Unbricking a Linksys router

Many years ago I bought a Linksys WRT54G router, version 2, which was great. Ran solidly, very rarely had to reboot it etc.

As parts of the firmware for the router were under the GPL, Linksys released the source, and a few variations of the router software appeared. You could upload the new firmware and tweak extras settings, or do things you couldn’t with the official Linksys software. You can even run a webserver on there!

It was great, until I bricked it.

One glitch in a firmware upload and you’d kill the router. You’d know it was dead because the power light blinked continuosly, never settling to solid. Did I ever cack myself when this happened!

Fortunately, the internet being what it is, a lot of people had managed to do this before me. So a bit of googling and I found a page by a chap called voidmain called “Linksys WRT54G Revival!“.

This very helpful page tells you how to pop the router apart, which pins to short and how to upload new firmware. I used MacTFTP Client to upload the firmware. Beware though, this can take more than a few attempts to get the timing right!

If I remember rightly, after dicking about with a few firmwares and bricking the thing about 8 times, I bought a Belkin router, that couldn’t be flashed with any open source firmware, thus removing the temptation to kill it.

Anyway, back to the point. I’ve unbricked the router and put Tomato firmware on it. I plan to use the WDS settings to extend the range of my network through to the back kitchen and set my Airport Express set up in there, so I can access all the tunes on the Mac Mini under the TV, by using the Apple Remote on the iPhone.

I’ve written this post as a visual reminder to me on where to find the unbricking page for the next time I can’t stop fiddling with the damn router!


It’s the 7th May 2017, and I’ve just searched for this post to revive the same router! I’m going to put it outside in the garden for a bit further coverage. I was relieved to see VoidMain’s site was still live when I clicked the link! I thought I’d make a PDF of VoidMain’s page in case it ever goes offline.