Update (July 2013)
It is possible to recover the later versions with a U-Boot version that does not support Ctrl-C, but it requires the use of TFTP for the firmware upload. The router will wait for a TFTP connection for a few seconds before booting, but almost impossible to time this correctly without having the serial interface connected. So based on experience from fernandoavc
the best option is to follow this guide and then, once you get to the point where you can see it's waiting for a TFTP connection (in Putty), you should instead initiate the firmware upload from Pumpkin. Best chance of success is when you use a hub between the router and your PC (because Windows often closes down the NIC when it's not detecting a connected device, and it's very slow to re-open it).Update (June 2013)Please note that the procedure described below will not work for all versions of this router. Some versions, don't know which exactly, will have a modified version of U-Boot (identified version 1.07, only confirmed working version is 1.0) that does not accept the ctrl-c command line needed for the firmware update. And it appears that TFTP update during boot is not an option either.
Thanks goes to fernandoavc for this information and his work towards recovering these newer models.
If anyone found a way to update these newer models, please let me know and I'll update the thread and of course give full credit.
I've had this router for some time and been really happy with it, it's got lots of nice features, gigabit switch, 450Mbit wireless, high power/long range etc. Never had any problems with it, I just set it up when I first got it and it's been running ever since.Buffalo Airstation N450
Anyway, it got bricked and in a few post I will go though the way I found to recover it and with all the hours I spent on it I thought I would share in case others get into the same situation. It's quite a long procedure, so I'll split it into a few posts.
First, how it got bricked (skip this if you just want the technical details)
Last weekend I just wanted to make a couple of minor setup changes and then I noticed it said there was a firmware update available for download in the web UI. So I thought, I'll just update the firmware while I'm at it, so I clicked the update button, waited for it to complete (actually I just left it there for like 20 minutes or something) it had reached 100% and said it was complete, but I couldn't contact it anymore. There was a red LED blinking on the front, but nothing I really paid attention to. I then left it a bit longer and finally decided to try restart it. (power on/off) It never came back to life
. Finally I checked the manual (probably for the first time
) and it said 2 blinks means the firmware is screwed up. Not sure how it happened, but possibly Internet drop out or something during the update.
Hmm, OK, not so good, as I didn't have internet anymore with the router gone, so had to rig up some temporary internet connection and do some googling. Conclusion was that it had to be send in for replacement, no recovery procedure available from Buffalo. Except a few people suggesting TFTP uploading a 3rd party firmware. Tried it many times, but was never able to get a TFTP connection to the router. But I did find some technical details suggesting there is a TTL level serial port on the PCB and that it's running U-Boot so it might be possible to upgrade the firmware that way. I found lots of documentation on the 300 model, but not much on the 450 model and the procedures for the 300 model don't work on the 450 model (tried them)
I had to make a decision either send it in and wait for a replacement or give it a go. (Opening it up will of course void any warranty) I concluded sending it in for fix/replacement would probably take weeks so I would have to buy another one for use in the meantime anyway
, so I decided to open it up.Step 1 - Tools and software needed:
- Putty (free termal utility) need this to talk to U-Boot.
- Pumpkin (TFTP server and client)
- U-Boot overview manual, just in case.
- OpenWrt firmware for the router, thanks OpenWrt. (can't use the original firmware, it's encrypted, more details later)
- Hex editor (have to slightly modify the firmware header to make U-Boot accept it)
- You also need to make sure you have some serial port available (must be 3.3V TTL more details later)