Install OpenWrt D-Link DIR-853 A1

Hi all.
Just purchased a D-Link DIR-853 on the basis that it had the right features for me and looked like it would be compatible with OpenWRT.
I just recieved the box and it has HW ver A1, and the TOH shows compatability for A3 and R1.
Now i'm not sure enough about all of this to know if it's worth attempting given its not an exact match.
I did some reading on here an google, and can't find anything definitive on compatability, or what the differences are between these HW revisions.
can anyone out here who knows more than I, please enlighten me as to what my options are here?
Is there a compatible build in existance?
is customising a new build something that I could accomplish, being about 1 or 2 steps above absolute beginner at linux?
thanks in advance.

I'm porting OpenWRT to DIR-853 A1, please wait for my good news!

great news, I eagerly await your results!
i'm curious how it goes, and also as a bit of a newbie, i'm interested how to get the finished product onto the router.
is it likely to need hardware mods to get a serial port? or could it be done via flashing in the online interface?

hey did you have any luck?

is it likely to need hardware mods to get a serial port? or could it be done via flashing in the online interface?

I only know how to flash the firmware via the onboard serial port. The serial port header is not populated by default, so there will be some soldering work to do. Theoretically, if D-Link does not force signature check in its web firmware update, we can do online flashing as well (which doesn't need to open the case of the router).

The serial port exposes the Uboot console, it allows you to download a firmware image via network (TFTP), then either flash it or directly boot it from RAM.

So far, I'm able to boot the latest OpenWrt 22.03 on the router. It was running from RAM instead of flash, but I'm able to read the flash, so the flash configuration should be fine. The builtin network switch and all 5 RJ45 ports work. Tagging looks okay. I'm even able to install new software from the official repo.

I'm having trouble getting both the 2.4G and the 5G Wifi interface to work, any related information would be helpful.

Did you enable the WiFi?

It's disabled by default.

Yes, but that button does not work, in the system log I can see some error related to the driver MT76. I will add more detail.

1 Like

hi there.
just checking in, how is it going? did you resolve wifi?

Still playing around with the driver, it does not work yet. The good news is that everything else works.

I finally made it! Everything works!

Don't forget to make a backup before you flash this firmware. Flash it at your own risk!

See this for instructions:

thank you so much for sharing, great work!
i'll have to look into backing up firmware now, any tips?
thanks again.

You need to prepare a USB-TTL UART adaptor, open the case of the router and solder the missing header. Access the serial console and keep pressing "1" until the boot process interrupts. Load the initramfs version of my OpenWrt image, and OpenWrt will be loaded into RAM with the stock flash content untouched. Then, you can use the MTD backup function in Luci to create a backup of each partition. Alternatively (the hard way), you can desolder the SPI flash chip, hook it up to a programmer, and dump its content directly. I tried both and got identical results, I used an FT2232 break-out board in the latter test. In the RAM-boot OpenWrt, after you backup the entire flash, you can install OpenWrt to flash in Luci (pickup the sysupgrade image this time).