@TheBot It sounds like the Automated Optical Inspector(AOI), and also the lead QA Technician at the manufacturing plant your router/extender came from were both having an off day simultaneously, haha! Or maybe that was a - "well, it still works, and most people don't do development, let's ship it, they'll never know" - moment. "And come to think of it, maybe we should put in a request to finance to upgrade our AOI next year... "
That said, I know its frustrating to receive technology that is poorly assembled and less than 100% functional, and sorting out why it isn't 100% can really be a mess. Sometimes people come that way too it seems. Maybe that's part of why you got a bum router. But, you patched it up so now you can continue tinkering at your leisure!
No worries about slow responses. It's an increasingly busy world we live in. Thank you for taking the time to respond to us, I really appreciate it. This project serves as a welcome distraction from many difficulties we are all facing, for me.
Continuing from your recent post, it seems like you have the equipment to read/write/and test new firmware builds, and you are also a busy person. I am willing - if there is anything I could do to help you on the software side that would help alleviate some of your task load - to collaborate with you and figure out the proper build parameters based on your findings during test phases. Again, I know your busy and don't need any more pressure, so know that I am thinking of this as @slo moving process that could take months or more to sort through here and there.
It sounds like I could begin working on the tplink_re200-v3-initramfs-kernal.bin source code right away, sorting out the way to implement the mktplinkfw.c so at least the base firmware is supported. That will be one task crossed off the list soon I hope. I am also busy with many things. So I'll share if or when I have any meaningful findings.
Since you have the ability to directly read and write the chip in the event of soft bricking - when you resolve a way to establish a solid connection - would you be willing to try a bin file if I can figure out how to successfully - and competently - compile it?
On some devices the manufacture may disable the UART interface, so you can't poke around their devices.
I think this is, to hide some potential security issues that are unknown yet on their firmware and/or to prevent from modifying the device firmware mostly because they are almost the same as an greater version one, so that way the manufacture may force you to buy the "newer one" (for instance the RE205 v3 support OneMesh and some others don't, but nevertheless they are on the hardware side the same).
I'm 100% percent in on testing! Also I will try too (whenever I got some time).
Do you remember where you put that jumper wire?
As I still cannot access the bootloader, I finally modified the sources and successfully upgrade my devices using the web-interface.
I created pull requests to add official support to OpenWRT.
Sorry @slo for responding so late, unfortunately I was making some progress on this device until I decided to create a full backup of the flash chip before reprogramming it with the indicated OpenWrt firmware, in this process I don't know what I did wrong but apparently I killed the chip (¿could my modifications on the UART port be the culprit? I would never know). Given this, I never got to the point on flashing the chip with the firmware (as said, I only loaded it to the volatile memory and run from there, I was on my way on reprogramming it and that's why I wanted to make a full backup in case if I messed up), then once I flash it then I could do some further testing proving that its stable and nothing happene when the device was rebooted with ll that I could finally confirm the firmware was 100% compatible and post it on the community.
At this point and after trying really hard to revive this device, I finally decided to move on and consider this a dead project, so I threw this device to the bin.
Im really glad that you still decide to proceed on making this device be supported by OpenWrt and do required tasks!
Anyways, if someone is looking for running OpenWrt on this device and finds this post. ¿Is there any link where they might download the firmware and where you can point out what steps you've done to get it working?
Pull request for the firmware-utils have already been merged, so you can build the firmware-utils and use tplink-safeloader to create a factory-image. (Of cause you need a compatible and existing kernel and root-filesystem to do so.)
The pull request for OpenWRT itself is still open. You can already get the sources and build it.
Once it is (hopefully) accepted I guess you can just download the latest snapshot.
The image is almost identical to RE200 images, but GPIOs for LEDs are different.
BTW: With the current stable 23.05.2 release 5GHz WLAN does not work, but that seems to be fixed on the master branch. - At least it is running quite fine on my device.