Success on installing DD-WRT to WRT32X w/o USB TTL cable

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isg17
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Joined: 28 Apr 2018
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 16:35    Post subject: Success on installing DD-WRT to WRT32X w/o USB TTL cable Reply with quote
Update: Contributor Skoda Zek has a good suggestion regarding downloading the DD-WRT image directly to the WRT32X Venom filesystem using wget rather than downloading it to your computer and then SCP'ing it your WRT32X. This is beneficial for those who don't have a SSH daemon running on their local computer. Here is the link:

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=315339&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=45

Background on Discovery Process
I spent some time trying to install DD-WRT and the most current version of Open-WRT but was not having luck. Like most everyone else, I opted for not opening my WRT32X unit and use the USB to TTL cable. Like others, I ran into similar problems where I would receive an "invalid firmware" type of message while upgrading from GUI or using the sysupgrade command from a secure shell session.

Next, I took the plunge to open up my unit and started to tinker around with upgrading using a USB to TTL cable. This resulted in a little progress where I TFTP’d a factory-to-ddwrt.bin image to one of the boot partitions while in the stock U-Boot (Venom). However, like other’s I found my unit stuck at booting to the dd-wrt partition. The console session using my USB to TTL cable showed no progress after [ 1.452727] VFS: Mounted root (squashfs filesystem) readonly on device 254:0. So I decided to put away my little pet project for a couple of months until I had some more free time and desire to pursue it again.

Subsequently, after I picked it back up and read through boards where there was some progress made by individuals, I decided to dig back into it. I even nand erased my chip and tested older versions of U-Boot. During this time, while using an older version of U-Boot (boot logo showing Marvell), I successfully managed to TFTP from U-Boot a DD-WRT factory image that booted without any issues. Frustrated at this whole process and discovery, I diff’d the older Marvell U-Boot and stock Venom U-Boot environment variables and noted one significant difference. It appears that the stock uboot209.bin has an environment variable "silent=1" that prevents the Linux kernel from continuing to load. You get stuck at VFS: Mounted root (squashfs filesystem) readonly on device 254:0.

After removing the "silent" environment variable altogether, the WRT32X will now boot successfully into DD-WRT. I believe there is a bug with Venom version of U-Boot that prevents Linux kernel from completing the boot process. The "silent" environment variable is used to suppress console messages after the initial bootstrap takes place. Interestingly, in my testing using some stock Rango images with no "silent" environment variable set, you are automatically logged directly into the Rango’s version of Open-WRT as root (no password appears to be set and thus a security risk).

EDIT: I mistakenly wrote Rango rather than Venom. In all my testing I used the stock WRT32X Venom image direclty from Linksys not the WRT3200ACM Rango stock image.

Coincidentally, during the months that had passed since my original attempts to upgrade, I believe the DD-WRT team has been releasing factory-to-ddwrt.bin images that can successfully be installed using secure shell to WRT32X units with stock Rango images. The benefit is that there is now no need to manually modify partition tables in the U-Boot environment variables in order to upgrade to DD-WRT or OpenWRT.

I have tested on two different WRT32X units and the results are repeatable even after doing full nand chip erase. Here is the process:

Prerequisites Files
1. https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html (download to Windows Putty SSH client)
2. https://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/betas/2018/05-23-2018-r36006/linksys-wrt32x/FW_WRT32... (factory to DD-WRT image)
3. https://downloads.openwrt.org/snapshots/targets/mvebu/cortexa9/openwrt-mvebu-cortexa9-linksys-wrt32x... (factory to OpenWRT image)

High Level Upgrade Process
1. SSH/Putty into stock WRT32X unit
2. Remove the "silent" environment variable
3. SCP the current factory-to-ddwrt.bin to the WRT32x
4. Optional: Select boot_partition that you want to perform the upgrade to
5. Issue sysupgrade command
6. Reboot

Sample Commands to Upgrade
1. ssh root@192.168.1.1 (router’s ip address)
2. cd (change working directory to root’s home directory)
3. fw_printenv silent (view current setting of silent environment variable)
4. fw_setenv silent (remove value from silent environment variable)
5. fw_printenv silent (validate current setting of silent environment variable is not set)
6. scp XXXXX@192.168.1.254:/private/tftpboot/FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img (copy a current factory-to-ddwrt.bin; note this is the correct .IMG file that sysupgrade requires)
7. fw_printenv boot_part (validate the partition you want to upgrade; if boot_part=1 dd-wrt will install on boot_part=2; if boot_part=2 dd-wrt will install on boot_part=1)
8. Optional: fw_setenv boot_part 2 (this will allow sysupgrade to install dd-wrt on the primary partition boot_part=1)
9. sysupgrade -i -n -v FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img (-i is interactive; -n is do not save current configuration; -v is verbose mode)
10. Reboot when prompted

This same process can be used to upgrade to OpenWRT 18.06. I haven’t had any success in performing a clean sysupgrade from stock Rango to OpenWRT 17.01. I haven’t tried to downgrade from 18.06 to 17.01 since 18.06 has been remarkably stable for me.

I have successfully installed DD-WRT and OpenWRT 18.06 on separate partitions and am switching back and forth using "ubootenv set boot_part" (dd-wrt) and "fw_setenv boot_part" (OpenWRT). I have successfully been able to go back to the Rango stock firmware as well.

Good luck if you decide to try this out.

Sample Output of Upgrade Proces
macbook:~ XXXXX$ ssh root@192.168.1.1
The authenticity of host '192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is SHA256:/s/2f/C/Qju32c2/V8QEm3qNPxWEkQ4UjCUUdqIY2dE.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added '192.168.1.1' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
root@192.168.1.1's password:


BusyBox v1.24.2 () built-in shell (ash)

_______ ________ __
| |.-----.-----.-----.| | | |.----.| |_
| - || _ | -__| || | | || _|| _|
|_______|| __|_____|__|__||________||__| |____|
|__| W I R E L E S S F R E E D O M
-----------------------------------------------------
DESIGNATED DRIVER (Bleeding Edge, 50108)
-----------------------------------------------------
* 2 oz. Orange Juice Combine all juices in a
* 2 oz. Pineapple Juice tall glass filled with
* 2 oz. Grapefruit Juice ice, stir well.
* 2 oz. Cranberry Juice
-----------------------------------------------------
root@OpenWrt:~# cd
root@OpenWrt:~# pwd
/root
root@OpenWrt:~# fw_printenv silent
silent=1
root@OpenWrt:~# fw_setenv silent
root@OpenWrt:~# fw_printenv silent
## Error: "silent" not defined
root@OpenWrt:~# scp XXXXX@192.168.1.254:/private/tftpboot/FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img

Host '192.168.1.254' is not in the trusted hosts file.
(ssh-rsa fingerprint md5 92:82:67:3d:3a:f7:7a:ea:39:ec:84:79:08:61:33:84)
Do you want to continue connecting? (y/n) y
XXXXX@192.168.1.254's password:
FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img 100% 30MB 15.0MB/s 00:02
root@OpenWrt:~# fw_printenv boot_part
boot_part=1
root@OpenWrt:~# sysupgrade -i -n -v FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img
Keep config files over reflash (y/N): N
killall: watchdog: no process killed
Sending TERM to remaining processes ... logd rpcd netifd odhcpd crond siproxd uhttpd dnsmasq S80pppoe-detect pppoe-discovery ubusd
Sending KILL to remaining processes ...
Switching to ramdisk...
Performing system upgrade...
Unlocking kernel2 ...

Writing from <stdin> to kernel2 ...
UBI device number 1, total 960 LEBs (121896960 bytes, 116.2 MiB), available 0 LEBs (0 bytes), LEB size 126976 bytes (124.0 KiB)
Volume ID 0, size 231 LEBs (29331456 bytes, 28.0 MiB), LEB size 126976 bytes (124.0 KiB), dynamic, name "rootfs", alignment 1
Set volume size to 86978560
Volume ID 1, size 685 LEBs (86978560 bytes, 82.9 MiB), LEB size 126976 bytes (124.0 KiB), dynamic, name "rootfs_data", alignment 1
sysupgrade successful


Last edited by isg17 on Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:41; edited 2 times in total
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ghoffman
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Joined: 03 Jan 2010
Posts: 453

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 21:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
very interesting.
to be clear - did you convert your wrt32x from a wrt3200acm, or sue any of that process to alter any other environment variables for uboot? i didnt know you coul dboot a rnago image using the mtd map and nandboot setup on a wrt32x.

i had a similar observation to your finding about the 'silent' variable. i had the bright idea to modify uboot209 binary to have 'silent=0' instead of 'silent=1' as the default enviroment. i did that with a hex editor, then burned the modded uboot back to my board. BAD IDEA. this apparently screwed up a checksum check so that uboot went tino a bootloop, before the point of allowing console interrupts. result: board fried.

on a new wrt32xb: i had removed the silent directive as you had done, and successfully burned a lede image from the factory gui (which is openwrt with different gui)
over the last week i have sucessfully loaded many openwrt builds including 18.06 (confirming excellent stability).

i am now going to try dd-wrt from the lede gui. i'll post followup.
spuriousoffspring
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Joined: 05 Apr 2017
Posts: 983
Location: South of Heaven, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 23:10    Post subject: Reply with quote
@isg17 Thanks! I will give this a try as soon as I have some free time.

FYI, the David C. LEDE/OpenWRT build can be flashed from Linksys Stock Venom GUI.
https://davidc502sis.dynamic-dns.net/

@ghoffman A few questions:
Where did you download the 18.06 LEDE/OpenWRT build you currently have running? Is it from the Daily Snapshot List:
https://downloads.openwrt.org/snapshots/targets/mvebu/cortexa9/

What packages did you install? I'm still getting familiar with LEDE/OpenWRT and trying to learn about building my own firmware. I was going to try with the most recent Snapshot and then install all the packages that David C. has in his May 18th build for the WRT32X.
His list is here:
https://davidc502sis.dynamic-dns.net/releases/lede-mvebu-cortexa9.manifest

Am I missing anything? Is this similar to your WRT32X build?

Sometime over the weekend I will be installing Linux Manjaro along side Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit as a dual-boot setup. I have a second, empty 500GB SSD installed in my computer and a bootable copy of Linux Manjaro on a USB flash drive, ready to go.

It's time I learned Linux! Mr. Green

References for anyone else who may be interested:
Linux Manjaro website:
https://manjaro.org/

Instructions for installing Linux Manjaro as dual-boot with Windows:
https://wiki.manjaro.org/index.php?title=UEFI_-_Install_Guide#Dual_booting_with_Windows

Instructions for installing Linux Mint as dual-boot with Windows:
https://itsfoss.com/guide-install-linux-mint-16-dual-boot-windows/

Instructions for installing Ubuntu as dual-boot with Windows:
https://askubuntu.com/questions/726972/dual-boot-windows-10-and-linux-ubuntu-on-separate-hard-drives

Distro Watch
https://distrowatch.com/

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https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=315569

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http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=308565

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spuriousoffspring
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Joined: 05 Apr 2017
Posts: 983
Location: South of Heaven, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:35    Post subject: Reply with quote
@isg17 I just wanted to clarify one thing in your post: you mentioned several times about flashing the WRT32X with a rango image. rango.img is the name of the WRT3200ACM Firmware. However, in your example commands you use FW_WRT32X_1.0.666_DDWRT.img which is the factory to dd-wrt file for the WRT32X.

Did you use WRT3200ACM firmware on your WRT32X at all or was it just a typo?

Thanks!

WRT32X = venom
WRT3200ACM = rango

_________________
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https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=315569

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http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=308565

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isg17
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 28 Apr 2018
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:56    Post subject: Reply with quote
@ghoffman Yes, I DID NOT do any "convert" WRT32X to WRT3200ACM. This was all stock U-Boot and the preinstalled WRT32X stock firmware (Rango image). There is no manual manipulation of the MTD partition tables. I say manual because I'm pretty sure that the sysupgrade and GUI upgrade process automatically redefine the partition tables during the process.

Regarding removal of the U-Boot environment variables, to remove them completely, you simply do not supply any value. Subsequently, you can printenv the specific variable or all variables and double check the removal. Additionally, I don't really buy into the fact that you "fried" your board. Most likely, you have a corrupt U-Boot, which isn't too tough to install a clean version using a USB to TTY serial cable. Heck, in my frustration with my excursions into installing open router firmware on my WRT32X I nand erased the entire chip. I fully recovered to various U-Boot versions including stock U-Boot version 209 using serial line UART upload of the U-Boot bin file.

I had/have small DD-WRT issues that I can't fix (ipv6 not working with my ISP). And with OpenWrt 18.06 I'm having instability after I supply more than one custom DNS servers to my LAN clients. The LUCI interface was initially daunting however I'm running OpenWrt as my primary firmware. However, I would like to go back to DD-WRT since I believe they have better (easier) VPN server support out of the box. I'm anxious to try SoftEther on DD-WRT.

@spuriousoffspring The Venom GUI on the stock Rango image is absolutely horrible. There is no way to even back up your configuration for recovery purposes. Additionally, there aren't any time access restrictions that I want to apply to my LAN clients.

The stock Linksys image that I based all my testing is a WRT32X image from Linksys.

http://downloads.linksys.com/downloads/firmware/FW_WRT32X_1.0.6.181063.img

EDIT: It appears Linksys removed this image. However, I've successfully started with various FW_WRT32X_1.0.17XXXX and FW_WRT32X_1.0.18XXXX images and was successful as well.

By the way, I've tried Gargoyle and Tomato based firmwares as well. I was not successful with either one of them. Clearly, OpenWrt is the fastest (in terms of performance) firmware out there. You just have to learn LUCI and Linux to be successful in your endeavors.

I'm hoping that frustrated WRT32X owners who gave up on the Linksys in the last several months will come back and try both either firmware systems.
spuriousoffspring
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Joined: 05 Apr 2017
Posts: 983
Location: South of Heaven, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:13    Post subject: Reply with quote
isg17 wrote:
@ghoffman Yes, I DID NOT do any "convert" WRT32X to WRT3200ACM. This was all stock U-Boot and the preinstalled WRT32X stock firmware (Rango image)

WRT3200ACM Stock Firmware = rango
WRT32X Stock Firmware = venom


Quote:
The Venom GUI on the stock Rango image.....

This doesn't make sense.

I've been running David C.'s LEDE/OpenWRT build for several weeks now. So far it's been performing extremely well. I got 110Mbs/sec transfer speed on Samba. No drops on either Wireless band. The only issue is the current firmware doesn't recognize the dual-partitions, therefore sysupgrade isn't working correctly. A patch has been made and should be in the next release.

https://davidc502sis.dynamic-dns.net/

_________________
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http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=308565

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isg17
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Joined: 28 Apr 2018
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:19    Post subject: Reply with quote
You are correct it doesn't make sense since I mixed up the naming convention. It is a stock Venom image, stock Venom U-Boot directly from Linksys. I got forgot the naming convention that WRT3200 is Rango and WRT32X is Venom. In my steps nowhere did use the WRT3200 Rango images. Everything is based on Venom only.

Sorry for the confusion.
spuriousoffspring
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:30    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for clarifying. Hopefully I'll get the time to flash my WRT32X over the weekend.
I'll post the results as soon as I do.

Thank you for figuring this out! Mr. Green

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http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=308565

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adi-brasov
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Joined: 03 May 2017
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 13:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
@isg17 : what nand hardware do you have ? you can find it using #dmesg | grep nand
is it AMD/Spansion or Winbond ? i am asking because ddwrt for wrt32x does not include nand dts patch for winbond yet.
even wrt3200acm users could not use ddwrt until this patch has been applied (see older posts).
strange ...
spuriousoffspring
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Location: South of Heaven, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 14:14    Post subject: Reply with quote
From the Linksys Community Forum. This reply was posted back in April by someone from Linksys:

Quote:
Linksys official firmware is supported in DD-WRT firmware. The WRT supports currently available 3rd party firmware if the serial number starts with 19810 since it has the original flash memory. If the serial number starts with 19811 SN flash, it has a newer flash memory which is why currently available 3rd party firmware does not work. The OpenSource community is responsible for providing firmware fix for the 19811 SN flash memory. The community usually takes a bit of time to produce new firmware that will work when changes like this occur. We recommend reaching out to the OpenSource community for updates.


https://community.linksys.com/t5/Wireless-Routers/install-DD-WRT-on-WRT32X/td-p/1266262/highlight/true/page/2

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ghoffman
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Joined: 03 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 14:50    Post subject: Reply with quote
@spurious -
regarding lede on my wrt32x - yes, the daily snapshots. i was up to may 31, r6987. packages were luci-nlbwmon (bandwidth monitor), luci-sqm. i had samba, ddns, port forwards, static hosts, sqm qos all configured and runnning.

yesterday i moved to dd-wrt; flashed from lede gui. i've been configuring steadily. seems to run well.

@adi-
my hardware is wrt32xb. dmesg says nand version is:
[ 1.061622] nand: device found, Manufacturer ID: 0xc2, Chip ID: 0xda
[ 1.068002] nand: Macronix MX30LF2G18AC
[ 1.071860] nand: 256 MiB, SLC, erase size: 128 KiB, page size: 2048, OOB size: 64
isg17
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 15:46    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just checked and indeed I do have a AMD/Spansion nand hardware. I don't have access to the second unit anymore. However, both units were purchased in early 2018. So, it must have had AMD/Spansion and not Winbond as well.

root@OpenWrt:~# dmesg | grep nand
[ 0.927534] pxa3xx-nand f10d0000.flash: This platform can't do DMA on this device
[ 0.935305] nand: device found, Manufacturer ID: 0x01, Chip ID: 0xda
[ 0.941695] nand: AMD/Spansion S34ML02G2
i
spuriousoffspring
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 15:51    Post subject: Reply with quote
Same here.
_________________
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https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=315569

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http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=308565

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adi-brasov
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Joined: 03 May 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 19:59    Post subject: Reply with quote
so, if you have AMD/Spansion nand chip, you dont need dts patch, and this explain why sysupgrade is working for @isg17 .
all that kept it not working for the ddwrt images i posted in wrt32x thread seems to be that fucking stupid silent env var.
ghoffman
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Joined: 03 Jan 2010
Posts: 453

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 20:28    Post subject: Reply with quote
adi-brasov wrote:

all that kept it not working for the ddwrt images i posted in wrt32x thread seems to be that fucking stupid silent env var.


i think this is the root of the sysupgrade/advanced reboot issue in lede also. i'm waiting for the lede gurus to confirm/deny.

please note my misadventures trying to permanently kill this bug by modifying the uboot binary resulted in a bootloop. also please note there are two versions of uboot209 floating around; both have the silent=1 'feature'.
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