Asus WL 520 gU bricked?

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pt81
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Joined: 01 Apr 2020
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 15:57    Post subject: Asus WL 520 gU bricked? Reply with quote
Hi everyone,

this is my first post here, so i hope I chose the correct forum for this issue.

I know this is a very old piece of hardware, but I kind of like it. I am talking about my Asus WL 520 gU. First of all, I believe have read everything about this hardware (on dd-wrt, openwrt, tomato and asus), have read the peacock etc.

History of this device:
I installed tomato from Shibby about 10 years ago, configured it and it was running in our hotel without any problems. I had some spare time last week, so I decided to replace it with our backup device (Asus RTN10U) and flash newer firmware onto it. Then this unit would become the backup device.
So from tomato (kernel 2.4) I flashed "dd wrt v24 usb generic" from 03-20-2020-r42747. This worked without any problems, but as I was interested to test K2.6 build (I know, on the dd-wrt site for this device is written, that K2.6 does not work, but somewhere else was, that K2.6 should work, so I wanted to test this). All flashes were done after clearing nvram. Last flashed firmware was this:

https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/03-20-2020-r42747/broadcom_K26/dd-wrt.v24-42747_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_usb.bin

Current situation:
When I power on the unit, it turns green "power" on, flashes WAN and all LAN leds and stays with power on. When I connect an ethernet cable to any of the ports, the lan turns on. When I press/hold either of the buttons for any lenght of time, nothing happens, power stays on. When I press/hold either of the buttons as I power on the unit, it turns on as described above - holding or pressing the buttons do not have any influence.
When I set the computer NIC to 192.168.1.11 with gateway 192.168.1.1, it almost immediately connects. I tried the continuous ping in all thinkable combinations (on/off, booting, one button pressed, both buttons pressed), also after 30-30-30, I always get "destination host unreachable" from 192.168.1.1.

pt@pt-ThinkPad-X300:~$ ping 192.168.1.1
PING 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
From 192.168.1.11 icmp_seq=1 Destination Host Unreachable
From 192.168.1.11 icmp_seq=2 Destination Host Unreachable

I have done this several times with this router before (and also the RTN10U), I know how TTL=100 and TTL=64 looks like. To be sure, I also tried 192.168.0.1 (NIC 192.168.0.11) and I get the exact same results.

pt@pt-ThinkPad-X300:~$ ping 192.168.0.1
PING 192.168.0.1 (192.168.0.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
From 192.168.0.11 icmp_seq=1 Destination Host Unreachable
From 192.168.0.11 icmp_seq=2 Destination Host Unreachable

I have tried flashing with tftp even without TTL=100 response without success. I see LAN led blinking -data is flowing, but at the end I get timeout error. (In the past, I have flashed with tftp successfully several times) Then I installed the Asus restoration utility on wine. I get stuck at "Please wait for finding suitable IP address". But as it does this, the LAN led blinks.

After reading tons of info, I believe the next step is serial cable, which is something I would like to avoid...

So I am open to any ideas as to what to try next.

Cheers,
Petr
Sponsor
redhawk0
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 11473
Location: Wherever the wind blows- North America

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 20:50    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's been a very long time since I've worked on a 520gU...but it seems that in order to revert back to Asus firmware you must use the Asus Restoration tool to do it.

Here are my complete notes from the 520gU unit...I hope it helps.

redhawk

Code:
WL-520gU

Asus un/pw defaults is admin/admin
No JTAG...possibly missing the traces from the processor (according to Eko)
Can extract the cfe.bin file using Serial comminications. (virgin firmware)  Then dump to USB flash to transfer.

dd-wrt can extract cfe.bin using /backup/cfe.bin http code.

Clock is fixed in 10991

To revert back to using a 240MHz clock you set the variable
nvram set Fix_WL520GUGC_clock=0
nvram commit

this turns off the "fix"

Serial connection top to bottom facing front Rx, Tx, GND, +3.3V

Must use Asus recovery tool to revert back.  It has a recovery routine that must run  AFTER loading the firmware back to the unit.

So far...even after hard reset...then recovery mode...the IP has not been changed from it's previous setting.

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pt81
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Apr 2020
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 21:18    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi redhawk,

thank you a lot for your notes. Please help me with understanding this:

Quote:
Must use Asus recovery tool to revert back. It has a recovery routine that must run AFTER loading the firmware back to the unit.

So far...even after hard reset...then recovery mode...the IP has not been changed from it's previous setting.


1. What do you mean with recovery routine after loading the firmware?
2. This unit had never had any other IP address than 192.168.1.1. Can the IP settings somehow get "botched", or shall I only try this IP address?

I will try to get my hands on a Windows machine and try the recovery tool again. My problem is, that I seem unable to get to recovery mode (30-30-30 should activate it, so should powering up with reset pressed). I can feel the button depressing, so I do not think I have a HW problem.

The device is quite ancient. However, it was working for years without a glitch - I wish I would have followed the rule "if it ain't broken, don't fix it"...
redhawk0
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 11473
Location: Wherever the wind blows- North America

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 22:02    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is the .trx file used to clear the nvram of the 520gU. The routine in built into the Asus Recovery tool. It will automatically connect to the 192.168.11.1 address. putting dd-wrt on will set it to 192.168.1.1...but this will revert back to the cfe address of x.x.11.1 because you are running the asus recovery BEFORE it boots up.

Once all nvram is cleared...then you flash firmware to the 192.168.11.1 address.


redhawk



wl5X0g-clear-nvram.zip
 Description:
clear nvram for Asus.

Download
 Filename:  wl5X0g-clear-nvram.zip
 Filesize:  1.51 MB
 Downloaded:  31 Time(s)


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redhawk0
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 11473
Location: Wherever the wind blows- North America

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2020 22:08    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is a known good 2.4 build for the 520uG. Flash it with the Restoration utility.

Set your computer to 192.168.11.10 255.255.255.0

Then try flashing this build. You should be able to get into the GUI at that point.

redhawk



dd-wrt.v24_mini_asus-11785-works.trx
 Description:
its old...but it works for recovery.

Download
 Filename:  dd-wrt.v24_mini_asus-11785-works.trx
 Filesize:  2.81 MB
 Downloaded:  37 Time(s)


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pt81
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Apr 2020
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 23:37    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well, so far no joy. I have loaded the "clear nvram" file, but when I run the utility before power on, it complains about "IP unknown" or similar (I forgot to make a screenshot...). When I press the sending button, I have wifi off, ethernet connected to the router, but the router is off. When I send the file after power on, the led on the LAN on the router is blinking, but the utility says "waiting for suitable IP".

I have tried setting the ethernet to both 192.168.1.10 and 192.168.11.10.

I am doing all of this from a linux machine. Unfortunately the Windows machine has no ethernet port. :/

During Easter I should come by another Windows computer, so I will try this one more time and report back.
redhawk0
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 11473
Location: Wherever the wind blows- North America

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:45    Post subject: Reply with quote
sorry, pt....I've only ever used windows machines...I can't help much with Linux.

It should respond at x.x.11.1 though.

Now here's another thought...these OLD Asus routers were known to have bad capacitors. They don't respond or they act real funky when the caps are bad.

You can visually check them on the motherboard for bulges...and also try another power brick. (it has caps too). I fixed many an Asus just by replacing the caps in them.

Not saying this is your problem...but it certainly can't hurt to check.

Maybe it's time for an upgrade. When you can get a Netgear 6300v2 on ebay for $35....its worth the investment for the extra horsepower.

redhawk

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danielwritesback
DD-WRT User


Joined: 29 Aug 2011
Posts: 238

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:38    Post subject: Reply with quote
The BCM5354's can play dead, temporarily. Although not advisable for newer models, the 30/30/30 reset practice is fine for the 5354's. It could take several tries.

Last edited by danielwritesback on Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:36; edited 1 time in total
pt81
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Apr 2020
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 21:39    Post subject: Reply with quote
First of all, thank you both for helping me out. I got hold of a Windows machine with ethernet port, hopefully done the whole procedure correctly but remained stuck with a non-responsive piece of HW. I dismantled the router and checked the PCB and condensors - they are all OK. The 30-30-30 was kind of easy to do with the buttons sticking out, but it didn't help much - I gave up after 5 tries.

I have decided to stop trying and bought an older Fritzbox for about 10 EUR. I found a nice mod to add several external antennas, so we'll have a backup solution should the RT10N also play dead.

Keep safe and healthy.
Petr
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