How to Open the Case of the Netgear WNR3500L Router

In the following video, I show you how to open the case (i.e. enclosure) of the Netgear WNR3500L Wireless-N Gigabit Open Source Router.

Why would you want to open the case of the WNR3500L anyway? As you may have learned from watching my recent unboxing video, the WNR3500L is an open source router, which allows you to install third party firmware on it such as dd-wrt, TomatoUSB and OpenWrt.

Sometimes, however, things can go wrong when you flash firmware onto a router (such as accidentally unplugging the power in the middle of the flashing process) and you end up with a bricked router. If you’re lucky, you may be able to unbrick your WNR3500L router by resetting it. In other cases, however, you may have to perform the full debricking procedure, which involves connecting directly to the router via a serial port.

The problem, however, is that the WNR3500L has no serial port connector on the back of the unit where it would be easily accessible. Unfortunately, to get at the serial port connector, you’ll have to open up the case. Once inside, you will hopefully find a 6-pin SIP serial port connector. I say hopefully because apparently some WNR3500L routers do not have have one. The only way to find out if you have one is to open up the case. If you’re lucky, like I was, you’ll find the connector beside JP1, as shown in the photo below. If you don’t find the connector, don’t worry, because you can still solder one on yourself.

WNR3500L 6-Pin Serial Port Connector

WNR3500L 6-Pin Serial Port Connector

Assuming you find or attach a serial port connector, all you need after that is a suitable 3.3V TTL USB-to-Serial cable, and a program such as Putty, which can communicate with serial ports. You can find more details about the cable on the MyOpenRouter.com website. In particular, you’ll want to check out Why Do You Need A Special Serial USB TTL Cable to Debrick Your Router and How To Debrick Your NETGEAR WNR3500L.

Anyway, without further ado, here is a video that shows you how to easily open the WNR3500L’s case:

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