This is my tale of woe, and triumph. It’s in allegory form, after many, many hours spent in turmoil over a bricked Linksys WRT54GSv4. I titled it “The tale of two kings”.
There once was a computer user (King) who purchased a WRT54GS. The peasants rejoiced. The King decided that there was firmware for his new wireless router that would make him happier (ie. dd-wrt, open-wrt, etc.). He looked into it and decided to load dd-wrt v23. The peasants rejoiced.
Although the king rejoiced with the new features of dd-wrt v23, the king was saddened by the few problems he encountered. Therefore, the king checked with other kings and found that other kings found success with v22. Oh, how happy the king was! Finally, the wireless functions would work properly… The peasants rejoiced.
But then, a dark gloom came over the kingdom. Behold, when the king applied v22, something very bad happened, and the router was “hosed” (bricked). The king was distraught and checked with his counselors on the Internet. They provided a great many solutions, alas, after several hours of toiling, the king managed to restore his new wireless router to its rightful position in his kingdom. The peasants rejoiced.
Amidst all the peasant rejoicing, the king was pondering what he’d done to restore his router. He’d looked over several other counselor’s works, yet none seemed to quite hit the nail on the head. This here is the tale of how the king restored his Linksys WRT54GS v4 router… the peasants rejoiced…
The router’s hosed, won’t respond to pings, the power light simply blinks green constantly — the reset button doesn’t change anything on the router. I do have a link on my PC, so the actual switch/controller isn’t shot, but I just can’t get to anything.
I referred to several how-tos on resetting the flash on the router. All of these void your warranty, as you have to disassemble your router. Take heed. Alas, although not explicitly stated in the pages I saw, the WRT54GS v4 uses pins 15 & 16 on the Intel Flash chip to reset the flash to factory defaults.
Here’s what I did:
- Unplugged everything from the router (network cables, power, antennas, etc.)
- Took the router apart (so that the board was exposed)
- Plugged in my computer’s network cable to one of the LAN ports, set my computer to 10mb, half-duplex with an IP address of 192.168.1.10 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 (any address in the 192.168.1.0/24 range would suffice except .1 — that’s the address the router uses)
- Set my computer to constantly ping 192.168.1.1 (the router’s IP address) — in Windows, use ping 192.168.1.1 -t
- Got a jeweler’s screwdriver and used it to provide contact between pins 15 & 16 on the Intel Flash chip (pin 15 is the third white mark starting from pin 0)
- Plugged the router in (while holding the jeweler’s screwdriver to connect pins 15 & 16)
- Continued to provide contact to pins 15 & 16 until a few seconds went by (at which point I was receiving ping replies on my computer
- I released the screwdriver (careful not to touch anything else with it)
At this point, I thought “everything’s okay — I can reset the router and it’ll still respond”. Wrong. Everytime the router’s reset (while it’s bricked), I had to reset the flash (pins 15 & 16). Take note of this, and don’t despair if you encounter the same thing (I read other places how this restored the ping connectivity and it sounded like it was a permanent fix, not an every-time-its-reset-fix)
To actually restore the router from this point:
- Turned the power to the router off
- I downloaded the latest official Linksys WRT54GS v4 firmware for the router (obviously I had a way to get to the Internet)
- I downloaded Pumpkin TFTP server/client
Note: many people have said to use the official Linksys TFTP program, but I had no luck with this program. This may be dependent on what firmware you had loaded on the router before it was hosed. I’m not sure, but for my situation, Pumpkin worked great.
- I unplugged the router
- Told Pumpkin to push/PUT the Linksys firmware file via TFTP to 192.168.1.1 (using octet/binary transfer)
- Plugged in the router (my computer’s still connected, but isn’t constantly pinging the 192.168.1.1 address)
- Saw the file transfer occur on the Pumpkin screen. Once it finished, I left the router alone. It did its own thing (took several minutes — wait *at least* five minutes before messing with it)
- After I watched some TV, came back, all the lights were normal-looking, so I went to the address in my web browser and voila! It was alive!
We all rejoiced.
Yes, some tales are too sad to tell, but mine ended on a happy note (we’re all still rejoicing — see above), so I figured I’d share it. Being as how there are so many different models and versions within those models, it can be difficult to find restore directions for your particular model. Hopefully this will prove to be of some help to some poor soul out there who’s bricked their WRT54GS v4 as I had — and hopefully it’ll help get it back! These routers are tough little suckers and are very versatile (based on the firmware features you’ve loaded obviously).
Well, I have some more rejoicing to do… ’till we meet again.