Installing LEDE/OpenWRT on a BT Home Hub 5 / Plusnet One Router
A Step by step guide to instal LEDE/OpenWRT operating system on a BT Home Hub 5 / Plusnet Router
By Fahad Usman
This guide is to show users how to install LEDE on a BT home hub 5. The following instructions will wipe out the existing BT router firmware with the open source LEDE which is a Linux based router operating system!
I would like to recognise following posts/websites/authors for their excellent supporting material for me to follow and embark on this difficult journey! It must be said that I like a challenge but I am also a bit of a newbie at electronics so not everything was obvious to me.
These instructions are complementary to the guides and information that has already been done by the community and in particular thanks goes out to:
“OpenWRT can help you improve router performance, stop adds at the router, QoS, Port mirroring and much much more”
My guide covers all aspects of this process:
- Opening the routers case
- Soldering the serial connection
- Flashing / Installing LEDE and backup of the orginal router firmware
- Configuring LEDE on the router
Before you start!
- OpenWRT HH5A Page – Original OpenWRT page for the HH5A
- PDF hosted on the dropbox by (ebilan). This details step by step guide to setup tftp and booting the router into UART mode
- Spudgers and other tools to open the routers plastic case
- Soldering Equipment to solder wires to HH5A circuit board for serial console access.
- Various wires
- Soldering Header Block
- Kapton tape – for masking of the areas you are soldering to, to prevent damage and keeping the wires in place
- CH340 CH340G USB TTL Serial Adapter Arduino Pro Mini like FTDI CP2102 PL2303 UK
- Download drivers by google or by the ebay page.
- USB pen drive at least 512mb – FAT32 or exFAT (will be used to backup existing firmware of the router and hosting the LEDE OS for flashing)
- Firmware / Install Files for the HH5A
- lede-lantiq-bthomehubv5a_ram-u-boot.asc – HH5a LEDE custom u-boot
- lede-lantiq-xrx200-BTHOMEHUBV5A-installimage.bin – HH5A LEDE install image
- To install LEDE, the USB flash drive must have a copy of the file lede-lantiq-xrx200-BTHOMEHUBV5A-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin
Step 1 – Opening the case
If you do not open the case carefully you will break the ‘fixing tabs’ inside.
Step 2 – Soldering the serial connection
Get some helping hands for soldering:
You can use your own method for soldering the connections as long as you have access to the required connections on the circuit board and can attach them to a USB to TTL Converter.
Be careful! The hubs soldering points are the tiniest in the world! (perhaps). I never done soldering before so I toasted my hub in the first attempt! Had to buy another hub to try again!
Here is the complete setup after soldering:
RX goes in to TX and TX goes into RX from hub to USB TTL. Refer to the following table:
|Pin No.||USB Serial to TTL Adapter||Wire Colour||Home Hub Connection Point|
|1||n/a||White||boot_sel2 / R45 Pad|
|2||n/a||n/a||GND / Use the USB socket ground/case pin|
|3||TX||Green||RX / R78 Pad|
|4||RX||Red||TX / R77 Pad|
|5||GND||n/a||GND / Use the ground plane connection of the capacitor|
- You need ‘Boot Selection’ and the other is for the ‘Data Connection’
- There are 2 grounds because each group needs its own ground.
Step 3 – Flashing / Installing LEDE and backup of the orginal router firmware
- Attach the USB Serial TTL adapter to the laptop/computer
- Goto System properties and open up the hardware device manager
- Update the USB TTL adaptor drivers you downloaded from the Internet
- This will show on which port your USB TTL adaptor is connected (Mine connected on the COM port 5
- Fire up Putty and setup your Serial connection to the HUB using the PDF
- PuTTY window will open and it will be blanked ready to talk to the Home HUB
- Get a LAN cable and attach it to the Routers port # 1 (yellow Ethernet port) and then Attach the power adaptor to the hub
- Short the boot_sel2 pin to Ground (GND) and power on the HH5A. Now immediately disconnect the boot_sel2 pin from Ground. The UART ‘CFG 04’ prompt will appear in the PUTTY window.
Do NOT leave it connected any longer than necessary because it may damage the hub, causing it to remain permanently stuck in ‘CFG 04’ mode!
- CFG04 mode should now appear in the console. This means it is in a read/write mode. This will look like this:
ROM VER: 1.1.4 CFG 04 UART
If you get CFG06 either you soldering is wrong for the boot select, you did not make a good short for long enough or you did not short the pins properly.
Transfer ‘HH5A LEDE install image’ to the router
Transfer the lede-lantiq-bthomehubv5a_ram-u-boot.asc (u-boot) to the router
- Open the .asc file with Notepad++, select all and copy
- Goto the Putty console window and right click (should still be open and connected to the router showing the UART mode). The asc file will transfer and execute.
- After about 90 seconds, the custom U-boot will start and the BTHOMEHUBV5A# u-boot prompt will appear. Which looks like this:
U-Boot 2013.10-openwrt4 (Nov 03 2017 - 19:29:53) BTHOMEHUBV5A Board: BT Home Hub 5A SoC: Lantiq VRX268 v1.2 CPU: 125 MHz IO: 125 MHz BUS: 125 MHz BOOT: UART DRAM: 128 MiB NAND: 128 MiB Using default environment In: serial Out: serial Err: serial Net: ltq-eth BTHOMEHUBV5A #
- On you windows PC set IP on the Ethernet connection to the HUB to be 192.168.1.2/255.255.255.0
- Open TFTPD32
- Go back to putty
- Type the following command into the console
BTHOMEHUBV5A # tftpboot 0x81000000 lede-lantiq-xrx200-BTHOMEHUBV5A-installimage.bin; bootm 0x81000000
- The file should automatically transfer via TFTP
- Type the following command into the console
- Wait 5+ mins for ‘br-lan’ messages to appear in Putty and then press enter to start the LEDE BusyBox v1.25.1 () built-in shell for installation
- The br-lan msgs look like this:
[ 250.601318] br-lan: port 1(eth0.1) entered forwarding state [ 250.609534] br-lan: port 1(eth0.1) entered forwarding state [ 252.611738] br-lan: port 1(eth0.1) entered forwarding state
Backup BT Firmware (eliban 3.0)
Before doing anything else you need to back your routers original firmware. If you don’t do it and want to go back to the original firmware, your router will not work properly using any other nanddump!
- Connect the USB to the PC, put the file lede-17.01.4-lantiq-xrx200-BTHOMEHUBV5A-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin in the root of the USB
When you remove a pendrive from windows you should eject it properly so the volume is not marked as dirty
- Plug a pendrive into the USB socket of the router (if a FSCK notice is shown, the volume was not unmounted properly, just a warning but it is better to use a clean pendrive). It will auto mount, usually as USB-A1
- Get the USB mount name by typing
- Check the pendrive works by doing a directory listing
- Run the backup command to send the nanddump to the pendrive took (15 minutes to complete on mine)
nanddump --file /tmp/mounts/USB-A1/hh5a.nanddump /dev/mtd4
- You can Unmount the pendrive and transfer the nandbackup backup to a PC. You can run the backup process again as above and then binary compare them if you want.
- It’s time to prepare the router to be flashed.
- Run the prepare script by entering the command below. This will unlock the internal bootloader. Only ever run this once.
- The prepare script expects you to type YESIHAVEABACKUP (YESIHAVE A BACKUP). I was entering it without the A and going nuts! Therefore just copy and paste the confirmation.
- The bootloader is now decrypted, unlocked and rewritten back to the firmware
- The following msgs will appear on the screen when prepare script is executing
Starting installation... TRYING to decrypt u-boot env with key B1D3B4BD0970FCA9261E23C2170DB8E52407C71DAC06098678C0885BC7E68CCD SUCCESSFULLY decrypted u-boot env BACKING UP original bootcmd in u-boot env SETTING custom bootcmd in u-boot env UNLOCKING u-boot prompt FLASHING updated encrypted u-boot env Erasing 128 Kibyte @ 0 -- 100 % complete Writing data to block 0 at offset 0x0 REMOVING ubi volume OpenRG... REMOVING ubi volume FFS... Preparation completed! Your attached USB media is mounted as a subdirectory at /tmp/mounts/ To install LEDE, run: sysupgrade /tmp/mounts//lede-17.01.4-lantiq-xrx200-BTHOMEHUBV5A-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin Sysupgrade will automatically restart your device when it has finished. If the CFG-04 UART prompt appears, power-cycle your device! The hub should now boot up using LEDE.
- Run sysupgrade by:
- The following msgs will appear:
[email protected]:/tmp/run/mountd/sda1# sysupgrade lede-17.01.4-lantiq-xrx200-BTHOMEHUBV 5A-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin Cannot save config while running from ramdisk. killall: watchdog: no process killed Watchdog handover: fd=3 - watchdog - Nand upgrade failed Command failed: Request timed out
- If this happens. then you will need to restore to the original router firmware and start again. by:
[email protected]:/# restore /tmp/mounts/USB-A1/hh5a.nanddump
- I also unlocked the UART when asked during the restore process.
Do you wish to unlock the u-boot prompt? This will allow use of tftpboot etc. Unlock [y/N]: y
- Once restore process is completed, then reboot by = [email protected]:/# reboot
- start all over again from sending the .asc file to the router and then tftp process and then prepare script execution and then sysupgrade! (I know life is hard)
- This should take you to the CFG04 message on screen and this means the flash has finished successfully
- Powercycle the router
- If you get into VR# prompt after powercycle run these two commands and power cycle the router again:
setenv bootcmd ubi part UBI\; ubi read \$(loadaddr) kernel\; bootm \$(loadaddr)
- Power cycle the router again and you should see: (eventually)
BusyBox v1.25.1 () built-in shell (ash) _________ / /\ _ ___ ___ ___ / LE / \ | | | __| \| __| / DE / \ | |__| _|| |) | _| /________/ LE \ |____|___|___/|___| lede-project.org \ \ DE / \ LE \ / ----------------------------------------------------------- \ DE \ / Reboot (17.01.4, r3560-79f57e422d) \________\/ ----------------------------------------------------------- === WARNING! ===================================== There is no root password defined on this device! Use the "passwd" command to set up a new password in order to prevent unauthorized SSH logins. -------------------------------------------------- [email protected]:/#
- Setup root password to disable telnet and enable ssh by:
passwd + Enter
- If you don’t see wireless settings under the Network menu at
http://192.168.1.1/cgi-bin/luci/. Then restore stock BT firmware and try flashing LEDE again.Above process can usually be completed in about 10-15 minutes. Refer to section 5 of the Installation Guide.