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Asus RT-AC5300 soft brick recovery?

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Hi all,

I got a broken Asus RT-AC5300 off eBay and after trying all the usual recovery methods (cleaning NVram and restarting router between each attempt as well as trying different LAN ports):

  • Asus WebUI - hangs in all browsers during file upload
  • Asus Recovery Tool - interrupts at around 32 Mb upload with an error message of a failed firmware upgrade
  • Serial Recovery with Putty and TFTP 1 - router set in client mode - I/O error always at around 90-95% regardless of the file size
  • Serial Recovery with Putty and TFTP 2 - router set in server mode - file transfer successful (any size) however router hangs afterwards and still doesn't work after manual restart
The last option tells me that there is an issue of writing to the NAND chip because firmware is first uploaded and only after is written to chip. I tried flashing both nflash1.trx and nflash0.trx and get same results.

Router is essentially in a boot loop. Only Power and 2.4GHz are brightly lit.

The Putty log shows a number of SROM CRC errors. I have proper gear for (de)soldering SMD components but would rather use NAND reprogramming as a very last resort. Is it possible to import some sort of memory dump onto the NAND chip from the same unit? Or anything else I can do to fix the corruption?

Thanks all,

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