Old routers

02 May, 2016

I'm pretty impressed by this thing:

Asus WL500gP

It's an Asus WL-500g Premium I bought new in 2008. This little machine have been through the router equivalent of a heart transplant and a couple of brain surgeries.

At first I used it with the stock Asus firmware at, and later flashed it to use the now defunct FreeWRT.

It worked very well for a long time, then developed peculiar problem: the wall warts kept breaking. At first I suspected a freak lightning strike for having overloaded it. But it kept breaking them. Over a couple of years think I replaced the power supply three or four times.

Then the router itself gave up the ghost and I replaced it with a TP-Link running OpenWRT.

Before recycling the Asus however, I decided to have a peek inside. I discovered that most of the capacitors had gone bad. I'm not sure if that was the cause of the failing PSU:s.

Anyway, I replaced the capacitors, and it fired up right away. OpenWRT still supports this model so if I just could reflash it I might get some use out of it. There was no upgrade path from FreeWRT to OpenWRT that I could find, so eventually I reflashed the old Asus firmware and then reflashed again to Chaos Calmer.

Not bad for cheap hardware that is eight years old.

Asus WL-500gP first aid

02 Nov, 2014

For quite some time I used a Asus WL-500g Premium router. It was running FreeWRT which later became defunct. I eventually replaced the WL-500g mostly because it seemed like a hassle to upgrade from FreeWRT but also admittedly because I wanted a new shiny toy.

Now I have finally restored the firmware back to original, and might eventually use it with OpenWRT. That is, if I can figure out a use for it, perhaps as a repeater?

Restoring the firmware turned out to be simpler than expected. Put the router in diag mode, TFTP the new firmware to the unit, anxiously wait for it to reboot (or in my case shut down) and finally the web interface greets you with "Thank you for buying Asus"!

I had a lot of help from the OpenWRT wiki entry for the WL-500gP and from this blog entry, Asus WL-500GP recovery.

This little router is quite the survivor, it has been through at least two power adapters and have had all the capacitors replaced.

Zile on FreeWRT

14 Sep, 2008

I recently upgraded my router from the standard firmware to FreeWRT, a GNU/Linux distribution for embedded systems. FreeWRT comes with a large selection of packages but is however a bit lacking in it's selection of editors.

Prefering Emacs, I immediately set out to package GNU Zile (zile is lossy emacs).  Fortunately it's really easy to package software in FreeWRT, and the ADK comes with a complete environment, including a cross-compiler.

So here's GNU Zile on FreeWRT,

The binary is built for my Asus WL500g premium with  squashfs-overlay filesystem using FreeWRT 1.0.3.

I might suggest it for upstream inclusion, but at the moment the latest release of Zile refuses to build.

Tags: emacs, freewrt, router, zile,