Linksys E8450 | Current Firmware Help

Hey all I was hoping for some help. I bricked my first attempt so I was hoping to get as close as a full walk through as I can. This is the first time I’ve ever bricked something so clearly I’m missing some nuance here.

Last time I followed this video guide

I watched it slowed down noticing his stock firmware version matched mine. I verified the names of the files he used in the video:


Upon rebooting the device was working. Then as in the video I flashed:

Now the device is just flashing a blue light and it's unreachable using ping command. I assigned a static IP on the PC (since it was relaying on DHCP) but it’s not detecting the physical connection at all.

So I’ve got another of these and I’d like to make sure this time I don’t brick this one. Can anybody tell me the current procedure for this device? There seems to be a lot of confusion on my end.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Have you flashed the UBI installer image at all?
That is the first step in installing into a new rt3200/e8450 device.

You start by talking about brick recovery, but what did you do initially?

The initial installation should be fine with this installer. Sadly it can't be built by the buildbot, so it is not available from the normal download site.

Thanks for the reply I appreciate it. In my post I mentioned following a video by [OneMarcFifty] on YouTube. I see now the github link also has a video I can follow.

For the github source, the pre-built files supplied have a different extension. These pre-built are '.itb' and in the video files are '.fit'. Does this matter?

Sure it does.
The video guy apparently installed the non-UBI version, which is directly supported by the OEM bootloader, but is not actually any more supported by OpenWrt as the renewed flash driver dislikes the ECC errors left by the OEM.

You likely flashed the UBI version images, but did not first change the bootloader with the UBI installer image from Danile's site (...ubi-initramfs-recovery-installer.itb). So, the bootloader doe not understand your image at all.

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Ok so the steps then are to:

  1. Download Stock Vendor Firmware Linksys E8450 [FW_E8450_1.0.01.101415_prod.img] ( and flash normally.

  2. Load the Pre-Built UBI ‘.itb’ file found on the GitHub link you sent me. Even though this isn’t ‘.bin’ file extension.

  3. Reboot the device and upon loading it will be running OpenWRT but not permanently. But now the device understands UBI images.

  4. Download the latest stable OpenWRT sysupgrade file from the firmware selector on OpenWRT site.

  5. Reboot and the device should now be OpenWRT permanently. Future flashes would also come from the Firmware Selector tool.

I SHOULD NOT use the Pre-Built ‘.itb’ sysupgrade package provided by the GitHub

I SHOULD NOT use the recovery file which is listed on the GitHub page unless I intend to switch the device back to stock firmware.

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You got it right, but just a few clarifications:

  • You might have no need to flash OEM firmware first. If the already running OEM flashing routine accepts the recovery installer image, you are good to go. (But depending on the OEM version, you need either signed or unsigned recovery installer.)

( I have flashed three RT3200s (in 2021 and 2022) and the installer accepted the OpenWrt installer image just fine.)

It is actually a permanent recovery instance of OpenWrt. But not yet the "normal run-time" OpenWrt sysupgrade image that you download and flash in the next step. But in principle it is a full OpenWrt that just can't write any config into disk, so it will always have the default settings. (you can mainly use it for flashing the normal sysupgrade image).

Why not?
Any normal UBI sysupgrade image should be fine. (Release versions will include LuCI GUI but snapshot images might not.)
Firmware selector offers just one way to get an image.

Ok the LuCi GUI is critical for me as I won’t be administering this primarily over SSH, only as a backup method. So no snapshot for me.

Installing the UBI installer process is a one time thing correct? Once in the “unable to write configuration to disk” mode I write the firmware I actually want and it’s done. Then all subsequent firmware updates are done the regular way in as released.

Appreciate the feedback and clarification

You do that just once to update the u-boot bootloader and to install the recovery image.
After that you sysupgrade quite normally.

(ps. have sysupgraded my RT3200 about 205 times since June 2021... But my other Rt3200 device at my sister's has continuous uptime since May 2022, so it has been really stable..)

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What is the "recovery" image for then? Just out of a pure desire to understand this inside and out. Since there are 3 types of files:


I get the hardware version is going to dictate whether to use Signed or Unsigned but what is the use case for the recovery image?

P.S. Thanks for all your help!

It is a special initramfs image, meaning that it does not try to write anything to disc and the whole runtime filesystem is in RAM. It can e.g. be uploaded and booted for testing purposes via TFTP in bootloader.

Like said earlier, the recovery installer image installs it to be the permanent recovery fallback instance. (It is thus a component of the recovery installer image)

Basically, you did something very-very-similar to what I did, and soft-bricked my E8450.

It sounds like you've flashed a version of openwrt designed to run on the UBI flash-layout, but you've not actually converted the layout to UBI first.

If that's the situation, then you can fix/recover that particular E8450 by opening it up, connecting a USB-to-serial adapter, and then following the same YouTube gentleman's instructions on unbricking his router.


Please don't be afraid of using the snapshot builds for that specific reason.

Both my E8450 and RT3200 are running (different) snapshot builds currently.

You just need to SSH in once, as soon as you install that-day's particular snaphot build, and then run ...

opkg update
opkg install luci

It's all explained here ...

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Thanks for that. I guess I’m trying to keep this as simple as can be because I’m taking on a lot at once.

I’ve been out of IT since 2003 and I’m having to update and relearn a lot of stuff that’s decayed over the 20 years. I’m starting from the ground up setting up a homelab. I’ve got to learn to install a hypervisor, configure VMs, Vlans, proper subnets and learning to code.

I wanted OpenWRT as my router, firewall, AP and VPN server to this end. But I am hoping it will be low maintenance compared to everything else.

Installing a package seems easy enough. Do you recommend using a USB key for system storage and package management?

I've run OpenWRT on my old Linksys WRT1900ACv2 for many years, and OpenWRT has been both stable and very low-maintenance.

It's mainly a bug in linux kernel 5.10 drivers and not OpenWRT itself, when it is running on my old router hardware that has made me upgrade to a newer router.

Probably not these days, and particularly not with the E8450/RT3200 when converted to UBI.

Unless you're developing for the router, or want to use a package that needs a LOT of permanent storage, then a router like the E8450/RT3200 has plenty of flash memory for installing and running OpenWRT's pre-built packages.

My E8450 is showing over 80MB of free memory left in storage, which I'm unlikely to ever come close to filling with my simple setup.

One of the big reasons for converting from the factory flash layout to the OpenWRT UBI layout is to get the router using the UBI format for the router's read/write filesystem, because UBI was specifically designed for flash memory, and to understand concepts like erase-block-size and wear-levelling, unlike traditional filesystems.

Unless you start to treat your router as a more generalized linux box, and try to run a bunch of other things on it, you should be fine with using the internal flash.

If you really do want to do those things with your main router, then I'd personally suggest thinking about switching to an old (and cheap) x86 computer with more RAM and an SSD as your router, and then set up the E8450/RT3200 as dumb APs in order to use their more-modern wireless.

Me, too ... but I got out of the game a few years later, in about 2012, and I was/am a coder as well, but my Open Source development work these days is in a different arena.

Have fun! :wink:

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