Attended Sysupgrade "appears" to hang on TP-Link TL-WPA8631P v3

In order to further research Mesh networking on my three TP-Link TL-WPA8631P v3 units, I used Attended Sysupgrade to remove some unused packages and install a full version of wpad-wolfssl and mesh11sd (there isn't enough space in the overlay to do it any other way). This is all following on from the active discussion in the forum post tp-link-wpa8631p-multi-unit-mesh-with-av1300-backhaul as I needed to find out how to get the software that I needed installed so I could continue testing things.

I performed the Attended sysupgrade via the Luci webinterface. Currently, the page has frozen on the popup message: Installing the sysupgrade. Do not unpower device! which is very worrying...!

As I don't use PPP, DNSMasq or odhcpd on the TL-WPA8631P units, those were the packages that I removed to free up the space. I added iperf3 because it is how I have been testing interface speeds.

-odhcpd -odhcp6c -odhcpd-ipv6only
-ppp -ppp-mod-pppoe -kmod-ppp -kmod-pppoe -kmod-pppox -luci-proto-ppp
-dnsmasq
-wpad-basic-wolfssl

+mesh11sd
+wpad-wolfssl
+iperf3

I backed up my settings before I did all of this.

I can continue to ping the TL-WPA8631P unit. If I open a new browser tab, I can login & the status says that it has an uptime of 40 minutes, the software page shows that it has wpad-wolfssl and iperf3 installed & that dnsmasq is no longer there etc, but the original Attended Sysupgrade web page is still there in my other browser tab, alleging that it is still mid sysupgrade & telling me not to reboot anything.

Is this just a nice, simple web page bug, rather than me bricking my unit ? By this I mean that the Attended sysupgrade web page just hasn't reloaded after the image flash & the device reboot, & there's nothing to worry about. As this is my first ever Attended Sysupgrade, I'm still finding my way & making sure that I do everything right & trying to be very careful in everything that I do.

As always, all advice muchly appreciated. Justin

After a couple of hours I logged back in again & selected Reboot from the System menu - & it all worked, so it looks like it's something that I should learn to expect.

Glad it came back :slight_smile:

Using ImageBuilder, I bricked my own device multiple times by removing the wrong packages. :wink:

Just a word of caution to anyone with this device who are interested in building custom images for it (e.g. different default packages): Keep in mind this warning from the wiki page, and be conservative when changing the base image.

The only known ways to debrick the device require opening it up, which is difficult and hazardous as it contains live voltages. See Debricking instructions on tl-wpa8630p_v2. Avoid this if you can!

For this reason, you should avoid using snapshot images or customized ImageBuilder images, as both can result in unbootable images that can only be recovered by opening the device and re-flashing.

Installing packages after flashing/sysupgrading with the official image should always be safe, as if the device becomes unreachable due to misconfiguration, using the reset button will clear the additional packages and settings (i.e. erase the rootfs_data overlay) and bring it back to a working fresh install. The only downside of course is not having enough space.

When the base image itself is non-functional (e.g. removing the wrong package that makes it unreachable over the network, or not enough free space), the reset button wont help! On other devices with u-boot TFTP restore its much safer to experiment with customizing the package selection, but with devices like this you need to be careful and keep a flash programmer handy.

Good luck with the mesh experiments!

@jwmullally thanks for the warnings. I knew that I was really playing with fire, which was why I was so careful in my choice of what to remove & in trying to make sure that that what I removed left enough space for what I added. Because they are just AP's with a static IPv4 Address, PPP is unnecessary, as was odhcpd and DNSMasq, so I was pretty certain that I wasn't pulling anything from the core networking stack. But it was all seat of the pants stuff. I've now got to replicate what I did with the first one on my other two - then I can see what fun I can have with 802.11s

Am I right in assuming from your comments that Attended sysupgrade doesn't have any sanity checking on image size?

1 Like

Yes it does include a check, AFAIK the underlying ImageBuilder should fail if the firmware (builtin packages etc) went over the total available space, but the amount of free space left might be too small to do any configuration changes. Probably a rare enough occurrence that you can ignore, it should still work fine with 64k+ free space and just config changes. Even if you ran into an issue like that but the underlying image was still functional, the "Failsafe mode" would still work and you'd be able to recover... So I guess you can ignore that part :slight_smile: