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Cisco 7961 phone stuck in "upgrading" reboot loop.

Posted on 2015-02-04
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Last Modified: 2015-02-11
We have a Cisco UC520 phone system and a number of 7962 phones, all working fine.  After two phones failed recently we wanted to replace them with 7961s, one of which was previously used on a non-Cisco VoIP system and the other of which was unused.

The previously unused phone connected successfully to the UC520, however the one that had been reset boots then displays its IP address, "Upgrading", and the file name "term61.default" for a short while before starting the loop again.

I have downloaded and installed (by dragging and dropping the zip file in CCA) the latest phone firmware (https://software.cisco.com/download/release.html?mdfid=279251499&flowid=46206&softwareid=282074289&release=9.4(2)&relind=AVAILABLE&rellifecycle=&reltype=latest).

I have also followed this guide to check the existence of the phone load files and all seems ok (although the XMLDefault7961.cnf.xml file appears to be blank):
https://supportforums.cisco.com/discussion/10818466/uc520-phone-loads-spa50x

After I added this phone load (there was none present previously for the 7961) the working 7961 does not upgrade (but continues to work fine) and the other one just reboots in a loop as before.

How can I make the 7961 function normally?  Thanks in advance,
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Question by:David Haycox
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 40588775
How old is the phone?  sometimes the firmware version needs to be stepped up to the latest and greatest.  Especially if it is an older SIP model (which I am assuming is the case with the phone that connected to a non-cisco phone system) that doesn't have the correct version of the universal boot loader to switch the phone to the SCCP firmware.  You would need to install a newer version (from the current version) of the SIP firmware (to get a good universal boot loader) and then switch to the SCCP firmware that the UC530 is using.
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by:David Haycox
ID: 40588893
Can't be certain how old the phone is, I'd say around 2009 most likely though.

So I need to go through some older versions of the firmware to get to the latest one?  I did actually already try v8.5 (as that was the same version that our 7962s use, as I wasn't sure if the UC520 would support a later version) with the same result.  I'll try an older version and see what happens, and also try SIP firmware as well as the SCCP version.  Thanks, will post back with results.
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 40589055
Its been awhile since I had to do a sip to sccp conversion.  but I believe the phone will tell you that it is using SIP when it boots up. newer firmware phones have the universal boot loader that it seamlessly converts from SIP to SCCP and vice versa.
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by:David Haycox
ID: 40589070
None of the SCCP versions (one of each - 7,8,9) I have tried work.  The SIP versions don't appear to support the drag and drop into CCA feature, so will I need to copy the files manually into the UC520?

Also, is there a way to tell which boot loader is installed?
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Author Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40589130
Just tried the latest SIP firmware but no luck.  Also the working phone does not get the SIP firmware so I suspect I have something wrong in general which is preventing the phone load from taking.  I also followed this to no avail:
http://www.firewall.cx/cisco-technical-knowledgebase/cisco-voice/930-cisco-phone-upgrade.html

How should I troubleshoot further?  Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 40589139
if it is older, it cannot be the latest.  you have to step the firmware upgrade up.

basically like 8.1.0 goes to 8.1.5, that thengoes to 8.2.3, then goes to 8.2.9, then to 8.3.1, finally going to latest and greatest.
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by:David Haycox
ID: 40589169
So should I try an old SIP firmware first or SCCP?  Should I start from the oldest available?
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Expert Comment

by:sr75
ID: 40589846
old SIP that is newer than the current version on the phone (that is if it is SIP)
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by:David Haycox
ID: 40589930
How can I tell what version is currently on the phone if it doesn't boot?
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by:David Haycox
ID: 40590842
I have successfully managed to upgrade the "good" 7961 to the latest SCCP firmware by first loading 8-5-2, then 9-4-2-1.  I then (manually, as the drag and drop doesn't seem to work for SIP firmware) set the UC520  to load SIP firmware 8-5-2 (the two phones were purchased together and the "good" one had SSCP 8-0-3 originally, so 8-5-2 should be a later version).  This worked ok (phone displays "unprovisioned" but the correct SIP firmware version), so proves that the UC520 is set up to correctly upload the firmware.

The "bad" phone has always behaved in exactly the same way, irrespective of which firmware is set to load.  It displays its (correct, DHCP) IP address, the word "Upgrading" and the file name "term61.default" followed by "OK".  This remains for a minute or two, then it reboots - displaying the Cisco logo for a couple of minutes before looping.

Is there anything else I can do to resurrect this phone?  Thanks.
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Assisted Solution

by:sr75
sr75 earned 200 total points
ID: 40592126
have you performed a factory reset on the phone?  

You can reset it by holding down "#" as it powers up (or resets), at which point you then dial 123456789*0#.  I believe the line buttons will begin to blink in sequence.
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by:David Haycox
ID: 40593168
Yes, several times.  Sorry, I wasn't clear on that - the phone originally booted up ok but was configured to use an Asterisk system (I think), so I factory reset it.  From that point on it behaved as described above.  I reset it a couple more times afterwards as well, no dice.
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Accepted Solution

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David Haycox earned 0 total points
ID: 40593957
Success!  Using the following guides:

https://www.ucguru.com/reset-cisco-phone-factory-defaults/
https://supportforums.cisco.com/discussion/11628121/ip-phone-7961-screen-blank-after-reset-3491672850

I formatted the flash on the phone (boot, hold #, 3491672850*#), then set up (on a separate network) a TFTP server with the firmware files and used DHCP option 66 to specify the IP of the server.  This successfully loaded the SIP 8-5-2 firmware.  I then moved the phone to the normal network and it successfully upgraded automatically to the SCCP 9-4-2-1 firmware.

I can't be certain whether I needed to load the SIP firmware first, and I'm not going to risk trying it again now that I have a working phone.  However, as I formatted the flash (so it was blank) it follows that it wouldn't have mattered which firmware I loaded first.
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Author Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40594056
I subsequently had to downgrade the 7961 phones to 8-5-4 (this matches the running version on our 7962 phones) in order to make them fully compatible with the UC520, but this went fine and as expected.
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Author Closing Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40602750
Helpful comments from expert, but eventually solved problem myself.
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