Multiple failed attempts to flash Archer C8 v1 v2

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delhite2
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 17:28    Post subject: Multiple failed attempts to flash Archer C8 v1 v2 Reply with quote
Hi, i have a c8 v1 I tried flashing C8 v1 in accordance with https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/TP_Link_Archer_C8 & somehow my device ended in a boot loop and kept restarting every 12-13 seconds... It was still accepting firmware via tftp (tried tplink & ddwrt) but that didn't resolve it, & while further tinkering via serial bricked it completely.

I then recovered via whole flash dump for C8 v2 & then again tried ddwrt flashing via this method as shown here https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1083450 hoping that I would be lucky this time but all I managed was loading the v1 firmware. Ddwrt flashing again sent the router to same bootloop, I again had to resort to direct chip flashing to recover.

Now,i dont want to remove the chip again so if anyone can tell me a way to flash the router to ddwrt (in case it fails, tftp recovery which works) I would appreciate it.
I have flashed ddwrt on so many routers but I haven't faced such a problem ever before.

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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 17:50    Post subject: Reply with quote
It would help to have serial logs of the bootloops to see where it is hanging. Also, was this with the most recent release (43718/43720)?
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delhite2
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 17:53    Post subject: Reply with quote
The release used was as suggested in the respective posts (30949, 30880). Unfortunately I did not save the serial output... Now in hindsight it seems obvious I should have.
One sure thing was tftp recovery did not recover the router at all, I tried both firmwares (it would fetch the file and once fetched reboot almost instantly, it didn't seem to program the flash at all) Ddwrt and official tplink, New & old firmwares were tried too.

Anyway foolproof method to try, a build that's sureshot working?
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 18:00    Post subject: Reply with quote
Looks like to make a "v2" work, you have to employ some hexediting magic voodoo:

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1083450#1083450

Now, the question is, which version does your router think it is?

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delhite2
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 18:02    Post subject: Reply with quote
My unit is originally v1, it failed in flash.
I recovered via chip writing... It converted it to a v2 firmware then followed that link, it did flash the v1 firmware fine via tftp but ddwrt fails & sends it into infinite bootloop, no kind of resetting, hard reset (wifi or wps button) , or tftp brings it back.
Once I have written the v2 dump the device is basically v2 for all intents and purposes... I think only pcb layout has changed between v1 & v2 (maybe flash type too) but as a v2 and even after conversation to v1 as suggested in the link the device functions fine... Accepts tp link firmwares in accordance with v2 just fine.
It only failed after ddwrt flash when it was earlier v1.
It now also failed ddwrt flash when it is v2.
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 18:09    Post subject: Reply with quote
I guess if it is not flashing successfully per the instructions, need a serial log. The only other thing I can think of is some magic u-boot voodoo to get it back to being a v1, which I would need a device in hand to figure out.
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delhite2
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 18:20    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't need it to be v1, it is currently on a prescribed v1 firmware as stated in the link u posted.
I just need it to run ddwrt.
U would need serial log after it fails to flash ddwrt, right?
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 18:27    Post subject: Reply with quote
So, the stock TP-Link firmware thinks it's a v1, correct? If so, you shouldn't have to hexedit a damn thing, it should just flash without issue.

If in fact there is a bootloop issue going on trying to flash any recent release of DD-WRT (43516 and up, specifically), yes. Serial logs would be great. Cannot use serial logs from antique firmware images, must be on a current release.

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delhite2
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 19:34    Post subject: Reply with quote
To be clear, it currently has a v1 (Archer_C8_V1_150515.zip) firmware on it but shows v2 as in this thread. https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1083450
Ddwrt failed to flash even with this firmware even when
Archer_C8_V1_150515.zip was flashed & it showed v1.

So i have tried ddwrt on (Archer_C8_V1_150515.zip) with device showing both v1 & v2 and it has failed both the times.
Also, again i will mention tftp recovery to tplink & ddwrt have failed for me both the times after trying to flash ddwrt.
Yes i tried hexediting when I am working with tplink thinking it is v2, but that didn't help either, it only helped in flashing tplink 150515 firmware to a v2 device which is otherwise not possible.
Upgrading /downgrading within tplink works fine.
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 20:27    Post subject: Reply with quote
There has to be a conflict somewhere. But I can only speculate without any tangible information other than what has been given so far. So, whenever you can actually provide something to help troubleshoot the issue, then maybe we can get somewhere.

This might help you with some additional information that can be gleaned via serial console:

https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Serial_Recovery

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delhite2
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 13:31    Post subject: Reply with quote
Now I have the actual spi flash dumps of both v1 & v2. Is it possible to flash the chip from cfe via serial to v1 from v2?
kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 15:12    Post subject: Reply with quote
If you are referring to writing the entire flash chip, you will have to use a programmer/JTAG. Also, if you now have a v1 fullflash dump, I need to add it as an attachment to your posts... Smile
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delhite2
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 15:22    Post subject: serial txt Reply with quote
so i did the voodoo again on factory to ddwrt for 43516 and as shown here https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=1083450#1083450
this is the serial error log as shown, device is in a endless bootloop.
havent tried anything else.
i hope i can recover without desoldering this time.



cfe error while ddwrt flashed.txt
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  cfe error while ddwrt flashed.txt
 Filesize:  24.47 KB
 Downloaded:  74 Time(s)

kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 15:36    Post subject: Reply with quote
Forwarding your log to the developer, with a link to this thread. Hopefully, you can recover it without all the extra work, but if you do, flash it to the actual hardware version of the device (v1).

EDIT: You responded during my edit. I deleted my previous post and your post.

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delhite2
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 15:44    Post subject: Reply with quote
just sharing the serial log when after i tftped the original firmware back.... it keeps asking for a file.. just see..
i can proceed and enter busybox too.

edit: i passed the device a blank rftest file by setting pc ip to 192.168.0.100 & then i was able to get into the http page, but that only lasts till a reboot is done



cfe serial after trying to tftp back original firmware.txt
 Description:

Download
 Filename:  cfe serial after trying to tftp back original firmware.txt
 Filesize:  5.42 KB
 Downloaded:  69 Time(s)

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