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looking for tech-savvy TM-ac1900 / RT-ac68u router owners to help me test a firmware upgrade/download multitool

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So if you're reading this, you probably are aware of the thousands upon thousands of comments on SD in the deal posts for this router, full of people trying to upgrade/downgrade/otherwise modify their routers... maybe you even know the process is really not even that hairy... it just requires attention to detail that many people apparently can't muster. ...Or at the very least, it requires some monotonous annoying operations to get where you wanna go.

So I made a pile of powershell scripts that anyone with a pretty recently-updated Windows computer should be able to use without need to deal with other software. Since you could re-badge your tmo fw to stock asus firmware, I called the project The Badger... it's basically just a "user friendly" menu script wrapped around a bunch of separate operations:
  • download Tmo CFE to local.ps1
  • module context strings.ps1
  • secret sauce to clean MTD.ps1
  • select ethernet adapter.ps1
  • set auto IP by DHCP.ps1
  • set manual IP in subnet 1.ps1
  • set manual IP in subnet 29.ps1
  • show current network config.ps1
  • TFTP flash old Tmo FW via subnet 1.ps1
  • TFTP flash old Tmo FW via subnet 29.ps1
  • upload mod-CFE etc then write CFE and FW.ps1
  • wait for router to return on subnet 1.ps1
  • wait for router to return on subnet 29.ps1


You don't even need to flash anything if you don't want to -- just take a look at this thing, lemme know if there's an obvious improvement that needs to be made, suggestions, etc.


Project page: https://github.com/jasonbuechler/asus-rebadger

Video demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7SYNOZQ504
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#2
What a cool idea!! Powershell can be your friend.
But not working for me. I have posted the issues to the github.
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#3
Quote from pterrell
:
What a cool idea!! Powershell can be your friend.
But not working for me. I have posted the issues to the github.
Hey @pterrell! I responded a bunch of github, but I know personally that I don't ever seem to get notifications of updates there, so I figured I'd hit you up here, too.

There's a likely solution to your apparent inability to use the TFTP stuff, BUT... before you go immediately fixing everything, I was hoping you could tell me some more about your particular router, and maybe grab me some files off of yours, since I could do more testing if I had them, I suspect. Also, could you verify what version of firmware you have on your router, that appears to have it locked down so hard?

thanks!
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#4
The router has the latest T-Mobile firmware: 3199(?). I got it in Jan 2017 and flashed it to ASUS firmware. In Feb 2018, I saw a new version of ASUS firmware was available and updated it. Next thing I know, the router flashed itself to the T-Mobile firmware.
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#5
Didnt work for me either, I'm on 3199 firmware. See pic of where I got stopped:
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#6
Quote from melcoeb
:
Didnt work for me either, I'm on 3199 firmware. See pic of where I got stopped:
Ah, thank you for the image and report!

So when I got up this morning, I saw a merge request on github from someone who had found a bad oopsie with the then-latest version (2.5). I just uploaded a newer version (2.6) that fixes that. (I had combined 2 old scripts into one but part of the "main menu" was still pointing to a no-longer-existing old script.)

I'm a little concerned, though, about it pinging so long without success. ...and I now realize I prooobably need to add some code to *not* proceed if it never successfully pings the router. ...or at least some verbiage saying "this doesn't look right!"
Up until recently, the router will respond to pings while it is in recovery mode, but I have no idea if this is still true in 3199 and beyond... @pterrell do you know?
In any case, it won't hurt to get the 2.6 release and try that out instead.

The bad news is you may be in the same boat as @pterrell with one of the "unlucky" recent units that reportedly show an apparently unusable miniCFE and don't respond to TFTP... but the good news is, there's a workaround. It's not difficult, but it is involved. I link to it from this part of my wiki: https://github.com/jasonbuechler/...leshooting I'd gladly help you through it if you should need any advice/assistance.
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#7
Thanks for that link, that did it.

I followed the NO CFE USB INSTRUCTIONS on the google doc guide. It took me a while (I'm not an IT guy, just someone who likes to tinker), took me a while, but it worked.

I'm now on the latest ASUS firmware.
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#8
Quote from jasonbuechler
:
Up until recently, the router will respond to pings while it is in recovery mode, but I have no idea if this is still true in 3199 and beyond... @pterrell do you know?
In any case, it won't hurt to get the 2.6 release and try that out instead.
While in recovery mode, the 3199 router responded to pings.
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#9
This looks great. I had had the exact same problem as pterrell and spent almost two days to get it back.

It tried the regular efforts with bayareatech/lazyMocha site, but could not get the cfe page to work. Next spent time on the serial procedure since I had a usb to serial adapter from messing with arduino stuffs. That was close but I could not get the CFE to accept commands from putty. Gave up on that when I think I fried my usb-2-serial (I tried the logic-level adapter but think I may have applied too much voltage to the serial adapter by accident)

Luckily the router still worked as usual so I then attempted the web server method and that finally worked with Fenix app for windows 10. The usb method would've probably worked but I am interested in setting up a home server anyway and thought it would time well spent.

Your scripts seem really convenient and I was thinking of something like this the whole time I was attempting each method. I will keep this on the back burner in case this new firmware (3.0.0.4.384.45717) causes issues!

It might not belong here but I did the MTD5 clean up but am hesitant to update. Any one tried it yet (Version 3.0.0.4.384.45717 - 2019/05/13)??
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#10
Quote from treflip
:
This looks great. I had had the exact same problem as pterrell and spent almost two days to get it back.

It tried the regular efforts with bayareatech/lazyMocha site, but could not get the cfe page to work. Next spent time on the serial procedure since I had a usb to serial adapter from messing with arduino stuffs. That was close but I could not get the CFE to accept commands from putty. Gave up on that when I think I fried my usb-2-serial (I tried the logic-level adapter but think I may have applied too much voltage to the serial adapter by accident)

Luckily the router still worked as usual so I then attempted the web server method and that finally worked with Fenix app for windows 10. The usb method would've probably worked but I am interested in setting up a home server anyway and thought it would time well spent.

Your scripts seem really convenient and I was thinking of something like this the whole time I was attempting each method. I will keep this on the back burner in case this new firmware (3.0.0.4.384.45717) causes issues!

It might not belong here but I did the MTD5 clean up but am hesitant to update. Any one tried it yet (Version 3.0.0.4.384.45717 - 2019/05/13)??
Picked up another router. Going to give this method a try and see how well it goes!

See post #14 for the update!
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Last edited by treflip June 15, 2019 at 05:19 AM.
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#11
I bought one of these back in June of 2018. Would running these scripts be easier than following the instructions on bayareatechpros? I want to convert this and possibly put on DD-WRT. I have 100 Mbps Cable and I think DD-WRT should be good enough for those speeds. Also after a conversion will you still get Asus Updates that will revert to T-Mobile? Trying to find the best way to go about this and with all the posts on this router not sure what if any of these instructions are current and up to date.

Thanx
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#12
Quote from treflip
:
Picked up another router. Going to give this method a try and see how well it goes!

I'll update this post as I continue.
Hey treflip!! I'm definitely bad at getting busy with things and stuff like this losing priority (obviously, since I haven't been around!) so I totally understand if you have also been busy -- but i'm curious if you found anything new or had interesting experiences with the new one? Lemme know!

Quote from kulardenu
:
I bought one of these back in June of 2018. Would running these scripts be easier than following the instructions on bayareatechpros? I want to convert this and possibly put on DD-WRT. I have 100 Mbps Cable and I think DD-WRT should be good enough for those speeds. Also after a conversion will you still get Asus Updates that will revert to T-Mobile? Trying to find the best way to go about this and with all the posts on this router not sure what if any of these instructions are current and up to date.

Thanx

Hey Kulardenu -- obviously I can't promise anything, but my gut says the 90% likely answer is 'yes', or at least "somewhat yes" ... if you bought yours that long ago, then I think the odds are good (unless you were really on top of upgrading your firmware) your existing firmware is the "pretty simple" kind that worked perfectly for The Badger up until very recently, where Asus crippled the connectivity options.

At the very least, you can use some of the specific tools in it to do onerous or complicated parts of the bayarea instructions... each one is compartmentalized... so, for example, if you just wanted a quick way to set your ethernet adapter to a manual IP address: boom done.

Plus you're not at any disadvantage trying: if yours is TOO updated and doesn't work, then the flow of the options leads you to a "well you're probably out of luck and need to try the new 'hack' located at the following address...." Smilie

lemme know, I can help! message me if you wanna hit me up on Hangouts or facebook.
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#13
Quote :
Hey Kulardenu -- obviously I can't promise anything, but my gut says the 90% likely answer is 'yes', or at least "somewhat yes" ... if you bought yours that long ago, then I think the odds are good (unless you were really on top of upgrading your firmware) your existing firmware is the "pretty simple" kind that worked perfectly for The Badger up until very recently, where Asus crippled the connectivity options.

At the very least, you can use some of the specific tools in it to do onerous or complicated parts of the bayarea instructions... each one is compartmentalized... so, for example, if you just wanted a quick way to set your ethernet adapter to a manual IP address: boom done.

Plus you're not at any disadvantage trying: if yours is TOO updated and doesn't work, then the flow of the options leads you to a "well you're probably out of luck and need to try the new 'hack' located at the following address...." Smilie

lemme know, I can help! message me if you wanna hit me up on Hangouts or facebook.
The router I have has not been touched yet. Only updates of firmware was whatever it was shipped with. I will give it a try this weekend. I really appreciate the offer of help!
Thanx!
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#14
Quote from jasonbuechler
:
Hey treflip!! I'm definitely bad at getting busy with things and stuff like this losing priority (obviously, since I haven't been around!) so I totally understand if you have also been busy -- but i'm curious if you found anything new or had interesting experiences with the new one? Lemme know!




Hey Kulardenu -- obviously I can't promise anything, but my gut says the 90% likely answer is 'yes', or at least "somewhat yes" ... if you bought yours that long ago, then I think the odds are good (unless you were really on top of upgrading your firmware) your existing firmware is the "pretty simple" kind that worked perfectly for The Badger up until very recently, where Asus crippled the connectivity options.

At the very least, you can use some of the specific tools in it to do onerous or complicated parts of the bayarea instructions... each one is compartmentalized... so, for example, if you just wanted a quick way to set your ethernet adapter to a manual IP address: boom done.

Plus you're not at any disadvantage trying: if yours is TOO updated and doesn't work, then the flow of the options leads you to a "well you're probably out of luck and need to try the new 'hack' located at the following address...." https://static.slickdealscdn.com/ima...lies/smile.gif

lemme know, I can help! message me if you wanna hit me up on Hangouts or facebook.
Hey wrote up a little commentary while running this:
(These were the issues I ran into while trying the conversion. Not all were due to your script but left them for a holistic view of the process for any others trying this.)
  1. powershell wasn't starting due to some .net issues/ couldn't edit group policy - reverted windows back to clean install
  2. couldn't run scripts on this machine - Had to set the execution policy in powershell using this command 'set-executionpolicy remotesigned' (or unrestricted)
  3. tftp : The term 'tftp' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again. tftp not installed - was using powershell_ise - switched to just powershell and it found tftp just fine.
  4. router wouldn't downgrade software. Had to use web server (used it last time and am familiar with it now) (I downloaded mini http server from microsoft app store for free)
  5. after flashing 1703 and setting up ssh. I skipped to 'F' but got the error: Cannot find path <myPath>\.ssh because it does not exist - it was pointing to my machine as if I had a ~/.ssh/ locally (was it looking for linux??) - seemed to resolve itself and prompted for password
  6. 'password' didn't work - used admin - (probably because I uploaded the 1703 fw through web server)
  7. scp: /root/original_cfe.bin: no such file or directory - using bayareatechpros and this command in putty 'cat /dev/mtd0 > original_cfe.bin' to create it and then copy it out
_________________________

After this was able to use the script to push through the MTD5 partition and allow unlocked firmware and finally finished the setup!

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to help out as much as I can!

Thanks for the script!

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#15
Quote :
EDIT: Think I got it! Had to go the Bay area instructions though. Had issues even with them could not get responses from Port 22 So I changed to 69 and got through. fashed the down grade and got the upgrade to flash though I did get a error. admin@(none):/tmp/home/root# mtd-write2 FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx linux
linux: CRC OK
Bus error

I ignored it and so far seems to be up and running.

My original firmware is (and still is) 3.0.0.4.376_3108. Was hoping this was a good FW but...

Took a bit in powershell but got the scripts to run. But then it was a No Go. I get as far as "E" All the IP addys and gateway get set fine but when I get to installing the file I the following.

Quote :
Immediately executing TFTP transfer to 192.168.29.1 ...
Connect request failed
Tried it several times and still no luck. Even tried the BayArea instructions and no go on the flash, I get to the mini-CFE but it just times out.

Quote :
Go to 192.168.29.1 in a web browser
If Mini-CFE webpage won't load use Asus Restore Utility
If having trouble with this step perform NVRam Reset and try #6 again (see step #20)
Flash TM-AC1900_3.0.0.4_376_1703-g0ffdbba.trx
You can ping 192.168.29.1 or .5 fine But networks diagnostics reports DNS server is not responding.

Not sure how I would do a web server to flash the downgrade software.

Bit of a head scratcher. Any ideas where I can go from here? I looked at the Google doc "From AC1900 To AC68U After Revert [google.com]" but does not seem to be what I need.
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Last edited by kulardenu June 16, 2019 at 04:29 PM.
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