Update failing? RT-AC68U Merlin 384.19

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SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
Hi All...I'm running into a bit of an issue with an RT-AC68U. I bought it from a friend who freshly flashed it with 384.19 for me and it seems to run ok with that. I attempted to update to 386.1 and it looks like it completes...gets all the way to 100% and then just takes me back to the main screen and then complains about the JFFS partition being nearly full. (Which it is post upgrade) Rebooting does nothing except just return me to the login. Currently the JFFS Partition is 1.80 / 62.75 MB. To be honest I've never run merlin. I have a pair of RT AC66U's running in AP mode with stock ASUS, and they've been bulletproof. Any guidance would be appreciated.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Welcome to the forums @SFCRangerDOc.

You will need to do a reset on your router. The WPS method for your router can be found in the link below.

[Wireless] ASUS router Hard Factory Reset | Official Support | ASUS Global

After completing that step, your router will need to be set up again. Do not import old backup config files. Do not 'blindly' put in old settings/scripts that 'once worked'. The link below may be useful to get your router set up, stable, fast, and reliable again.

Best Practice Update/Setup Router/AiMesh Node(s) 2021
 

SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
Welcome to the forums @SFCRangerDOc.

You will need to do a reset on your router. The WPS method for your router can be found in the link below.

[Wireless] ASUS router Hard Factory Reset | Official Support | ASUS Global

After completing that step, your router will need to be set up again. Do not import old backup config files. Do not 'blindly' put in old settings/scripts that 'once worked'. The link below may be useful to get your router set up, stable, fast, and reliable again.

Best Practice Update/Setup Router/AiMesh Node(s) 2021

Hi, this router was in "Blank" configuration when I got it. I had to go through the process of setting the IP/DNS/Wifi Information and what mode I wanted it in. There was no existing configuration on it, so I'm curious as to why I would need to reset a device that was basically "factory new" like a brand new set up? It seems to run fine other than the fact it won't take the latest firmware. I suppose I could wipe it again, but I'm not convinced that will actually solve the problem.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
No, the router isn't 'Blank'. :)

It is using (one would at least hope) the proper defaults for the firmware it was shipped with.

Welcome new members

When you get to the router setup 'wizard' again after doing a full WPS reset, use this link to configure as little as possible before you can flash the firmware you want to use.

Then, after verifying that the flash was successful with the new firmware, repeat the WPS steps again before configuring the router minimally and manually to secure it and connect to your ISP.
 

SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
No, the router isn't 'Blank'. :)

It is using (one would at least hope) the proper defaults for the firmware it was shipped with.

Welcome new members

When you get to the router setup 'wizard' again after doing a full WPS reset, use this link to configure as little as possible before you can flash the firmware you want to use.

Then, after verifying that the flash was successful with the new firmware, repeat the WPS steps again before configuring the router minimally and manually to secure it and connect to your ISP.


I think we're having a bit of a communication block. The friend I bought it from was using DDWRT on it and asked if I wanted to continue to use that, or he could flash it and load either stock ASUS or Merlin firmwares. I told him to just load merlin on it because I wanted a familiar management experience, so yes, it was in essence, "blank" when it comes to a configuration and software level. To be honest, I'm not sure why he didn't just use the latest firmware, but at this point it's a "me" problem to figure out.

Also, just to clarify, I'm not a novice to networking or IT in general...I'm a 10+ year IT professional that usually works with much bigger/complex corporate grade gear. I needed a quick fix for my home environment which is why I ended up with this. I admittedly don't work with open source/non-official code very much, so I was hoping somebody here could get me in the right direction.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
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bennor

Regular Contributor
The friend I bought it from was using DDWRT on it and asked if I wanted to continue to use that, or he could flash it and load either stock ASUS or Merlin firmwares. I told him to just load merlin on it because I wanted a familiar management experience, so yes, it was in essence, "blank" when it comes to a configuration and software level.
Unless you watched your friend to see what they did to install the Merlin firmware you have no idea if the router was "blank" to use your term. Did they perform a hard reset? Did they do a dirty firmware update? What exactly did they do?

Bottom line is anytime one has a problem installing firmware one should perform a hard reset. In this case see the link posted above for the Asus procedure for a hard reset. The fact that you got a JFFS error indicates the router likely wasn't "blank". I updated an RT-AC68U (with JFFS enabled) without issue to 386.1 by performing a hard reset first before attempting to load 386.1 to it.

You have nothing to loose other than 10 to 15 minutes by doing a hard reset then trying again to update to 386.1. Once successfully updated to 386.1 one should leave the router sit from anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes to let the router settle down and finish any post upgrade actions. If one attempts to access the router before it's finished is post upgrade activity they may experience administration page freezing or failure to load issues.
 

SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
Unless you watched your friend to see what they did to install the Merlin firmware you have no idea if the router was "blank" to use your term. Did they perform a hard reset? Did they do a dirty firmware update? What exactly did they do?

Bottom line is anytime one has a problem installing firmware one should perform a hard reset. In this case see the link posted above for the Asus procedure for a hard reset. The fact that you got a JFFS error indicates the router likely wasn't "blank". I updated an RT-AC68U (with JFFS enabled) without issue to 386.1 by performing a hard reset first before attempting to load 386.1 to it.

You have nothing to loose other than 10 to 15 minutes by doing a hard reset then trying again to update to 386.1. Once successfully updated to 386.1 one should leave the router sit from anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes to let the router settle down and finish any post upgrade actions. If one attempts to access the router before it's finished is post upgrade activity they may experience administration page freezing or failure to load issues.
Thank you...this is a little more of what I was looking for. I honestly didn't watch him do it, but he's also not a novice in this kinda thing, so I'd be very surprised if he had done a dirty firmware update, especially since he totally ripped/replaced the DDWRT with Merlin. Unless I completely misunderstand the process of how these devices "flash" usually that means all existing stored data is wiped from storage and memory, and you're left with a new, fresh, whatever flavor of firmware you chose on the device with a "blank template" for settings and the like. Much like flashing a cell phone with a custom ROM.

Also, I don't know if this matters at all, but I'm not using this as anything more than an AP, not using any of the AiMesh, router functions, etc.
 

bennor

Regular Contributor
Unless I completely misunderstand the process of how these devices "flash" usually that means all existing stored data is wiped from storage and memory, and you're left with a new, fresh, whatever flavor of firmware you chose on the device with a "blank template" for settings and the like. Much like flashing a cell phone with a custom ROM.
On consumer devices; routers, computers, and NAS devices for example, a firmware or operating system update does not typically reset the device to default or erase the previous settings. Instead the update attempts to use the devices existing settings in the new update, which can potentially cause issues. That's why folks here were telling you to do a hard reset then do a firmware update. By doing a hard reset one is typically starting from a blank slate with the router settings for the firmware to be applied to it. And flashing from something other than Asus or Asus-Merlin firmware to Asus or Asus-Merlin firmware is absolutely asking for possible issues.
 
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SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
@SFCRangerDOc Read through this thread. It's quite possible that the current firmware wasn't installed correctly because of known issues created by installing DD-WRT.
I will give this a look over! Thanks!


On consumer devices; routers, computers, and NAS devices for example, a firmware or operating system update does not typically reset the device to default or erase the previous settings. Instead the update attempts to use the devices existing settings in the new update, which can potentially cause issues. That's why folks here were telling you to do a hard reset then do a firmware update. By doing a hard reset one is typically starting from a blank slate with the router settings for the firmware to be applied to it. And flashing from something other than Asus or Asus-Merlin firmware to Asus or Asus-Merlin firmware is absolutely asking for possible issues if one doesn't do a hard reset prior to attempting to install the Asus or Asus-Merlin firmware.

I guess that makes sense. I was expecting the "factory reset" button to just wipe the settings but leave the firmware...that would be logical to me. If I take my SG-300 Cisco switch and factory reset it, the firmware that it was running still exists, it just wipes out all the settings and brings it to "new out of box" status, ready for setup. But yes, there is the added complication of the fact it was DDWRT then to Merlin. I guess I was operating under the assumption that a flash was equivalent to a complete blanking of the device and then re-loading your new flavor of OS on blank media.
 

jsbeddow

Senior Member
On top of all of the above considerations, are we absolutely certain that this is a genuine Asus RT-AC68U, and not a re-flashed T-Mobile device? Just bringing up the possibility, as that will also add additional upgrade problems, and is a completely unsupported configuration.
 

SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
On top of all of the above considerations, are we absolutely certain that this is a genuine Asus RT-AC68U, and not a re-flashed T-Mobile device? Just bringing up the possibility, as that will also add additional upgrade problems, and is a completely unsupported configuration.

Im relatively certain it is? Now you have me wondering. Is there a way to tell? There doesn't appear to be any T-Mobile badging on it. I did read up on those...aren't they the same exact hardware, just with t-mobiles version flashed on it which restricts a lot of the features? My reading on the topic said that you could wipe out the T-Mobile firmware and turn it back into the 68U and it was functionally the same as factory?
 

jsbeddow

Senior Member
Unless someone went to great lengths to pull off or hide the original T-Mobile branding, it is likely a genuine Asus RT-AC68U. Asus has now added additional hardware checks into the firmware to help prevent cross-flashing these: it might still be possible, just getting harder and harder. Regardless, this is illegal, as it violates the licensing terms of some of the add-ons included in the genuine Asus firmware (Trend-Micro, etc...). There is a sticky thread at the top of various parts of these SNB forums explaining it further.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
@SFCRangerDOc It's very obvious from the case branding and the model number printed on the label on the back.

 

Ronald Schwerer

Very Senior Member
Regarding the installation error about jffs being nearly full, IIRC, just resetting the router doesn't clear out jffs. I haven't installed 386 firmware, but assuming the option still exists, I'd try going through the gui to tick the option to Format JFFS partition at next boot. Then reboot and try the installation again. Afterwards, do the reset to initialize all the new default settings.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
 

SFCRangerDOc

New Around Here
Regarding the installation error about jffs being nearly full, IIRC, just resetting the router doesn't clear out jffs. I haven't installed 386 firmware, but assuming the option still exists, I'd try going through the gui to tick the option to Format JFFS partition at next boot. Then reboot and try the installation again. Afterwards, do the reset to initialize all the new default settings.
I don't see a checkbox to format. Is there a console level set of commands to run if I ash into it?
 

jsbeddow

Senior Member
Not sure of the command line option, but if you really are on a Merlin version of the firmware (not stock Asus), the GUI command for formatting jffs is under Administration, System tab, second box from top. Check the box for format on next boot, hit apply at bottom of page, then reboot the router.
 

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