Sunday, 17 August 2014 23:34

TP-Link TL-WR1043 V2.1: Upgrade to OpenWRT & DD-WRT and Reverting back to original OEM firmware

I own a TP-Link TL-WR1043 V2.1 wireless router, I would like to test if it is able to run on OpenWRT or DD-WRT. it is first tested on OpenWRT, DD-WRT later, so far it has been working flawlessly for me.

 

About TP-Link TL-WR1043 V2.1 Wireless Router
TP-Link TL-WR1043 V2.1 is a 300Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router, it has more memory (64MB) compared with the TL-WR1043 V1.x. Here is the comparison:

HW Version

CPU

Ram

Flash

Network

Gigabit

USB

Serial

JTag

1.x

Atheros  [email protected]

32MB

8MB

4x1

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

2.x

Atheros[email protected] 64MB

64MB

8MB

4x1

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

 
 

Upgrade the firmware to OpenWrt
Ensure you are using the correct version of the firmware, a wrong firmware will brick your router. OpenWrt has a page for TP-Link TL-WR1043, the download for V2.1 is available here

  • Open up a browser and navigate to http://192.168.1.1 (this is the default router IP)
  • Loin to router, enter admin for both username & password
  • Select System Tools and Firmware upgrade
  • Click on Browse button and choose "Factory" firmware file (openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wr1043nd-v2-squashfs-factory.bin
  • Click on Upgrade button to starting upgrade firmware
  • The router will reboot once the upgrade is successful 

 

The web interface is not installing by default, you must telnet into the router and install the Luci web interface.
Open a Command Prompt and telnet to router as shown
C:\telnet 192.168.1.1

 

 

  • The router have to be connected to internet
  • Enter the following command to install Luci and start the web server

opkg update #retrieve the current list of available packages in the repository
opkg install luci #for a full LuCI installation without HTTPS support
opkg install luci-ssl #For a full LuCI installation with HTTPS support
/etc/init.d/uhttpd start #start the web server (uHTTPd)
/etc/init.d/uhttpd enable #start web server automatically after each reboot

 

  • Navigate to http://192.168.1.1, you should able to login to the web interface as shown in figure below. 
  • Click on Login button without entering the password
  • Click on Go to password configuration to change the login password. SSH is enabled after password changed.
OpenWrt Login
 

  

Reverting back to original OEM firmware

If you download the firmware from TP-Link official website, you will not able to  revert back to its original OEM firmware. You need to cut off parts of the image file before flashing it, OpenWrt website has a boot part removed firmware which is available here.

  • Login to OpenWrt
  • Click on System>Backup / Flash Firmware
  • In the Flash new firmware image section, click on Choose file button
  • Choose the TL-WR1043ND-V1-FW3.13.13-stripped.bin file which is extracted from TL-WR1043ND-V1-stripped.zip
  • Click on Flash image button to starting firmware upgrade
  • The router will reboot once the upgrade is successful 


Please follow these steps If the above method did not work.

Assumptions:
  • You must have SSH and WinSCP installing on your computer
  • You know how to use SSH and WinSCP

 

Firstly, You copy the boot part removed firmware to the router.
  • Run the WinSCP software
  • Login to the router
  • Transfer the TL-WR1043ND-V1-FW3.13.13-stripped.bin file from your computer to the router /tmp directory

 

Revert back to its original OEM firmware
  • Run the PuTTY software
  • SSH to router
  • Enter the following command into your SSH window

cd /tmp

mtd -r write TL-WR1043ND-V1-FW3.13.13-stripped.bin firmware

  • Reboot the router

  

Upgrade the firmware to DD-WRT
Ensure you are using the correct version of the firmware, a wrong firmware will brick your router. Here is the download path for TP-Link TL-WR1043 V2.1:

Downloads > others > eko > BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2 > 2014 > 06-23-2014-r24461 > tplink_tl-wr1043nd-v2

 

  • Open up a browser and navigate to http://192.168.1.1 (this is the default router IP)
  • Loin to router, enter admin for both username & password
  • Select System Tools and Firmware upgrade
  • Click on Browse button and choose factory-to-ddwrt.bin file
  • Click on Upgrade button to starting upgrade firmware
  • The router will reboot once the upgrade is successful 
 

 

Reverting back to original OEM firmware

Once again, if you download the firmware from TP-Link official website, you will not able to  revert back to its original OEM firmware. You need to cut off parts of the image file before flashing it, you can use the boot part removed firmware which is available in OpenWrt website.

 

You will not able to flash the boot part removed firmware from the DD-WRT web interface, instead you must SSH to the router and write the firmware to the router.
 
You must enable SSH before you can transfer the firmware to router:
  • Login to DD-WRT
  • Click on Services tab
  • Enable SSHd under Secure Shell section & click on Apply Settings button
  • Click Administration tab
  • Enable SSH Management under Remote Access section & then click on Apply Settings button
  • Finally reboot the router

 

Copy the boot part removed firmware to the router.
  • Run the WinSCP software
  • Login to the router
  • Transfer the TL-WR1043ND-V1-FW3.13.13-stripped.bin file from your computer to the router /tmp directory
 
Write the firmware to router
  • Run the PuTTY software
  • SSH to router
  • Enter the following command into your SSH window
cd /tmpmtd -r write TL-WR1043ND-V1-FW3.13.13-stripped.bin linux
  • Reboot the router
Read 49285 times Last modified on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:13

4 comments

  • Comment Link admin Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:23 posted by admin

    Member "B" has informed me about the "sysupgrade"on 18 Feb 2016, but I forgot to remove it.
    Thanks for reminding me again, I had removed it from article.

  • Comment Link Khalid Wednesday, 17 August 2016 02:26 posted by Khalid

    @B, thanks for the warning. It is true that when you are transitioning from OEM to Openwrt you only need factory file, you don't need to reflash if again with sysupgrade file. Although I don't think that installing sysupgrade will brick the device, it is because once you install the factory image of openwrt you are essentially on openwrt which is a requirement to install sysupgrade package. As per OpenWRT FAQs sysupgrade is not "required" since both files essentially contain the same data just that the factory image has additional hooks to handle OEM to OpenWRT transition. So installing sysupgrade after factory file is a futile effort but should not brick the device.

  • Comment Link admin Thursday, 18 February 2016 20:25 posted by admin

    Thanks for the information.

  • Comment Link B Thursday, 18 February 2016 04:31 posted by B

    Please fix your post. People are bricking their OpenWrt installations because you claim they need both the sysupgrade and the factory image.

    From non-OpenWrt to OpenWrt you ONLY need the factory file.

    Sysupgrade is EXCLUSIVELY from upgrades from one OpenWrt build to another.

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