OpenWrt on Hame MPR-A5

The Hame MPR-A5 is an awesome small WiFi router. Key points:
  • 360 MHz RT5350 Mips SoC
  • 4 MByte Flash
  • 16 MByte RAM
  • The router is available in various stores, e.g.
    ChinaBuy

    Basics

    Atheros SoC based routers are more energy efficient than the Ralink/Mediatek ones, but Ralink routers do have more interfaces, e.g. 2nd serial port. And there is a great varity of small and dirty cheap routers available.

    Memory

    The RAM size is very tight, so Luci+Web doesn't fit into memory.

    Booting

    The Hame MPR-A5 uses a fairly outdated U-Boot which seems to be a U-Boot fork years ago. I would like use a newer version, but U-Boot for Mips and especially Ralink don't use the same code base anymore.

    Serial connection

    I had problems on startup when the serial lines are connected. Some people reported, that a single 470 Ohm resistor in the TX path would solve the problem.
    I was searching for a more generic adapter and bought a ADUM1201 iCoupler chip:


    Now the startup problems are gone.

    Memory update

    I've updated the Hame MPR-A5 with a desoldered Samsung K4S561632C-TC 75i SDRAM from an old PC133 SO-DIMM.
    Any 256Mbit synchronous SDRAM organized as 4M x 16bit x 4 banks should be fine. Even 512Mbit (8Mx16x4) could be used but the RT5350 is only able to address 32MByte per CS line.

    Projects based on Hame MPR-A5

    SML SNMP Agent (description comming soon ..)
    WiFi Bridge (description comming soon ...)
    Rocrail Server (description comming soon ...)

    Alternatives

    The Hame MPR-A5 seems to be phased out by Hame. The Hame MPR-A15 tend to be the successor - the differences are unclear (ordered one from DX - waiting for delivery)

    There is a router module from Allnet called ALL5003. It uses the same SoC (RT5350), but has 32Mbyte of RAM onboard. The 32MByte(!) SPI-Flash is more than enough storing all kind of data and programms.

    I'm courious about the next generation of Meditek: MT7620. It seems be the same as RT5350, but higher clocked (660MHz ?) and adress more RAM (64Mbyte ?). Hopefully there will be also some cheap routers based on this SoC.


    Reduced to the max

    Impressum: