Hey, fellow OpenWRT aficionados! Long time no post. Been pretty dang busy recently.
Here's a fun story for you all, though:
I was visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, and ended up shopping around the day after (Black Friday) to see what deals I could find.
One thing I was looking for was a cheap wireless AP or router for my parents' home (broadband, but no wireless...a shame). Didn't need to be anything fancy...just something that would allow my dad (and myself, whenever I come to visit ) to use his laptop without having to string a wire across the living room. Didn't even need to be a router, really...just a dumb AP would have been fine. CompUSA was opening at Midnight in our area, and advertised a CompUSA-branded 11g AP+router for US$2.99 after rebates ($60 before).
Well, I got there too late for that deal (all sold out 45 minutes after opening), but I found a whole stockpile of ViewSonic WR100s for $24.98, no rebates necessary. It was listed as a "Manager's Special," so they were going to remain that price until they sold out. Apparently, it had nothing to do with Black Friday sales (it wasn't even listed in their BF circular)...ViewSonic was simply getting out of the networking hardware business (I never knew they got in it!), so CompUSA was trying to clear out their stock.
After shopping around on-line some and determining that this was as good a deal as I was going to find for a wireless router (esp. since I wouldn't have to wait for mail order), I went ahead and purchased one, not really knowing anything about the router itself.
When I got it home, naturally the first thing I did was open it up. And what do you think I found inside this unit? That's right: a BCM4712KPB CPU. Oh, and the usual ADMTek ethernet switch. And a very GemTek-esque model number sikscreened onto the PCB. Running the first 6 digits of the MAC address through the OUI database confirmed my suspicions: this was indeed OEM'd from GemTek. (Interestingly, the FCC ID Grantee Code was assigned to ViewSonic directly, so they weren't just riding on GemTek's FCC certs.) This coupled with the very familiar-looking hardware inside probably indicated that it would be able to run OpenWRT with little work.
Based on my previous experience with Trendnet routers and GPIOs being different from what OpenWRT is accustomed to them being (http://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=424, see last two posts), I custom-built a whiterussian RC4 image that excluded the diag kernel module and contained an /etc/preinit script edited to remove the loading of the module and the checking of the appropriate /proc devices for reset button presses (I didn't want to risk having my ethernet ports disabling themselves again...someday, I'll map out all the GPIO functions and figure out what GPIO the reset button on this unit is wired to so that fail-safe mode can work). I tried loading using the web interface upgrader in the ViewSonic firmware (and this worked when I tried it on the Trendnet), but no go..."Error during upgrade" every time I tried. The ViewSonic must have some specific custom header requirements like the Linksys ones, I'm guessing. There is also no ping.asp bug to exploit on this model, nor is boot_wait enabled by default. Hmm.
I didn't want (nor did I have enough time) to solder a pin header on the JTAG cutout on the board, and my "flash chip pin shorting" days are well behind me now (see http://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=1418, and last post of http://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=1522), so instead I took my JTAG cable that I made for my Trendnet, cut off the connector on the end, stripped the wires, put numbers 3, 5, 7, and 9 through the right holes on the JTAG interface on the board, bent the wires so that they were touching the exposed traces around the pin holes, and then stuck a bottle of Bacardi on top to keep the wires in place. I plugged the parallel port connector into my laptop, fired up HairyDairyMaid's flasher, and managed to extract the current NVRAM contents. Score! Working JTAG in 10 minutes. After I got NVRAM, I edited the "boot_wait=off" to read "on," padded the end with an extra ASCII 255 to keep the size of the file the same, and then flashed the new NVRAM contents back over the JTAG. After rebooting the router, I confirmed it was accepting TFTP connections!
The last step was to send my OpenWRT image to it via TFTP. The router accepted the image, wrote it to flash, and 5 minutes later I was staring at an ash shell. After this, I installed nas and the new webif package and managed to configure it for WPA2 and have my dad's WinXP laptop associate to it. Slick, slick, slick.
All for US$25 + tax.
Most web retailers still seem to be selling the ViewSonic at retail ($70-80), and CompUSA's own site claims that they are completely out-of-stock and that they won't ship you one (and even then, CompUSA's site shows that their price is currently $71.99). But I imagine that we may be seeing the price come down on these things fairly soon, if our own local CompUSA store is any indication.