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RT-N16 locking up almost every day - only power light, no response by ethernet

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by scottfrans, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. scottfrans

    scottfrans LI Guru Member

    Until two weeks ago, my RT-N16 had the basic build 54 of TomatoUSB K26 MIPSR2 from tomatousb.org, and had run flawlessly for months. I never had any downtime with this thing. The week of Thanksgiving, it locked up, and just the power light was on - both wifi and ethernet connections died. Since then, it has died almost every day. Nothing changed prior to the crashing, it had run so flawlessly for months without downtime that I never had any reason to change even a QoS setting.

    I've tried multiple nvram resets, upgrading to Tomato RAF (which I had read was the most stable updated release available), and finally doing multiple nvram resets while using ASUS recovery tool to upload Toastman's newest build, followed by more nvram resets and even a 30-30-30 attempt, but no luck, it is still crashing.

    Anyone had a similar experience and found a fix? Are there any troubleshooting tips I can try, perhaps checking logs for info, or does it sound like I have a dead router? It's frustrating, because with the new toastman, I've doubled my speeds and the wireless, and I'd prefer to find a fix instead of having to spend $150 (I'd upgrade to the RT-N66U).

    I realize a Linksys forum might not be the best forum to post in, but I knew toastman et al post here, so I was hoping someone might have an idea what's going on. Let me know if there's a more appropriate forum I should try. Thanks!
  2. Hogwild

    Hogwild Networkin' Nut Member

    I am definitely no router expert. But I wonder if it is possible that your power supply for the router might be flaky.
    Do you have any way of checking it? If not, do you have a substitute with same connector, power ratings etc?

    Is the router overheating at all? How warm does it feel after a few minutes...an hour etc.?

  3. scottfrans

    scottfrans LI Guru Member

    I think it may have been an overheating issue, since I've moved the router to try and get more airflow, I've had more stability. I think it's my fault, I put the small cable modem on top of the router for a while when I was doing some renovation in the room, and the heat build up may have damaged the router. I'll see if it will continue to last with more access to airflow.
  4. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    The RT-N16's ventilation holes are on top of the unit, so you effectively blocked ~90% of the airflow doing that. The original RT-N16, with standard settings (i.e. no overclocking or increase in wireless transmit power) tends to run slightly warm (but not luke warm); increasing either of those can result in more heat. I'm not sure if a heatsink was added to the 2nd revision (HW Rev A1) or not.

    In your case, the damage may have already been done; there's no way to tell (even if you were to open it it's very unlikely, as usually overheating fries transistors first, which won't necessarily see from the outside -- i.e. people who open up hardware expecting to "see if its overheated" generally have no idea how electronics work). If you're in the United States and can purchase things from Amazon, you could purchase an RT-N16 and then do a product return and send them back the questionable unit instead (be sure to clean it well + restore the factory default firmware too). It's easier than going through Asus' crappy/annoying RMA procedure.

    Be glad you don't have an E2000 or E3000, where the ventilation holes are on the bottom/underside of the unit, which does quite literally nothing for cooling -- these are two models which are well-known for overheating too (to the point news sites/media began to cover the issue).

    Bottom line: keep all routers in well-ventilated areas. Make sure their ventilation holes do not get blocked by objects or animal hair. I tend to recommend folks check on their routers (use a small can of duster/air to clean things up) every 4 weeks or so.
  5. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    The RT-N66U has a similar problem (No ventilation on top, only on the sides and bottom). I didn't like how warm to the touch it was getting after running it for a while, so I have a low RPM, low noise 80mm fan constantly blowing air into the small side vents, and underside of the unit, so that it pushes a small amount of air over top of the heatsink inside, out the other side. This literally lowers the temperature of the unit by at least 10-12 degrees at all times, and it feels room temperature to touch on top. I didn't see any performance gains or stability improvements by doing this (it was already super stable) but I know that the router will very likely have a much longer lifespan with this solution in place.
    koitsu likes this.
  6. mito

    mito LI Guru Member

    @scottfrans, hope you can recover from heating, lower the TX power to 17, if you can lower the CPU Freq 30% , put under router four 1 inch spacers in each corner to get air from under, get a cooler or small ventilator and check if it no more crashes.
    hope this help.
  7. gfunkdave

    gfunkdave LI Guru Member

    That's rather dishonest.

    My E3000 got insanely hot when I first got it. I wound up sticking some foam rubber feet to the bottom to raise it about half an inch from the shelf. That helped a lot.
  8. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    In my eyes it isn't dishonest. It may be a little "grey market", but it's not dishonest. Amazon still sends the units back to their vendor (probably Asus) to have them replaced or exchanged. Asus does the testing, and after factory defaults/firmware is applied, they end up back on the shelves assuming everything checks out. It's just a way to avoid the lengthy and expensive RMA process of Asus. It'd be different if Amazon took returns and immediately put them back in stock (they don't).
  9. scottfrans

    scottfrans LI Guru Member

    I've moved the router to a spot behind the monitor where I can lay out at an angle and let air flow in from the bottom freely. I've also lowered the CPU freq to 453 (TX power was already at 17). I've contacted ASUS support in hopes they will let me RMA it , but we'll see what they say. Hopefully the CPUfreq and better airflow will atleast keep it stable longer.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  10. GhaladReam

    GhaladReam Network Guru Member

    When I had my RT-N16, I used electrical tape and taped an 80mm PC case fan to the top where the ventilation holes are, with the airflow facing upwards, so it would suck the hot air out the top and pull it in the bottom. I used a small 5v (these fans are normally 12v) power supply on it, which made it spin slower, but was MUCH quieter than a standard 12v supply. This DRASTICALLY improves airflow inside the unit and lowers temps by 10-15 degrees :) Never had any issues whatsoever with my N16using this cooling system.. I only upgraded to the N66U for the extra speed.
  11. mito

    mito LI Guru Member

    hi, for me the RT-N16 is a fantastic router, never had an issue, never over heated or desconection, and made every kind of test canging firms, antenas, tx power, cpu freq, settings, etc, etc, mine has great range and speed. i only use his wifi with nine clients with default qos. simply great.
  12. scottfrans

    scottfrans LI Guru Member

    I'll agree it's a fantastic router, it was rock solid until this issue, which I'm sure had to be my fault from blocking the air vents. If I have to replace it, I'll either get another one or an N66U
  13. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    To be fair, it is dishonest because you're forcing Amazon to pay for the expense of an exchange/refund. Since the serial number on the unit won't match the serial number on the box, at some point the discrepancy will be caught. All you're hoping is that Amazon doesn't slap some kind of inventory tag on the return so they know which return is from which customer and ASUS communicates back as to which tags were mismatched, otherwise Amazon would have to track which serial number was shipped out to which customer at the time of the sale (I only know of a couple vendors that do this). I'm not saying it's likely, just that it's possible to catch, and in some jurisdictions this is actually a crime.

    I would try to see if a temperature change helps at all; put a fan near it, put it up on "jack stands" with good clearance underneath, and make sure there's room all around it. Underclocking should help it run cooler. Generally the longer you've been letting it overheat and freeze, the more damage is done, and the temperature it needs to run for reliable operation gets correspondingly lower.

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