above DD-WRT initial flash file.

I have not "flashed it twice" per egc's thread;

"...As this router has a dual boot setup you should probably repeat this procedure so that both partitions have the DD-WRT firmware, otherwise the router will revert back to stock firmware if there is a lock up..."

as I do not understand how I am expected to get back to a Linksys UI in order to flash twice.

Further, I have now arrived at;

"...If everything works you can flash the latest build, either the builds made by BrainSlayer which can be found at..."

Way I read this statement is; "as long as I don't want to flash the XVortex CFE, I can simply flash/upgrade the DD-WRT f'ware via GUI."

However, I have tried twice now to upgrade the router to the;

dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_ARM_STD.bin

f'ware with no success. I get the success - f'ware uploaded screen in the UI that the UI has been successfully upgraded. However, thereafter the router just sits there spinning wheels and a PING response never comes back from it. And I have waited for it to respond over 6 mins in one attempt.

I do not understand what I am doing wrong. I have power cycled the machine post initial flash. I have cleaned up the NVRAM with (option 2 only);

Code:
for line in `nvram show | grep =$ `; do var=${line%*=}; nvram unset $var; done
nvram commit



I have Factory Reset the DD-WRT firmware before I try to continue and the router does eventually come back online, but I don't seem to be able to get it flashed with a newer version.

I also note "egc's" comments about;

"The following procedure can be used to flash the latest DD-WRT builds:
1. Open the WebGUI and reset to factory defaults
2. Set your IP address to 192.168.1.9 mask 255.255.255.0
3. Open WebGUI and set username and password
4. Telnet to your router (remember, username is always root)
5. Execute the following commands


And he then proceeds to offer steps to flash via cmdline.

But the way I read that is that's only necessary if you put the on Vortex CFE underwear.

Hence, I would be truly grateful if someone could point out to me where I'm going wrong please.


I am having the EXACT same issue. Thanks for posting going to try the telnet flash and partition information from egc on page 9 of the EA6900 guide.
titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 0:40    Post subject: Reply with quote
A further question pls if I may.

@egc,

I note in your thread, when editing the cfe.bin, you state;

Quote:
When editing the CFE with CFEEdit.exe do not forget to go in the advanced mode and set:
0:macaddr=et0macaddr+2
1:macaddr=et0macaddr+4


and

Quote:
Note: These setting are specifically for DDWRT when you want to use other third party firmware you have to use @Cybrnook's recommendations regarding the MAC addresses


with respect to 3rd party FW, are you considering a Kong or Brainslayer build to specifically NOT be DDWRT? Or......


Reason I ask is because of the MAC addr. warning.


I note on pg. 1 of cybrnook's thread he states to set;

Quote:
et0macaddr=et0macaddr
0:macaddr=et0macaddr+3
1:macaddr=et0macaddr+4


and yet in a discussion between cybrnook and yourself stating;

Quote:
I updated my guide not too long ago to change it to:

et0macaddr=et0macaddr
0:macaddr=et0macaddr
1:macaddr=et0macaddr+1

If this is deviated from, newer (XVortex for example) builds have broken 5GHZ WIFI. Please keep that in mind when steering users one way or the other.


Src:
https://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=291230&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=75 4/5 down pg.


And even further is a post by @tig, which cybrnook himself references, wherein mention is made of using;

Quote:
et0macaddr is LAN
pci/1/1 is lan mac+1
pci/2/1 is lan mac+2


Src: http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/asuswrt-merlin-on-netgear-r7000.71108/page-7#post-262027

i.e.

Code:
et0macaddr=et0macaddr
0:macaddr=et0macaddr+1
1:macaddr=et0macaddr+2




I "believe" both Kong and/or Brainslayer to be "considered" DDWRT, but this is NOT clear. In fact, if I understand it all correctly, ALL of Brainslayer, Kong, XVortex and Tomato are basically forks or versions of DDWRT. But again nothing anywhere (I have seen) appears to be clearly stated.



So, I'm just wondering, which is it pls? Specifically in this respect with regards to a build.
jwh7
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 25 Oct 2013
Posts: 1461
Location: Indy

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:22    Post subject: Reply with quote
titan160 wrote:
I "believe" both Kong and/or Brainslayer to be "considered" DDWRT, but this is NOT clear. In fact, if I understand it all correctly, ALL of Brainslayer, Kong, XVortex and Tomato are basically forks or versions of DDWRT. But again nothing anywhere (I have seen) appears to be clearly stated.
BS builds are official DD and Kong uses the same code base, but may have a few custom changes. As for the others...XVortex is a mod of Merlin, which is a mod of OEM AsusWRT. Tomato is completely separate, and (afaik) retains the OEM version and kernel config, and is a mod using the original John Zarate (and later; Teddy Bear?) GUI.
_________________
# NAT/SFE/CTF: limited speed w/ DD # Repeater issues # DD-WRT info: Builds, Types, Modes, Changelog, Peacock, Demo #
x64 pfSense 2.4.2|RT-N66U@663 Merlin 380.69|DD: 34929 WNDR4500v2, WNDR4000@533, E1500@353, R6300v1,
2*E2500, WRT54GLv1.1@250 VPN, GSv6@250 µ
|EA6900v1.1 Xwrt 380.69_2|OEM: WGR614v10@400-WNR1000v3 mod
titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:00    Post subject: Reply with quote
jwh7 wrote:
BS builds are official DD and Kong uses the same code base, but may have a few custom changes. As for the others...XVortex is a mod of Merlin, which is a mod of OEM AsusWRT. Tomato is completely separate, and (afaik) retains the OEM version and kernel config, and is a mod using the original John Zarate (and later; Teddy Bear?) GUI.


Thanks jwh

All clear as ....... Shocked

Cool
raximus21
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 30 Dec 2017
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:32    Post subject: Reply with quote
Titan:

I finally got mine to upgrade to the latest BS build using telnet and the information by egc on page 9 of the install guide.

I believe the problem is that by default in the webif when you flash it tries to flash to the linux2 partition but if you upgraded using the stock firmware/initial method it's booting from the linux partition instead.

I used:
Code:
cat /proc/mtd


to see my partitions. I was unable to change the boot partition using the supplied commands but I could select the linux partition to flash.

I did this:

Code:

cd /tmp
wget http://ftp.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2017/12-29-2017-r34311/linksys-ea6900/linksys-ea6900-webflash.bin
mtd write linksys-ea6900-webflash.bin linux
reboot


Finally it upgraded to the new BS build.

Now if only I could get the Kong site to stop giving me a forbidden 403 result from wget...

HTH
egc
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 1484
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:05    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think most of the questions are answered, BS and Kong's are all DDWRT.

Regarding editing the CFE this is done off line so editing in a VM and then uploading should be fine.

Regarding MAC addresses, well the good news is that if you have edited the CFE and then uploaded it that you can do it again with different MAC addresses, and that is what I have done a couple of times.
I started with the recommended MAC addesses by @Cybrnook but ran into trouble when I started to use virtual WLAN's (guest WLAN), because if you do not set the MAC addresses at least more then one separated the virtual WLAN 2,4 GHZ will get the the MAC address of the 2,4 GHz + 1 and that is the MAC address of 5GHz WLAN.
That is why I recommend +2 + 4, but as I said you can always change it later.

Regarding wget, there where some builds where wget was not working correctly, you can always download and use winSCP to coppy the file to your router.
You can also try to use wget from clonevinces website he also has KONG's builds: http://ddwrt-kong.clonevince.fr/34015/dd-wrt.v24-K3_AC_ARM_STD.bin

Any questions feel free to ask Smile

Happy new year to all

_________________
Router Netgear R6400, Linksys EA6900 (XvortexCFE), Linksys E2000 (converted WRT320N), WRT54GS v1.
Install guide see Linksys EA6900: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=291230
titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 22:30    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks again egc and raximus the responses.

raximus,

I was going to suggest the same as egc mentions re your wget prob.

Just http d/load the file first. scp it across to the router and then write it from there.

I'll have a crack at it all today and let you know how it goes. I think I've convinced myself I'm going down the cfe route anyway, so .....
titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:22    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bit of a long post following - fair warning.

I feel like a lot to say, so split it up into two posts.

1. a word of thanks
a word of advice

2. What worked for me in the end?


So first up a word of thanks for the various confirmations and general assistance offered up by those who responded.

@CEGN, @egc, @jwh7 & @raximus.

Much appreciated.

In terms of resolution, it's all really simple when you know how, eh? But there tends to be SO MUCH reading involved here, with differing approaches and results, not to mention the specific conversational nature of forums and how posts/topics/discussions develop over a period, yet can seem contradictory when being referred to at some future point, that it can initially appear confusing.

I consider myself better than the average Joe w.r.t. to technology. Not a guru by any means, but with an IT background and an understanding of how SW/HW interact and how SW is written.

So, either I'm just plain stupid or it really does take reading over the various threads about 3-4 times (and possibly having made a couple of initial tentative attempts, thus having the benefit of hindsight experience) before the various branches of conversation start to actually click and make sense. So my advice to anyone reading this in the future is not only much the same as others have all said, rather I would add to that;...

Quote:
Read them once. It takes well more than an hour, but do it anyway. Possibly make notes of questions as they arise in your mind.

Then read them again. Odds are some of your questions will generate their own answers on a 2nd reading.

Then possibly skim through a 3rd time, those posts you found "significant" (must remember that one type posts).



FWIW, I did initially install XWRT, for nothing more perhaps than a.) cybrnook’s infectious enthusiasm for the product and b.) XVortex’s consistent and regular build releases. (I have the utmost respect for ANYONE who takes on publicly releasing and then maintaining something that essentially takes on a life of its own. The amount of personal time such an effort eats into can be just exhaustive. So they ALL have both my admiration & respect). This extends to those who also put in the after-efforts such as cybrnook and egc.

However, I really wanted to be running this as a Bridge and the Media Bridge functionality in XWRT didn’t want to connect to and pass-through my DHCP server on the main router. So, in the end, I had to tftp back to the initial 2013 dd-wrt flash, and then flash back up to the latest Kong build which seems to do everything I want it to.
titan160
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Dec 2017
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:26    Post subject: Reply with quote
So with enough waffle and to bring it all full circle, here's what I eventually did to get it all working.

I did eventually end up going down the XVortex custom cfe route per cybrnook's thread;

http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/asuswrt-merlin-xvortex-on-linksys-ea6900-supports-tomato-dd-wrt.71718/

Despite my penchant for contingency plans, there is an overwhelming tendency for the recognised gurus on this thread, not to mention cybrnook's own infectious enthusiasm for it on his above thread, to have done the custom cfe mod.

And those who appear to have NOT done so appear to be those who come across as less confident (at least initially - I include myself here). So who am I to argue with the gurus. I just did it.

And I followed the above thread TO_THE_LETTER. I.e. I went back to LinkSys UI, flashed the even older base dd-wrt linked to by cybrnook in the thread as opposed to that mentioned in my initial post.


Having done that though, I found I was still stuck at the original junction and primary reason for this thread. I.e. I could not get the FW upgraded from the initial dd-wrt flash.

Not even via the now functioning CFE Web Server. I would follow the process, but the Web Server would apparently eventually timeout and rather than getting the success pg. as cyrbnook mentioned, the browser would attempt to load
Code:
192.168.1.1/f2.htm
and just not find it. So I would end up with an "Unable to load" not sure whether things had finished or not.


Having waited the 1st time around a full 10 mins, with the terminal still pinging a ttl=100 (and thinking doorstop territory), I noted a cycle of the 'LinkSys' light lighting up and going out, repeat.

I figured this had to mean a basic boot loop. So, I nevertheless proceeded with the power down > WPS @ reboot step. This at least brought me back to the initial dd-wrt flash GUI.

What finally worked was jwh7's approach noted on pg. 9 of egc's install thread;

https://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=291230&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=120

4th post down.

I basically had to scp the new FW across to the router and then mtd write it directly from the router's filesystem. It took a full 3 1/2 mins (both times and both FW’s) to complete, but as with jwh7, it did eventually come back without error.

And now appears to be fully functional (haven't tested USB as I don't need it).


PostScript: As an aside note; I suspect, much as jwh7 mentions in his post, that given the age of the original install threads now and their respective processes, and the newer development of the FW’s as they progress; IF you don’t succeed upgrading via your new dd-wrt GUI or by using the CFE rescue web server, it possibly has to do with trying to upgrade to the latest version.

And just doing it via cmdline as mentioned by jwh7 is simple enough.



On a final note, one has to ask; Just HOW awesome must this hardware be? Given the faffing and fannying about and switching on/off reset/hard resetting abuse I’ve exposed this device to over the last 3 days and it still boots up and accepts commands and eventually does what you want.

Solid hardware, a knowledgeable community to assist. Not much more could be asked.
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