what have I done? asus-n66u

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graemev
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Joined: 18 Jun 2020
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 14:30    Post subject: what have I done? asus-n66u Reply with quote
I feels I've confused myself.
What I think I did:
1: https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U#NVRAM_issue
2: printed it off (I still have it)
3: Downloaded the recommended version
4: Installed it

It runs, but I had a few issues, so I went back to recheck the steps. The things I have downloaded are:

Quote:

-rw-r--r-- 1 graeme users 28065792 Jun 14 16:56 dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N66U.trx
-rw-r--r-- 1 graeme users 7757824 Jun 14 16:55 dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_RT-N66U.trx
-rw-r--r-- 1 graeme users 7757824 Jun 14 16:55 dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega.bin
-rw-r--r-- 1 graeme users 28065792 Jun 14 16:55 dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin


Pretty confident I installed dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N66U.trx

Problem is, when I go back to check my steps I can't see why I chose this particular build ?
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egc
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Posts: 6643
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 14:45    Post subject: Reply with quote
They are all bad Smile

40599 is a crappy build.

Read the forum guide lines, link in my signature at the bottom of this post, where and what to download and other useful information.

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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 16:08    Post subject: Reply with quote
https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U

Installation Wiki

Where Do I Download Firmware?

Firmware FAQ

https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/

06-15-2020-r43420

06/17/2020-r43443

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graemev
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 18 Jun 2020
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:09    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for the pointers guys, I'll document the path I followed, since I suspect
many will come down this route and it's easy to forget how it all started.

1: Problem. I have an ASUS RT-N66U. It produces very annoying syslog (e.g. emergency NTP date updated)
and hangs from time to time.
I could just replace it but the hardware is fine and the world does need more landfill

2: Action , looked into OpenWRT. They say they have little/no support and you should try DD-WRT

3: Look for DD-WRT, takes me to: https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U
Take home messages:

i: Don't use K2.6 ... er, OK
ii: Older Hardware can use K3.X. Sounds newer , Guess I want the latest K3.x
iii: I found this https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/
Type in RT-N66U, it shows me:
Code:

Description                                     Filename                                Date            Size
DD-WRT Broadcom Generic - NEWD K3X - Big        dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin    2019-08-06      26,77 MB
DD-WRT Broadcom Generic - NEWD K3X - Mega       dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega.bin   2019-08-06      7,40 MB
DD-WRT: Factory flash   dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N66U.trx                    2019-08-06      26,77 MB
DD-WRT: Factory flash   dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_RT-N66U.trx                   2019-08-06      7,40 MB

So I download all these. Unsure of the difference between "big" and "mega" (curiously mega is MUCH smaller) I opt for
"big" . I follow the instructions on "https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U". It installs fine.

However I get many odd errors, I post a question and ..... "YOU GOT THAT TOTALLY WRONG!!!" (politely)

..............stop ... think .....

So, what did I do wrong:

A: I guess the biggest mistake was going to "router-database". I now see there are many scattered warnings to not do so.

Things I didn't know, and you may well also not know:

There are many ways to install firmware on many different routers. The ASUS
RT-N66U looks like one of the easier ones, in that it's possible to just use the
original OEM "Upgrade Firmware" link on the router. This has a (useful)
gotcha. The OEM "upgrade Firmware" checks for the version/model. This means you
need to upload an RT-N66U specific firmware. If you look in:
https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/ and around there you
will search in vain. I assume this is because it's and old router and folks are
after a more interesting life have moved to newer, sexier kit. All is not lost however
once you've replaced the OEM firmware with the DD-WRT flavour, it has a "upgrade
Firmware" button which does not check for a model/version. This means you can
then load a "more generic" firmware, probably newer. This is hard to understand at
first as you need to understand the lingo used on this site:

    OEM Firmware: Is called "Stock Firmware" or "stock build" or "Factory FLASH" (However as you can see above The term Factory FLASH is also used for a "trailed build" which installs using the OEM "upgrade Firmware" button
    Hardware Specific builds: Are called "Trailed builds" (no idea where this name comes from)
    More generic builds: Don't seem to have a specific name but are often called non-trailed builds


So it becomes a two stage process:

1: Install a "reasonable" but probably OLD "Trailed build" for the RT-N66U (using the OEM "Upgrade Firmware" button)
2: Use the "Upgrade Firmware" button on the DD-WRT firmware to install a more generic build (but newer and better?)

Now The mechanics of how to do the upgrades are best described on the original page ( https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U )

The question then just remains, which to builds to use for the above two step process?

Well for step one, I've already used: dd-wrt.v24-40559_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin (see
above) It works but with pretty major bugs hopefully I'll find the "upgrade
firmware" button feature works OK (otherwise , I'll be back).

The question is then what to use for step2?


In this case I have some help. The above two members offer suggestions:

@kernel-panic69 points me at: https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/
and highlights two specific builds:

06-15-2020-r43420 and 06/17/2020-r43443 (with full URLS, see his post above)

However starting at https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/ . I believe I'm now looking for
a more generic build. Now the page https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U#Hardware_Specifications says:

CPU Broadcom 4706 @ 600MHz

So my guess is I'm looking for a generic "Broadcom 4706" or maybe just "Broadcom" build.

I see:
Code:

broadcom/                                          03-Jan-2020 13:02                   -
broadcom_K26/                                      03-Jan-2020 12:03                   -
broadcom_K3X/                                      03-Jan-2020 11:27                   -
broadcom_K3X_mipsel32r1/                           03-Jan-2020 11:20

3rd one leaves me a little flummoxed (is that the old MPS processor , that lacked a test&set?) Given the pointers
in the N66U specific page above I guess I should steer clear of the K26 and use the K3X, but let's investigate:

Well "broadcom" seems to contain lots of specialised firmware. I'm guessing things like "if you want a VPN" etc
The "broadcom_K3X_mipsel32r1" has only one item of firmware. I'm guessing made for a particular purpose.
The "broadcom_K26" has lots of more generic looking items, but I'm avoiding as suggested
So "broadcom_K3X" ...wow lots of stuff.....including: dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N66U.trx

Which I take to be a "big" build for the "RT-N66U" in ".trx" format (meaning I
can just load it via the "upgrade firmware" button. This sounds like a "one step
solution". I didn't even need the initial install.
However let's looks around:

There is also a "dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_RT-N66U.trx" (a mega build, again very small???)

There are 11 ".trx" images (loadable via "upgrade firmware") all have what look like ASUS router names in their filename

There are 28 ".bin" images (loadable via a different mechanism, documented elsewhere)

Picking one of these "dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega-e900.bin" I'm guessing this is for the Linksys E900
[ http://en.techinfodepot.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Linksys_E900 ] as this is also using a Broadcom chip [ BCM5357C0 ]
So that, by extension, covers most of the '.bin' except:
Code:

      5:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin               03-Jan-2020 11:24            27983872
     26:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega.bin              03-Jan-2020 11:26             7471104

     45:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_m10.bin          03-Jan-2020 11:26             7472128
     46:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_m20.bin          03-Jan-2020 11:25             7472128

     47:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_wrt160nv3.bin    03-Jan-2020 11:25             7472128
     48:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_wrt310nv2.bin    03-Jan-2020 11:24             7472128
     49:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_wrt320n.bin      03-Jan-2020 11:27             7472128
     50:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega_wrt610nv2.bin    03-Jan-2020 11:26             7472128

I guess m10 and m20 are Cisco routers. I'd kinda assumed the WRT... type builds were "special versions" of DD-WRT but
no there is indeed a router called "WRT160N v3" (from Linksys). This leaves just:
Code:

      5:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin               03-Jan-2020 11:24            27983872
     26:dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_mega.bin              03-Jan-2020 11:26             7471104

Which I take to be the "generic images". So if there was not a specific image
for my hardware, these would the image of last resort? (these are also .bin, so loaded via a different mechanism)

I've been unable to find a definition of the big vs mega (or indeed mini) . This is the closest I've gotten:

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Version_Features#Broadcom_Based_Devices

Which suggests, as you might guess that mega has more stuff in it than
big. However since "big" is about 4 times the size of "mega" I find that a little
difficult to accept.

So assuming that @kernel-panic69 has pointed me at a sensible "build". I guess I have a choice of two big images:

dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N66U.trx ... WHICH I can install simply using "upgrade firmware" or
dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin ........... Which I would need to use e.g. tftp to install

NOW, I'm left with a confusion/contradiction:

The ASUS RT-N66U page [https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U ] says:

Upload via Web GUI ... Upload the DD-WRT trailed build (N66U big or mega .trx) using the stock web GUI.

So a product specific image, via the GUI. Later, on that same page, it goes on:

Upgrade to newer DD-WRT ... DD-WRT GUI: Administration -> Firmware upgrade

No mention of .bin or .trx ....if I go to:

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Installation

I see:

Method 1: Flashing with Web GUI ...
3: Upload the Firmware ...
3. This section is written for the DD-WRT GUI. An OEM firmware interface will be different. ...
3. Click the "Browse" button and select the DD-WRT .bin file you downloaded and confirmed.

So it looks like the DD-WRT Web GUI also needs a .bin file ? What is difference between the two:


$ diff dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N66U.trx.HD dd-wrt.v24-41874_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin.HD
1c1
< 00000000 48 44 52 30 00 00 ab 01 c8 42 a4 92 00 00 01 00 |HDR0.....B......|
---
> 00000000 48 44 52 30 00 00 ab 01 4b f4 ce b2 00 00 01 00 |HDR0....K.......|
1748989c1748989
< 01aaffc0 03 00 00 04 52 54 2d 4e 36 36 55 00 00 00 00 00 |....RT-N66U.....|
---
> 01aaffc0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................|
1748991c1748991
< 01aaffe0 7c 01 c0 0c b2 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ||...............|
---
> 01aaffe0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................|

So it looks like a signature in bytes 8-11 and also at the tail (01aaff0c
onward) has some descriptive text "RT-N66U" et al.

So my guess is that these are in fact the same binary, just one is "marked up"
to allow the OEM Firmware to accept it, the other is not. So I'd hope the DD-WRT
firmware would accept both, maybe just not checking the signature? Alternatively
the DD-WRT firmware may simply required a '.bin' file.

I think both possibilities suggest I should try the .trx file.
kernel-panic69
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Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 7450
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:47    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's always a safe bet with ASUS routers to use the .trx file.
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Zyxx
DD-WRT User


Joined: 28 Dec 2018
Posts: 288

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 13:59    Post subject: Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
It's always a safe bet with ASUS routers to use the .trx file.

Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation

This device is working like a charm, I'm already owning three N66U Smile
I'm installing the *big-RT-N66U.trx files from Broadcom_K3x folder. Don't get confused, nowadays our old devices are using a 4.x Kernel, the folder wasn't renamed Smile

The N66U is very forgiving.
If I manage to somehow destroy the installed firmware, there is still the emergency mini CFE or TFTP server available.

In this case I go for the smaller *mega* files since my devices sometimes refuse the bigger files in emergency mode / TFTP.
After this I upgrade to a working *big*.trx via the DD-WRT webgui again.
Windows TFTP Syntax:
Code:
TFTP.EXE -i IPofTarget PUT filename.trx
graemev
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 18 Jun 2020
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 19:56    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well that was interesting.

I followed the install instruction esp. WRT using the WPS button to reset the RAM before flashing.

I'm not sure what it reset (I did see the all LED flash telltale) but oddly the device stayed on 10.177.... which was where it was before. Unfortunately I'd unplugged all the other cables and just had a laptop with Debian on it to attach to it . If I'd simply left all my cabling in place, it would have been fine. This is because I run it as a wireless AP. It had no DHCP etc (this would have come for my central DHCP sever) ...hard to locate it's IP. [ this is all before starting the re flashing Very Happy ]

Anyhow, in short, not sure what is supposed to be "reset" by a "WPS button to Clear NVRAM" does not seem to be much.

I did choose the "reset to factory defaults after flash" option and it came up on 192.168.1.1 after flashing.

Ultimately, it mostly worked, aside from one obvious problem. Before I had a 2.4Ghz and a 5Gz radio. There were two slots in the GUI to configure them etc. Now I only have a 5Ghz on as
Quote:

Wireless Physical Interface wl0 [5 GHz]


BTW I opted for DD-WRT v3.0-r41874 big (01/03/20)

The 2.4Ghz really is missing, it's not just the GUI, I can't detect the signal.


I guess this is a subject for that thread, not here so I guess I'll go over there and see what folks have to say.

---- edit ----
DOOOH!


I just realised , I went to: https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/

And not the more specific links @kernel-panic69 provided:


06-15-2020-r43420 -> https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=325410

06/17/2020-r43443 -> https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=325434

I guess I'll repeat the exercise tomorrow Smile
kernel-panic69
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Posts: 7450
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 20:28    Post subject: Reply with quote
You may want to bump to 43516 (most recent release as of this posting). https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2020/06-25-2020-r43516/
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graemev
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 18 Jun 2020
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 14:55    Post subject: Reply with quote
OK, did that. Pretty straightforward. Sadly still missing my 2.4Ghz radio. I I should talks about that on https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=325537 ?
kernel-panic69
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Posts: 7450
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 16:07    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes.
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Per Yngve Berg
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Location: Romerike, Norway

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:18    Post subject: Reply with quote
Code:
nvram show | grep bl_
bl_version=1.0.1.4



If you have the buggy version 1.0.1.2 of CFE, do an upgrade. The latest from Asus is 1.0.1.9
kernel-panic69
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Posts: 7450
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:53    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for that tip, Per. I found the CFE thread and came up with this tidbit:

1.0.1.3: https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/download.php?id=23664

https://charleswilkinson.co.uk/2012/12/22/dd-wrt-on-the-asus-rt-n66u-with-64k-cfe/

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=728899&highlight=#728899

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graemev
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 18 Jun 2020
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:00    Post subject: CFE Reply with quote
Thanks for the continuing support.

I saw the term CFE used on the RT-N66U page:

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N66U

But did not recognise the term, I was reassured as the significant mentions on that page are:

Quote:
The NVRAM issue has been resolved in newer CFE versions (and K3X builds). ...

IMPORTANT: DO NOT USE K2.6 builds if using CFE v1.0.1.3 (64K nvram) or NEWER!!!

This was resolved with DD-WRT K3X builds (kernel 3.x) which extended nvram to 64k, and can be used for any CFE version.



So since I didn't know what CFE was and seemed if I used a K3X build I didn't need to worry. Does the RT-N66U page need an update?

I'll take some time over this (i.e. RTFM) and , if it's possible I'll update my initial "long" post , to explain there is another step. It's always hard to follow a "script" that says so A , B, then C ...several pages of doc, then oh BTW you must do X before doing A .

I won't attempt to update the Asus_RT-N66U as I don't feel I have sufficient knowledge

--edit--
root@asusrouter:~# strings /dev/mtd0ro | grep bl_ver
bl_version=1.0.1.2
kernel-panic69
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Posts: 7450
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 17:55    Post subject: Reply with quote
Welcome to DD-WRT! You are catching on quickly... yes, there's probably a lot of things that are somehow lost and obscured in the forum and missing from the wikis, etc. It takes more than just one knowledgeable person to get it all sorted out and straight. Change is sometimes constant, too.
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graemev
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Joined: 18 Jun 2020
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 17:14    Post subject: The process to update CFE Reply with quote
So it looks like I have the "Buggy CFE" (bl_version=1.0.1.2) and the latest
version from ASUS is 1.0.1.9 (from @Per Yngve Berg)

So reading the post from @onedda, it looks like I need to do:

1. Upgrade to the latest firmware from Asus
2.1. Backup CFE
2.2. Update CFE
3. Flash NVRAM (30-30-30)
4. Flash with [ new version of DDWRT, e.g. 43516 ]
5. Flash NVRAM (30-30-30)

So Step1, is going back to "original" ASUS Firmware ...I gather the "Web Upgrade"
Firmware on DDWRT allows that?

Step 2 is more problematic. The proposed way to do this involves a post on
snbforums. This points to a script http://files.ryzhov-al.ru/Routers/RT-N66U_CFE_update/cfe_n66u-1.0.1.9.tgz
tar -xzvf cfe_n66u-1.0.1.9.tgz , this in turn has inside it the test:

Quote:

if [ ! -f /www/merlin.js ] ; then
echo "Works only on Asuswrt-Merlin firmware, sorry."
exit 1
fi


So I then need the "Merlin" firmware. This I can get from https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/download

So now the sequence becomes:

1. (re) install latest firmware from Asus "standard ASUS WRT firmware"
1.1 Use standard ASUS Firmware to re-flash with "Merlin WRT firmware"
2.1. Backup CFE
2.2. Use the Merlin firmware to Update CFE to 1.0.1.9
3.
4. Use the Merlin Firmware + CFE-1.0.1.9 to (re) update to DD-WRT 43516

So I'm installing the CFE once and reinstalling the firmware 3 times!!?

This feels wrong. If the CFE is produced by ASUS. I'd assume they have a route
to install it? (also a place on their site to download it from) the CFE binary
I'd be installing here comes from a site in Russia.

So the worst case would be, go back to ASUS firmware then update CFE using ASUS
tools, them reinstall DDWRT?

Q1: Is the CFE produced by ASUS
Q2: Do they provide a download (issue of provenience)
Q3: Do they have a process to update it?

ABTW, is the term CFE one used by ASUS? Do they call it something else?

Best case [least work] would just be use my existing DDWRT and "dd" over the raw
character device (I can see the script for Merlin uses "mtd-write")
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