Bricked WRT54G with Blinking Power Light. Hard reset? TFTP? Nope – New Power Adapter. 12

WRT54GLike many owners of the ubiquitous Linksys WRT54G wireless router, I like to run aftermarket firmware on my device to unlock more of this router’s potential. I use one as my primary wireless router in my house, but I also use some as wireless Ethernet client bridges and wireless repeaters. So when I saw a WRT54G v3 for sale near me for $40 on Craiglist, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab another one. I offered $30 and the seller accepted.

When I picked up the unit, the first thing I noticed was that the previous owner had upgraded the antenna to the +7db versions. Score! My $30 outlay was looking like a better deal by the minute. I also noticed that the power supply was not Linksys branded, and the output rating on the adapter was 9V 300mA. Once I got home, I plugged it in to test, and the unit lit up. But then the power light started flashing… and then kept flashing. I pulled the plug, did a hard reset, and tried again. Suck! Was this thing bricked already?

I tried all the standard tricks to unbrick this router, including everything on Recover from a Bad Flash on the DD-WRT website and the article I’d used successfully in the past: Bricked! Or, How to Resurrect a Dead Linksys WRT54G on WiFi Planet.

I was able to get my router to ping, using a combination of a 30/30/30 reset. I was also able to get a TFTP upload to complete successfully, using the original Linksys firmware, but I still couldn’t get the unit to boot or display the GUI. I also used TFTP to upload DD-WRT mini and Tomato, but still had the same results. I hate to admit that I even tried jumping pins 15 and 16. But even that didn’t work.

I was about to toss the unit in the trash (keeping the upgraded antenna, of course), but then remembered that the power supply wasn’t stock. There’s some discussion as to what the correct power settings are for these units, as they were designed to accept a range of adapters. I’ve heard anywhere from 5V to 12V will work. So I figured since I was going to toss the router anyway, messing with the power couldn’t do much damage. So I hit The Shack and purchased an adjustable wall wart that was capable of anywhere from 3-12V and 1000mA (otherwise known as 1 amp). I brought it home, plugged it in, and…

Everything worked. I had spent hours on resets, ping attempts, firmware upload attempts, taking it apart and putting it back together, all in vain. Power was the culprit. The unit must have been getting enough juice to turn on, and even ping, but eventually it would reset, flash all the lights, and attempt to boot up again – over, and over, and over. Giving it 12V and allowing it to draw up to 1 amp was the key. I uploaded the latest Tomato firmware, and now the unit runs like a champ!

So if your router is WRT54G is acting bricked, but nothing else seems to be working, maybe you should try the easy solution first: just swap out the power supply!