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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ASUS wl520-gU RAM upgrade - short pin 9 of NOR flash chip to GND upon startup CFE then fails to read the nvram, uses the default and voila

Man, this guy knows what he is doing!:) I wonder if something like this could be done with my Zonet Router. It has some good Features for Setting up a Web Server and 150mbps Wireless too. But, it gets very slow and has to be rebooted every few days and it no longer can get on the Internet unless it is behind another Router. Very weird problem... Granted, this started after an electrical blew out some of my other Electronics. A TV that was not protected and an HDTV Converter Box. I sent it back to Zonet and they sent it back in the same state that it was in when I sent it to them. But that was the last week of the Warranty. So, I can't send it back again even if I wanted to spend more money on shipping. I only paid $25 or so for the Zonet. So it's not worth sending in again. I hung on it for a while. And now I have it in the Garage. Using it as a "Universal Wifi Repeater". This way, I can get on the Internet. From the Garage, with some old computers. I have out there. So, that I can look things up when I working out there. I can also, listen to Streaming Music. But, it would be cool. If I could update the Firmware and get it fully working again...


ASUS wl520-gU: RAM upgrade

I had this router around for quite a long time, but unfortunately it sucked at some points.
1. The clock bug. It’s 200Mhz, not 240, the clock’s off and the result is usb 1.1 hangups. Luckily this is cured by installing a 2.0 hub, to do transaction translation
2. Memory. 16mb is a not enough! Especially with the leaking wl driver. b43 seems quite greedy as well. The trunk builds of OpenWRT did not work for me any more, so…
I was of for an upgrade.
The SDRAM is initialized by the bootloader (CFE) which lives at the beginning of the flash with parameters from nvram, a place of flash at the very end to store configuration data. CFE has it’s own backup of fail safes, in case the nvram region gets corrupt. Well, I bricked it setting the wrong data for sdram initialization! No jtag whatsoever, but there was a better solution to reset the nvram. Googling over the forums I found a small and simple solution: short pin 9 of NOR flash chip to GND upon startup. CFE then fails to read the nvram, uses the default and voila. Reflash some dd-wrt image for this router, since they overwrite nvram with something working, unlike OpenWRT. That’s it for unbricking. For this dire situations I even made a button!

So the debricking sequence is simple:


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