Flashing The Unflashable – DD-WRT build 24461

Flashing The Unflashable – DD-WRT build 24461

ddwrt-downgrade-wdr3600A couple of days ago, I decided to update my TP-LINK WDR3600 Router, as a part of my quarterly hardware and software maintenance cycle. I had bought the router quite some time back in August 2013 as a cheap replacement for my old Linksys router, since I could flash DD-WRT on it right off the shelf, as compared to other routers on the market at that time.

The last version which I flashed a while back was build 24461, which was released in June, and all was running fine and great, until September when I checked the DD-WRT FTP site for a build, and I couldn’t find a build later than June to flash. It seemed like they were re-organizing the folders on the FTP server, so I decided to check again in December.

When I tried to flash the latest build via the router’s web GUI, apparently the upgrading process failed. Thankfully the router was still able to function properly after a failed flash, and a quick Google search showed that firmware build 24461 is bugged and flashing via the web GUI is broken.

Searching for more answers on Google led to a solution which worked with previous build versions by using the mtd command to write the firmware image to a partition, but was reported to brick the router with newer firmware. Given my unfamiliarity with the mtd command, I looked around to see if it was possible to upgrade dd-wrt or revert to stock firmware via other methods led me to discover the good old telnet option. Apparently this method isn’t documented properly for this router, so here it is.

Reverting DD-WRT to r24160 from r24461 on TP-LINK TL-WDR3600

The goal is to revert to a previous build which is able to flashed via the web GUI with this method. You can try directly flashing the latest build version (r25648 as of this point in time at writing), but to my knowledge, this has not been tried nor tested by me. This guide assumes that web GUI is (still) accessible, and internet access is working.

  1. Enable Telnet Management option in the Administration -> Management tab, Remote Access options. Reboot or restart the router if needed, otherwise, saving and applying the settings works as well.
  2. Connect to the router with a telnet client, such as PuTTY.
  3. Login as root. When prompted for password, enter the password which you use access the web GUI.
  4. Download r24160 into a temporary directory:

    cd /tmp
    wget http://download1.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv2/downloads/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2014/05-27-2014-r24160/tplink_tl-wdr3600v1/tl-wdr3600-webflash.bin

  5. Flash the firmware:

    write tl-wdr3600-webflash.bin linux

  6. Once done, logout of the router:

    exit

  7. Wait 30 seconds.
  8. Unplug the power plug from the router and wait another 30 seconds.
  9. Turn on the router and check that everything is working fine.

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