Advice to new TP-Link Archer A7 owners

Hi,

Simple advice DO NOT FLASH UPGRADE FACTORY FIRMWARE.

After some hair tearing out yesterday I have found that A7s come with quite old factory firmware. Do NOT be tempted to upgrade this before attempting to flash OpenWrt firmware. I have found that the latest firmware will reject OpenWRT images and will not allow you to flash back to older firmware. The old default firmware that the A7s arrive with do not have this issue and will accept flashing to with OpenWRT no problem at all. I was lucky that I bought two A7s but unlucky that I only worked this out when I factory upgraded the first one and then found it would not accept OpenWRT. Fortunately the second one I had left as delivered and it worked fine. I am now replacing the first one with a new one and all will be well.

CJ

Flash how ?

TFTP generally works no matter what firmware version you have installed.

I used the TP-Link GUI - manual upload image file in the upgrade options of the gui. Could not get tftp to work.

CJ

A week ago I flashed an A7. The stock firmware was relatively new (end of 2020). Flashing via GUI was not possible.

image

There were no problems with the TFTP method. Do not forget to stop the firewall of the machine, hosting the tftp server. You can hold down the reset button until you see a request on the tftp server console.

Yes, the ones I have received in the last couple of days from Amazon UK had 1.0.16 firmware so pretty old. I had the exact error you did when I tried flashing with current firmware.

Picked one of these up via amazon and I'm failing to get OpenWRT on it. Feeding the bin in the GUI = invalid file type no matter what it is named.
Archer A7 v5.0 (says 5.8 on sticker)
1.1.0 Build 20201120 rel.50399(5553)

Also failing at doing TFTP as per docs. Only tip I didn't see in the docs is setting Tftpd64 to bind to the 192.168.0.66, if you don't the server will change to a NIC that is active while router is off. I approved the firewall prompts, and also just turned it off but I never see a request come into Tftpd64. Held the reset switch for ten seconds, also held it all the way through boot, power light stops blinking at 1:45 and held it to 2 minutes.

My first time trying TFTP, maybe something basic wrong?
tftpDIR

Let go of the button once the WPS light turns on. The power light will go out, the WPS light should be the only one on.

Disconnect the PC from all other networks and disable all firewalls. Don't try to tweak them to allow TFTP, just turn them off. This is safe to do since the PC isn't connected to any other networks. Nearly all problems with running a TFTP server are due to a firewall blocking incoming TFTP requests.

Finally got it, needs to be plugged into a LAN port not the WAN port.

Connection received from 192.168.0.86 on port 3755 [11/11 18:34:58.830]
Read request for file <ArcherC7v5_tp_recovery.bin>. Mode octet [11/11 18:34:58.831]
OACK: <timeout=5,blksize=1468,> [11/11 18:34:58.832]
Using local port 63654 [11/11 18:34:58.832]
<ArcherC7v5_tp_recovery.bin>: sent 3857 blks, 5660903 bytes in 1 s. 0 blk resent [11/11 18:34:59.563]

Forgive me for resurrecting this thread, just bought a refurb model of this one for a good price, and yes, it is a v5.8 and has that particular FW version above, that won't just load an OpenWrt version..

There currently are only even newer stock FW versions on the TP-Link site, so I can't down grade to one that's a known easy to switch to OpenWrt version, like you find in the wiki.

I thought this thread might be a good place to ask the question, has anyone has had success with direct upgrade from stock, with some of the later FW versions?

TFTP is from stock, just not via it...

? I meant, load a OWT firmware thru the stock TP-Link firmware's upload interface. Rather than having to go the TFTP route.

A separate note, I see that on the A7, page, there are some links to at least 1 older than the date of the one that had reports of being able to do this. I may try to downgrade my TP-Link version and see if it will take a OWT, if the version I have won't do it.

My overall plan is to be able to easily flip back and forth between versions, TP-Link and OWT, to check performance, for instance.

then good luck, and please come back in a couple of years ...

Uh, I'm still not understanding you.

It seems that some stock firmware will let you load OWT. Others won't, and you then have to use the TFTP method. The version I have in my A7 is one mentioned on the wiki that won't let you load OWT.

I'll let people know if I try the earliest one linked on the A7 wiki page, and it does let me load OWT directly. And, back to my original question, if any A7 users have been able to directly load, please let me know which TP-Link firmware you have.

Edit: I think I understand you now. My main goal is my first question. Can you directly load OWT on the later stock FW's? Secondary goal is more of a use case.