Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flashing TomatoUSB on Linksys E3000

This thanksgiving weekend, i bought a Linksys E3000 router. Besides upgrading my home network, one of the things i was excited to try with this box is to replace the factory installed firmware with either DD-WRT or TomatoUSB and turn it into a really cool router.  So, after long research, i decided on TomatoUSB instead of DD-WRT. Unfortunately, Tomato is light on detailed documentation and hence i couldn't find all the information I need (specifically installing on E3000) on a single page for flashing this specific combination. I had to jump around and a lot before i felt confident to start risk turning the brand new router into a paper weight. So, now that i have done, here it is..

1) Which Tomato? (I love heirloom tomatoes)
There are several flavors of tomato to choose from. 3 popular choices these days seems to be: a) Original (aka Teddy Bear)  b) Vicket c) Toastman Builds.  Take a look here for comparison (may not be up to date)  of features in each of these variants. To make it short, Vicket adds on top of TeddyBear build, and Toastman adds to Vicekt's. I was greedy, so it's going to be a Toastman tomato.

2) Which Flavor of Toastman build? (I love Brandywine, GreenZebra, Prudent Purple varieties)

Unlike TeddyBear, Toastman builds come in a lot more array of flavors. So, you still need to decide on specific flavor of Toastman. So, i chose the folder shown on the right. With this particular flavor, i intend to try vpn at some point.  
IMPORTANT: Builds with E3000 (or E3000USB) in the name should only be used for flashing this router. Do not attempt any other builds. This is true for all others flavors such as TeddyBear and Vicket as well and not just for Toastman builds.  

3) Preparations
I inserted the CD that came in the package into my laptop. But did not bother to run and install any linksys software on the CD.  I didn't even care to explore the stock linksys firmware/software. I was on a mission to get to look at plum tomato as soon as possible. I opened up user guide on the CD only to quickly know where the "reset" button is? Turns out it is the small red colored hole on the back next to the power switch. Following are the prep steps:
  1. First disabled the wireless network adapter on my laptop to avoid any conflicts with existing wireless network
  2. Assigned a static IP (IP =, Default gateway = to my laptop. This is importance since very first time when you flash the router with Tomato, DHCP will be set to off. 
  3. Connected router to the laptop through network cable and powered on the router.
  4. Open the browser and log into router with: with default admin/admin credentials. Encountered login failure. I remembered mine was a refurb and it may still have setup with someone else's credentials. So, i pressed reset (pushed it with a non-sharp pin and held it for about 10 sec). Boom, login successful. 
4) Erasing stock firmware and Flashing TomatoUSB
Turns out Toastman Tomato can be flashed directly on top of factory firmware and there is no need to install either DD-WRT or Teddybear version first. Because of this, flashing turned out to be quite simple and straight forward (though it took more time to decide to give this approach a try) . Steps:
  1. Go to Administration > Firmware upgrade page.
  2. Browse and select the downloaded .bin file (mine was tomato-E3000USB-NVRAM60K-1.28.7490.2MIPSR2-Toastman-RT-VPN.bin) 
  3. Hit "start upgrade" button
  4. To be on safer side, i waited for about 5 mins.
  5. Logged back into router (admin/admin) and voila i see a fresh, ripe tomato right on the top
  6. One last important thing to do before start enjoying your tomato.. Go to Administration->Configuration->Restore Default Configuration-> and select "Erase all data in NVRAM memory (thorough)".
  7. Restart the router, enable DHCP and get ready to explore all exciting features in your router on steroids. 
This coming weekend, I am planning to explore and setup  DynaDNS, WakeUpOn Lan, Connect a USB drive and DLNA media server on this router.


  1. Just curious....why didnt you use the RT N version? Are you not using the dual band functionality?

    1. If i recall correctly, at that time, it was clearly mentioned on Toastman's and other sites to use RT version for E3000.

      Yes, I do have dual band working with this particular RT version i installed.

  2. Nice, clear instructions. Thanks!

  3. Well done! Very clear. How about the next in this series for us lazy bones?

  4. Thanks for posting this. I'm using this now for my E3000. There's a ridiculous amount of conflicting info on how to flash the E3000 with dd-wrt/tomato

    Flashing with:

    If I encounter any issues, I'll post back here. Thanks!

  5. Welp...I did flash w/o any issues.

    Although, I did instead flash:

    (so it'd have dual band)

    It seemed to break my wifi, so I had to disable the 5ghz range...and then it started working great. *shrug*

    Whatever...I got the options I was needing. Yay :)
    So nice to have bandwidth monitor back!

    1. The "N" series of firmware looks to be discontinued with all of the previous downloads removed.

    2. Damn, that sucks. I gotta find a firmware worth a poop to put on this. I can't figure out dd-wrt on the E3000. It's quite convoluted. Not just a simple reset router...flash this firmware..then flash this 2nd one.


  6. What is the -NOCAT version? That is, what does NOCAT stand for?

  7. @Anonymous: NOCAT as it's configured shows the banner to LAN and WLAN clients, it's an information (publicity-promotion) notice only thing

  8. NoCat lets to show a captive disclaimer for a base hotspot service. I'd like to have it with authentication, to reproduce E3000 guest network... any ideas?

  9. Hi.
    Can I still flash TomatoUSB if I have recently flashed a newer standard firmware from Cisco into Linksys E300?

    1. I think you should be able to.

      I am no expert, but I don't think firmware on the device really matters as you would be effectively erasing and replacing with Tomato.