Unbrick TP-Link Archer C5400 V2

I have a TP-Link Archer C5400 V2 that I bought used that was supposed to be in working condition. Well, unfortunately It's stuck in some sort of a boot loop. So after hours of research, I tried the following methods to rescue this thing.

--------tftpd64 method--------

  1. changed my Ethernet adapter ip settings to:
    IP: 192.168.0.66
    SUBNET MASK: 255.255.255.0

  2. downloaded the latest firmware .BIN file from the tp-link website for the c5400

  3. since there is no information out there at the present time on how to do this for this specific router, I did not know what to rename the .BIN file to, so I made multiple copies of the .BIN file from the tp-link website, put them in a folder on the desktop named "recovery", and renamed the .BIN files as follows:
    "ArcherC5400_v1_tp_recovery.bin"
    "ArcherC5400_v2_tp_recovery.bin"
    "ArcherC5400v1_tp_recovery.bin"
    "ArcherC5400v2_tp_recovery.bin"

  4. downloaded, installed, and started tftpd64

  5. Clicked "Browse" and selected the "recovery" file on my desktop

  6. on the list for "Server interfaces" I selected the "192.168.0.66" option

  7. plugged the router into my computer's Ethernet port (I tried this method on all 4 Ethernet ports on the router)

  8. held down the eps and restart buttons first, THEN powered the router on while still holding the 2 buttons until the light pattern changed to indicate recovery mode, and.....nothing. nothing displayed on tftpd64, and after like 10 seconds, the router restarted, and resumed it's boot loop. so I tried changing the IP of my computer's Ethernet adapter thinking maybe my router was one of the routers that used the recovery IP: "192.168.1.66". Unfortunately, still nothing.


--------web page firmware recovery--------
(This method was listed on TP-Link's web sight for multiple routers, including the C5400)

  1. changed my Ethernet adapter ip settings to:
    IP: 192.168.0.2
    SUBNET MASK: 255.255.255.0
    Default gateway: 192.168.0.1

  2. downloaded the latest firmware .BIN file from the tp-link website for the c5400 to my computer to upload to the router if the web page displayed properly

  3. plugged the router into my computer's Ethernet port (I tried this method on all 4 Ethernet ports on the router)

  4. held down the eps and restart buttons first, THEN powered the router on while still holding the 2 buttons until the light pattern changed to indicate recovery mode, then quickly tried to navigate to "192.168.0.1" on chrome, and.....also nothing. the router was supposed to communicate with my PC at the web address "192.168.0.1", but the webpage never loaded because the router just keeps restarting before anything can load on chrome.


--------possible USB recovery method?--------
(this is something I just thought of myself)

  1. formatted a USB stick (tried both NTFS and FAT32)

  2. put all the same .BIN files on the USB drive:
    "ArcherC5400_v1_tp_recovery.bin"
    "ArcherC5400_v2_tp_recovery.bin"
    "ArcherC5400v1_tp_recovery.bin"
    "ArcherC5400v2_tp_recovery.bin"

  3. plugged the USB drive into the router (tried both ports, but only the blue USB 3.0 port closest to the power button yielded these interesting results...

  4. held down the eps and restart buttons first, THEN powered the router on while still holding the 2 buttons until the light pattern changed to indicate recovery mode

  5. then the lights displayed a pattern the I definitively have not seen before but unfortunately accomplished nothing

  6. plugged an empty USB drive into that same USB port and the same interesting light pattern displayed, so I knew it had nothing to do with the .BIN files on the first USB drive.


So in doing further research about the tftpd64 method, I found there is this program called "Wireshark" that lets you view the traffic of the Ethernet adapter to see what the router is sending, receiving, and requesting. All this information was in a guide, and apparently the router is first supposed to request the IP "192.168.0.66" using the "ARP" Protocol, which mine did not do. It requested "192.168.0.1" along with whatever IP I had assigned to my computers Ethernet adapter using the "ARP" Protocol. Then, The router is suppossed to request a recovery file using the "TFTP" Protocol. My router didn't request a recovery file...there was absolutely no data in the log that used the "TFTP" Protocol. So that tells me the router is not even trying to retrieve a recovery file. So I am pretty sure TFTP recovery is not an option for me. However, I think there is still a little hope using the "serial ttl" method. I have ordered the appropriate 3 pin connector to solder onto the router's main board, and a serial ttl to USB adapter, however all the good guides on how to do a serial ttl recovery are for the Archer C7 and C5 routers...Not the Archer C5400 which is a completely different router. Could you guys help me out? I really don't want to just throw away such a powerful and expensive router due to (what seems to be) just firmware and or boot-loader corruption. Any help would be very appreciated. Thanks!

Can you identify the C5400 v2 on the Table of Hardware please?

I'm having difficultly identifying which one is your device.

  • Those BIN files don't appear to be OpenWrt-related, is this question related to OpenWrt?
  • Some TFTP transfers have to be initialized by requests and replies to/from a DHCP server, tftpd64 includes one - just for this purpose

No point of trying NTFS. It's very unlikely that it will work if FAT32 doesn't.

Then it doesn't look like it was in TFTP recovery mode. At least that's how my Archer C7 would do.

So, reading this https://www.tp-link.com/us/faq-1482.html, it looks to me like you are mixing both methods. Presuming that your router supports TFTP, I would expect it to follow similar procedure as other models. The two methods (TFTP vs browser upload) use different IPs, different software and different procedure to turn the router on. You can't mix and match!

If you use the TFTP method, Wireshark should show you the file name the router is looking for. And you need to check your router. If it's V2 then don't use firmware for V1.

Your router isn't in OpenWrt supported list, and this forum is about OpenWrt. So you are unlikely to get support here as people here are unlikely to have the same model to get into the specific, and also they are more occupied by supporting people who need help with their OpenWrt. TP-Link should be able to provide support.

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Hi, thanks for the reply. I am not trying to install OpenWrt. I am just wanting to unbrick this C5400 router, and somehow re-flash the factory firmware in hopes that it would come back to life. I was just guessing when I named those .BIN files. Also, I was unsure what category to put this thread under. Could you give me a step by step on how to initiate the TFTF transfer?

I tried a new power adapter on the unit and the reboot cycle stopped! I was so excited to get it working again!!! ...but now I'm scared it's going to crash on me again :confused:

...

I realize this thread is from a few months back, I actually had a very similar problem with my C5400 v1.

I worked with their tech support on a resolution, but they weren't able to provide one. They even sent me a beta release of the firmware, but that didn't work either.

UNFORTUNATELY, THIS ALL HAPPENED 1 FREAKIN' MONTH AFTER MY WARRANTY EXPIRED!!!

So, long story short... I kinda gave up. I was going to file for the extended warranty, but then Assurion seemed close to impossible to place a claim through.

Jump ahead a few months, and back to the beginning of my reply for my resolution...

Power supply was likely the whole problem. No electronic device can operate properly without suitable power.

All known versions of the C5400 are Broadcom based and thus are unlikely to ever have OpenWrt support.
https://wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_Archer_C5400_v1.x

Broadcom's CFE bootloader doesn't use TFTP, it typically has a web-based recovery where the bootloader runs a tiny web server at 192.168.1.1. The only function of this server is to accept and flash a firmware file.

If you're trying to recover some not-supported-by-OpenWrt router with its stock firmware, there are better places than here to ask.

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