Nighthawk X8 R8500 AC5300 router available $400 msrp.

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ddaniel51
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 0:08    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is the board data from my early R8500:
A binary comparison with Malachi's mtd4 indicates a number of differences.



mtd4.bin
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 Filename:  mtd4.bin
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phoenix127
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:29    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the mtd4 dumps. As shown in the boot log, this partition is called "board_data", so it should be expected that they are always different between routers.

The partition contains router specific information such as the model number and variant, serial number, MAC addresses, radio specific calibration data and the NetGear Wireless SSID / password settings.

For this reason, they should not be loaded into another router as you may get any of the following problems
1. Duplicate MAC addresses (if you have multiple routers)
2. Sub-optimal radio performance, radio failure or transmission power above your countries allowed limits.
3. Not using the correct country settings for radio ?

This is definitely one of those partitions like the CFE, that you should have a backup of when you are playing with the router (dd if=/dev/mtd4ro of=/tmp/mtd4.bin) then copy /tmp/mtd4.bin out to a usb stick or scp it off to a different machine. This is one of the reasons I'm keen to get nanddump added to the builds so that a whole-flash image can be taken more easily.

Anyhow, I have compared the two configurations to my own router and they all have the same general layout including model / variant information, the same volume of calibration data, etc. so I think this proves Malachi's configuration data partition is intact which further supports a hardware defect on his device.

I also note that the model number is constant across all units, so no sign of any "second version" to support the "Vietnam" manufactured router problem yet. a boot log from someone having the "Incompatible Firmware error 2" problem during initial firmware upload would be helpful. @Foaley, @Peter1742, @Labo, others, any takers ?

My guess on this is that there are some new checks for a proper Netgear firmware image. Has anyone tried downgrading to an older Netgear firmware image, then going to dd-wrt from that ?
The official Netgear R8500 firmware can be found here.
https://www.netgear.com/support/product/R8500.aspx#download
Older versions are listed under the "+ Previous Versions" expanding header. I went from 1.0.2.64 when I upgraded to dd-wrt. The site now lists 1.0.2.80 and 1.0.2.86 versions as available.

Re the "lspci" command, its LSPCI, like the normal "ls" to list folder contents, there are a set of similar commands that are all worth knowing about, they are :
ls - list folder contents
lspci - list the PCI bus contents
lsusb -list the USB bus contents
lsof - list the open files

I'm sure there are probably more too that I'm not aware of too.

Clearly not all of them will be present in all firmware versions depending on what options were used to build the firmware image
merrow75
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Joined: 28 Jan 2016
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:15    Post subject: Reply with quote
phoenix127 wrote:
@merrow75 - R6250 unable to upgrade due to bad FLASH. Kong confirms dd-wrt handles badblocks in "most places". I assume the exception is the start of the partition. I suggest we split this out as a different post as its not the same model. Presumably if it won't take stock firmware, then its up for replacement. do you know from the logs which blocks are bad on this device and what partition that sits in ? You should be able to determine this from a serial boot log.


It's clear that you've done a great deal of work looking at the issues on the R8500 so thank you very much.

With respect to my R6250, I opened this thread a few months ago to request help:

http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1052728

That thread contains a boot log showing dd-wrt failing to boot.

I do have open questions in the thread (whether the offset parameter in CFE can permit the installation of the code outside the bad block areas and whether the code can be installed and booted from a USB stick).

The router successfully boots into the stock firmware.

All the best.
phoenix127
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 79
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 13:52    Post subject: Reply with quote
Lets move that specific issue to the other forum posting you listed. I've posted a couple of ideas on how we might be able to move this forwards.
phoenix127
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 79
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 20:30    Post subject: Reply with quote
I found another way to identify the board hardware that will work irrespective of the firmware installed

Boot the router with a serial connection present. Hit Ctrl-C to get to the CFE prompt

CFE> help
Available commands:

checkflash Check nand flash memory.
checkmem Check memory.
checkBC check the bootcode settings
show clocks Show current values of the clocks.
nvram NVRAM utility.
reboot Reboot.
tftpd Start TFTP server
flash Update a flash memory device
memtest Test memory.
f Fill contents of memory.
e Modify contents of memory.
d Dump memory.
u Disassemble instructions.
batch Load a batch file into memory and execute it
go Verify and boot OS image.
boot Load an executable file into memory and execute it
load Load an executable file into memory without executing it
save Save a region of memory to a remote file via TFTP
ping Ping a remote IP host.
arp Display or modify the ARP Table
ifconfig Configure the Ethernet interface
help Obtain help for CFE commands

For more information about a command, enter 'help command-name'
*** command status = 0
CFE> help checkBC


SUMMARY

check the bootcode settings

USAGE

checkBC
check the bootcode settings

*** command status = 0


CFE> checkBC
check bootcode nvram settings...
boardflags2 value found: 0x00000000
boardflags value found: 0x00000110
boardnum value found: 32
boardrev value found: 0x1101
boardtype value found: 0x072F

boot_wait value found: on
clkfreq value found: 1400,800
et0macaddr value found: 00:00:00:00:00:00
et0mdcport value found: 0
et0phyaddr value found: 30
lan_ipaddr value found: 172.16.1.254
lan_netmask value found: 255.255.255.0
landevs value found: vlan1 wl0 wl1 wl2
sdram_config value found: 0x014B
sromrev value found: 8
vlan1hwname value found: et2
vlan1ports value found: 1 2 3 4 5 7 8*
vlan2hwname value found: et2
vlan2ports value found: 0 8u
wait_time value found: 5
wandevs value found: et2
watchdog value found: 2100
xtalfreq value found: 25000
gpio0 value found: usbport1
gpio16 value found: usbport2
check OK..
*** command status = 0

To prove the "Vietnam" hardware being different claim, its probably worth getting the above info in addition to the previously found strings in the board_data partition.

btw, this info is held in the mtd0 partition.
gogoroute
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Joined: 22 Jan 2017
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:05    Post subject: Reply with quote
phoenix127 wrote:
@Labo

Good news on the replacement, but not there yet if you still have a problem.

For me, it's getting confusing on the different issues on the R8500, so here's what I understand the problems to be and their outcomes. This is taken from this forum and the a couple of PM's

Issues already fixed by Kong
1. >65K NVRAM used caused kernel panic on next reboot.
2. Stability - The 3 day uptime issue

Hardware issues - kit replaced by Netgear
@Frossie - eBay sourced router with missing CFE NVRAM, hence no board identifier for dd-wrt to detect and use, so fails to boot properly.

@Labo - Kernel panic on boot. Serial log shows switch_robo switch_core

@Malachi - Crashing routers on boot. Kong said : Malachi gave me dumps which have no error everything is okay, but latest dd-wrt crashes on startup, it only accepts older netgear fw and it has radio issues with oem fw.
Subsequently, @Malachi has confirmed that the CFE NVRAM partition is OK

This sounds similar to the problems that Labo was reporting - @Malachi - can you get the serial boot logs from both (so we have some info to compare) and get Netgear to replace the hardware ?

Outstanding issues
Unable to upgrade to dd-wrt from stock firmware (Incompatible Firmware error 2)
Seen by @Foaley, @Peter1742, @Labo

This sounds like some Netgear changes that prevent the dd-wrt upgrade - one for @Kong ???

There are claims of new hardware in a Vietnam built router, yet Labo's conversation with Netgear claims no hardware changes. We should be able to prove this easily with the serial logs from the stock firmware / dump of the nvram as detailed in the previous posts as its shown at boot and in clear text in the FLASH.

Minor issues
Several people asking about turning off the lights on the router as its a bit of a Christmas tree at the moment.

@merrow75 - R6250 unable to upgrade due to bad FLASH. Kong confirms dd-wrt handles badblocks in "most places". I assume the exception is the start of the partition. I suggest we split this out as a different post as its not the same model. Presumably if it won't take stock firmware, then its up for replacement. do you know from the logs which blocks are bad on this device and what partition that sits in ? You should be able to determine this from a serial boot log.

Does anyone have any other issues missed from this list ?

Obviously to move forwards the open issues, someone is going to have to provide some log data that the devs can work from. Kong already said it works on his hardware, so hard to progress unless someone can provide some concrete information or perhaps loan a dev / provide access to a failing router.


I have the same problem: I can't update to dd-wrt with error message :




The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code -2.

This screen will automatically return to the previous screen in a few seconds...
phoenix127
DD-WRT User


Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 79
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:13    Post subject: Reply with quote
Welcome @gogoroute

Can you confirm what Netgear firmware version your router is running as seen in the GUI.

On the bottom of your router, on the right of the label, where it says "made in xxx", there is a number (above the serial number), what is that number. Also what does the model say on the left side.

Have you tried downgrading out to the earlier NetGear firmware per my earlier posting (above)
- You can always re-upgrade to latest Netgear firmware if you are unsuccessful in applying dd-wrt firmware.

Quote:
My guess on this is that there are some new checks for a proper Netgear firmware image. Has anyone tried downgrading to an older Netgear firmware image, then going to dd-wrt from that ?
The official Netgear R8500 firmware can be found here.
https://www.netgear.com/support/product/R8500.aspx#download
Older versions are listed under the "+ Previous Versions" expanding header. I went from 1.0.2.64 when I upgraded to dd-wrt. The site now lists 1.0.2.80 and 1.0.2.86 versions as available.


Once you have done this, can you then successfully upgrade to dd-wrt ?

Latest Kong build is at http://desipro.de/ddwrt/K3-AC-Arm/, you need dd-wrt.K3_R8500.chk

Alternatively, the latest Brainslayer build is at ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2016/12-15-2016-r30949/netgear-r8500/, you need the factory-to-dd-wrt.chk file. The other is for upgrades after you are already running dd-wrt.

Do you have a 3.3V serial cable and putty (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html) ? If so, can you provide a serial console dump of the router when it boots and another when you try to apply the firmware ?
gogoroute
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Joined: 22 Jan 2017
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:32    Post subject: Reply with quote
1)Netgear firmware version: V1.0.2.86_1.0.75
2)Made in Vietnam.
3)On the bottom of my router,There is a number above the serial number: 272-12475-03
4)Model:R8500-100PRS
5)I never try to downgrade to the earlier NetGear firmware.I'll try later and post in this thread.
6)I will try to use my TTL2USB adapter to dump the console log due to the route boot process.

phoenix127 wrote:
Welcome @gogoroute

Can you confirm what Netgear firmware version your router is running as seen in the GUI.

On the bottom of your router, on the right of the label, where it says "made in xxx", there is a number (above the serial number), what is that number. Also what does the model say on the left side.

Have you tried downgrading out to the earlier NetGear firmware per my earlier posting (above)
- You can always re-upgrade to latest Netgear firmware if you are unsuccessful in applying dd-wrt firmware.

Quote:
My guess on this is that there are some new checks for a proper Netgear firmware image. Has anyone tried downgrading to an older Netgear firmware image, then going to dd-wrt from that ?
The official Netgear R8500 firmware can be found here.
https://www.netgear.com/support/product/R8500.aspx#download
Older versions are listed under the "+ Previous Versions" expanding header. I went from 1.0.2.64 when I upgraded to dd-wrt. The site now lists 1.0.2.80 and 1.0.2.86 versions as available.


Once you have done this, can you then successfully upgrade to dd-wrt ?

Latest Kong build is at http://desipro.de/ddwrt/K3-AC-Arm/, you need dd-wrt.K3_R8500.chk

Alternatively, the latest Brainslayer build is at ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/betas/2016/12-15-2016-r30949/netgear-r8500/, you need the factory-to-dd-wrt.chk file. The other is for upgrades after you are already running dd-wrt.

Do you have a 3.3V serial cable and putty (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html) ? If so, can you provide a serial console dump of the router when it boots and another when you try to apply the firmware ?
gogoroute
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Joined: 22 Jan 2017
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:22    Post subject: Reply with quote
@phoenix127 Does this rs232ToTTL adapter OK for my R8500?
I see your post here:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1063354#1063354
and here:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=286232&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=60
Thx.



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Malachi
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:14    Post subject: Reply with quote
Google dd-wrt serial console and take note of the type of adapter to use.
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phoenix127
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 79
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:38    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the information

Your adapter appears to be 5 volt (5V), not 3.3 volt (3V3), so it can damage the router.
As this adapter has a 9 pin connector, do you still have a PC with a serial port that you could actually plug that adaptor into anyhow ??

You really need something like this which is a USB to 3.3V RS232 (TTL) adapter, which you just connect to the header in the router. They cost $10-$20:

https://www.adafruit.com/product/954

https://www.modmypi.com/raspberry-pi/gpio-and-breadboarding/gpio-debugging-console-cables/usb-to-ttl-serial-cable-debug--console-cable-for-raspberry-pi

https://www.amazon.com/DROK-PL2303HX-Module-Download-DuPont/dp/B00C6VYCIW/ref=sr_1_4


Anything based on the FTDI 232 chip or the Prolific PL2303 chips but with a 3.3V output is all you need.

It is possible to level shift the 5V adapter you have to 3.3V levels, but you would need some resistors or a level shifter IC to do this. Its fairly easy but you need to be careful so you do not damage the router.
I can explain how if you want, but its less hassle, cheaper and lower risk to get a USB adapter.
Malachi
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Posts: 7221
Location: Columbus, Ohio

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 20:53    Post subject: Reply with quote
May I ask why you blocked out your finger tips? Afraid someone will steal your prints or are you a man on the run? Lol
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phoenix127
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 79
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 20:59    Post subject: Reply with quote
I was wondering the same thing.

Must be a real nail biter of a problem Laughing
labo
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Joined: 30 Jan 2015
Posts: 675
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 23:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
phoenix127 wrote:

This sounds similar to the problems that Labo was reporting - @Malachi - can you get the serial boot logs from both (so we have some info to compare) and get Netgear to replace the hardware ?

Outstanding issues
Unable to upgrade to dd-wrt from stock firmware (Incompatible Firmware error 2)
Seen by @Foaley, @Peter1742, @Labo

This sounds like some Netgear changes that prevent the dd-wrt upgrade - one for @Kong ???


Yesterday, I tried to update my new R8500 by downgrading the stock firmware to oldest one possible.
Interestingly, Netgear old firmwares are not compatible anymore.
I was able to downgrade to a firmware dated march '16. Anything older were failing with incompatible firmware error.
So I tried to update to dd-wrt from the march'16 (R8500-V1.0.2.54_1.0.56.chk) firmware but no success.

So Netgear has modified and using some other partion to block the update and the version/compatibility checking mechanism is not part of the firmware build/partition.

I'm reluctant to use serial method to update the firmware as it might brick as done by others and it is a POINT OF NO RETURN
( only an old Tathagata Release can be loaded). Sad

I'm willing to give it a try, if anyone has some other idea.
phoenix127
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 79
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 0:56    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Labo. Thanks for the update. Interesting reading.

As you went to 1.0.2.54, this is the version before the one I updated to dd-wrt from (1.0.2.64), which kind of says its not a new feature of the firmware causing the firmware upgrade error.

My only new lead on this was an article about some other version of a Broadcom router that had different region codes, I assume this was for the World-wide or German sub-types that you see when selecting firmware on the NetGear web site - I believe this was used for things like forcing the correct ADSL standards etc. So I'm wondering if its something like that which is causing the "Incompatible Firmware error 2". Interestingly enough I hit this a similar issue recently when playing with some really old NetGear kit that I was practising on fiddling with.

Can you get the output of a "CheckBC" in the CFE - as detailed in a previous posting on this forum. This should give us the model board versions etc. I'd like to compare your model to mine (shown in the previous post)


Whilst reviewing whats happened on the couple of forums re this model, Kong requested (on another forum) the copy of the serial log from boot and when applying the upgrade to dd-wrt through the UI. I think you've provided the first bit, but I think I recall that your upgrade was done by the CFE method, not the NetGear UI. Could you provide that log data please ?

This log will also show what the model shows as during boot which would be handy.


As to the roboswitch crash on boot issue, I've not got much further on this. Initially I thought that the roboswitch was being mis-detected as the detected chip name didn't match the router hardware, but I've been browsing (fairly aimlessly) through the dd-wrt source code and the roboswitch drivers seem to imply that the BCM53125S is in the same driver as the 53012, so I was wrong on that bit.

What still worries me though is that the Broadcom drivers have quite an old date on them, so I'm still wondering if there is a new revision of the hardware that is not being controlled properly by an outdated driver.

I have found a 2014 Broadcom overview on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-l4czirydY, this says that you can get more technical info by registering with them without the need of any NDA's etc. I've not got that far yet, but its another avenue to look at.

One last thing, can you confirm the number under the "Vietnam" on the label at the bottom. I think it will be the 272-12475-03 like @gogoroute has given that both are Vietnam manufactured routers.

My made in China router shows has 272-12465-03.
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