Replacing OpenWRT on HooToo Nano TM02
February 13, 2017 1:25 PM   Subscribe

I have dabbled in OpenWRT, but it was more effort than I want to expend and so now I want to go home. How do I remove openWRT Chaos Calmer from my HooToo Nano HT-TM02 and go back to factory firmware?

I loaded up OpenWRT once but I couldn't get software to install: apparently "everyone knows" to correct the paths to the package repos. So I did that and it still wouldn't load any packages, which was frustrating. While configuring it as a client on my home WiFi, I b0rked its routing and had to do a failsafe boot via TFTP from my Mac Book. And that worked -- whew! So then I put back 15.05.1 and got the paths fixed (though it still won't load anything), and then I got irritated, and decided I was done because I just want a small device that will stream movies, and the HooToo's rock firmware & iOS app are good enough.

I downloaded the current version of the manufacturer's firmware from this page, which is a zip file. I unzipped it, copied the file "fw-WiFiPort-HooToo-TM02-2.000.072" to the router's /tmp directory, and tried to use the `mtd` command to write it to the firmware (`mtd -r write /tmp/fw-WiFiPort-HooToo-TM02-2.000.072 firmware`). The connection was dropped after several minutes, and then the device didn't come back up through its Ethernet port or on wifi. So then I renamed the vendor's firmware file to Kernal.bin and shared it out from my Mac's TFTP folder, but I don't think the poor device boots anymore: its little blue LED shines steadily but mindlessly, I fear.

Have I completely smoked this little router? Is there any way to revive it? I know it was only like $17 but I have learned my lesson, I swear, and I only want to go home! >img src="dorothygale.gif"<
posted by wenestvedt to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
The openwrt wiki page on that router notes that the file used to install openwrt from the original firmware is a shell script containing a binary, instead of just a binary. That file is designed to drop in for a firmware upgrade from the manufacturer, and indeed the manufacturer's own firmware download is a similar script-binary combination. Unfortunately yes you overwrote openwrt with some garbage followed by firmware, instead of just some firmware. Perhaps worth asking on the openwrt forum if there's a way to revive it? But it may involve some soldering.
posted by yaarrgh at 9:24 PM on February 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was able again to TFTP boot the device (from my laptop) and install the OpenWRT base, and then I immediately upgraded OpenWRT to the current version. This allowed packages to be installed and updated, which is a big improvement.

HOWEVER, when you put OpenWRT on a device like this, you overwrite the bootloader, and the manufacturer's firmware won't run on that bootloader, so you are pretty much hosed. As a result, I can't go back to the HooToo firmware, which makes me sad but teaches me a valuable lesson.

(I have read accounts of people cracking the case, soldering down some wires, and using a firmware programmer to dump in a bootloader+firmware captured from an intact device. That is so far beyond my abilities and interests that I will leave it for any future reader to consider. There Be Dragons.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2017

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