What causes constant uboot mode?

I nabbed an old g.inet (updated typo) ar300m16-ext from my desk and wanted to upgrade it to the latest. I know about the nand/nor thing but as far as I know, this is only when using the gl.inet software so need to set the switch. As I understand it, no need for the switch when using openwrt.

I went ahead and flashed it and it came back in recovery mode. I flashed it with the gl.inet openwrt version and same thing. I've since flashed it with 22.03 and 22.05 and always the same, always recovery mode.

What am I missing?

Just a shot in the dark... Could be your reset button stuck?

Reset works, it's how I get it into recovery mode. I assume you mean the the other button then? I have no way to know I guess.

(You surely meant GL-AR300M16-Ext, not AR400)

Which image exactly did you flash the first time?
And how did you flash it?
Did you use the recovery web UI?

The M16 version doesn't have any NAND flash according to the product page.

EDIT:
Found this, someone flashed a initramfs kernel instead of a sysupgrade image:

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You surely meant GL-AR300M16-Ext, not AR400

Yes typo.

Which image exactly did you flash the first time?
And how did you flash it?
Did you use the recovery web UI?

I tried the official one and my own build using image builder. I also tried the factory gl.inet one but always the same.

The M16 version doesn't have any NAND flash according to the product page.

Yes, learned that a while after posting :).

Found this, someone flashed a initramfs kernel instead of a sysupgrade image:

I threw it back in the drawer but I'll give this a shot later. Any chance you have a specific link to a file I should try to make sure I use the correct one.

Use the images for the M16 provided here:
https://firmware-selector.openwrt.org/?version=23.05.3&target=ath79%2Fgeneric&id=glinet_gl-ar300m16

Checking the installation instructions here, it seems to be a two step process:
https://openwrt.org/toh/gl.inet/gl-ar300m#oem_easy_installation_using_u-boot

  1. go to the u-boot web recovery and flash the openwrt-23.05.3-ath79-generic-glinet_gl-ar300m16-initramfs-kernel.bin image.
  2. after reboot transfer the sysupgrade image to your router with scp and flash that:
  • scp openwrt-23.05.3-ath79-generic-glinet_gl-ar300m16-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin root@192.168.1.1:/tmp
  • then ssh into your router
  • and do sysupgrade -n /tmp/openwrt-23.05.3-ath79-generic-glinet_gl-ar300m16-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin

I just realized, those only have 2.4Ghz Wifi and I need 5Ghz as well.

Also, that's the problem, it never comes up so no mater what, I cannot ssh into it, it just goes back to recovery and port 80, nothing else.

I tried using the fw selector and even used the link you gave me but it always does the same. After reboot, it's back to port 80 only, waiting for an image.