winbond w25q256 or increase ROM of the router nexx wt3020 to 32Mb

Hi all.

This site already has reviews of nexx router wt3020. And though it is the modernization of this device will be the ultimate goal, but pushed to write the review I was just buying a chip, the review of which here I have not found. Who cares what happened in the end — I ask under kat.

I’ll start with

small lyrical digression
It all started with the router TP-LINK TL-WR741ND, which I got from friends who received it for free, when you connect to your ISP. Worked this device is not quite stable — occasionally freezes, stop route, and sometimes refused to put on your page admin. A few firmware updates (each time to the latest at that time version is presented on the manufacturer’s website) nothing better has not changed: the software version followed one another, and the router still, every couple of weeks refused to work. And now, during another search in Google for the model name of the device, I came across the openwrt firmware, after installing which, the router worked for over a year without any intervention (after the UPS is installed it, so nothing prevented him to work continuously without shutdowns and reboots a period of time).

A little later I came across the opportunity to “upgrade” the router that was to add on Board usb port. But he decided that to deal with such alteration is not necessary, and it is better to find something more modern with usb, processor more powerful, the possibility of installing openwrt and a large memory for firmware (otherwise, by itself, the usb port becomes either unnecessary attribute because there is no space for the installation for devices connected to or binding yet and hub + some USB flash drive in it to expand the volume of the file system to install this SOFTWARE).

So I came across nexx wt3020. Then I began to look for his reviews on this site (have read, but it was not registered and certainly not going to write reviews, believing that all things bought by me, there is already someone necessarily surveyed).

Notes on this router here, of course, was. Here, for example, a review of lolipop-but with a bias towards changing the firmware and “transformation” of the router from the little known “nexx” “asus” or “zyxel”, and also a huge discussion of this device (mostly related to the firmware, use with router additional hardware like modems, other “technical issues”). Those who do not know that can this router and whether to buy it, you may want to read this review first. After spending a couple days reading reviews (and there really is a lot), I came to the conclusion that the device is very good: has good functionality, reliable hardware (also used in the more famous and popular producers), small size, good opportunities for flashing.

So, in the vast aliexpress purchased nexx wt3020. While the router was travelling to me by the mail of Estonia (the package came surprisingly fast), I studied how and who uses such devices with openwrt and found a lot of interesting (not to write the essential, important, desired etc.), its applications ranging from video surveillance left the apartment pet, continuing using the router for surfing the Internet via tor without installing any additional software on devices within your home network) or the performance of a file server with a self-background downloading of torrents (no computer included) and ending with the collection of information about neighboring wi-fi networks for subsequent attempts of hacking. Various usage scenarios of the router require the installation of additional software in the router, which in turn requires either a sufficient amount of internal flash memory, or connect any external media (usb stick, external hard drive, etc.). By default, the router includes a chip volume of 8Mb, which is enough for the basic tasks of router, but sorely lacking for all sorts of experiments.

And that’s when I realized that in stock configuration, I’m not particularly unfold (to connect external USB flash drive to install programs I didn’t want to, because I want to get a self-contained box, in which I will have the ability to connect cameras, printers, 3g/4g modems, etc.), I found out: the replacement of the memory chip in the device. Yes, the information on replacing the chip can be found in comments lolipop, but then I passed it over because I did not think about, but eight megabytes was more than enough.

Start looking at the same aliexpress chips w25q128 who have successfully installed this router in other Moskovchenko, I wondered: is there the same, only with pearl buttons chip to 32 MB? 64 MB? And whether to work with them router? Answers to these questions, I found no comments, no asking questions of other participants on this resource. Searching the net, I also found no description of a successful experience of similar modernization. Then I decided to experiment.

Again a small digression
Finding the chip w25q256 in vosmerikova performance (they are often found on sale in shestnadtsatiletnego case) I decided to search on aliexpress the seller, whose presence would have been several positions:
-cheap programmer (the choice fell on ch341a, here’s one of his reviews here)
-w25q256 wson8
-w25q128 (as the chip which 100% will be supported by the programmer, and will work in the router).
This is just from one seller was due to the fact that I didn’t want to pay for the shipping 32Mb chip amount far exceeding the cost of the chip: at the time of purchase they are not very much sold on Ali and was everywhere
any insane price with free shipping (I’m not saying that 8-10$ is very large sum, but for the memory chip of this size, taking into account the cost of the entire router$ 15 is too much);
any small price, but the shipping cost was through the roof.
I wanted to get all this hardware in one package.
In the end, few sellers were found. I’ve asked the same question: If you purchase a programmer, will you put in the same package and the memory chips without having to pay for their shipment?
Said only one Chinese (link to his shop is in the title of the review). Was a very sociable man with a sense of humor (though it is all the more ironic). Please explain to me the basics of doing business, saying, buy a party in a hundred chips and the cost of shipping, and the chip will be different. Then asked me to find the data chips (including shipping costs) are cheaper, etc. When ordering three separate positions of programmer, chip and 32 MB chip 16 MB of the total delivery cost came out at about 18.5$. However, I strongly explained to him about the same thing: I buy from you programmer more expensive than other Chinese), put it in the same package and the chips do not need to send separate envelopes for 3-5 dollars each. In the end, the total cost of the parcel from the programmer, a single chip is 32 MB and the 3 chips on the 16 MB decreased from 18.5$ 7.92$. At the moment, for some reason the chips are not available, but searching by Ali you can find other suggestions.

Photo external view of the chip that is in the title of the report was taken from the shop where it was bought because it is not removed or unpacking the product, nor the iron — as already mentioned earlier: the review was not going to write. Here’s a photo of her already soldered to the pad, the programmer:

And here: photo contact pads (again with page)

After the purchase began a series of not very pleasant surprises:
1) Does not want to run openwrt (from a word absolutely)

Additional information
I tried to gather the latest test version — so-called trunk. The whole process will not sound — his description is very common on the Internet and find it is not difficult. In short: after downloading all necessary for the Assembly, I pointed out the processor architecture for which were collected the firmware and set the default configuration. As such, the compilation passed without any problems. But then began the “miracles”. The thing is that wt3020 in openwrt does not have a separate profile (which allows to compile only one firmware for a specific model). When collecting firmware for it, it is necessary to specify only the processor architecture. In this compiled firmware for all supported openwrt devices with this architecture. And when I included the firmware, additional packages of relatively small volume (the same luci, support palovich systems: ext4, fat, ntfs, editor nano) sure, there were some device on Board which the default is only 4 MB of memory, and the amount of firmware was by that time about 4.5 MB. Upon the occurrence of a stage of compilation of the firmware for such a device the whole process ended with an error like: the file is too large. And before you try to build the firmware beneath the nexx is not even reached. sakatgg (thanks to him) suggested to me the direction for “creativity.” As a result, the sources were simply removed lines with appropriate checks file sizes (more elegant method I found) and firmware was collected.

2) the programmer refused to work correctly with the chip 32MB (though his support was declared)

Additional information
In versions of the software for the programmer, 1.29 and 1.30 claimed to support these chips. However, these versions do not run correctly even with chips of 16 MB, as evidenced by the reviews left by moskovciak given my earlier review. ACCORDING to recognize the chip, even trying to sew, but the result of the action negative.

3) Alternative ON — flashrom under linux does not know of this chip and may not work with him. The problem is that chips up to 16 MB uses 3-byte addressing mode, but for large amounts of three bytes is not enough. We need to get out some other ways.

Additional information
By associating with vismyk the idea of trying to change the flashrom source code. This allowed to record the first half of the chip w25q256 (size 16 MB), how familiar this program, the 16 MB chip w25q128. Also, of course, crutches noble, and this approach in any other case definitely would not have worked, but there was hope for success — thus it is possible to write to the USB bootloader (I used a breed referred to lolipop-om in his review) and the sections “service information” of the router: Mac address, calibration wi-fi and so on. While already booting in the bootloader mode. (if it ever could, and he recognized the chip, and would work with its full capacity) it would be possible to flash your own firmware, the collected volume of up to (about) 30 megabytes

Solving problematic issues, managed to build a test firmware openwrt, written in the chip w25q256 loader, and solder the chip to the router (for me it was relatively easy procedure, because the legs on the chip there — only pads and at home I have hot air gun is not available):

The photo quality is not very good — took pictures with a phone at night by the light of two led light bulb lamp 10 watts each.

When enabled, the bootloader starts:

and properly recognize the chip.

Then it was easy to fill with it firmware, which is available in all memory devices:

Thus, it is possible to state the fact that the nexx wt3020 quite able to work with a flash drive capacity of 32 MB (at least with the model that participated in the survey).

Anyone who wants to repeat this experiment, I want to wish you good luck, but to remind you that if you are going to upgrade your router, do so only in the case of a full understanding of their actions and their possible consequences

Thank you for the review time.