flashed WNDR3700 v3, locked out of GUI after hard reseet

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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 23:57    Post subject: flashed WNDR3700 v3, locked out of GUI after hard reseet Reply with quote
I'm so confused. Following the peacock thread, I was at step g for upgrading to a newer build. In other words, I turned off my wifi and my AV, set to static IP at 192.168.1.8, did a hard reset, saw the change-p/w page, flashed build 47495, lights came back to normal, I saw some text on the page saying flashing was successful and some other stuff, along with a button that said "continue". I clicked "continue", it loaded up DD-WRT, and the text on the top right corner had the new build written. So everything appeared fine. Then I did the power cycle (step e). Pretty sure I loaded the DD-WRT home page again and saw that the uptime field was counting the minutes. Then I did step g, the second 30-30-30 reset. Now I can't log back into the interface! It keeps giving me a timeout error. Something to the effect of (depending on which browser) that "192.168.1.1 took too long to respond" or "timed out". Wtf?

The lights on this thing look normal. I see a (steady) green light for 2.4 GHz, (steady) blue light for 5 GHz, and when I plug in an ethernet cable, it shows a green light corresponding to the port that is plugged into. The only thing is that the ethernet light is steady, but I think it used to blink rapidly before? Not sure. Also not entirely sure if the wifi lights should be steady or blinking.

I can even see a "dd-wrt" SSID in my wifi list. I assume that's the default SSID that DD-WRT broadcasts. So ... it seems like it should be fine?

So why can't I log into the interface?? I thought I did the dangerous part (the flashing) correctly if the new build number showed up on its home page. What could possibly go wrong on the second hard reset?

I tried doing the hard reset several more times and I get the same result.

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Last edited by darussiaman on Sat Oct 30, 2021 15:51; edited 2 times in total
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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 0:33    Post subject: Reply with quote
Did your browser return to http://192.168.1.1 or https://192.168.1.1 ? I generally don't do a 30/30/30 after upgrade; that has proven to be snake oil at times. You should've been greeted with the password change page. What browser were you using for this? FF ESR portable, Pale Moon Portable, Waterfox classic portable have always been best for me on Windows.
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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 2:37    Post subject: Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
Did your browser return to http://192.168.1.1 or https://192.168.1.1 ?


Thanks for reply. I'm not sure.

But I followed the peacock thread step by step under the checking if bricked section. I am getting "request timed out" response when pinging it. I got to step g, where it says to power cycle it while continuing the pings. This is what I get: screenshot attached. So, as I understand it, it's not quite bricked?

Ugh. FML.

EDIT: I still don't understand how it powers up seemingly normally and even gives off a wifi SSID that I can see if it's busted/corrupted. But anyway, most importantly, I'd really like to know how to fix it.

So now do I have to do the TFTP method according to note 11 in the peacock thread? But whatever it says about using a WinXP or Linux-based system, I don't have a computer like that. Now what can I do?



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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:40    Post subject: Reply with quote
Doesn't look like you are getting TTL=64, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything since it may be an issue elsewhere that has mucked up the ethernet ports. Can you not connect to the wireless, whatsoever? Did you try all the ethernet ports? This is why I don't use the Peacock thread for MIPSR2 devices, whatsoever. Too much snake oil advice that may result in things going awry. To TFTP, you push the firmware image (stock, usually...) to the router when you get the first TTL=100. I take it that you do not quite grasp what you are reading...
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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 18:01    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks again for bearing with me.

kernel-panic69 wrote:
Did you try all the ethernet ports?


From your suggestion, just tried that. I put my PC on static IP at 192.168.1.10. Turned off wifi, turned off AV. Started pinging it and while the pings keep going, tried each of the 4 ethernet ports. Screenshot attached. All 4 of them give "Request timed out."

kernel-panic69 wrote:
Can you not connect to the wireless, whatsoever?


Yes, I can, actually. It appears as though the wifi connection is fine, but I still get the same timeout result.

Attached are screenshots from when I connect to the wireless and click the "Properties" link in the wifi list. I tried it with both dynamic IP and static IP. You can see I used static IPv4 of 192.168.1.10. When using dynamic IPv4, I got assigned 192.168.1.102.



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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 18:03    Post subject: Reply with quote
Also attaching screen shots from ipconfig /all if that helps at all?

They were taken at the same time as the settings screen shots.



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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 18:21    Post subject: Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
To TFTP, you push the firmware image (stock, usually...) to the router when you get the first TTL=100.


Yeah, that is basically the message that I got from the peacock thread. I see now that the thread seems outdated after all, since the wiki regarding TFTP flash states some contradictory info regarding CTCP.

My next questions are:

Should I go ahead with the TFTP procedure based on my continued inability to access the firmware interface? If so, better to use stock fw or try a dd-wrt mini?

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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2021 18:24    Post subject: Reply with quote
And I still have no clue if you have checked whether or not http://192.168.1.1 works from wired or wireless. If that does not work, whatsoever, then something is definitely wrong with that particular device's image, which may have been fixed later (or not). I honestly do not see why this firmware caused a brick of sorts, outside of the 30-30-30 reset you did, unless the firmware image was broken.

If you can't get access, then go ahead with TFTP of stock firmware or dd-wrt mini .chk file.

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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 0:06    Post subject: Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
And I still have no clue if you have checked whether or not http://192.168.1.1 works from wired or wireless.


Okay, to confirm, I just checked it again... and yes, it was still not working. Still giving the same error of "The connection has timed out". I tried it on Pale Moon (regular install, not portable) to make sure I can see the full address in the address bar, and that it was "http". Tried it with both wireless and wired and static and dynamic IP.


kernel-panic69 wrote:
I honestly do not see why this firmware caused a brick of sorts, outside of the 30-30-30 reset you did, unless the firmware image was broken.


Yes, I'm also very confused. Did I not wait long enough?? But if that's the case, then problems should've started when I did the power cycle, right? I was definitely able to log back in normally after the power cycle after the flash.

The whole process of the 30-30-30 reset is rather awkward because the reset button is hard to keep steady hold of with a paper clip while plugging/unplugging the power. I believe I had unsteady contact during the 30 secs after the unplug/plug-back-in part. That is, I think I pushed the reset button on/off a few times before holding it steadily. Could that have done anything??


******************************************************

In any case, I should proceed to try the TFTP stuff. I guess I'll go ahead and try a dd-wrt file instead of OEM. Does it matter? Is OEM fw safer to use here?

But, why did you say this?
kernel-panic69 wrote:
or dd-wrt mini .chk file


I thought the one I would use for this situation is the same as the one I flashed during upgrade, only the mini version. I downloaded file dd-wrt.v24-44715_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini-nv64k.bin, since the build number is sort of arbitrary at this point. Why did you say it needs to be a .chk file?

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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 0:42    Post subject: Reply with quote
darussiaman wrote:
kernel-panic69 wrote:
I honestly do not see why this firmware caused a brick of sorts, outside of the 30-30-30 reset you did, unless the firmware image was broken.

Yes, I'm also very confused. Did I not wait long enough?? But if that's the case, then problems should've started when I did the power cycle, right? I was definitely able to log back in normally after the power cycle after the flash.

The whole process of the 30-30-30 reset is rather awkward because the reset button is hard to keep steady hold of with a paper clip while plugging/unplugging the power. I believe I had unsteady contact during the 30 secs after the unplug/plug-back-in part. That is, I think I pushed the reset button on/off a few times before holding it steadily. Could that have done anything??

It is quite possible, which is one reason why I don't do these. You could've corrupted your nvram, which the only resolution at this point for that is to have a serial UART-TTL-USB adapter and console up and running in PuTTY to break boot and issue an 'nvram erase && reboot' through.

darussiaman wrote:
In any case, I should proceed to try the TFTP stuff. I guess I'll go ahead and try a dd-wrt file instead of OEM. Does it matter? Is OEM fw safer to use here?

But, why did you say this?

kernel-panic69 wrote:
or dd-wrt mini .chk file

I thought the one I would use for this situation is the same as the one I flashed during upgrade, only the mini version. I downloaded file dd-wrt.v24-44715_NEWD-2_K2.6_mini-nv64k.bin, since the build number is sort of arbitrary at this point. Why did you say it needs to be a .chk file?

Stock firmware is always the safest bet. You could possibly use the .bin file for TFTP, I have not had one of these Netgear devices in hand to know 100% for sure; I would also have to do a follow-up search of the forum to be sure. But initial flash is always a .chk:

https://forum.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Netgear_WNDR3700 (scroll down to v3 section).

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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 1:38    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok, whether to use .chk or .bin is not at all stated in either the peacock thread or in the "TFTP Flash" wiki, which I find highly annoying. The peacock thread simply says: "Get the appropriate dd-wrt firmware version for your router". Yep, I know that the initial one is .chk but figured it would be .bin in this case since dd-wrt is already on there.

Anyway, I just downloaded the latest stock firmware, and the file is about 7,000 KB. Do you still believe it's safer to go with that one than a mini, even though the guides say that smaller is better, due to the short time window?

Thanks again!

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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 6:49    Post subject: Reply with quote
OMG! It somehow became unstuck, and now I can access the interface!

I'm still very confused... but also very relieved. I don't even know what step(s) caused it to come back to life. TL;DR: I kept trying to do the TFTP method, and it never worked. But then I randomly noticed that I got a TTL 64 in my ping stream. It might be because of a very long hold of the reset button that I did??

Here's an attempt at reconstructing the sequence of events. I read in the thread linked in the peacock thread about how folks were saying that you have to get the timing of the upload very precisely, so I tried that a bunch of times, and it always failed. tftp2.exe kept saying something about "erasing flash" and then it flashed the message "Unable to get response from the server." and it would try again. In the thread people say that you can put many routers into recovery mode so I looked up how to do it for this one. Turns out, that it's actually impossible via button pressing on this device. But, before I found that out, I saw this, which talks about how you hold the reset button for 45 secs until the power LED starts blinking, which is recovery mode. (Apparently this applies to other versions of the 3700 but not v3.) Anyway, I attempted to do this and held down the reset button for a long time, even longer than a minute. Could it be that this step fixed my nvram somehow? I found some other sites like here and here and here in which the authors both said that it was not possible to put into a recovery mode this way. EDIT: for completeness, I should mention that based on one of those links, I also tried to telnet into it. Did not work, of course.

Now I was feeling pretty hopeless. I futilely tried to do the TFTP thing a bunch more times, trying to adjust my timing while looking at the stopwatch that I would start simultaneously as switching on the router. Still nothing... then, as yet another attempt failed and the router was going through its typical boot sequence, I was about to try once again and pushed the power button to the router. And right at that moment, I noticed on the command prompt that the last line of pings came back with TTL 64! It immediately switched to "general failure" again since the router was now off. I was like, wtf?? I switched it on again and sure enough, after a few minutes, it started returning TTL 64 in a steady stream. I then opened a browser window, put in 192.168.1.1, and there was the password change screen!

Is this crazy? I still don't understand how/why it became "unbricked"...

******************************************************

Also, now I know that this router is a total b**** to actually unbrick if it ever gets truly bricked. One of those links above shows how to put it into recover mode so as to use TFTP, but this method is via using telnet, so it's only possible when the firmware is working. And the other link talks about how to make the serial connection... but the pins are not even there!

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Last edited by darussiaman on Sat Oct 30, 2021 15:56; edited 3 times in total
darussiaman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 7:03    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ok one last question.

kernel-panic69 wrote:

...which is one reason why I don't do these.


Are you saying you don't recommend the 30-30-30 reset at all for this kind of device? Not before flashing, not after upgrade either? I want to know in case I want to flash a different build another time (in fact, some wifi settings seem to be misbehaving already).

The peacock thread quotes a user named LOM, and I'm a little confused by what that person wrote. Is the person saying that the GUI-based "factory defaults" action is all you would ever need before flashing a different build? And even then, is it almost never necessary, except if "an nvram variables function changes between firmware version"?

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kernel-panic69
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 13:27    Post subject: Reply with quote
Glad that it finally decided to cooperate!

The only time you really need to do any kind of reset before or after flashing an upgrade is if there have been specific changes to nvram variables that will wind up causing gremlins. The nvram variables are checked (and written to) on boot-up. The 30-30-30 or hard reset is a "safety net" to exclude any likelihood of nvram corruption, gremlins, etc. Honestly, it is easier to just telnet or ssh in and do an 'nvram erase && reboot' or use the webUI reset to defaults post-boot, if you absolutely must reset to have a clear conscience. There was a point where the reset button was not usable on some builds, so if you got locked out, you had to either use serial or some other method of de-brick. I still have yet to find any solid documentation that MIPSR2 Broadcom even requires a 30-30-30; I think that is snake oil methodology that can wind up having adverse affects, as we have seen here.

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darussiaman
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 18:48    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hmmm. Okay I'm getting some fishy behavior with this build, so as an experiment, I used the GUI's Factory Defaults reset. I noticed that it didn't fully wipe the settings. Yes, I was greeted with the password-change page after the reboot. However, when I went into the Wireless Security tab, I saw that it had wiped all the settings for one of my radios, wl0, but not for wl1. The Wireless Security wl1 section still had the info that I had filled in the night before, even the WPA Shared Key was left intact (as I could see by clicking the Unmask checkbox). That's not what I would expect from a "Restore Factory Defaults" function lol...

EDIT: oh, I noticed at least one other place where previous settings were intact also, like the Sensitivity Range (ACK Timing) was at 3150, which I had filled in according to the "BCM Best Wifi Settings" thread.

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