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.

27 thoughts to “How to Unbrick or Fix a Netgear AC1450 Router”

  1. Thank you for your write up, I have successfully unbricked my ac1450. The only thing that I had to do differently was delay hooking up the rx/tx wires for about 3-5 seconds after powering on the router. Once I did that I was able to stop the startup in putty and reflash my router. I saw that Shibby had posted somewhere that you have to delay the hookup of the rx/tx for the ac1450.

  2. Thanks for the tips.. just recovered my ac1450 using your guide, though the problem with mine was slightly different.

    The USB adapter you linked above is now only about $6 and worked great. I am using linux, just plugged it in and it worked. I did not need to delay hooking anything up as the previous reply states.

    If anyone gets here and needs help with using it on linux, here’s how, since you didn’t cover linux in your guide above. (you will need the minicom package installed):
    Plug the usb device in, then use the dmesg command. Around the last line of output, it should tell you what device to use. It will say something like: ‘pl2303 converter now attached to ttyUSB7’. Then to access it, use the command: minicom -D /dev/ttyUSB7

  3. Saved my ac1450 after a poorly thought through nvram set clkfreq! Whats not mentioned is that one must ctrl+c the moment the kernel is attempted to load about 15s into the boot process, but theres no reason to not spam ctrl+c until then.

  4. Thanks for this. Bought an AC1450 a few days ago and soft bricked it with DD-WRT firmware. I was able to flash the various versions of DD-WRT firmware to figure out which version worked using this tftp method.

  5. I am in same situation you have described. I turn the router on and my “ping 192.168.1.1 -t” command starts to respond but after about 12 responses, it returns a Timeout. And even during the Reply answer, when I start putty, no info shows up on black screen. Nothing happens even after a big time.

    Now I saw Ryan’s post about 3-5 seconds delay on the TX/RX hooking up. I am going to try that…

  6. I have followed each step precisely. I am using a serial connection with the JBTek cable. I’m a little confused why step 7 and 8 are needed if we are establishing a serial connection to upload the firmware. Without completing steps 7 and 8, I have established the puTTY connection and have been able to received the boot up code; however, I cannot cancel the startup process (CTRL + C). I have tried at least 50 times, but cannot get it to cancel. Is there something I’m doing wrong? By not doing steps 7 and 8, is it preventing me from communicating with the router? Plz help! This is the only clear, useful guide I’ve been able to find online — so thanks.

  7. This is my second reply, since the first does not seem to have posted to the website. I have followed the steps in this guide, aside from 7 and 8 because I’m using a serial connection (JBTek cable). I don’t understand the purpose of steps 7 and 8 if we connect using TTL cable. I am able to establish a connection with the router using puTTY; however, it cannot cancel the startup process (using CTRL+C). I’ve tried this at least 50 times. Is there something I am doing wrong? By not doing steps 7 and 8, am I preventing some communication with the router? Plz help! This is the only clear guide I’ve been able to find online — so thank you for that!

  8. ***JBtek USB TTL CORRECTION***
    Received the AC1450 from ebay Monday $28, and it was bricked by Monday night. This post has saved my router!!! The only correction I would like to post is I ordered the JBtek USB TTL and the white and green wires are NOT switched around per the above post. There are four wires:
    Red – 5v
    Black – Ground
    WHITE – RX
    GREEN – TX
    I know this because I used the reversal suggested above and nothing happened so I used the original configuration and now my AC1450 is in perfect working order! Thanks again!

    1. ***ADDITIONAL INFO***
      I just wanted to follow up to say that not only can you use the above method to UN-BRICK your AC1450 by reinstalling the stock firmware, you can also use the above method to install DD-WRT firmware directly onto a BRICKED AC1450. While I had it open last month, I re-bricked it using the same instructions that led to the original bricking, and used the same instructions above to successfully load DD-WRT directly onto the bricked router. Best!!!

  9. I’ve did every step then on opening putty. i press ctrl and c i have tried every way possible with no luck. when i plug the usb cable in my computer it says it malfunctioned and windows dont recognize it ? any ideas?

  10. I’ve did every step then on opening putty. i press ctrl and c i have tried every way possible with no luck. when i plug the usb cable in my computer it says it malfunctioned and windows dont recognize it ? any ideas?

  11. Hi,

    Just wanted to say nice work bud.
    Had a few issues with my Netgear R6400 V1 in that after bricking it I followed all of the steps but: had to initially have Gnd disconnected from serial connection on power up & then quickly connect whilst a second person is clicking Ctrl + C in Putty. Also would not then go to next stage via putty, so left that open & used Tftpd64 by Ph.Jounin (also nice work thanks) & then it uploaded base Netgear firmware. Just thought I would give it a mention in case anyone else runs in to problems. N.B: I did have TFTP nabled etc in Windows so unsure as to why issues but could be a number of things. I did try updating Putty to latest version but still no joy. Nyway once again thanks for all of your effort in helping others.

  12. Thank you for a very helpful recovery tutorial. I’ve been having trouble dd-wrt on this router and have used this procedure more than once. My host is running linux and it threw me for a loop on the serial procedure, I’d tried kermit without success. Forunately there is a linux version of putty and it did the trick. As for the ftp32 pgm, I cobbled together a bash script that waits for a ttl=100 and then kicks off the transfer.
    Thanks much for the help.

    1. Hey Jeff! I’m glad this helped. Even though I wrote this article, I too find myself going back to this article to review it.

Leave a Reply to Frank Rizzo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.