Looking for Asus WL-520gU Wireless Router Hacks

March 12th, 2009 by Jeff

Have you created a project or hack based on the Asus WL-520gU or WL-500gP Wireless Routers?

It doesn’t matter if it was inspired by my project or developed independently – I’d love to hear from you!

I’m putting together a talk for NOTACON and I’d like to feature as many projects as I can to spread the word about how powerful, flexible, and affordable these routers are, especially when coupled with a Linux package (DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWrt, etc.) and USB devices.

If you’d like to have your project included in the talk, leave a comment or contact me directly.

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20 Responses to “Looking for Asus WL-520gU Wireless Router Hacks”

  1. Eric says:

    Too bad you aren’t using the WRT54G. I HAVE a hacking manual for that!

  2. Chad says:

    It didn’t involve any great technological leaps but a wl500gp sitting in the corner of my closet is now running IRC in a Screen session for me and I SSH in and out of it from where-ever I happen to be. This way I don’t have to leave my real computer running when I leave the house.

    I am looking forward to attending your talk in Cleveland!

  3. Jeff says:

    Eric – Too bad?? But the WL-520 is way better! It has USB!

    Chad – Awesome! The project doesn’t need to be a hardware project like mine to be mentioned in the talk.

  4. crizo says:

    I’ve been meaning to post an update on my version of the audio player. I have most of the hardware mounted in the stock case, and have removed most of the original router ports. I’m working on firmware and shell scripts now.

    I think I need to get a book on shell scripting. That part is slow going…

    • Jeff says:

      I have this one and like it a lot. I used it as a reference to write all of the scripts for the router. The cool thing about OpenWrt/busybox is that almost all of the ordinary shell commands are implemented, so almost everything in the book works on the router.

      Classic Shell Scripting

  5. Rob says:

    I wish I had time to do even a handful of the project ideas I have for this device you introduced me to.

    I’ve read about people hacking their routers with SD cards and adding new firmware, but you pointed out how it’s possible to make a “router” do very unrouterly things. So far, I’ve thought of:

    • Remote monitoring of projects, such as a windmill or solar panel that would be away from the residence. Either used as a server, or connecting to another server (Tweet-a-Watt style).
    • Cheap WiFi/Ethernet connection for an embedded project. After reading Making Things Talk, I’ve wanted to add Ethernet to my Arduino/ATTiny projects, but for less cost you can add a lot more with one of these. Actually, the Arduino basically becomes a bunch of GPIO/ADC pins, comparatively speaking.
    • Webcam server.
    • BitTorrent server.
    • The basis for an adhoc mesh network. I really like the thought of this mixed with the remote or embedded project. You could have a whole bunch spread out, and as long as they can all access each other (directly or by hopping from one to the next) and one has an Internet connection, then they all do. ZigBee can do mesh too, but these are batter for many things. For one, they speak TCP/IP.
    • Home automation. Add a microcontroller via the serial port, or via the USB port (like a Teensy or such) and some simple circuitry, and you could control lights (and much more) from a web interface, or control the web from a button pad or motion sensor.

    Oh, so much more. I could to a whole blog post on it.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention an imagination.

    Sadly I won’t be able to see you speak about them, but if there is any chance of video or even slides being available, please let us know!

  6. Hal says:

    You are of course welcome to use anything that I have done in your talk. Good luck!

  7. markus says:

    Does somebody know where i can get a cheap usb capable router?
    I’m living in Germany and I haven’t found anything

  8. […] mightyohm’s tutorial to hack the ASUS router for use with the Tweet-a-watt – you don’t need a computer to report […]

  9. JAY says:

    Is there a kit for geting a Blueline monotor KWH readout to a PC ( BLI-00225 RT12) for analysis. This is a wirless househole monotor reading digital data from power com. meter. IR from power meter to tramsmiter Xmiter to Blueline monotor.

  10. RMA says:

    1) Solder in R66 a resistor with same value as the other resistors (R91-R105) around the SDRAM chip;
    2) Remove the SDRAM chip and put one of these instead:

    (Note the usage of pin 36, in comparison to the original one:

    3) Enjoy double ram capacity;
    4) From your pictures that seems to be the board physical limit for the maximum addressable ram size.

    • harmony says:

      Anybody had this mod successfully?…
      Steps with picture would be a great help…

    • harmony says:

      Your doubling RAM capacity is interesting.
      The R66 is to enable the A12 (add more addressing, as the RAM doubled)
      How about the nvram?… Is there anything to be set for the WL520GU?
      What is the speed of the RAM required? 100MHz? 133MHz? 166MHz? 200MHz? I can see much of 100MHz – 133MHz, but rare 166MHz – 200Mhz for this type of chip (CMIIW).

  11. Jerry says:

    your work is amazing!!
    I have a asus wl-520gc, and i want to cross-compile h3cclient into the firmware. how can i do that?

    • Jeff says:

      Cross compilation is not for the faint of heart. I think there is a post about it in the forums, but I have yet to find a good step by step guide. I have been able to cross compile some fairly simple programs, but it was somewhat painful.

      • Jerry says:

        Hi Jeff, thanks for your reply!
        Are there any tools suitable for cross compliation job?

        • Jeff says:

          There is some information and links here:


          The process involves using the OpenWrt build environment (the same you would use to build a new boot image, etc.) and creating a custom Makefile for the package you want to cross compile.

          I also suggest posting a question about this on both the forums here as well as over at openwrt.org. There may be someone over there who has already done what you are trying to do!

          • Jerry says:

            Hi Jeff
            I have another question. I know DD-WRT is a linux system, and I use winscp copied a xclient in my router. everytime I run that program, it just stuck there. should I compile that softwre from source?

          • Jeff says:

            To run software on the router, it needs to be compiled for the MIPS processor onboard the router. The best/easiest way to do this is to use precompiled packages, although if one is not available you’ll need to compile it from source.

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