Here’s the simplest method I know of for flashing a TM-AC1900 to a RT-AC68U or RT-AC68P⁽ⁿᵉʷ⁾. This guide is tested and working for many people and has been featured in LifeHacker. As this is a free resource please write questions in the comments below and not through my contact form.
All responsibility for anything that happens is yours.
- Update 12/23/2017: This guide has been rewritten past step 15 and old comments will reference the wrong steps. To see the original guide see this archived page.
- Update 3/23/2018: This guide has been altered to include AiMesh and AC68P flashing instructions.
How to flash AC1900 to AC68U:
- Install WinSCP, Putty, and a file archiver (click this link for ez). Install the Asus Restore Utility, mirror.
- Create a folder on your desktop, name it “router”.
- Download this file and extract it to the newly made router folder. It contains a firmware to downgrade to, a firmware to upgrade to, and mtd-write.
- Set static IP for PC.
start > run > ncpa.cpl > double click Ethernet > properties > IPV4 >
Subnet: Default (255.255.255.0)
- Place router into Recovery/Restore mode
Hold reset button 10 seconds
Power off router (keep holding reset)
Wait 10 seconds, keep holding reset
Power on router holding reset for 10 more seconds
- Go to 192.168.29.1 in a web browser
If Mini-CFE won’t load use Asus Restore Utility
- Flash TM-AC1900_126.96.36.199_376_1703-g0ffdbba.trx
- Wait for reboot <5 mins – WiFi lights will turn on when boot is complete
- Log in to router (admin:admin or admin:password)
- Go to Administration > System > Enable SSH > Yes > Apply
- Open Putty and WinSCP and connect them to 192.168.29.1 using a admin:admin or admin:password
Tip: In WinSCP select SCP as file protocol, in Putty SSH
- In putty type:
cat /dev/mtd0 > original_cfe.bin
- In WinSCP refresh the window on the right side and note that original_cfe.bin is present
- Copy original_cfe.bin to a local drive
- Upload original_cfe.bin to https://cfeditor.pipeline.sh/ > Select
188.8.131.52 US184.108.40.206 US for AC68P or 220.127.116.11 US AiMesh for AC68U with AiMesh as Source CFE > Download the new .bin > rename it to new_cfe.bin
- Upload new_cfe.bin & mtd-write & FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx to router through WinSCP
- In Putty type:
chmod u+x mtd-write
- In Putty type:
./mtd-write new_cfe.bin boot
- In Putty type:
mtd-write2 FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx linux
- Perform NVRAM Reset, wait for reboot <5 mins
a. Power off router
b. Wait 10 seconds
c. Press and hold WPS button
d. Power up the router and continue to hold WPS button for 15-20 seconds
- Reset PC IP back to default
- Log in to router using 192.168.1.1 and the router is now an AC68U with 64MB jffs
- Feel free to flash AC68U builds
from Asus, Merlin, Tomato, DD-WRT, etc or to “overclock” it using instruction below.
This method has been compiled from three points of information:
- Snbforums.com flash instructions: flashInstructions_cDec04_16.pdf
- Bootymonger from slickdeals: slickdeals.net
- Wherever I found https://cfeditor.pipeline.sh/
- Comment from Albert Lee (thanks!)
- Merlin AC68U Builds
- Official Builds
- Tomato AC68U
- DD-WRT AC68U
- Run an adblocker on the rotuer using Ab-Solution and a Merlin build. Check out my custom host list.
- Encrypt your DNS queries with DNSCrypt
- If you have a fast connection you may benefit more from Merlin or official builds as they have enabled hardware acceleration which allows the router to download and upload at higher speeds.
- You may check router cpu speed at http://192.168.1.1/Tools_Sysinfo.asp
- If the 30/30/30 reset doesn’t work try this:
1. power off device
2. hold reset 20 seconds
3. power on device holding reset until power light blinks slowly
Code for fixing MD5 partition so you can update to latest firmware (submitted to me via contact form, untested):
cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin
mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs
rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot