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Topic: How to unbrick your TL-WR1043ND

The content of this topic has been archived between 10 Apr 2015 and 23 Apr 2018. There are no obvious gaps in this topic, but there may still be some posts missing at the end.

Here is how to unbrick your tplink TL-WR1043ND (and possibly others too)

First you will need to download and install putty and tftpd32 server

putty: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
TFTPD32: http://tftpd32.jounin.net/tftpd32_download.html
Alternate to putty Termite: http://www.compuphase.com/software_termite.htm

next you will need to find a USB to TTL cable lots on ebay.

To understand how to open your router, follow the excellent guide on the OpenWRT wiki: http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr1043nd#openingclosing.the.case.

Once you have your cable and opened your router refer to this picture to locate and connect the cable correctly

http://wiki.openwrt.org/_media/inbox/wr1043ndserial.jpg

REMEMBER TO REVERSE THE Tx and Rx with your cable !!! IMPORTANT !!!
NOTE: I didn't use the VCC connection only the GND Tx and Rx if you use the VCC use +3.3v connection

Once you have hooked up your cable correctly follow these instructions and you will be fine.

1. Download the sysupgrade firmware. (/use latest build/ar71xx/generic/openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wr1043nd-v1-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin)
You can download the latest firmware from here http://downloads.openwrt.org/attitude_adjustment/
2. Gain access to the serial port and hook it up to your computer using RS-232 / USB --> TTL adapter.
3. Run Putty, setup Serial connection, set COM port appropiately to your adapter in step 2 and do not click Open yet (baud rate: 115200 8N1 and set Flow Control to None)
4. set networkcard of computer to ip address: 192.168.0.5 , subnetmask 255.255.255.0 and no gateway
5. Run TFTP32 server on your computer, connect computer with ethernet cable to LAN switch port on router.
6. Make sure the "Current Directory" in TFTP32 is set to folder with modified original firmware renamed to "code.bin"
7. In Putty, click open and plug in Power cord to router... you should see bootloader coming up now...
8. You will see something like this:

No valid address in Flash. Using fixed address
: cfg1 0xf cfg2 0x7114
eth0 up
eth0
Autobooting in 1 seconds## Booting image bf0200000...

Then type following fast: tpl

Now you will get into the command prompt and you're able to execute commands.

9. Erase the firmware before writing it again using following command: erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000
10. Download new modified original firmware from computer to the router: tftpboot 0x81000000 code.bin
11. Write the downloaded firmware to flash using: cp.b 0x81000000 0xbf020000 0x7c0000
12. Boot the original firmware again: bootm 0xbf020000
13. Let the router finish booting up and wait for everything to stop loading
14. push ctrl + c than hit enter and now you should see the openwrt login screen

Your router should be unbricked again!

(Last edited by phukit on 13 Dec 2012, 00:50)

On step 1 it asks to use a specific file, but where to get it? Or what is sysupgrade firmware? Is the same of a firmware from dd-wrt?

Thanks so much smile! I followed the guide and my router is now UNBRICKED! Here a little info for future router-brickers:

Instead of ordering a serial cable, which would've taken a few days to get here, I used my Arduino duemilanove as a serial cable. This worked great, for more details see this post: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=725420. An Arduino diecimilia and I presume an Arduino Uno would work as well. Also, I didn't need to solder my wires to the board. I just used tin wires (the stiff ones, not the ones made from many small wires twisted together) and put them through the appropriate holes on the router board. Then I bent the wires so they couldn't move. Finally, I taped them down for good measure. No soldering required! big_smile

When wiring up Tx and Rx cables to the router, pay attention to what the terminal says. If it outputs characters like these:

Ýý     Ỳỳ     Ŷŷ     Y̊ẙ     Ÿÿ     Ỹỹ     Ẏẏ     Ȳȳ     Úú     Ùù     Ŭŭ     Ûû     Ǔǔ     Ůů     Üü     Ǘǘ     Ǜǜ     Ǚǚ     Ǖǖ     Űű     Ũũ     Ṹṹ     Ųų     Ūū     Ṻṻ     Ủủ     Ȕȕ     Ȗȗ     Ưư     Ứứ     Ừừ     Ữữ     Ửử     Ựự
Ụụ     Ṳṳ     Ṷṷ

etc., you've wired Tx and Rx the wrong way round. Switch them and you should be ok smile. The little Tx LED on your Arduino should light up everytime the router enters the boot cycle.

Also, I used software called 'Termite', instead of Putty, because Putty wouldn't work for me :S you can get Termite here if Putty won't play ball with you either: http://www.compuphase.com/software_termite.htm.

To understand how to open your router, follow the excellent guide on the OpenWRT wiki: http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr1043nd#openingclosing.the.case.

I didn't have the option to CTRL+C in Termite, but after I was sure the router was performing normally again, I unplugged it from the power, then removed the wires to the Arduino, and plugged the power back in. I could now access the Luci (=web) interface of OpenWRT smile!

@hugoleosp as sysupgrade, I used the latest beta from the download section. It's 12.09 beta 2, available here: http://downloads.openwrt.org/attitude_a … actory.bin. This is for OpenWRT, however, not DD-WRT. If you prefer the latter, I'd download and use their latest release.

(Last edited by Qopzeep on 25 Nov 2012, 17:36)

I have bricked my 1043nd v1.8 while flashing back to original firmware: was not aware of special (non "boot") version of tplink firmware and i used latest version from tplink server. now i cannot get any access to the router. is there any change to unbrick it?
i could not connect via putty due to COM number, i dont have COM ports at all. USB_TTL is not recognized as COM therefore i dont know what to write to COM line of Putty. telnet, ping or safe mode does not work anymore.

You dont say what OS you are using, If you are on windows, are the drivers for the USB TTL installed? You can find the COM port in device manager > ports

I tried it with my cheap usb ttl on a win7 laptop with internet access, just plugged the ttl in and drivers installed automatically. Checked device manager and found it was on COM4, put that in putty and it works.

hugoleosp wrote:

On step 1 it asks to use a specific file, but where to get it? Or what is sysupgrade firmware? Is the same of a firmware from dd-wrt?

The specific firmware relates to the Original TPLink firmware with the header portion cut off of the firmware its easier to just use the sysupgrade firmware.  (removed this from original post)

Qopzeep wrote:

Thanks so much smile! I followed the guide and my router is now UNBRICKED! Here a little info for future router-brickers:
Also, I used software called 'Termite', instead of Putty, because Putty wouldn't work for me :S you can get Termite here if Putty won't play ball with you either: http://www.compuphase.com/software_termite.htm.

To understand how to open your router, follow the excellent guide on the OpenWRT wiki: http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr1043nd#openingclosing.the.case.

I didn't have the option to CTRL+C in Termite, but after I was sure the router was performing normally again, I unplugged it from the power, then removed the wires to the Arduino, and plugged the power back in. I could now access the Luci (=web) interface of OpenWRT smile!

thanks I updated the OP with your pointers.

sockeye wrote:

You dont say what OS you are using, If you are on windows, are the drivers for the USB TTL installed? You can find the COM port in device manager > ports

bb717715 wrote:

Hi sockeye, I didn't know that i should install drivers, i did not get it with USB-TTL module
( http://www.ebay.com/itm/180953299346?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649)
i guess i need diriver from here, right?
http://prolificusa.com/portfolio/pl-2303hx-usb-to-serial-bridge-controller/
I am using win7 on Macbook bootcamp. I tried the same with WinXP on PC as well.
i will check it now with drivers once again.
6 sockeye 2012-12-08 22:02:00

sockeye wrote:

I tried it with my cheap usb ttl on a win7 laptop with internet access, just plugged the ttl in and drivers installed automatically. Checked device manager and found it was on COM4, put that in putty and it works.
7 bb717715 Yesterday 05:15:44

I used a prolific in Win7 and all I did is plug the cable in and it was recognized and it installed drivers for me. Than checked the what port number it was exactly as what you did in your last post.

(Last edited by phukit on 10 Dec 2012, 18:04)

Thanks for help. I brought my router back to life!
i had to restart tftpd32 then the rest as described above.

[SOLVED] You have to be really fast it took two of us but i got it just revived two one more to go. Thanks very much for this How To with out it i was screwed

I am having a problem getting a command prompt i have typed tpl in at various stages of start up and i don't believe i am getting how would i know. Sorry this is my first attempt at debricking i am getting a response on both putty and thermite  so i guess i have these questions
1) How do i know if i have command prompt ?
2) How long does it take to get a reaction or some sign that some thing is happening ?
3) Can i flash a older stock firmware instead of above firmware ?

I have about ten web pages open but to be honest most of them just have copied and pasted this thread
The Firmware on this router is put out by my ISP Acanac it can be found here http://fw5.net/releases/1.0.2-r352/ar71xx/
I am using a windows seven X64 os and have a USB to TTL adapter
If i missed anything  or you need more info let me know Thanks,Dave

(Last edited by Thirtytwodave on 22 Dec 2012, 17:47)

can you post bootlog?

also, to type tpl fast, copy it from a notepad, and use the "right button click" of your mouse to paste the text in putty windows, press it a million times during first seconds after powerup and you will get a prompt smile

I had it up but took it down once I got it unbricked the first one was easy its version 1.8 , But the second one was  a 1.10 and it was super quick had to get ready to type while my son plugged it in lol . I have one more tp to do then wrt350n is next

Welcome to minicom 2.5

OPTIONS: I18n                                                               
Compiled on May  2 2011, 00:39:27.                                           
Port /dev/ttyS0                                                             
                                                                             
Press CTRL-A Z for help on special keys                                                               
                                                                                                       
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That is my output , i connect wires correctly, try PuTTY it is the same. Please help me. I try without flow control, with flow control, no effect.

(Last edited by nedoskiv on 10 Mar 2013, 12:03)

baudrate??

Thanks to this post, I have successfully unbricked my device with this. but I have a question though, may I know where can I put a jumper for the TX connection for this router?

I have put a bridge between the RX and R362 resistor for the unit to accept serial writes but due to that effort, I may have damaged the TX connection somewhere because I am not seeing the serial log of the device. I may have successfully unbricked the device but I did it blindly, no output whatsoever. I am wondering if I can also bridge the TX connection somewhere but I do not have a multimeter to trace it. I am just relying on pictures here and on the internet.

I am trying to debrick a TL-WR1043ND.

Only power LED lights up.

I connected to it via PL2303HX serial adapter, and all I get in the terminal when booting is this:

U-Boot 1.1.4 (Nov 17 2009 - 11:56:26)

AP83 (ar9100) U-boot 0.0.11
DRAM:
sri
32 MB

And it stops there.

From what I've read in the forums, it shouldn't stop there and should also get this:

id read 0x100000ff
flash size 8MB, sector count = 128
Flash: 8 MB
Using default environment
etc.

Could it be a DRAM failure?

Hi,
Today i bought TL-WR1043ND and bricked it immediately. I used this http://downloads.openwrt.org/backfire/1 … actory.bin to update my firmware through original TP-Link WebGUI. I know that this firmware is old, but i followed instructions in order to just make my IPTV work (here's the link (in Lithuanian, though)): http://opa12345.blogspot.com/2012/05/teo-gala-televizija-ir-zebra-internetas.html ). I bought this router just because i wanted to make IPTV available to all the connected PC's and to be stable on heavy use (on the older router which was very slow i managed to make IPTV available to all the connected devices). Now my new router lights up just Power light, and the port light when cable is connected. The Sys light is always off. I tried Fail Safe and hard reset (30-30-30) number of times, it didn't worked. I took apart the router and tried to connect it through serial port, i made USB-TLL cable from old Siemens phone cable, but it didn't work (maybe i messed up with cables?). Cable was not recognized by PC (didn't showed which COM port it uses), i didn't had any drivers. I read that Voltage should be 3.3 V, but my cable was more like 4.1 V. I hope i didn't fried the router, because it wasn't much of a difference (i read, that 5.0 V may fry, and 8V or more will certainly fry it ). Well, when my cable didn't worked, i ordered this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281113958396?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649 i hope it will help me to bring it to life (there's links to it's drivers). Maybe you can tell me if ~4.1 V wasn't too much? And maybe recommend any correct firmware if-when i recover my router to achieve this:

Network configuration (/etc/config/network) like this (GALA (IPTV STB) – 4 port):
config 'interface' 'loopback'
option 'ifname' 'lo'
option 'proto' 'static'
option 'ipaddr' '127.0.0.1'
option 'netmask' '255.0.0.0'

config 'interface' 'lan'
option 'ifname' 'eth0.2'
option 'type' 'bridge'
option 'proto' 'static'
option 'ipaddr' '192.168.1.1'
option 'netmask' '255.255.255.0'

config 'interface' 'wan'
option 'ifname' 'eth0.1'
option 'proto' 'dhcp'

config 'interface' 'vlan6'
option 'ifname' 'eth0.6'
option 'proto' 'none'
option 'defaultroute' '0'
option 'peerdns' '0'

config 'interface' 'vlan5'
option 'ifname' 'eth0.5'
option 'proto' 'none'
option 'defaultroute' '0'
option 'peerdns' '0'

config 'switch'
option 'name' 'rtl8366rb'
option 'reset' '1'
option 'enable_vlan' '1'

config 'switch_vlan'
option 'device' 'rtl8366rb'
option 'vlan' '6'
option 'ports' '0t 4 5t'

config 'switch_vlan'
option 'device' 'rtl8366rb'
option 'vlan' '5'
option 'ports' '0t 5t'

config 'switch_vlan'
option 'device' 'rtl8366rb'
option 'vlan' '1'
option 'ports' '0 5t'

config 'switch_vlan'
option 'device' 'rtl8366rb'
option 'vlan' '2'
option 'ports' '1 2 3 5t'

If you want to watch GALA (IPTV) on WiFi – you need to add this to /etc/rc.local:

ifconfig eth0.6 10.10.99.1 up
udpxy  -p 4022 -m 10.10.99.1 -B 4Kb -c 10
exit 0

(Last edited by Kittciokas on 2 Jul 2013, 00:54)

Hey guys I have this exact problem. I don't feel confident solving it myself and really dont want to wast any more of my time trying to de brick my router without any positive outcome.

Is there anybody out there that fancies doing the job for me who already has the experience and the cable in exchange for some pennies?

I'm in South Yorkshire in the UK and could possibly post it out to you?

Thanks, James

(Last edited by kime252 on 4 Feb 2014, 19:51)

hello, could you please help me out? I am at the point where i had to enter tpl to stop the rebooting. Now I want to enter the following steps;

9. Erase the firmware before writing it again using following command: erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000
but it says:

ap135> erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000
erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000

Error: end address (0xbf7dffff) not in flash!
Bad address format
ap135> erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000
erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000

Error: end address (0xbf7dffff) not in flash!
Bad address format

And with : tftpboot 0x81000000 code.bin it just is loading and then repeats T after T after T and then says retry count exceeded. So I think the tftp32 is not working? How to solve this part also?

Thank you...


i have the wr1043nd v2.1








___""""

What termite says after connecting before typing tpl:


U-Boot 1.1.4 (Sep 25 2013 - 08:43:53)

ap135 - Scorpion 1.0DRAM: 
sri
Scorpion 1.0
ath_ddr_initial_config(178): (16bit) ddr2 init
tap = 0x00000003
Tap (low, high) = (0x0, 0x1c)
Tap values = (0xe, 0xe, 0xe, 0xe)
64 MB
Flash Manuf Id 0xef, DeviceId0 0x40, DeviceId1 0x17
flash size 8MB, sector count = 128
Flash:  8 MB
Using default environment

*** Warning *** : PCIe WLAN Module not found !!!
*** Warning *** : PCIe WLAN Module not found !!!
In:    serial
Out:   serial
Err:   serial
Net:   ath_gmac_enet_initialize...
athrs_sgmii_res_cal: cal value = 0xe
No valid address in Flash. Using fixed address
No valid address in Flash. Using fixed address
ath_gmac_enet_initialize: reset mask:c02200
Scorpion  ----> S17 PHY *
athrs17_reg_init: complete
: cfg1 0x80000000 cfg2 0x7114
eth0: ba:be:fa:ce:08:41
eth0 up
athrs17_reg_init_wan done
SGMII in forced mode
athr_gmac_sgmii_setup SGMII done
: cfg1 0x800c0000 cfg2 0x7214
eth1: ba:be:fa:ce:08:41
eth1 up
eth0, eth1
Setting 0x18116290 to 0x58b1a14f
Autobooting in 1 seconds

(Last edited by F4LLCON on 4 Mar 2014, 01:21)

Hi All,

Please help. I bricked my 1043 nd v1 fourth time. Earlier three times I have recovered it successfully.
This time when I ran command
erase 0xbf020000 +7c0000

it gave me error of incorrect command. For just a try i ran command
"erase all"  (how dumb i may be)
and  now I am unable to get into putty console command. Its just blank screen. Not booting at all.

I checked connections & all is fine. Please help.

I'm afraid you erased all including uboot, only way to recover external spi programmer with flash desoldering>soldering!

nebbia88 wrote:

I'm afraid you erased all including uboot, only way to recover external spi programmer with flash desoldering>soldering!

Me too thinking same that i erased all. Now can you help me with detailed required steps to get it back?
Any links how to do it?

I have zero knowledge on that.. search the forum for flash upgrade mod, you will find more help for sure.