Tomato build that is 100% working on your WRT54GL right now?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by N6ATF-U, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    I just bought an exact model replacement for my ~10 year old WRT54GL that was randomly rebooting. We only pay for 50mbps and speedtest dot net says we're getting close enough to it periodically, that I didn't see any point in dropping >$100 on a RT-AC68U in haste.

    Was told over at DD-WRT forum (as I had DD-WRT on it before) that there were probably bad caps (which I couldn't test & were unlikely to be visibly blown) but to upgrade it to a more recent DD-WRT build before replacing the caps.

    Tried BS build r34578 01-19-18, boot loop on the old one. Same build, same boot loop on the new one (copyright 2014 Belkin on the box). Said fuck it, TFTP'd the new one from DD-WRT back to OEM firmware, then Tomato 1.28-upgraded. There are some settings I'm missing from DD-WRT, like virtual SSID & PPTP VPN server. Which exact Shibby build should I load from his site (or any recent build from any Tomato forker), that is 100% working on your WRT54GL right now?

    FWIW, these are the first two uptime checks I was awake to do since the new WRT54GL's Tomato 1.28 install, timed back to on the first line:
    Time Sun, 28 Jan 2018 00:18:42 -0800 Uptime 1 day, 01:39:50
    Time Mon, 29 Jan 2018 10:58:01 -0800 Uptime 0 days, 00:01:03
    The second one was just after a random reboot. If even a recent Tomato build can't keep good uptime, I may have to throw it back to Amazon before their window closes. In the alternative, I wonder if I set it to reboot at 4AM daily, if it would never again randomly reboot between those 24 hours.

    Time Tue, 30 Jan 2018 12:18:10 -0800 Uptime 1 day, 01:20:43

    Time Wed, 31 Jan 2018 11:33:44 -0800 Uptime 0 days, 03:13:33

    After seeing that, I put in the 4AM daily reboot schedule.

    Time Thu, 01 Feb 2018 16:46:04 -0800 Uptime 0 days, 07:38:26

    4AM reboot executed (I was awake) but then it rebooted again 07:38:26 hours back from 16:46:04
    So why is it that "Jon Zarate's original Tomato is still around if you want a rock solid release of Tomato" isn't rock solid?

    I guess I can also ask the parallel question about which DD-WRT build in the DD-WRT firmware forum.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  2. Sean B.

    Sean B. Network Guru Member

    I would recommend trying a Toastman build. While his builds are becoming outdated over the last year, they've always been very stable. There's many builds to choose from, here's a link to the base of MIPSR1 section:

    Select a firmware build prefixed with: tomato-WRT54G_WRT54GL

    Such as:

    Verify the size of the build is a match for whichever revision your router is, as they differ according to what features they were built with.
    AlterEgo likes this.
  3. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    WRT54GL v1.1. Shouldn't I use a VLAN build for the multiple SSIDs & VPN server I need?

    Still want to know what Tomato build that is 100% working on someone's WRT54GL right now. Been told to download stuff blind by too many non-WRT54GL users.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  4. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    I think Jon Zarate's original Tomato is still around if you want a rock solid release. That's what I was using the last time I was running on a 54GL.

    The problem is that it's 2017 and there just aren't many people still using 54GLs, so you may be waiting a while for a response. I have a 54GL in a box at home but I don't know if it still works since I haven't used it in 7 years.

    Also, the TM 1900 router is available remanufactured for around $60 on Amazon, and can be reflashed to a RT-AC68 with a few minutes of work. I've done two in the past week.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
    Sean B. likes this.
  5. PGalati

    PGalati Network Guru Member

    I believe Shibby's v124 is the last version to fit in the 4mb flash. I still have several WRT54GL's still in service that are still very reliable.
  6. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    As I reminded the OP over on dd-wrt, be VERY careful about using old firmware! Yeah, you can resort to old firmware because it still fits, is even reliable and stable. BUT the price you pay is the risk of known and uncorrected vulnerabilities! Even w/ the latest firmware, everyone closely monitors what's happening in the security world in case some new vulnerability is discovered (e.g., KRACK). And then everyone gets into a frenzy wondering when they can expect it to be fixed in the next firmware update.

    That's the problem w/ clinging to old hardware, no matter how much you love it. It handcuffs you because of its limited resources.

    Bottom line, you're playing w/ fire here when you use old firmware, at least if that router is exposed to the internet directly over its WAN. If the router is only used internally (e.g., a guest network, AP/WAP), it's much less of a concern.
  7. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    But they don't correct the latest or even near-latest firmware that does nothing but boot loops. No vulnerability when that firmware prevents your router from working at all (except TFTP)!

    Do you run tomato-ND-1.28.5x-124-SD-VPN.trx or tomato-ND-1.28.5x-124-VPN.trx?
  8. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    So even the NEW wrt54gl loops? How far does it get before it loops? Does it ever completely load, then a few seconds/minutes later it reboots, or are we talking about loops that start almost immediately, long before it ever comes close to fully loading?

    If it's the latter, that sounds like a failed firmware update (not bad firmware, but the update never took).

    Do the firmware update again (via tftp), but this time, let it sit for about 20-30 minutes before powering off and back on again.
  9. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    A lot of the newer firmware versions are >4MB and won't fit in the flash. You can just look at the file size before flashing to see if it's <4MB. I forget the exact byte count that GLs support, I believe it's just a hair under 4MB.
    eibgrad likes this.
  10. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    At least once I tftp'd, then let it sit for over an hour as I was out of the room, before power cycling, for more almost immediate loops.

    The sizes of the bins I tried, as reported by OSX:
    dd-wrt.v24_mini_generic.bin 3.1MB
    dd-wrt.v24_std_generic.bin 3.8MB
  11. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    You're tftp'ing using the binary option (-i), correct?

    (might be the default, but just in case it isn't)
  12. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member


    status octet.
  13. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    ^^ Huh? Is that a yes or no?
  14. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Instruction at dd-wrt wiki/index.php/Tftp_flash#Mac_OS_X followed. Not using another operating system's commands.
  15. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    So does everything turn back to normal if you load back the OEM firmware?
  16. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Yes. Or what I'm currently connected through, Tomato v1.28.1816 as I noted above.
  17. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    Well I suppose it's possible there is a conflict between the new firmware and old hardware. One of the problems w/ such situations is that the developers are most likely NOT testing the old hardware. They simply don't have the resources. They just *assume* what worked before will work again, even w/ updated firmware. And that's probably true 99% of the time. But perhaps this is one of those exceptions. Just another reason why using old hardware, no matter how good or stable, can be problematic.
  18. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Amazon says "Date First Available September 23, 2013" on the RT-AC68U.

    I don't consider ~4 year old hardware "old" unless Belkin recased boards that were fabricated in the Cisco years, in cases with a new design (& leftmost light color - Cisco's was amber/orange when it actually worked).
  19. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    You can't assume the date available on Amazon directly corresponds to the date the item was released. That only reflects the date Amazon placed it up for sale. And if the item is re-released, perhaps w/ only cosmetic or branding changes, they'll update the date.

    What I'm looking at is the Linksys page over at wikipedia.

    That router was originally released by Linksys in 2005! What I suspect is that when Belkin bought the Cisco/Linksys line in 2013, and rebranded it as "Linksys by Cisco", Amazon then adjusted their date accordingly. But at its core, it's the same hardware, the same specs, the same processor, etc. And from a firmware perspective, that's all that matters.
  20. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    That wasn't what I was referring to, and I hate repeating myself more than anything else I do.
  21. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    You reference the date 2013 on Amazon (for some reason you mention RT-AC68U, so I assume that's a typo, and you meant WRT54GL), and tell me it's only 4 years old. So I show it is much older. Then you respond "That wasn't what I was referring to"

    What did I miss????
  22. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    And btw OP, we're just trying to help you. Using a forum like this to solve difficult technical problems is difficult for *all* of us. And just as frustrating. We don't build the software. We just try to help out. And yes, sometimes we do repeat ourselves because you're not the only thread we're supporting. You have only one problem, but we have dozens of other concurrent threads we're trying to support. And yes, sometimes we lose track and repeat ourselves.
    Malakai likes this.
  23. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    I meant what I typed & copy-pasted there about the RT-AC68U's date first available on Amazon, helpfully linked by the forum to the same page that says that, and I meant where I typed here about the WRT54GL:


    If an LED was changed from amber to green & not simply a color lens changed, then there was at least one hardware change between the Cisco & Belkin WRT54GLs I shot. Not going to void warranty & my return window by cracking it open to compare further.
  24. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Unfortunately thanks to the great MB MiB kerfuffle depending on the OS for simple to read MB counts isn't enough. You need to get info and look at the actual byte count. Yes it's annoying. Yes its stupid. Yes the people who forced these changes through modern OSes have limited historical experience with computer hardware, they're just in the pocket of storage manufacturers who want to stop being sued for mislabeling the products they sell.

    I assume you're doing a 30-30-30 reset after uploading a new firmware? You need to clear the NVRAM and on the 54GL and the 30-30-30 method is generally viewed positively... probably because most people actually have the button held down long enough to actually do some good. I remember using a stopwatch app on my (flip) phone to time the 90 seconds.

    The WRT54GL has not been changed since 1.0 to 1.1, which really was just a firmware change and not a hardware change. Whether manufactured in 2005 or 2017 it's fundamentally the same hardware made in 2005 with the same limitations as it was in 2005. You could take a 54GL made in 2005 and it would be exactly as difficult to work with as a 54GL manufactured yesterday. The 54GL wasn't appreciably changed from the WRT54G v4, and not a whole lot different from the original WRT54G released in 2002. Changing an LED or button or sticker isn't an appreciable change, it doesn't make the 54GL any faster or less idiosyncratic to work with nor does it help make modern code any smaller, and capable of fitting within the hardware from 2002.

    If you want a cheap 2.4Ghz only router the RT-N12D1 is an okay choice. Its faster than a 54GL and has double the RAM & Flash, making it far easier to keep a modern firmware on it. You regularly can get remanufactured variants from $15 to $25 if you wait for a sale, with new models regularly dropping down to $25 to $30.
    eibgrad likes this.
  25. eibgrad

    eibgrad Network Guru Member

    ^^ It wouldn't even make sense to change the hardware. Ppl have a certain expectation about what they're getting. Belkin is not going to mess w/ those kind of changes. All Belkin is interested in is making a profit off its long history of reliability and stability. There's nothing in it for them to do much more than cosmetic changes and rebadging.
  26. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    The byte counts match the byte counts of the aforementioned builds on the DD-WRT FTP site 2018/01-19-2018-r34578/broadcom/


    Unless 4MB of RAM=3 million bytes, it's far past time to get off that track.

    Yes, that's what Hard means above.

    Will consider it if I have time to return the GL after life and all these blind alleys I've been sent down.
  27. Sean B.

    Sean B. Network Guru Member

    I'd say go back to stock firmware. Linksys customer support actually gets paid to tolerate attitude like yours.
  28. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Tolerate, or trigger PTSD?
  29. Sean B.

    Sean B. Network Guru Member

    Wait, I forgot, support ended for this model 13 years ago.
  30. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Feigned support continues to this day.
  31. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Frankly son at this point I have no idea what firmware you're trying to flash onto your router but why you're discussing dd-wrt firmware sizes on a forum devoted to Tomato firmwares is something I have no interest in discussing. You want to use your 15 year old router, then use a 15 year old firmware with it. You want something current, buy current hardware. The only other option available is to compile your own firmware, which you are more than welcome to do, but with that attitude I doubt you'll make much headway before you tick off every last person who offers to help you figure out how.
    Malakai and Sean B. like this.
  32. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Frankly dad at this point I have no idea why you can't see my question marks or even use CTRL/CMD-F to find my questions about Tomato in my OP.
  33. Sean B.

    Sean B. Network Guru Member

    Says the guy who can't figure out which firmware build is meant for his router or how to install it properly yet argues technical points with the people who make it on forums with thousands of others that run it without issue.
    While I'm sure @Monk E. Boy means well by advising you to upgrade, I believe such advice is in error. Because frankly, if you can't figure out your old 54GL I can only imagine the bitching and whining you'd spew trying to use a new model. Good luck, and feel free to GTFO.
  34. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    Asks for help to figure out which firmware build is meant for his router because he's not omniscient, gets told to fuck himself in a thousand words.

  35. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    You ask for help, then insult everyone who responds because it's not precisely exactly what you're looking for, except you don't actually know what you're looking for, which is why you're asking for help in the first place. You have some idea stuck in your head that's the response you're expecting and anyone who doesn't give you that response gets insulted.

    Just put polarcloud firmware on it. Or roll your own build environment and work out how to make current source code work on that 15 year old hardware. Hope you have a JTAG cable.
  36. N6ATF-U

    N6ATF-U New Member Member

    I asked, I specified my use cases, I either had my intelligence insulted, and/or wasn't answered or answered so vaguely as to not actually be responsive to my exact question.

    But go ahead, continue being vague & insulting, and playing the victim.

    P.S. I found the Ignore button.
  37. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo LI Guru Member

    Was in the same dilemma since i cleaned the dust from my antique WR54GL V1.1 today, on my father's request to install it as a range extender for home cable internet GPON gateway. Plan to run it as a wired AP connected to the main gateway. Would be loading one of the recommended images and will post results.

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