TP-Link Archer C5 v2 Serial Recovery

Note: This is not critical. I’ve already bought multiple new routers. This is more of an interest to see if I can recover.

Last year, I flashed 19.07.10. The flash went correctly and I was playing around with VLANs and routing. My neighbours recently got rural fiber so I offered the Archer C5 v2 to them as a gift. The interface was way too complicated for them to use, so I offered to restore the original interface to them.

That did not go well. I grabbed the stock firmware from the TP-Link web site, but trying to applying through the Luci web interface would fail saying the size is different. The return to factory firmware instructions clearly indicate that the if the firmware file does not have the word”boot” in it, then I can just revert back to the original firmware.

I though perhaps despite the filename not having the boot in it, it actually does have the boot portion, so I followed the instruction to cut the initial portion using dd. I then successfully apped the firmware through the Luci web interface. Upon reboot, the router got bricked.

I tried the standard reset procedures, but the router remained bricked.

I ended up soldering a pin header to the serial output. I was able to PuTTY to the serial interface and watch the boot process.. I was able to start the TFTP recovery. The router initially configures eth0 as 192.168.1.1, but gets reconfigured as 192.168.0.86 and tried to obtain ArcherC5v2_tp_recovery.bin from 192.168.0.66. From my Windows laptop I cannot see anything incoming from 192.168.0.86. The TFTP flash just times out.

I broke the router boot process and got to the CFE prompt. Reconfigured my laptop with an IP of 192.168.1.100. I tried to ping from the router to the laptop. No response. I tried to ping from the laptop to the router. No response.

I tried to manually configure eth0 on the router to 192.168.0.86 and reconfigured my laptop to 192.168.0.66. Retired the ping. No response.

I discovered a post about perhaps the vlan1ports is configured incorrectly. The original list was 1 2 3 4 5*. I tried multiple permutations of ports 1 to 5 then I extended the ports to 1 to 8. Still not response. I then restored the original value.

I also read a post about using a switch in-between the router and the laptop. I also verified my network cables to make sure they worked.

At this point I’m stuck. Does anyone have any suggestions on getting the networking working so the TFTP flash will work? Would it be possible to put the firmware on a USB drive and flash locally?