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Asuswrt-Merlin on converted TM-AC1900 : Problems, upgrade path to 384.6

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@RAJOD1 : To answer your very first question of getting beyond Merlin 384.5, yes, you have to follow the guides here.

BUT please see if your CFE 1.0.2.9 has this problem: "It has been reported that if you use 1.0.2.5 CFE for a 68P (which I just read converts to 1.0.2.9) it pegs CPU1 at 100%." Confirm your CPU usage in GUI home screen. Look at CPU #1 and #2 bar graph.

If you have this problem you will need to change / downgrade the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh. (This is the only way forward.)

This means you need to start over with the HEX editor portion of the various guides. But you should be able to go straight to Merlin 384.10 without additional steps to increase the JFFS partition to 64MB.

I hope this helps.
 
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@RAJOD1 : To answer your very first question of getting beyond Merlin 384.5, yes, you have to follow the guides here.

BUT please see if your CFE 1.0.2.9 has this problem: "It has been reported that if you use 1.0.2.5 CFE for a 68P (which I just read converts to 1.0.2.9) it pegs CPU1 at 100%." Confirm your CPU usage in GUI home screen. Look at CPU #1 and #2 bar graph.

If you have this problem you will need to change / downgrade the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh. (This is the only way forward.)

This means you need to start over with the HEX editor portion of the various guides. But you should be able to go straight to Merlin 384.10 without additional steps to increase the JFFS partition to 64MB.

I hope this helps.
Maybe you missed my post but I gave you a big thanks because with the information here I was finally able to move past merlin 384.5 to the latest version.
My cpus are not pegged.

merlin latest version 384.10.png

sys info asus.JPG


I purchased it off of Amazon for $60.00 last spring. T-Mobile T-Mobile (AC-1900) By ASUS Wireless-AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router, AiProtection with Trend Micro for Complete Network Security (Certified Refurbished) . I guess its hit or miss as to which one you get. Some are 68U others are 68P.
 
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Maybe you missed my post but I gave you a big thanks because with the information here I was finally able to move past merlin 384.5 to the latest version.
My cpus are not pegged.
Thanks for the screenshots.

Thanks, I think I followed a similar guide getting it from Tmobile to 384.5. It took quite a few reboots updates, making CFE file using a webpage etc. Felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants as I'd never done it before.

The wifi still is not as good as my comcast router. I get 300Mbit/sec on comcast wifi 5Ghz but only 120ish on the asus 5Ghz. Good enough but not sure why its slower. I set the band to 20Mhz which helped a little.
Set 5G band:
1554299780663.png


Professional Tab:
1554300145976.png
 
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Thanks I just tried those settings but the speed dropped to 70Mbit. The 20MHz bandwidth setting brings to around 125Mbit. Might be some other combo that does better I'm happy its working its not a wifi speed demon but not terrible either.
Not sure why you have slow speed.

The other thought is to REFLASH Merlin 384.10 from the GUI for a second time.

2.4G Band:
1554303217374.png



Professional Tab:
1554303164280.png
 
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Not sure why you have slow speed.

The other thought is to REFLASH Merlin 384.10 from the GUI for a second time.

2.4G Band:
View attachment 120152


Professional Tab:
View attachment 120151
I did reset and then reflashed to latest but no change in wifi speeds. I looked at other posts on the 68u and P and did not see many getting much over 120Mbit on wifi.
I did not see anyone any faster than what I am getting. I do get 300+Mbit on wired so its somethign in the wifi holding it back.

What are you getting?
 
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@RAJOD1 : To answer your very first question of getting beyond Merlin 384.5, yes, you have to follow the guides here.

BUT please see if your CFE 1.0.2.9 has this problem: "It has been reported that if you use 1.0.2.5 CFE for a 68P (which I just read converts to 1.0.2.9) it pegs CPU1 at 100%." Confirm your CPU usage in GUI home screen. Look at CPU #1 and #2 bar graph.

If you have this problem you will need to change / downgrade the CFE to 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh. (This is the only way forward.)

This means you need to start over with the HEX editor portion of the various guides. But you should be able to go straight to Merlin 384.10 without additional steps to increase the JFFS partition to 64MB.

I hope this helps.
Hmmm I just noticed this behavior on my TM --> AC68U 384.9 Merlin, CPU1 is showing 100% whereas CPU2 is doing its normal thing, however the Tools/Sysinfo is showing

CPU Frequency 800 MHz
CPU Load Average (1, 5, 15 mins) 5.20, 5.19, 5.16

Is there a way to confirm if my TM-AC1900 is indeed a rebranded 68P as opposed to the 68U? I don't think I used the 1.0.2.5 CFE at all, if I had used the 1.0.2.5 CFE, the CPU frequency should show up as 1000 MHz in theory, right?

Thanks
 
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Not sure what you mean by adapters holding me back. It could be the new merlin for all I know I've not tested all the versions between 384.5_0 and 384.10_0 maybe one of those might do better.
Are the wireless "nics" setup properly and what speeds are they rated for. Example: I have a TPLink 1900 adapter:
1554315784732.png

You could try Merlin 384.8_2. but I don't think that's it. I am uncertain that the CFE bootloader is not the problem.

I recently had to do an emergency restoration for the 384.10 and reset my jffs scripts. I lost the ability to get internet, had to start from scratch.

RT-AC68U // USB3 port EXT4 Journaled 2GB swap on Samsung 64GB FIT Plus
Running RMerlin 384.10
AMTM: v1.9 // Diversion: v4.0.8 // Stubby: v1.1.1 // Skynet: v6.8.4
Pixelserv-tls: v2.2.1 //Entware // ntpMerlin v1.2.0

Hmmm I just noticed this behavior on my TM --> AC68U 384.9 Merlin, CPU1 is showing 100% whereas CPU2 is doing its normal thing, however the Tools/Sysinfo is showing

CPU Frequency 800 MHz
CPU Load Average (1, 5, 15 mins) 5.20, 5.19, 5.16

Is there a way to confirm if my TM-AC1900 is indeed a rebranded 68P as opposed to the 68U? I don't think I used the 1.0.2.5 CFE at all, if I had used the 1.0.2.5 CFE, the CPU frequency should show up as 1000 MHz in theory, right?

Thanks
CPU #1 pegged at 100%: That is due to not having downgraded to the CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh.
The 68P has the 1000MHz chip. (mine has the 800)
Look at rear label. Look in GUI like picture in post #53 (second capture)

I suggest getting off Merlin 384.9.

Some are using the hex editor to overclock the cpu to 1000 or even 1200, (over the 800) (use google)
I don't recall but I think the cfe 1.0.2.0 limits the clock speed to 800 so that's why some are overclocking. (I might be wrong)

https://www.lurch.uk/2018/03/overclocking-asus-dsl-ac68u-or-rt-ac68u/
 
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Are the wireless "nics" setup properly and what speeds are they rated for. Example: I have a TPLink 1900 adapter:
Oh well I just use a laptop or my Pixel 3 to test and I can jump back and forth to the Asus or xfinity wifi and speed test.
Asus - 120Mbit +-
Xfinity - 300Mbit +-
 
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Oh well I just use a laptop or my Pixel 3 to test and I can jump back and forth to the Asus or xfinity wifi and speed test.
Asus - 120Mbit +-
Xfinity - 300Mbit +-
How is the ASUS setup?
1554319922863.png
 
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Yes its in Default wireless router mode.
Unsure at this point. I have not had a hard crash since I converted mine until 384.10 and that happened after upgrading Stubby.

If you have the inclination, I would try the 1.0.2.0 CFE. You could always go back (save your file)

You should have the 2 ASUS tools at your ready as well: ASUS Router Rescue 2000 and Device Discovery Utility 1.4.8.0.

DDU: https://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC68U/HelpDesk_Download/

RRU: Post#2: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-ac3100-firmware-recovery-utility.47362/
 
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Unsure at this point. I have not had a hard crash since I converted mine until 384.10 and that happened after upgrading Stubby.

If you have the inclination, I would try the 1.0.2.0 CFE. You could always go back (save your file)

You should have the 2 ASUS tools at your ready as well: ASUS Router Rescue 2000 and Device Discovery Utility 1.4.8.0.

DDU: https://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC68U/HelpDesk_Download/

RRU: Post#2: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-ac3100-firmware-recovery-utility.47362/
Thanks! I think I had one of the CFEs error out thats why i ended up with the version I had but maybe I could try.

For now I am going to bask in having it at the latest version. Everything seems to be working well (slightly slower wifi) but zero crashes. In 12 months its never crashed yet.

Its a refurb modem for $60.00 so I'm pretty happy for the money.
 
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Thanks! I think I had one of the CFEs error out thats why i ended up with the version I had but maybe I could try.

For now I am going to bask in having it at the latest version. Everything seems to be working well (slightly slower wifi) but zero crashes. In 12 months its never crashed yet.

Its a refurb modem for $60.00 so I'm pretty happy for the money.
Have you gone over to slickdeals to see who I am?

You used the wrong CFE.
It is not a hit and miss. You chose the higher number CFE.. or you bought a Cellspot from Amazon from a private party not Amazon. THEY put in the wrong CFE.
Either way, it doesn't matter. It is the wrong CFE.

:D

ALL (the 3 antenna) "Cellspots" from T-Mobile are the model U (The OP mentioned that in a screenshot of the models from snbforums)

People thought the higher number CFE was the most recent, which is for the P.

The P has different radios and runs at a higher mhz. This is why the most recent ASUS firmware (that Merlin's firmware is based off of) is now causing issues (as reported on several forums/threads) with the U model's using P CFE's.
People used to use the P CFE's to overclock the router.

I have read overclocking the router only makes the interface snappy. There is no point! haha the router is quick as it is.

So do Lazymocha's guide again, use 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh CFE
Clear the NVRAM when told during the guide.
Do the MTD5 commands, AS SAID IN LAZYMOCHA'S GUIDE.. but the last 2 do on an ASUS firmware 384.

THEN PUT MERLIN ON.

Because if you don't, any mention of issues you say from now on is pointless to discuss.

Respectfully speaking :D



For those needing a video , I just discovered one for you that is NEW.
ASUS TM-AC1900 can't update firmware (Merlin) to newer then 384.6


Don't forget, this video does not show you the last two MTD5 commands..
So might as well do them while your at it.

Here is the VIDEO (video by jasonbuechler from Slickdeals) but he forgets the last 2 commands:
  • ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
  • ./mtd-erase -d asus
Those 7 MTD5 commands look like this:
If you are following the Lazymocha's Guide, you will be on Firmware version 3004.376.3626 during this step. (Step 23)

As you see in the video, the firmware is Merlin's so it obviously works!

Enable SSH, then in Putty do the 7 commands below.
Code:
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot

The last 2 MTD5 commands:
In order to do the last 2 MTD5 commands you must be on Firmware 384.xxxxx or higher or the command will not be effective.

As you see in the video. Merlin's is 384.xxxxxx (Crafted off of ASUS 384.xxxxxx firmware)


Enable SSH, then in Putty do the last 2 commands below.

Writing all FFs to the mtd5, the green text should appear in Putty after issuing the two commands. (you will see green text in Putty)
Code:
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
admin@RT-AC68U:/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus
Erasing 0x0 - 0x1ffff
Erasing 0x20000 - 0x3ffff
Erasing 0x40000 - 0x5ffff
Erasing 0x60000 - 0x7ffff
Erasing 0x80000 - 0x9ffff
Erasing 0xa0000 - 0xbffff
Erasing 0xc0000 - 0xdffff
Erasing 0xeffff - 0xfffff
Erasing 0x100000 - 0x11ffff
Erasing 0x120000 - 0x13ffff
"asus" successfully erased.
/tmp/home/root#
--


Hmmm I just noticed this behavior on my TM --> AC68U 384.9 Merlin, CPU1 is showing 100% whereas CPU2 is doing its normal thing, however the Tools/Sysinfo is showing

CPU Frequency 800 MHz
CPU Load Average (1, 5, 15 mins) 5.20, 5.19, 5.16

Is there a way to confirm if my TM-AC1900 is indeed a rebranded 68P as opposed to the 68U? I don't think I used the 1.0.2.5 CFE at all, if I had used the 1.0.2.5 CFE, the CPU frequency should show up as 1000 MHz in theory, right?

Thanks
Is there a way to confirm if my TM-AC1900 is indeed a rebranded 68P as opposed to the 68U?
One thing for sure, when you look at the motherboard, it says RT-AC68U.
You can see it from this guide on how to retrieve the router after you brick it..https://yum3.tistory.com/65 has some pictures of one torn down.
I have opened one of my cellspots and seen the same brand mark. (different version).

The mention about CPU frequency... It depends on a few things to /bug it. Many firmware upgrades without reset NVRAM. Bugs in the firmware that have been patched over in updates.. a bug in Merlin's..

I remember reading people using CFE for 'P' not achieving that overclock anymore. As I mentioned this newer ASUS 'smart' firmware that looks for cellspots ( all 4 on the website ) ..anything over 384.20308... I started reading issues with the CFE for P version of RT-AC68's.

This is why 'we' over on Slickdeals never installed the 1.0.2.5 CFE.

But you having 100% load could simply be updating your system and clearing NVRAM.
/shrug.
 
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Have you gone over to slickdeals to see who I am?

You used the wrong CFE.
It is not a hit and miss. You chose the higher number CFE.. or you bought a Cellspot from Amazon from a private party not Amazon. THEY put in the wrong CFE.
Either way, it doesn't matter. It is the wrong CFE.
No I don't understand why I would want to. Slickdeals?

Hit or miss is from Amazon. Meaning since the routers off Amazon are T mobile Refurbs you really do not know if you are getting a 68P or a 68U router some people got ones with wrong antennas on them etc.

Mine turned out to be a P. Why do you want it to be a U?

You are way over thinking this. I'm just a guy that bought a router off Amazon and got it to work via a online guide I think from bayarea something? I could care less about over clocking which you seem to keep assuming is why I did this. I did not look at some list of CFEs and go "Gee I want a bigger number" I had flash error and a different CFE the one I used worked thats it.

All I know is I have a working router and tire of messing around with it.
================================================================================================================
Edit - additional info:

Ok I got to thinking about what Hawbgobblin said about the wrong CFE.

I guess I really did not understand all the different Asus 1900 models. I thought it was just a hardware difference like a computer has a
quad core at 2Ghz or it could have a quad core of different model at 3Ghz. Putting a different version of windows on the computer will not change the hardware inside the computer.

But it seems the CFE bootloader can make router that is a 68U think its a 68P even thought they have two different cpus.

Below are some posts about all this confusion of model numbers and different cpus in the 1900 routers.
===========================================
RT-AC68P:
1GHZ (BCM4709)


RT-AC68U:
REV A1/A2 = 800MHZ (BCM4708) / NO FA SUPPORT
REV B1/B2 = 1GHZ (BCM4709)
REV C0 = 1GHZ (BCM4709)


No better at other OEM's - Vendor "L" has one AC1900 class product that has 3 versions - V2 had a different CPU and twice the RAM, and V3 supposedly is higher clocked - problem is that V2 and V3 have the exact same FCCID, and V3 has the new FCC Tx limits compared to V2 - complicating it further in within the V2 product line, there are two discrete CPU levels, one at 1.3GHz, and the other @ 1.6 - and confirmed at that... grrr...

2016 from Merlin

Last December we ordered one from our suppliers for a customer, and it was an HW Rev B1, with 1 GHz CPU. Last week we ordered another one for another customer, and it was the HW rev A2 with the 800 MHz CPU. It all depends on what the supplier has in stock.

No better at other OEM's - Vendor "L" has one AC1900 class product that has 3 versions - V2 had a different CPU and twice the RAM, and V3 supposedly is higher clocked - problem is that V2 and V3 have the exact same FCCID, and V3 has the new FCC Tx limits compared to V2 - complicating it further in within the V2 product line, there are two discrete CPU levels, one at 1.3GHz, and the other @ 1.6 - and confirmed at that... grrr...
=====================================================================================

So it appears I might have a 68u that has been fooled into thinking its a 68P buy using a bootloader that is for a RT-AC68P. I guess since they are so similar in specs it actually works. But it also sets the clock rate. The 68u was made to operate at 800Mhz and the 68P is 1000Mhz. Without knowing it I was overclocking mine to 1000Mhz. Now I never had a crash or issue doing this but some people have.
======================================================================================================================
I found this post below. And I did his putty command and came up with the same BogoMips value of 199.00 (its suppose to be 1500 or so)

"So for those of you that stumbled upon this forum trying to troubleshoot your TM-AC1900 (that you converted to AC68U/P using 1.0.2.0/1.0.2.0AI/1.0.2.5 CFE's), and your trying to figure out why your WAN connection keeps dying, but LAN/WLAN is still functional, I've narrowed it down to the CFE's that was used to re-brand the TM-AC1900 to AC68U/P, which use 1000MHz as the base frequency. Go ahead and run the "cat /proc/cpuinfo" command in PuTTY... If it reports BogoMIPS : 199.47, then its highly possible that the binned CPU in your TM-AC1900 is incapable of sustaining said rate. (Now it sort of makes sense why the TM-AC1900 exists in the first place, ASUS repackaged the CPU's achieving roughly 80% yield, instead of trashing them).

I had to down clock the CPU to 800,666 in order for it to function normally again. In doing so, it now reports BogoMIPS : 1595.80. UI is snappy, and no more WAN disconnects.
Every attempt to put the CPU clock back up to 1000,800 makes "cat /proc/cpuinfo" report BogoMIPS : 199.47


So in summary, if your TM-AC1900 Router isn't totally bricked, but you are experiencing sluggish UI, constant WAN disconnection (due to failed Flow acceleration) - after you've converted it to AC68U/P, check to see if maybe the clock rate is too high for your binned CPU, and bring it down enough until BogoMIPS reports higher than 199.47.

Below is what it looks like to set the CPU clock to 800/666

nvram set asuscfeclkfreq=800,666 && nvram set asuscfecommit=1
nvram set clkfreq=800,666 && nvram commit && reboot


With these commands you write directly into CFE, so no need to reflash, it will survive after reboot and reset too."
====================================================================================================
Ok I used those commands to override the settings of 1000Mhz and set cpu to 800/666

Results? - I reran speed test and got 136Mbits. Was getting around 119Mbits. The user interface seems a little snappier. I flashed to todays Merlin 384.10_2 and seems fine.

So now I am at the proper speed but might be running a improper CFE.
My next question is whats the harm? It seems the only issue was it running my cpu faster than it should have been. Now that I have set it lower what good would changing my CFE bootloader do? Right now it works, no crashes etc. Whats to gain?

Also how does one know 100 percent what hardware is actually inside the router without tearing it apart?

And.. If I do change the CFE whats the fastest way to accomplish it from my current setup.

Thanks!

sys info after down clock to 800mhz.JPG


Ok I found a folder that I had made last year when doing the CFE I had taken some screen shots.
For some reason I could not get the 1.02.0 US AImech to work. It would error out flashing to the router. I noticed the file size was 1/2 the size of my original CFE.
Just wanting to get this working I think used 1.0.2.5 US which not only had the same size file but it actually worked. Based on that I assumed I must have the RT-AC68P/V2.

Below are the screen shots. No idea why the 1.02 failed or why its size was 1/2 of my original.

Also if I make a new CFE file do I need my original Tmobile CFE file? I don't understand what its doing making a new CFE bin from my original bin. Can't I just download a premade bin?
 
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Also if I make a new CFE file do I need my original Tmobile CFE file? I don't understand what its doing making a new CFE bin from my original bin. Can't I just download a premade bin?
Answer: NO, there are no premade bins. Each one is unique. (like every car has a unique VIN #)

The online editor uses your specific units mac address and pin #'s. So you need the original #'s for it to work, applied in the correct areas which the editor does for you. If done manual, mistakes can be made, very risky for unfamiliar.

The Original CFE has this info correct. If you made a mistake in your current one, then you just perpetuate the mistake. If you are sure that the current one is accurate then use that. You be your own judge.

In order to upload the CFE... you have to pull it.. So Lazymocha's guide tells how to do that.. Found here https://lazymocha.com/blog/2018/04/16/flash-t-mobile-cellspot-tm-ac1900-to-asus-rt-ac68u-p/

Please follow @Hawbgobblin 's advice.

I am uncertain about any shortcuts at this point and can't advise you in this area.
 
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Answer: NO, there are no premade bins. Each one is unique. (like every car has a unique VIN #)

The online editor uses your specific units mac address and pin #'s. So you need the original #'s for it to work, applied in the correct areas which the editor does for you. If done manual, mistakes can be made, very risky for unfamiliar.

The Original CFE has this info correct. If you made a mistake in your current one, then you just perpetuate the mistake. If you are sure that the current one is accurate then use that. You be your own judge.

In order to upload the CFE... you have to pull it.. So Lazymocha's guide tells how to do that.. Found here https://lazymocha.com/blog/2018/04/16/flash-t-mobile-cellspot-tm-ac1900-to-asus-rt-ac68u-p/

Please follow @Hawbgobblin 's advice.

I am uncertain about any shortcuts at this point and can't advise you in this area.
All I know is I followed the guides int he past and the 1.0.2 bin did not work. The only one that did was for P version. Thats the one ive been using for over a year and it seems to work. My original .bin from the Tmobile was 512k when I used the 1.0.2 it resulted in 256k file that did not work. I assume if I tried it again it again would not work. Only the 1.0.2.5 worked. No idea why.
 
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All I know is I followed the guides int he past and the 1.0.2 bin did not work. The only one that did was for P version. Thats the one ive been using for over a year and it seems to work. My original .bin from the Tmobile was 512k when I used the 1.0.2 it resulted in 256k file that did not work. I assume if I tried it again it again would not work. Only the 1.0.2.5 worked. No idea why.
Try the 1.0.2.0us ????? instead of 1.0.2.0us AIMesh

EDIT: I don't know what you are trying at this point, you have not made it clear.
Try pulling the current one 1.0.2.9 and not the ((Original TM one. (2.1.2.6)) ***compare your data to your earlier screenshots.
 
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Try the 1.0.2.0us ????? instead of 1.0.2.0us AIMesh

EDIT: I don't know what you are trying at this point, you have not made it clear.
Try pulling the current one 1.0.2.9 and not the ((Original TM one. (2.1.2.6)) ***compare your data to your earlier screenshots.

View attachment 120225
I'm not sure I should try anything. That other guy said I had the wrong .bin for my router. But he did not really say what harm it would do. The U and the P are very similar the only difference I could see running the P bin was it clocked my cpus at 1000Mhz and if I really have a 68u that might cause heat issues. Well I was able to clock it down to 800 mhz and it all seems stable. Getting 135Mbits on wifi.

I'm worried I go messing around with it and either end up right where I started no better than what I have or worse yet I brick my router.
 
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I'm not sure I should try anything. That other guy said I had the wrong .bin for my router. But he did not really say what harm it would do. The U and the P are very similar the only difference I could see running the P bin was it clocked my cpus at 1000Mhz and if I really have a 68u that might cause heat issues. Well I was able to clock it down to 800 mhz and it all seems stable. Getting 135Mbits on wifi.

I'm worried I go messing around with it and either end up right where I started no better than what I have or worse yet I brick my router.
If it were me, Pull the 1.0.2.9 CFE and put that file in the online hex editor and select the 1.0.2.0aimesh (that's for the P version with 1000mhz cpu) if'n you have determined that you have the 1000 over the 800 variant. If you have the 800 variant use the plain 1.0.2.0us CFE.

When the step says to flash the old asus firmware to expand the jffs partition to 64mb I would use the new Merlin 384.10_2 just released.

Edit: Then the remaining steps.

@RAJOD1 EDIT2: I just tried my CFE and the file size output is half the size like yours.

I'll get back to you on this matter I think I know the answer but have a question submitted to H.
 
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If it were me, Pull the 1.0.2.9 CFE and put that file in online hex editor and select the 1.0.2.0aimesh (that's for the P version with 1000mhz cpu) if'n you have determined that you have the 1000 over the 800 variant. If you have the 800 variant use the plain 1.0.2.0us CFE.

When the step says to flash the old asus firmware to expand the jffs partition to 64mb I would use the new Merlin 384.10_2 just released.

Edit: Then the remaining steps.

@RAJOD1 EDIT2: I just tried my CFE and the file size output is half the size like yours.

I'll get back to you on this matter I think I know the answer but have a question submitted to H.
Well the only reason I found of not to use the higher CFE was:

Avoid CFE 1.0.2.5 from the RT-AC68P, as the newest Asus firmwares (3.0.0.4.384.20624 and later) detect this on the TM-AC1900 and revert the mod. Instead, use CFE 1.0.2.0 US AiMesh; it was dumped from an actual RT-AC68U by user goggles99 at SNB. The CFE generator [pipeline.sh] by danielfeng has this

Since mine has never rolled itself back I don't have the issue.

And...

UPDATE 01/02: As per RM-Merlin firmware for RT-AC68U are not meant for TM-AC1900, even after the conversion. Please do not update to the latest merlin without understand the risk of bricking or requiring a rollback

So no matter what CFE I/we use merlin does not support the AC1900 anyway. It does work but he does not advise using it yet we all seem to.

CFE 1.0.2.5 does not have AiMesh which I don't care about nor want and Merlin does not support AiMesh.

Now I wonder what updated my CFE 1.0.2.5 to CFE 1.0.2.9? Must have been one of the Merlin firmwares auto changed the CFE version.
 
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Now I wonder what updated my CFE 1.0.2.5 to CFE 1.0.2.9? Must have been one of the Merlin firmwares auto changed the CFE version.
I've never had CFE update on its own with Merlin. I would assume you had an official ASUS 68U Firmware that did that.

***Have not had a clear answer on file size but what I believe I read (from my memory) is that the CFE is smaller and only half the Partition and the Firmware fills in the other half.

What I am being told is that you have to do this (below) for the CFE to stick:

The last 2 MTD5 commands:
(Copied from Community Wiki)
In order to do the last 2 MTD5 commands you must be on Firmware 384.xxxxx or higher. (3.0.0.4.384.20308 preferred because it is just before the virus) or the command will not be effective.

Remember, every time you update firmware, reset NVRAM Step 20. Enable SSH, then do the last 2 commands below.

Writing all FFs to the mtd5, the green text should appear in Putty after issuing the two commands.
Code:
/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus
Erasing 0x0 - 0x1ffff
Erasing 0x20000 - 0x3ffff
Erasing 0x40000 - 0x5ffff
Erasing 0x60000 - 0x7ffff
Erasing 0x80000 - 0x9ffff
Erasing 0xa0000 - 0xbffff
Erasing 0xc0000 - 0xdffff
Erasing 0xeffff - 0xfffff
Erasing 0x100000 - 0x11ffff
Erasing 0x120000 - 0x13ffff
"asus" successfully erased.
/tmp/home/root#
 
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I've never had CFE update on its own with Merlin. I would assume you had an official ASUS 68U Firmware that did that.

***Have not had a clear answer on file size but what I believe I read (from my memory) is that the CFE is smaller and only half the Partition and the Firmware fills in the other half.

What I am being told is that you have to do this (below) for the CFE to stick:

The last 2 MTD5 commands:
(Copied from Community Wiki)
In order to do the last 2 MTD5 commands you must be on Firmware 384.xxxxx or higher. (3.0.0.4.384.20308 preferred because it is just before the virus) or the command will not be effective.

Remember, every time you update firmware, reset NVRAM Step 20. Enable SSH, then do the last 2 commands below.

Writing all FFs to the mtd5, the green text should appear in Putty after issuing the two commands.
Code:
/tmp/home/root# ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
/tmp/home/root# ./mtd-erase -d asus
Erasing 0x0 - 0x1ffff
Erasing 0x20000 - 0x3ffff
Erasing 0x40000 - 0x5ffff
Erasing 0x60000 - 0x7ffff
Erasing 0x80000 - 0x9ffff
Erasing 0xa0000 - 0xbffff
Erasing 0xc0000 - 0xdffff
Erasing 0xeffff - 0xfffff
Erasing 0x100000 - 0x11ffff
Erasing 0x120000 - 0x13ffff
"asus" successfully erased.
/tmp/home/root#
Once I got rid of the T Mobile firmware and boot and got it to merlin 384.5 I it worked but could not be updated any more.
I did the commands below found on this thread. Then it allowed me to update to the latest. I'm not sure if since last year I had the CFE 1.0.2.9 I know I made it online from the CFE 1.0.2.5 but maybe it was 1.0.2.9 and just did not notice. I was happy it was working.

The lines below, what exactly did they do to allow my to go past merlin 384.5? I don't understand it but it worked.
Commands:
==========
mkdir /tmp/asus_jffs [enter]
mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs [enter]
rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/* [enter]
sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs [enter]
rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U [enter]
nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot [enter]

Wait for reboot.

3) Upgrade via GUI with new firmware. (download from https://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/download )
 
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