Brand New AX86S - Unable to flash Merlin

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
Dear All,

I have been using Asus routers for a long time and I had so many ideas and found solutions from SNB, so thanks a lot for all the efforts and information sharing.

This is the first time I am stuck at some point and looking forward to get help.

I have upgraded my old good RT-AC68U router for RT-AX86S expecting better VPN speeds and glad I did, new router is a good step up.

Coming to my issue, (I have read this issue in some other threads but un-solved) I am trying to flash original firmware to latest Merlin firmware (386.7.2) for mainly even better VPN utilization but I was unsuccessful.

When I manually upload the firmware, web Gui says; "Please wait, Applying settings" then immediately goes back to login page with nothing changed.

I rolled back to a previous official official firmware (3.0.0.4.386_49447) via rescue mode successfully (Also Web gui acts the same when I try to roll back to an older official firmware too), I assumed it was a glitch in the latest firmware (3.0.0.4.386_49599) and tried again but can't flash Merlin that way too.

As a side note, after rolling back to older official firmware and hard resetting router, at the configuration startup page it succesfully downloaded the latest firmware from Asus servers and updated itself(despite I was unable to do it via Web gui after configuration is done at my previous attempts)

I tried multiple hard resets, soft resets etc. with no success either.

I also tried with different web browsers (edge, firefox, chrome) with no luck.

Now, I am thinking if it would be safe to try force updating to Merlin firmware via rescue mode but I am scared to get the router bricked.

What would be your suggestions at this point?

Greatly appriciated in advance.

router.jpg
 
Last edited:

dfunked

Regular Contributor
Open to correction, but I don't think the S is supported by Merlin. Think the next release is focussed on adding support for new models so you might get lucky, but will need to stay on stock Asus firmware for now.
 

AndreiV

Very Senior Member
Are you sure you have downloaded the correct firmware? It wouldn't be the first time somebody tried to install RT-AC86U instead of RT-AX86U.
 

bennor

Senior Member
Open to correction, but I don't think the S is supported by Merlin.
Its been supported since Jan 1, 2022 with 386.4 using the RT-AX86U firmware. From the Changelog-NG.txt in the RT-AX86U_386.7_2.zip:
386.4 (1-Jan-2022)
- NEW: Added support for the RT-AX86S (uses the same firmware
as the RT-AX86U).
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I just went from 3.0.0.4.386_49599 to 386.7_2 without any issue on my own RT-AX86S. Double check that you downloaded the correct model, reboot the router without any USB disk plugged in, and try a different browser.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
I just went from 3.0.0.4.386_49599 to 386.7_2 without any issue on my own RT-AX86S. Double check that you downloaded the correct model, reboot the router without any USB disk plugged in, and try a different browser.
Thank you everyone for your replies greatly appriciated.

Actually I have tried it with multiple pc’s, different browsers with no luck.

Coming back to my question; is it safe to upgrade firmware to Merlin by Rescue mode? This is the only option left untried for me.

Thanks in advance.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Yes, provided you are 100% sure you are flasing the correct file.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
Yes, provided you are 100% sure you are flasing the correct file.
Thank you very much for the reply! I will try and revert back.

Off topic, considering you are very experienced with Asus devices, is there any possibility for HW issues keeping me from updating firmware vis web gui? Or what can be possible reason for this behaviour? The router bought brand new.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Thank you very much for the reply! I will try and revert back.

Off topic, considering you are very experienced with Asus devices, is there any possibility for HW issues keeping me from updating firmware vis web gui? Or what can be possible reason for this behaviour? The router bought brand new.
I can't think of any particular hardware issue that would prevent upgrading but still have the router working correctly. There could be some nvram-related issues however, a few cases over the years were resolved by doing a factory default reset first, but these are rare, and I suspect they are more related to lack of available RAM due to people failing to follow the suggestion of unplugging USB drives first, to free up enough RAM.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
I can't think of any particular hardware issue that would prevent upgrading but still have the router working correctly. There could be some nvram-related issues however, a few cases over the years were resolved by doing a factory default reset first, but these are rare, and I suspect they are more related to lack of available RAM due to people failing to follow the suggestion of unplugging USB drives first, to free up enough RAM.

Hello Again,

Thanks for the help, greatly appriciated.

Meanwhile I didn't have any usbs connected nor any scripts or anything running on the router while I was trying to upload via Web gui and I did have 130mb+ free ram but it didn't help.

This way or another, I managed to successfully upload the Merlin firmware to router via Rescue mode. It's fully functional now, good news.

I have a 1 gig internet connection and vpn client speeds went from ~60Mbps to ~140Mbps, that's also good news. Now I will dive into vpn server config which all this hassle is for.

I also encountered another issue; when I tried to upload ovpn file to router, as soon as I pressed Upload button, the router again dropped back to Log in page. I tried to re-upload the file a couple of times over and over again, nothing done differently, at the end it accepted and adapted the config. It's wierd but at least it's working now, just wanted you to know.


Regards
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
After flashing to RMerlin firmware, did you do a full reset?

The glitches you're seeing (already) would probably be cleared up if you did.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
After flashing to RMerlin firmware, did you do a full reset?

The glitches you're seeing (already) would probably be cleared up if you did.

Thank you for your reply.

Actually I did; Advanced Settings > Administration > Factory Default > Restore is the path I followed.

Somehow I'm not %100 confident that the router is issue free. I never had these kinds of problems with my former Asus routers (this is 4th one)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
With the issues you're describing, I would be returning this particular unit.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
With the issues you're describing, I would be returning this particular unit.

At this stage I can send it to service center but can’t return to seller in my country as I already opened the box and used it. I am not sure if Local service center accept rma for my case.

I will continue to meddle with it and see, if I do have other issues I will further tey my luck.

Thank you all for the support and efforts.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I also encountered another issue; when I tried to upload ovpn file to router, as soon as I pressed Upload button, the router again dropped back to Log in page. I tried to re-upload the file a couple of times over and over again, nothing done differently, at the end it accepted and adapted the config. It's wierd but at least it's working now, just wanted you to know.
Combined with your issues to upload a firmware update, there is definitely something going on with your browser.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
Combined with your issues to upload a firmware update, there is definitely something going on with your browser.
RMerlin tbh as I mentioned before, I have already tried with 3 different pcs in my arsenal ( 2 desktops and 1 laptop) and 3 different browsers each (edge, firefox, chrome) the outcome is the same everytime. I am a little bit puzzled but at least I am happy that I was able to overcome the situation at the end.

Thank you again for all the support given, greatly appriciated.

Last but not least cpu temp is hovering around 60ish celcius which indicates to me it’s working fine and the router is working as expected except the issues addressed. I hope there is no HW related issues but SW related only.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Do you run the same security suite/antivirus on all computers? There's been a few cases in the past where a security suite was interfering with access to the router's webui.
 

Rubbertooth

New Around Here
Do you run the same security suite/antivirus on all computers? There's been a few cases in the past where a security suite was interfering with access to the router's webui.
Interesting, yes all the pcs are using same AVG suite, you are brilliant.

I didn’t get any notifications regarding blockage but it’s worth trying to uninstall it and try again.

I will revert back.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Interesting, yes all the pcs are using same AVG suite, you are brilliant.

I didn’t get any notifications regarding blockage but it’s worth trying to uninstall it and try again.

I will revert back.
One easy way to test would be to try upgrading or uploading the ovpn config file using a mobile device like a tablet or a phone.
 

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