Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:30 Post subject: Asus RT-N16 bricked by "transition" firmware
So I've had DD-WRT on my RT-N16 since ~2010 or so. In fact, that's about when I installed it and haven't really touched it since. I was recently playing around with some NAT settings and noticed how old my version was so I decided to update it. That's when my woes began...
Initially, I didn't think very much about this, downloaded the latest "big" from the router database (I know, I know...) and went into the web UI and upgraded. Needless to say, my router was soft-bricked. I read up a bit using my phone and was able to get it into recovery mode and flashed the latest stock ASUS firmware.
So I read up some more on the Wiki and decided to follow the instructions. I got the router back into recovery mode and flashed the "initial" firmware. I used dd-wrt.v24-42803_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_RT-N16.trx since the wiki said that "Any current trailed build in the K26 series will work..."
Afterwards I factory reset the defaults using the web UI. Then I went in again and tried to flash the "transition" firmware. The wiki seemed to suggest that I could *only* use dd-wrt.v24-21530_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin so that's what I used. The web UI said that this flash was successful and to wait for the system to reboot. However, it never did so successfully. I was not able to communicate with the router after flashing this transition firmware.
I did manage to flash the stock Asus firmware again and so I have Internet access from my computer once again (hence this post).
What did I do wrong? Why did the transition firmware seem to brick the router?
PS: Had the transition firmware worked, my next intention was to install the latest big that I could find: dd-wrt.v24-42729_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N16.trx. Is that a valid next move once I get the transition working?
Thanks for the reply. I did indeed select "reset to defaults" during the flash to the transition firmware since the wiki very clearly states:
Use the web GUI to upload. Administration->Firmware Upgrade and select Reset to Defaults.
Are you saying that is erroneous?
I'm also a bit confused with your recommendations for the transition firmware. The wiki also states:
NOTE: 21530 is not a regular released beta build! This transition firmware repartitions the flash. Later firmware of this series DO NOT.
But you're saying I can use 42729 for BOTH the initial and transition firmware? I assume you mean the K26 mini (dd-wrt.v24-42729_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_RT-N16.trx) for the initial and the K3x big (dd-wrt.v24-42729_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N16.trx) for the transition? In that case, the transition firmware would also be my final "goal" firmware so should I just leave that as is afterwards?
Joined: 08 May 2018 Posts: 7610 Location: Texas, USA
Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 21:26 Post subject:
Reset to defaults after flash function has been broken for quite some time. Ok, how about this: How about follow the wiki from initial flash through the transition firmware without resetting to defaults, let it reboot, and then flash 42729 k3.x big*. I didn't realize that one was such as strange beast, and I am not 100% sure that the later K3.x trailed builds for the RT-N16 flash the device properly after reading that mess. I don't see why this has to be this difficult if newer firmware images had been fixed so you could flash a new build directly. You may want to read every linked thread in the wiki as well. Good grief.
1) Reset factory defaults using ASUS firmware
2) Recovery mode
3) Flash 42729 *mini* as initial
4) Use GUI to flash 21530 as the transitional WITHOUT resetting to defaults
5) Flash 42729 *mega*, don't reset to defaults
6) Flash 42729 *big*, don't reset to defaults.
Am I correct?
I have been reading a lot but am quite confused to be frank. I don't recall this being as difficult previously
I assure you I have read that wiki page several times. I was confused by the mention of the k3.x mega in your previous post. Thank you for the clarification. I will try it this Saturday when my household can afford to have a break from Internet access.
If I have more issues, I will post here again. If not, I will post a summary of what I did that worked.
I am now running Firmware: DD-WRT v3.0-r42729 big (03/18/20).
The procedure I used was as follows:
1. Reset factory defaults on ASUS firmware
2. Recovery mode. For me, this meant unplugging the router and holding down the RESET button (not WPS, that one did nothing) as I plugged in the power cable and keeping the RESET button held down until the PWR LED was slow-blinking (about once every 3 seconds).
3. Use the ASUS Firmware Restoration utility to flash the initial firmware: dd-wrt.v24-22118_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini_RT-N16.trx
4. When the router reboots, change the password if requested and go to Administration->Factory Defaults and restore the factory defaults.
5. When the router reboots go to Administration->Firmware Upgrade and install the transition firmware dd-wrt.v24-21530_NEWD-2_K3.x_big.bin. Select "Don't reset".
6. When the router reboots, it should be running the transition firmware. DO NOT reset to factory defaults. Doing so will cause a soft brick. At least, it did for me.
7. Go to administration->Firmware Upgrade and install the final firmware: dd-wrt.v24-42729_NEWD-2_K3.x-big-RT-N16.trx. Select "Don't reset".
8. When the router reboots, it will be running the 42729 firmware.
9. Configure as desired.
That's it. kernel-panic69, thank you for your help.
It's somewhat alarming that the factory reset option is broken enough to cause soft bricks. Can we somehow bring this to the attention of the development team or is it already known?
Also, how can we edit the wiki? I wasn't able to login with my forum credentials and I don't see an option to create an account. Perhaps this is also reserved for the development team?