How to Unbrick or Fix a Netgear AC1450 Router

This post will tell you my journey on how I bricked my router and how I fixed it. So how I bricked it you might ask? I simply just unplugged the power cord and when I plugged it back in all that appeared was a solid amber light.

AC1450 (1)

The dreaded solid amber light.

After googling for hours I only discovered three different methods of fixing this router:

  • 30/30/30 Reset  – I heard that this hard reset methods is useless on these routers
  • TFTP Firmware into router– This method will work for some people. But sadly it didn’t work for me. I would get a ping from the router for a few seconds then would stop responding so I was not able to upload the firmware into the router
  • USB-TTL Method– This method worked for me! You have to buy a USB-TTL adapter but it was worth it.

What I used:

For the USB-TTL cable. At first when I was googling for the cables I discovered the cable was priced at $20. I was like this is too much for a gamble on a USB cable that might or might not fix my router. So I opted for something lower price on Amazon. I found this!

PL2303HX USB (2)PL2303HX USB

Edit: I found out that the PL2303HX USB TTL does not work well with Windows 8 or above so opt for the JBtek USB TTL 

JBtek® WINDOWS 8 Supported Debug Cable 

Step 1: Open up router

AC1450 (2)

Used a T10 screw driver for my router.

Step 2: Admire the circuit board and locate the pins

AC1450 (3)(Click image to Enlarge)

AC1450 (4)(Click image to Enlarge)

AC1450 (5)(Click image to Enlarge)

Step 3: Connect the USB TTL cable you bought from Amazon.

PL2303HX USB (1)

Here’s the wire description for my cable. (Should be the same for the JBTEK as mentioned in the comments by Chubb Scout) :

Red 5VDC @ 500mA Power via USB [can power RPi ~ Pin 2]
Black GND [RPi ~ Pin 6]
White RxD (3.3V logic level) [RPi Pin 8 ~ TxD]
Green TxD (3.3V logic level) [RPi Pin 10 ~ RxD]

Plugged in

It should look like this once you plug it in.

Step 4: Install the PL2303HX Driver

I used this driver. Link here.

Step 5: Enable TFTP in windows.

Control Panel>Program and Features> click Turn on windows features on or off> Then select TFTP client from the checklist and click ok.

Step 6:Download the appropriate firmware from Netgear website.

For me it was:

http://downloadcenter.netgear.com/en/product/AC1450#searchResults

Step 7: Change your adapter settings to Static IP

Control Panel>Network and Sharing Center> Click on the left Change adapter Settings. Then set the settings to:

IP address: 192.168.1.2
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway: 192.168.1.1

Then click ok.

Step 8: Plug in Ethernet Cable to router and computer

AC1450 (8)

Step 9:  Configure Putty:

A: Find out what port you are using for your USB TTL by:

Control Panel> System>Hardware>Device Manager> Then click on Ports (COM&LPT) and it’ll list USB Serial Port  and a COM and number next to it. for me it was (COM5)

B:

putty

Serial Line: COM(your port number)
Speed: 115200
Connection type: Click Serial

Putty 2

Then click Serial in left pane and configure as above.

Step 10: Click Open in Putty

A blanket window should show up with a green cursor should show up.

Step 11: Power on Router and Immediately press CTRL+C

Remember to Immediately press CTRL +C. At first I was just pressing CTRL. Then I was like nothing is happening? Remember to press CTRL + C. It’ll take a couple of tries for it to work. I realized what works best is to hold down CTRL and then click C rapidly. 

If it’s not done correctly you’ll get this:

found TRX Header on nflash!
found TRX Header on nflash!
found TRX Header on nflash!
found TRX Header on nflash!
found TRX Header on nflash!

You’ll get this message if done correctly:

Start up canceled
CFE>^C
CFE>

Now type tftpd once you get it to say CFE>

Step 12: TFTP firmware into router

a. type CMD in the start menu
b. change the directory to where your router firmware is located. for me it was desktop (You should put it on your desktop too since it’s easier.) So I typed cd desktop [Enter]
c. then type: tftp -i 192.168.1.1 put FIRMWARE_FILENAME.chk

After the file is transferred it should reboot and work for most people.

Step 13: Optional throw your trash can to the router step.

For me, it rebooted and nothing happened. The amber power light was not even on. All the lights were off.  I couldn’t repeat the steps upload the firmware via TFTP to the router anymore. It’ll say something like this:

Committing NVRAM…done
Startup canceled
CFE> tftpd
Start TFTP server
Reading :: Failed.: Error

This is where the trash can came in handy. I gave up and threw the router in the trash. . Then I was wondering, is there any other putty commands I can use to fix the router? So I discovered you can use the command “nvram erase” and surprisingly it help unbrick the router in my situation.

So if you were somehow in my situation.  Repeat Step 11. And when it prompts you cfe> just type nvram erase. It should look like this:

cfe> nvram erase [enter]

And then the power lights on my router changed from amber to green. Yay! Please leave comments to your discoveries here.

Some people have told me this will also work for R7000, R6300V2 and R6250.