Recovering a bricked TP-Link Archer C7

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odhiambo
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Nairobi, KE

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 8:37    Post subject: Recovering a bricked TP-Link Archer C7 Reply with quote
Hi,

I accidentally flashed dd-wrt firmware meant for Archer C7v5 into C7v2 thereby bricking the C7v2.
I have done the TFTP recovery as documented and the V2 retrieves the firmware from TFTP, but it still remains bricked - rebooting in a loop.

Is there a way to go around this or this device must now be sent to the bin?

Thanks in advance.
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Per Yngve Berg
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 6577
Location: Romerike, Norway

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 10:54    Post subject: Reply with quote
The C7 is an Atheros unit. Please use the Atheros forum for hardware specific questions.
egc
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 18 Mar 2014
Posts: 10788
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 11:03    Post subject: Reply with quote
I will move this thread to the appropriate forum.

@odhiambo please read the forum guidelines with helpful pointers about how to research your router, where and what firmware to download, where and how to post and many other helpful tips:
https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=324087

_________________
Routers:Netgear R7800, R7000, R6400v1, R6400v2, Linksys EA8500, EA6900 (XvortexCFE), E2000, E1200v1, WRT54GS v1.
Install guide R6400v2, R6700v3,XR300:https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=316399
Install guide R7800/XR500: https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=320614
Forum Guide Lines (important read):https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=324087
nyddwrtuser330
DD-WRT User


Joined: 05 Mar 2018
Posts: 159

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 13:17    Post subject: Reply with quote
i ran into this yesterday, seems the archer c7 is picky about what the actual firmware versions used are for recovery.

to fix mine, i downloaded the current firmware from tplink (watch the v#). You need to rename the firmware file

ArcherC7v2_tp_recovery - mine was v2 but i suspect that v# needs to be changed to correct one.

this should bring you back to factory, once factory, use the factory to ddwrt to come back.
ian5142
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 23 Oct 2013
Posts: 2285
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2021 15:46    Post subject: OpenWRT Wiki Reply with quote
The best source for recovery info for TP-Links is actually the OpenWRT wiki: https://openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/archer_c7#installation_or_restore_with_tftp

You can find the filename being requested by turning on a TFTP log in TFTPd32 / TFTPd64. It will list the filename the router is looking for.

Make sure to remove the first 20200 bytes of the factory file, using a hex editor (HxD), not required for DD-WRT factory files.

I can edit the file if required.

_________________
Before asking a question on the forums, update dd-wrt: Where do I download firmware? I suggest reading it all.
QCA Best WiFi Settings


Some dd-wrt wiki pages are up to date, others are not. PM me if you find an old one.

Atheros:
Netgear R7800 x3 - WDS AP / station, gateway, QoS
TP-Link Archer C7 v2 x2 - WDS Station
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 v1 - WDS Station
TP-Link 841nd v8 - NU
D-Link 615 C1/E3/I1 x 7 - 1 WDS station
D-Link 825 B1 - NU
D-Link 862L A1 x2 - WDS Station
Netgear WNDR3700v2 - NU
UBNT loco M2 x2 - airOS

Broadcom
Linksys EA6400 - Gateway, QoS
Asus N66U - AP
Netgear WNDR3700v3 - not used
MediaTek
UBNT EdgeRouter X - switch
odhiambo
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Nairobi, KE

PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2021 6:38    Post subject: Re: OpenWRT Wiki Reply with quote
ian5142 wrote:
The best source for recovery info for TP-Links is actually the OpenWRT wiki: https://openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/archer_c7#installation_or_restore_with_tftp

You can find the filename being requested by turning on a TFTP log in TFTPd32 / TFTPd64. It will list the filename the router is looking for.

Make sure to remove the first 20200 bytes of the factory file, using a hex editor (HxD), not required for DD-WRT factory files.

I can edit the file if required.


It is looking for ArcherC7v2_tp_recovery.bin and I have been using the factory file one downloaded from their website. I just renamed it but did not edit to remove the first 20200 bytes.
I'd really appreciate it if you could share the edited file.
Perhaps that is all I need, instead of going the way of the USB to TTL cable.
Thanking you in advance while waiting for the edited file.
ian5142
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 23 Oct 2013
Posts: 2285
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2021 13:21    Post subject: Factory TP-Link Files Reply with quote
Hello odhiambo,
Merry Christmas.

I have attached 3 files (need to be logged in to see them).

TP-Link releases firmware for US, Global, and Israel.
For some odd reason I decided to do US, Global and Canada. Whatever. I think the global one is also the EU version in this case. It depends on where you purchased the unit.

_________________
Before asking a question on the forums, update dd-wrt: Where do I download firmware? I suggest reading it all.
QCA Best WiFi Settings


Some dd-wrt wiki pages are up to date, others are not. PM me if you find an old one.

Atheros:
Netgear R7800 x3 - WDS AP / station, gateway, QoS
TP-Link Archer C7 v2 x2 - WDS Station
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 v1 - WDS Station
TP-Link 841nd v8 - NU
D-Link 615 C1/E3/I1 x 7 - 1 WDS station
D-Link 825 B1 - NU
D-Link 862L A1 x2 - WDS Station
Netgear WNDR3700v2 - NU
UBNT loco M2 x2 - airOS

Broadcom
Linksys EA6400 - Gateway, QoS
Asus N66U - AP
Netgear WNDR3700v3 - not used
MediaTek
UBNT EdgeRouter X - switch
odhiambo
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Nairobi, KE

PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:11    Post subject: Re: Factory TP-Link Files Reply with quote
ian5142 wrote:
Hello odhiambo,
Merry Christmas.

I have attached 3 files (need to be logged in to see them).

TP-Link releases firmware for US, Global, and Israel.
For some odd reason I decided to do US, Global and Canada. Whatever. I think the global one is also the EU version in this case. It depends on where you purchased the unit.


Hi @ian5142,

Thank you so much for the files. My C7 having been purchased from the US, I used the US version of the firmware you provided. I flushed it via TFTP, but the router still remains bricked. The rebooting loop still happening.
ian5142
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 23 Oct 2013
Posts: 2285
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2021 13:47    Post subject: TFTP Server Reply with quote
You need to setup a TFTP server on your computer. Set the computer's LAN port address to 192.168.0.66. Make sure TFTP32 is pointing to the correct folder and the correct Network adapter (should say the same IP address as above). You should see the router grab the file from the computer (file transfer dialog pops up).

Then wait, at least 5 min. It takes time for it to flash and sort itself out.

_________________
Before asking a question on the forums, update dd-wrt: Where do I download firmware? I suggest reading it all.
QCA Best WiFi Settings


Some dd-wrt wiki pages are up to date, others are not. PM me if you find an old one.

Atheros:
Netgear R7800 x3 - WDS AP / station, gateway, QoS
TP-Link Archer C7 v2 x2 - WDS Station
TP-Link TL-WDR3600 v1 - WDS Station
TP-Link 841nd v8 - NU
D-Link 615 C1/E3/I1 x 7 - 1 WDS station
D-Link 825 B1 - NU
D-Link 862L A1 x2 - WDS Station
Netgear WNDR3700v2 - NU
UBNT loco M2 x2 - airOS

Broadcom
Linksys EA6400 - Gateway, QoS
Asus N66U - AP
Netgear WNDR3700v3 - not used
MediaTek
UBNT EdgeRouter X - switch
odhiambo
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Nairobi, KE

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 7:59    Post subject: Re: TFTP Server Reply with quote
ian5142 wrote:
You need to setup a TFTP server on your computer. Set the computer's LAN port address to 192.168.0.66. Make sure TFTP32 is pointing to the correct folder and the correct Network adapter (should say the same IP address as above). You should see the router grab the file from the computer (file transfer dialog pops up).

Then wait, at least 5 min. It takes time for it to flash and sort itself out.


The router grabs the file, yes. Then I even wait for 30 minutes and it is still in the loop flashing almost all lights on/off. I have now decided to go for the JTAG option. If that fails I just discard the junk.
kernel-panic69
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 13112
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 8:48    Post subject: Re: TFTP Server Reply with quote
ian5142 wrote:
You need to setup a TFTP server on your computer. Set the computer's LAN port address to 192.168.0.66. Make sure TFTP32 is pointing to the correct folder and the correct Network adapter (should say the same IP address as above). You should see the router grab the file from the computer (file transfer dialog pops up).

Then wait, at least 5 min. It takes time for it to flash and sort itself out.

You're not following the instructions and you are trying to do it over wifi from your screenshot. This device is not that difficult to TFTP.

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odhiambo
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Nairobi, KE

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 11:13    Post subject: Re: TFTP Server Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
ian5142 wrote:
You need to setup a TFTP server on your computer. Set the computer's LAN port address to 192.168.0.66. Make sure TFTP32 is pointing to the correct folder and the correct Network adapter (should say the same IP address as above). You should see the router grab the file from the computer (file transfer dialog pops up).

Then wait, at least 5 min. It takes time for it to flash and sort itself out.

You're not following the instructions and you are trying to do it over wifi from your screenshot. This device is not that difficult to TFTP.


Smile
I am actually following instructions to the letter.

I have two computers at my disposal. One is my laptop and another is a headless Desktop. I have installed TFTPd32 on the Desktop and put the file there. I have connected the C7 via ethernet to the Desktop and the Desktop which is dual-homed had its ethernet IP address set to 192.168.0.66. The WLAN interface on the Desktop is what enables me to connect to it via RDP from my laptop.
So the screenshot I shared is captured from an RDP session to the Desktop. It shows the C7 fetching the file. It does fetch the file successfully. However, it does not change after that as it still exhibits the signs associated with bricking.
kernel-panic69
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 13112
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 11:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
Then it's probably a matter of you don't need to strip the bootloader for the C7 because it does not say anywhere in the OpenWRT wiki that it needs to be stripped. Download the appropriate stock firmware for your router and try that.
_________________
"Life is but a fleeting moment, a vapor that vanishes quickly; All is vanity"
Contribute To DD-WRT
Pogo - A minimal level of ability is expected and needed...
At some point, people just get plain tired of this place.
Because they are tired of bottom-feeders and the same old hat.

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odhiambo
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Nairobi, KE

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 11:43    Post subject: Reply with quote
kernel-panic69 wrote:
Then it's probably a matter of you don't need to strip the bootloader for the C7 because it does not say anywhere in the OpenWRT wiki that it needs to be stripped. Download the appropriate stock firmware for your router and try that.


I already tried with the stock firmware and that did not work. @ian5142 was gracious enough to give me a stripped firmware, which is what I have flushed via TFTP, but that still did not un-brick the C7.

And that is why I am thinking the JTAG method is now my only option, no?
kernel-panic69
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 13112
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2021 11:55    Post subject: Reply with quote
All you should have to do is rename the stock firmware file without stripping anything to ArcherC7v2_tp_recovery.bin and put it in TFTP mode with a properly configured TFTP server at 192.168.0.66. I doubt your router now thinks it's a v5....

https://openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/archer_c7#if_tftp_flashing_fails

https://openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/archer_c7#serial

You wouldn't be able to TFTP if the bootloader were completely b0rked, but...

https://openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/archer_c7#jtag_recovery_of_u-boot_v1_and_v2

_________________
"Life is but a fleeting moment, a vapor that vanishes quickly; All is vanity"
Contribute To DD-WRT
Pogo - A minimal level of ability is expected and needed...
At some point, people just get plain tired of this place.
Because they are tired of bottom-feeders and the same old hat.

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