So I Bricked my Nighthawk R7200

Hey everyone. I really screwed up here, and I hope you can help. Here's what happened:

Essentially, I am trying to make 3 "dumb" access points for my network that support VLANs and trunking. I want to segment my IoT devices off from the rest of my network by putting them on a 2.4ghz network, keeping 5ghz and 6ghz free for laptops, phones, etc.

It took me awhile to work out VLAN configuration in LuCi, but eventually I figured it out for 2 of my 3 APs. Where I got in trouble was with the 3rd (my Netgear Nighthawk R7200).

I successfully flashed the R7200 with the package from its wiki page (Version 23.05.0).

Then, attempting to avoid getting lost in the weeds for hours (for a 3rd time) configuring the AP in LuCi, I then a configuration file from another of my OpenWRT access points (a Linksys 8450). I know, I should have done my homework first. I know now that this is a horrible idea.

What's strange is that this almost worked. The Nighthawk now attempts to load LuCi at the IP originally configured on the other AP (192.168.1.3) when I visit that address in a browser. I get the black screen with the LuCi message in the top-left. However, the login prompt never loads, and the page eventually times out. I have no white link lights for any of the 4 switch ports after the router finishes booting.

I tried SSH connections to both 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.1.3, but get no response.

I tried the factory reset button, but that did nothing.

I googled around for help and found the TFTP fix for the R7000 and R7800, but my attempts to use this solution have failed. Regardless of whether I set the host address in TFTPD as 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.1.3, the stock firmware file never uploads when I hit "Put."

Some online have suggested using a serial connection, but obviously this thing doesn't have a console port like you'd expect on a Cisco router. I'm guessing I have to open this thing up, but I can't seem to find any advice on what tools I need, what to look for on the system board, or what exactly to do once I have serial access.

Does anyone have any ideas about what I could do to save this device? Is there some way I roll back the configuration, or is there software out there that can re-flash a bricked router? If not, could anyone point me to some good instructions on recovering it with serial access?

Try failsafe mode. You can use this to either fix the broken config or reset to defaults.

2 Likes

I tried that just now- after rebooting the R7200, I poked the reset button with a pen, and now the power LED is rapidly blinking orange (instead of the usual white). That seems like what the failsafe mode wiki article was describing, but here's the strange thing:

I still can't reach it at 192.168.1.1 in a browser, and I can still get the black LuCI - LUA Configuration Interface page at 192.168.1.3 (though it behaves as before, and times out before loading the login prompt. This seems to suggest it isn't clearing the bad config.

I also tried the Factory Reset button again while it was in FailSafe mode (held for 10 sec), and it didn't seem to change anything.

Am I doing this wrong?

Did you set your comptuer with a static IP address and connect directly with ethernet?

LuCI doesn't run in failsafe mode. You need to connect via ssh.

1 Like

...and neither does dnsmasq, so emphasis on the static network configuration of your computer.

2 Likes

There is no LuCI in the failsafe mode.
There is only the SSH console at 192.168.1.1 (the default OpenWrt address, your corrent config is not loaded at all)

The reset button does nothing special by itself. If you are in the failsafe mode, you need to enter the SSH console and issue suitable commands to reset the overlay files. (like described in the failsafe wiki)

1 Like

Ah, there we go! While yes, I had set a static IP and connected with an ether cable, I had not tried SSH. THAT did it. I punched in the firstboot && reboot command from the failsafe mode wiki page, and I'm in!

Thanks so much, everybody- you saved my Nighthawk!

1 Like

Glad it's all set now.

If your problem is solved, please consider marking this topic as [Solved]. See How to mark a topic as [Solved] for a short how-to.
Thanks! :slight_smile: