RT-AC68U No network after firmware

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gamefanaticWRT
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 24 Jan 2021
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 9:40    Post subject: RT-AC68U No network after firmware Reply with quote
Hoping you all can solve this problem.
I have an ASUS RT-AC68U that was loaded with DD-WRT and I wanted to load a new version of firmware. After doing so I could no longer get the device to boot (or so I thought). It no longer would go into recovery mode (or so I thought).

Now that I have a serial connection I am seeing it is booting. When started working via serial I was getting an error upon that tftp failed and there was no IP address being assigned. The device started up but no wifi/ethernet.

Doing some digging I found a post stating to use the following
Quote:
nvram set et0macaddr=XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
nvram set 0:macaddr=XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
nvram set 1:macaddr=XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX
nvram commit
reboot


Doing this made the tftp attempt to load and showed it would bind to an IP Address. However, no matter which ethernet port I plug into I cannot ping or tftp the 192.168.1.1 IP Address.

Quote:
Device eth0: hwaddr XX-XX-XX-XX-XX-XX, ipaddr 192.168.1.1, mask 255.255.255.0
gateway not set, nameserver not set
Null Rescue Flag.
boot the image...
go load
Loader:raw Filesys:tftp Dev:eth0 File:: Options:(null)
Loading: TFTP Server.
..tftp retry wait 0
..tftp retry wait 1
..tftp retry wait 2
..tftp retry wait 3
..tftp retry wait 4


When booting one of the errors I see is this and makes me wonder if I need to do something else to get the network switch made available?
Quote:
eth0: Broadcom BCM47XX 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Controller 7.14.89.21 (r524987)
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth0'
roboswitch: trying a 5324000c0! at eth0
roboswitch: Failed to enable switch
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth1'
roboswitch: No such device
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth2'
roboswitch: No such device
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth3'
roboswitch: No such device
wl_module_init: passivemode set to 0x0
wl_module_init: txworkq set to 0x0
wl driver 7.14.89.21 (r524987) failed with code 1
wl driver 7.14.89.21 (r524987) failed with code 1
eth0: mixed HW and IP checksum settings.


Just trying to think of a work-around is there a way to load firmware via the USB and the console?
Sponsor
gamefanaticWRT
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 24 Jan 2021
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 15:14    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is a full output from the serial connection for anyone that understands better what's going on here.

Quote:
Digital core power voltage set to 0.9375V
Decompressing...done
Detect CPU turbo button...

CFE version 6.37.14.86 (r456083) based on BBP 1.0.37 for BCM947XX (32bit,SP,)
Build Date: Mon Jun 9 16:50:11 CST 2014 (defjovi@localhost.localdomain)
Copyright (C) 2000-2008 Broadcom Corporation.

Init Arena
Init Devs.
Boot partition size = 262144(0x40000)
DDR Clock: 400 MHz
Warning: invalid DDR setting of 0 MHz ignored. DDR frequency will be set to 400 MHz.
et0: Broadcom BCM47XX 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Controller 6.37.14.86 (r456083)
CPU type 0x0: 800MHz
Tot mem: 262144 KBytes

CFE mem: 0x00F00000 - 0x01795660 (9000544)
Data: 0x00F4DCBC - 0x00F4E188 (1228)
BSS: 0x00F4E198 - 0x00F93660 (283848)
Heap: 0x00F93660 - 0x01793660 (8388608)
Stack: 0x01793660 - 0x01795660 (8192)
Text: 0x00F00000 - 0x00F44374 (279412)

Device eth0: hwaddr E0-3F-49-92-C1-10, ipaddr 192.168.1.1, mask 255.255.255.0
gateway not set, nameserver not set
Null Rescue Flag.
boot the image...
go load
Loader:raw Filesys:tftp Dev:eth0 File:: Options:(null)
Loading: TFTP Server.
..tftp retry wait 0
..tftp retry wait 1
..tftp retry wait 2
..tftp retry wait 3
..tftp retry wait 4
Failed.
Could not load :: Timeout occured
Booting(0): boot -raw -z -addr=0x8000 -max=0xef8000 nflash0.os:
Loader:raw Filesys:raw Dev:nflash0.os File: Options:(null)
Loading: ... 1699984 bytes read
Entry at 0x00008000
Closing network.
Starting program at 0x00008000
Uncompressing Linux... done, booting the kernel.
** 18 printk messages dropped ** Built 1 zonelists in Zone order, mobility grouping on. Total pages: 65280
Kernel command line: console=ttyS0,115200 panic=10 root=/dev/mtdblock3 earlyprintk=1 rootfstype=squashfs,jffs2 noinitrd init=/bin/sh
PID hash table entries: 512 (order: -1, 2048 bytes)
Dentry cache hash table entries: 16384 (order: 4, 65536 bytes)
Inode-cache hash table entries: 8192 (order: 3, 32768 bytes)
Memory: 254064K/262144K available (3588K kernel code, 199K rwdata, 1244K rodata, 340K init, 363K bss, 8080K reserved, 0K cma-reserved, 131072K highmem)
Virtual kernel memory layout:
vector : 0xffff0000 - 0xffff1000 ( 4 kB)
fixmap : 0xffc00000 - 0xfff00000 (3072 kB)
vmalloc : 0x88800000 - 0xff800000 (1904 MB)
lowmem : 0x80000000 - 0x88000000 ( 128 MB)
pkmap : 0x7fe00000 - 0x80000000 ( 2 MB)
modules : 0x7f000000 - 0x7fe00000 ( 14 MB)
.text : 0x80008000 - 0x804c081c (4835 kB)
.init : 0x804c1000 - 0x80516000 ( 340 kB)
.data : 0x80516000 - 0x80547c74 ( 200 kB)
.bss : 0x8054a000 - 0x805a4f4c ( 364 kB)
Hierarchical RCU implementation.
CONFIG_RCU_FANOUT set to non-default value of 2
Build-time adjustment of leaf fanout to 2.
NR_IRQS:256
MPCORE GIC init
soc_dmu_init
add clk lookups
MPCORE Global Timer Clock 400000000Hz on IRQ 27
sched_clock: 32 bits at 400MHz, resolution 2ns, wraps every 5368709118ns
clocksource: mpcore_gtimer: mask: 0xffffffffffffffff max_cycles: 0x5c4093a7d1, max_idle_ns: 440795210635 ns
register local timer
smp_twd: clock not found -2
Calibrating local timer... 399.64MHz.
Calibrating delay loop... 1594.16 BogoMIPS (lpj=7970816)
pid_max: default: 32768 minimum: 301
Mount-cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
Mountpoint-cache hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
CPU: Testing write buffer coherency: ok
CPU0: thread -1, cpu 0, socket 0, mpidr 80000000
2 cores has been found
Setting up static identity map for 0x85e0 - 0x8614
L2C: platform provided aux values permit register corruption.
L2C: DT/platform modifies aux control register: 0x0a130000 -> 0x7a530000
L2C-310 erratum 769419 enabled
L2C-310 enabling early BRESP for Cortex-A9
L2C-310 full line of zeros enabled for Cortex-A9
L2C-310 dynamic clock gating enabled, standby mode enabled
L2C-310 cache controller enabled, 16 ways, 256 kB
L2C-310: CACHE_ID 0x410000c8, AUX_CTRL 0x4e530001
CPU1: thread -1, cpu 1, socket 0, mpidr 80000001
Brought up 2 CPUs
SMP: Total of 2 processors activated (3188.32 BogoMIPS).
clocksource: jiffies: mask: 0xffffffff max_cycles: 0xffffffff, max_idle_ns: 19112604462750000 ns
futex hash table entries: 512 (order: 3, 32768 bytes)
NET: Registered protocol family 16
DMA: preallocated 256 KiB pool for atomic coherent allocations
coherence_win_size = 10000000
coherence_flag = FFFFFFF8
ddr_phys_offset_va =FFFFFFFF
ddr_phys_offset2_va =A8000000
Found a AMD NAND flash:
Total size: 128MB
Block size: 128KB
Page Size: 2048B
OOB Size: 64B
Sector size: 512B
Spare size: 16B
ECC level: 8 (8-bit)
Device ID: 0x 1 0xf1 0x 0 0x1d 0x 1 0xf1
found nand nvram at 80000
CCA UART Clock Config: Sel=1 Ovr=1 Div=48
CCA UART Clock rate 100000000Hz CCB UART Clock rate 100000000Hz
clocksource: Switched to clocksource mpcore_gtimer
NET: Registered protocol family 2
TCP established hash table entries: 1024 (order: 0, 4096 bytes)
TCP bind hash table entries: 1024 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
TCP: Hash tables configured (established 1024 bind 1024)
UDP hash table entries: 256 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
UDP-Lite hash table entries: 256 (order: 1, 8192 bytes)
NET: Registered protocol family 1
init gpio code
PCI: no core
PCI: no core
PCI: scanning bus 0
PCI host bridge to bus 0000:00
pci_bus 0000:00: root bus resource [io 0x0000-0xffffffff]
pci_bus 0000:00: root bus resource [mem 0x00000000-0xffffffff]
pci_bus 0000:00: root bus resource [bus 00-ff]
pci 0000:00:0f.0: [Firmware Bug]: reg 0x10: invalid BAR (can't size)
PCI: Fixing up bus 0 domain 0
PCIE1 link=1
PCIE1 switching to GEN2
PCIE1 link=1
PCI host bridge to bus 0001:00
pci_bus 0001:00: root bus resource [mem 0x08000000-0x0fffffff]
pci_bus 0001:00: No busn resource found for root bus, will use [bus 00-ff]
PCI: Fixing up bus 0 domain 1
PCI: bus0: Fast back to back transfers disabled
pci 0001:01:00.0: Max Payload Size set to 512 (was 128, max 512)
PCI: Fixing up bus 1 domain 1
PCI: bus1: Fast back to back transfers disabled
pci 0001:00:00.0: BAR 8: assigned [mem 0x08000000-0x080fffff]
pci 0001:01:00.0: BAR 0: assigned [mem 0x08000000-0x08007fff 64bit]
pci 0001:00:00.0: PCI bridge to [bus 01]
pci 0001:00:00.0: bridge window [mem 0x08000000-0x080fffff]
PCIE2 link=1
PCIE2 switching to GEN2
PCIE2 link=1
PCI host bridge to bus 0002:00
pci_bus 0002:00: root bus resource [mem 0x40000000-0x47ffffff]
pci_bus 0002:00: No busn resource found for root bus, will use [bus 00-ff]
PCI: Fixing up bus 0 domain 2
PCI: bus0: Fast back to back transfers disabled
pci 0002:01:00.0: Max Payload Size set to 512 (was 128, max 512)
PCI: Fixing up bus 1 domain 2
PCI: bus1: Fast back to back transfers disabled
pci 0002:00:00.0: BAR 8: assigned [mem 0x40000000-0x400fffff]
pci 0002:01:00.0: BAR 0: assigned [mem 0x40000000-0x40007fff 64bit]
pci 0002:00:00.0: PCI bridge to [bus 01]
pci 0002:00:00.0: bridge window [mem 0x40000000-0x400fffff]
PCIE3 link=0
squashfs: version 4.0 (2009/01/31) Phillip Lougher
io scheduler noop registered (default)
io scheduler cfq registered
serial8250_init
Serial: 8250/16550 driver, 3 ports, IRQ sharing disabled
console [ttyS0] disabled
serial8250.0: ttyS0 at MMIO 0x18000300 (irq = 117, base_baud = 6250000) is a 16550
console [ttyS0] enabled
serial8250.0: ttyS1 at MMIO 0x18000400 (irq = 117, base_baud = 6250000) is a 16550
brd: module loaded
loop: module loaded
bcmsflash: found no supported devices
The first offset=200000, 2nd offset=2100000
Boot partition size = 524288(0x80000)
lookup_nflash_rootfs_offset: offset = 0x200000 size = 0x1f00000, 0x20000
found TRX Header on nflash!
nflash: squash filesystem with lzma found at block 30
lookup_nflash_rootfs_offset: offset = 0x2100000 size = 0xfff00000, 0x20000
Creating 6 MTD partitions on "nflash":
0x000000000000-0x000000080000 : "boot"
0x000000080000-0x000000200000 : "nvram"
0x000000200000-0x000002100000 : "linux"
0x0000003c0000-0x000002100000 : "rootfs"
0x000002100000-0x000102000000 : "linux2"
mtd: partition "linux2" extends beyond the end of device "nflash" -- size truncated to 0x5f00000
0x000002100000-0x000102000000 : "rootfs2"
mtd: partition "rootfs2" extends beyond the end of device "nflash" -- size truncated to 0x5f00000
PPP generic driver version 2.4.2
PPP BSD Compression module registered
PPP Deflate Compression module registered
PPP MPPE Compression module registered
NET: Registered protocol family 24
i2c /dev entries driver
GACT probability NOT on
Mirror/redirect action on
Simple TC action Loaded
netem: version 1.3
u32 classifier
Performance counters on
input device check on
Actions configured
Netfilter messages via NETLINK v0.30.
nf_conntrack version 0.5.0 (3969 buckets, 15876 max)
nf_conntrack_rtsp v0.7 loading
xt_time: kernel timezone is -0000
ip_set: protocol 6
gre: GRE over IPv4 demultiplexor driver
nf_nat_rtsp v0.7 loading
ip_tables: (C) 2000-2006 Netfilter Core Team
NET: Registered protocol family 17
bridge: automatic filtering via arp/ip/ip6tables has been deprecated. Update your scripts to load br_netfilter if you need this.
Bridge firewalling registered
8021q: 802.1Q VLAN Support v1.8
Registering SWP/SWPB emulation handler
max nvram space = 131072
read 65536 bytes to offset 0
Northstar brcmnand NAND Flash Controller driver, Version 0.1 (c) Broadcom Inc. 2012
nand: device found, Manufacturer ID: 0x01, Chip ID: 0xf1
nand: AMD/Spansion NAND 128MiB 3,3V 8-bit
nand: 128 MiB, SLC, erase size: 128 KiB, page size: 2048, OOB size: 64
Spare area=64 eccbytes 56, ecc bytes located at:
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
Available 7 bytes at (off,len):
(1,1) (16,2) (32,2) (48,2) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0) (0,0)
Scanning device for bad blocks
Bad eraseblock 183 at 0x0000016e0000
Options: NO_SUBPAGE_WRITE,
Creating 1 MTD partitions on "brcmnand":
0x000002000000-0x000008000000 : "ddwrt"
VFS: Mounted root (squashfs filesystem) readonly on device 31:3.
Freeing unused kernel memory: 340K
init : starting devinit
cannot open /dev/nvram
cannot open /dev/nvram
udevtrigger[370]: parse_config_file: can't open '/etc/udev/udev.conf' as config file: No such file or directory
init : starting Architecture code for northstar
length = 80000
try modules for ethernet adapters
et: module license 'Proprietary' taints kernel.
Disabling lock debugging due to kernel taint
et_module_init: passivemode set to 0x0
et_module_init: txworkq set to 0x0
et_module_init: et_txq_thresh set to 0x400
et_module_init: et_rxlazy_timeout set to 0x3e8
et_module_init: et_rxlazy_framecnt set to 0x20
et_module_init: et_rxlazy_dyn_thresh set to 0
ET Corerev 4
eth0: Broadcom BCM47XX 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet Controller 7.14.89.21 (r524987)
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth0'
roboswitch: trying a 5324000c0! at eth0
roboswitch: Failed to enable switch
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth1'
roboswitch: No such device
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth2'
roboswitch: No such device
roboswitch: Probing device 'eth3'
roboswitch: No such device
wl_module_init: passivemode set to 0x0
wl_module_init: txworkq set to 0x0
wl driver 7.14.89.21 (r524987) failed with code 1
wl driver 7.14.89.21 (r524987) failed with code 1
eth0: mixed HW and IP checksum settings.
cannot open /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_conntrack_max
jffs2: version 2.2. (NAND) (SUMMARY) (LZMA) (CMODE_SIZE) © 2001-2006 Red Hat, Inc.
Unlocking ddwrt ...
flash : Could not unlock MTD device: ddwrt
ddwrt: No such file or directory
cannot open /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_conntrack_max
sorry, your unit does not support resetbutton feature

resetbutton : resetbutton daemon successfully started
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
wl: wl driver adapter not found
Write wireless mac fail : : No such device
wl: wl driver adapter not found
bridge : bridge br0 successfully added
device br0 entered promiscuous mode
CTL_set_cist_bridge_config: Got return code 0, -1
Couldn't find bridge with index 6

Couldn't change bridge bridge_max_age
CTL_set_cist_bridge_config: Got return code 0, -1
Couldn't find bridge with index 6

Couldn't change bridge bridge_forward_delay
killall: ead: no process killed
br0: Invalid argument
bridge : interface vlan1 successfully added to device vlan1 entered promiscuous mode
bridevice eth0 entered promiscuous mode
dge br0
sh: ead: not br0: port 1(vlan1) entered forwarding state
founbr0: port 1(vlan1) entered forwarding state
d
device br0 left promiscuous mode
device br0 entered promiscuous mode
ifconfig: ioctl 0x8914 failedevice br0 left promiscuous mode
d: Address not available
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
wl: wl driver adapter not found
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
wl: wl driver adapter not found
wland : daemon successfully started
device vlan2 entered promiscuous mode
rmmod: eoip: No such file or directory
cp: can't stat '/tmp/mycron.d/*': No such file or directory
cp: can't stat '/jffs/mycron.d/*': No such file or directory
cp: can't stat '/mmc/mycron.d/*': No such file or directory
fast-classifier (PBR safe v2.1.6b): starting up
fast-classifier: registered
sfe : shortcut forwarding engine successfully started
cron : daemon successfully started
dnsmasq : daemon successfully started
cat: can't open '/proc/sys/net/netfilter/nf_conntrack_flush': No such file or directory
device vlan2 left promiscuous mode
udhcpc: started, v1.31.1
ttraff : traffic counter daemon successfully started
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
wl: wl driver adapter not found
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
udhcpc: sending discover
httpd : httpd server started at port 80
httpd : http daemon successfully started
udhcpc: sending discover
udhcpc: sending discover
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
br0: port 1(vlan1) entered forwarding state
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
Radio: 0 currently turned off
nas : wait for network initget_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
get_wl_instance doesnt return the right value 0
No such device
Radio: 0 currently turned off
httpd : daemon successfully stopped
httpd : httpd server shutdownhttpd : httpd server started at port 80
mkdir: can't create directory '/jffs/tmp': File exists
mkdir: can't create directory '/jffs/tmp/ipkg': File exists
httpd : http daemon successfully started
sorry, your unit does not support resetbutton feature

resetbutton : resetbutton daemon successfully started
[USB] checking...
/opt/etc/init.d/rcS: No such file or directory
/jffs/etc/init.d/rcS: No such file or directory
/mmc/etc/init.d/rcS: No such file or directory
killall: proxywatchdog.sh: no process killed
/mnt/smbshare
umount: can't unmount /mnt/smbshare: No such file or directory
rmmod: cifs: No such file or directory
rmmod: fscache: No such file or directory
killall: schedulerb.sh: no process killed
killall: shatd: no process killed
killall: wdswatchdog.sh: no process killed
/jffs/etc/config/usb.startup: Exec format error

DD-WRT v3.0-r43652 std (c) 2020 NewMedia-NET GmbH
Release: 07/03/20
Board: Broadcom Northstar

DD-WRT login: root
Password:
==========================================================

___ ___ _ _____ ______ ____ ___
/ _ \/ _ \___| | /| / / _ \/_ __/ _ __|_ / / _ \
/ // / // /___/ |/ |/ / , _/ / / | |/ //_ <_/ // /
/____/____/ |__/|__/_/|_| /_/ |___/____(_)___/

DD-WRT v3.0
http://www.dd-wrt.com

==========================================================
login[1042]: root login on 'console'


BusyBox v1.31.1 (2020-07-03 07:31:11 +04) built-in shell (ash)

root@DD-WRT:~# uname -a
Linux DD-WRT 4.4.229 #452 SMP Thu Jul 2 15:06:46 +04 2020 armv7l DD-WRT
root@DD-WRT:~#
CanadaMoose
DD-WRT User


Joined: 12 Apr 2017
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 23:33    Post subject: Reply with quote
Looks like it boots. Have your tried to reset to factory default?
If not, execute "nvram erase && reboot" on the command line.
kernel-panic69
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 10211
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 23:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
Could be a possible hardware failure. Was it working on stock firmware?
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gamefanaticWRT
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 24 Jan 2021
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 15:09    Post subject: Reply with quote
CanadaMoose wrote:
Looks like it boots. Have your tried to reset to factory default?
If not, execute "nvram erase && reboot" on the command line.

Yes I have done this numerous times, but it does not help.


kernel-panic69 wrote:
Could be a possible hardware failure. Was it working on stock firmware?


At this point, that's what I'm trying to determine here. I know I have had issues with this router every time I attempted to upgrade it. I was running DD-WRT (I think v3 r36079) previously but was attempting to upgrade in order to address vulnerabilities that were resolved. I had to pull this one from service and swap it for another.

The part that worries me the most is that during the CFE it sees the Broadcom chips and reports no issues, even assigns an IP, but nothing can reach it. My other routers never had that issue.

So far I have not been able to get the USB ports to work either, but power up USB devices (makes their LED's come on). To be fair, I may not be doing things right, but I thought this version of DD-WRT had automount enabled?
Maybe not by default...

Ethernet ports show up the LED on every port. So far I cannot get WLAN, Ethernet or USB to work.

Was just hoping someone with more experience than I could confirm the scenario.
kernel-panic69
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 10211
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 18:36    Post subject: Reply with quote
Somewhere in all these web search results, you may find something. There is also the wiki and original device support thread(s).
_________________
Official Forum Rules, Guidelines & Helpful InformationFirmware FAQInstallation WikiWhere Do I Download Firmware‽
DON'T use Chromium-based browsersRTFM/STFW TL;DR is NOT an excuse. • Why Should I Care What Color the Bikeshed Is‽
Please DO NOT PM me with questions; Ask in the forum. ---------------------- Linux User #377467 counter.li.org / linuxcounter.net
gamefanaticWRT
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 24 Jan 2021
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 19:48    Post subject: Reply with quote
What is it about these routers that they are fixed by "FM". This would be the second router that I put to the side for a day (unplugged), came back to it to give it one last try, and BAM! It's fixed...


This was the original thread I followed a few days ago. I happened upon it again using your search and went through it one more time. I've NVRAM erase no less than 20 times over the course of the weekend, but this time it worked...
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/tm-ac1900-rt-ac68u-bricked-while-flashing-from-tomato-to-merlin.29077/

I think the fix was restarting my computer... Yes, that definitely was the fix because it had absolutely no bearing on the problem, and why wifi wasn't showing up or USB...

Whatever! Thank y'all for your feedback and for giving me the desire to carry on! ^_^
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