Since v3 hardware, TP-Link has started shipping with the new locked TP-link firmware. Investigation into this locking mechanism is still in progress, but the device does support tftp flashing. To use this feature, press and hold the reset button while powering on. The device will use the ip address 192.168.0.86, and attempt to load a new firmware from a tftp server at 192.168.0.66. The v3 is looking for the file: wa801ndv3_tp_recovery.bin. Rename your openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wa801nd-v3-squashfs-factory.bin file to wa801ndv3_tp_recovery.bin, confirmed working as of trunk r49037.
However, this does not work with v4. Use the Workaround below instead.
A workaround for the locked firmware has been found, based on Keyboardgnome's solution for the WR710n. The key is that a command can be injected by including it as part of the SSID. Several SSIDs are set which compile a script in the router's ram, and then a final command executes that script. After about 60 seconds, the web interface will be available again, and should accept an Openwrt image.
To use the workaround, set the device's SSID to each of the following lines, making sure to include the backticks. Set the ssid and click save between each line.
Some weeks ago i’ve succesfully ported OpenWrt to the TP-LinkTL WA801ND v3, that access point features 2×2 MIMO, detachable antennas, 32 MBytes of ram and 4 Mbytes of flash.
It is based, like most new tp-link devices on a Qualcomm Atheros system on chip (QCA9533-BL3A) which integrates the MIPS core, ethernet switch and wifi hardware.
Accessing the WA801ND v3 serial port
Out of the box even if the serial header is present and has the typical TP-Link pinout, it won’t work, because some resistors are missing from the board, namely R105 and R107.
TL-WA801ND v3 solder bridge required
Solder bridge on R105 required to receive data from the serial port
TL-WA801ND v3 solder bridge required
Solder bridge on R107 to allow sending to serial port
The serial port settings are, as usual 115200 baud and to enter uboot prompt you have to quickly type “tpl” when it says that it is waiting 1 second.
Installing from the web interface
OpenWrt trunk builds can be installed using the original tp-link firmware from the web interface.
In order to do that download openwrt trunk build for the device, under the directory ar71xx there should be in trunk a file named openwrt-ar71xx-generic-tl-wa801nd-v3-squashfs-factory.bin , download it and rename it to a.bin ( tested working, but maybe anything works ), and use it to upgrade the access point from the web interface.
Once you uploaded the file, wait for the device to reboot, when it reboots currently , no leds will be lit.
That’s because by default no led is assigned to anything, maybe i should do some patch to fix that in the future.
To configure it connect with ssh to 192.168.1.1 ( DHCP should be enabled by default too ), or if you have built an image with luci, just navigate to http://192.168.1.1
git clone https://github.com/openwrt/openwrt.git
git checkout v18.06.0-rc2
git cherry-pick ce31bdc
# target: MediaTek Ralink MIPS
# subtarget: MT76x8 based boards
# target profile: TP-LinkTL-WA801ND v5
# Save and exit
# ... follow the normal build instructions in the wiki
Don't try to update the firmware from the web interface, it'll brick your device. Anyway, to install it (or unbrick):
rename the bin/…/xxx_recovery.bin to tp_recovery.bin
put it in your tftp folder (or use put tp_recovery.bin)
the router expect TFTP at 192.168.0.66
power device on with reset button pressed to enter TFTP recovery mode
Once it's installed, do a normal sysupgrade with the squashfs image you built, also found in bin dir of the sources