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Question

Adam Hochfelder is disturbed with the TP Link WR841N

by adamhochfelder / May 11, 2016 3:07 AM PDT

Hello everybody
I've been using the TL-WR841N for quite some time now (2+ years to be exact) and I've had no problems with it whatsoever. I used to restart it once in a while, when my Wi-Fi seemed to throttle, but that is the usual problem with all routers I guess.
Recently, (last Monday to be exact) it started working strangely...
The light on port No.1 is constantly on, which by definition means that there is a computer plugged in on the other side of the cable. I disconnected my cable from this port, plugged it in onto the following ports (2-4), but it doesn't go off. Don't know what this means, but the main problem is the following - when I restart the router, there is a period of 15 seconds when the router is working alright, but then the port no1 lights up and the router freezes completely.
I tried resetting it to the factory defaults (via the reset button on the back, 30 seconds or so) and was able to reset it but then the problem occurs again in 10-20 seconds (usually within 15 seconds) after reboot.
It is a cheap router, I know, but I like it. Can anybody help me?

Regards
Adam Hochfelder

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All Answers

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Answer
Re: router
by Kees_B Forum moderator / May 11, 2016 3:14 AM PDT

You'll certainly like your new router just as much as your old one.

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There is no hope?
by adamhochfelder / May 11, 2016 3:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: router

So, you are saying that this is a non-solvable problem and I'll have to buy another one?
Has this occurred to somebody else?

Thanks

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Re: hope
by Kees_B Forum moderator / May 11, 2016 5:12 AM PDT
In reply to: There is no hope?

That was what I was implying indeed.

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I'll try a few things before that
by adamhochfelder / May 11, 2016 5:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: hope

I am not much of a pessimist, so I'll do what you say last.

Regards
Hochfelder

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Answer
Status LEDs
by Steven Haninger / May 11, 2016 5:33 AM PDT

The LED lights when a hardware connection is sensed. This is different from a data link and, though useful in troubleshooting, doesn't pinpoint anything. I'd look into the jack to see of one of the pins is displaced and shorting another. If all looks OK, that doesn't mean some solder bridge couldn't be suspect. This would mean disassembling the router and using a magnifier to inspect the area where the 8 pins go through the board and to where each is attached. Corrosion can cause a solder bridge and short out something. Sometimes a cleanup with a small wire brush designed for such use will help. I've worked on PCBs and done this after accidents have happened. Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes not.

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This could be it
by adamhochfelder / May 11, 2016 5:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Status LEDs

I've inspected it from the outside, but there are no irregularities whatsoever.
I'll open it up later today, and I'll write you back...

Thank you for your answer
Adam

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I cleaned the whole thing
by adamhochfelder / May 12, 2016 2:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Status LEDs

With a soft brush I cleaned the whole board and I've seen no signs of corrosion or dust whatsoever. It seems that my luck has run out.

Thank you for your suggestion though

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It was a long shot
by Steven Haninger / May 12, 2016 3:31 PM PDT

It could very well be some internal failure of a micro device. I have seen port failures on switches due to arching caused by lightning strikes. We had about 3 or 4 ports on a 24 port switch do this years ago when lightning hit a satellite dish and its inside coax came within a few inches of wall mounted network equipment. Such things happen and there's no way to perform an autopsy to know the exact cause.

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Maybe that is it
by adamhochfelder / May 13, 2016 12:31 AM PDT
In reply to: It was a long shot

I know that even static electricity can do harm to these things - so what you are saying may be true. Maybe the power fluctuated at some point, or something similar.

I'm giving up on it, thank you for your knowledge and your insight.

Redards
Adam Hochfelder

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Answer
Just me chiming in.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 11, 2016 10:35 AM PDT

I read the story so far and it appears you have yet to open it up. It may be time to give it a last chance open it up and get out your canned air to let the insides get a short cleaning.

Now if it seems to slow down or hang over time I've tried various tricks over the years. Some are simple like standing the router on end so to maximize the exposed box to air which can help it run cooler. One time I found a pretty warm chip and applied a heatsink to it. Another time we used some USB powered fan to keep it cooler.

Before all that I see if the firmware is current and then load factory defaults. I make the minimum changes to get the router working, avoiding MAC filters and such which have been iffy in the past. Keep It Simple Sally is the phrase.

Good luck.

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I've opened it up
by adamhochfelder / May 12, 2016 2:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Just me chiming in.

I opened it up, there are 2 hidden screws under the rubber legs. I must say that it had no dust in the vents, like it was sitting in a box for the last 2 years.

When I opened it up, I plugged it in and I can hear some-kind of electronic buzzing once the port no1 starts lighting. I can see the big processor unit in the middle, and some additional chips around it, but none of them seem to build up heat on their bases. I have touched together the 2 pins of the no1 port LED and it went off... did I short fuse it for a second?

Thank you for your answer

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Sorry
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 12, 2016 10:05 AM PDT
In reply to: I've opened it up

But I don't short things out without a good reason and a service manual telling about what it does.

The story is still telling me it was either heat or age. Maybe it's time but I always give the canned air and firmware update a last shot.

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I updated the firmware
by adamhochfelder / May 13, 2016 12:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry

I read your reply, but did not reply instantly.

I know that I shouldn't do that, It was an "experiment", cause I practically gave up on it. I was talking to my colleague at work and he said that his router (the TP Link WR740N, the smaller brother, the dirt cheap $15 router) had done the exact same thing a year ago. He took it for a service and they said that there was nothing to do... it was simply dead. He argues that these things are "programmed" to die past a certain time point.

Anyhow, I managed to update the firmware. First I read that my router is V9 (version #9), and that it has a firmware from 2013. Googled it and it got me to the TP Link website. Downloaded the newer 2015 firmware from here: http://www.tp-link.com/en/download/TL-WR841N_V9.html#Firmware, saved it on my desktop - and in the small window of 15 seconds that my router is alive, I somehow got into settings into firmware update and managed to do it... The next second the router froze! The next time I restarted it, it behaved a bit different, asking me for my password with a different interface (you know the usual user:admin, pass: admin stuff), the settings were a bit different, so I believe that I succeeded. Yet again it froze. The next restart I went into the settings, only to confirm that it is updated, but this time, in a shorter window than 15 seconds it froze again... I believe that after successfully doing this, that it is not software related. Oh well it was worth a shot.

I am almost a week without my home router, so I'll probably buy another one, in the end it's really that cheap.

Thanks for the great advice! Regards
Adam Hochfelder

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