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Walkthrough Wednesdays

7941 and 7961 firmware upgrade failed


I have about 20 (out of 700) or so 7941 and 7961 phones that failed after a firmware upgrade. Many are stuck in "upgrading" and some go dead shortly after the headset and speaker buttons flash. Has anyone else had this problem? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix? Cisco's only recommendation was to RMA the phones. Unfortunately, this customer does not have Smartnet on the phones.

Also, I've heard that you can console into the phone. Does anyone have the procedure to do this on a 7941/61?



Not applicable

Reboot the Publisher and Subscriber, and disable CSA (standalone). After this, the phones will update the load normally.


Hi, I have a 7941g, and trying to upgrade, it got stuck. The phone request its address via DHCP, but then it don't request new firmware via TFTP. I've also tryed factory reset....

I have a serial console cable, connect to the AUX port of the phone via Hyperterminal, 9600,8N1.

If I look at the init process, I can see this line:

WRN 04:51:18.209781 image: Invalid default load name -> 'FCH1101963K'(255)@pos=0

It seems that trying to upgrade it, boot image got corrupted. Mmmm... very bad software design by Cisco...

Here is the DCHP log, who seems to be right:

NOT 04:51:27.181249 DHCP: DHCP enabled...

NOT 04:51:28.180140 DHCP: Sending Discover...

NOT 04:51:28.927988 DHCP: Sending Request...

NOT 04:51:32.213124 DHCP: ACK received

NOT 04:51:32.213972 DHCP: Succeeded

NOT 04:51:32.234221 DHCP: IP Address --

NOT 04:51:32.235023 DHCP: Subnet Mask -

NOT 04:51:32.235773 DHCP: Default Gwy -

INF 04:51:33.232453 DLoad: TFTP Svr set by opt150

INF 04:51:33.233255 DLoad: TFTP Svr0 -->

Any help please?!!

It appears that instead of the phone getting the phone load from TFTP, it is getting the serial number instead, as "FCH1101963K" is the phones serial number. Check the phone configuration page in your CCM, and see what you have in the phone load field, or if nothing is there, look and see what you have in the device defaults as the default phone load for 7941.

Hope that helped.

Could you please tell me the pinout that you used? i'm having problems with a 7960, the aux port on a 7960 is RJ-11.

many thanks...

Sure, here it is:

No way via serial console..., it's just a debug port. You can't upload the firmware via xmodem like in Cisco routers.

I'll never buy again Cisco phones. Now I'm using Polycom, much easier to use, more robust, no fw problems.

I recently had to recover my 7941 from this type of failure, here are my procedures: You cannot break the Phone anymore than you already have, so what the heck.

Materials Needed:  old cisco rollover cable or one you don't mind converting

                            RJ-11 molex, Crimpers, Scissors and knife

                            Cisco Power brick or POE switch you can VLAN off for a private laptop to IP phone network

                            Cisco Phone loads for your IP-PHONE that is no booting or you reset to factory defaults.. and is a brick at this point.

                            Small HUB or Switch (could be same your using above to power on the phone?)

Create a roll-over to aux port cable: 

1. Use RJ-11             Cisco Roll-Over Cable

     PIN 2            =       RED wire PIN 4

     PIN 3            =       Green wire PIN 5

     PIN 4            =       Yellow wire PIN 6

Remove the remaining wires as you will not need these and they get in the way when you try and crimp the RJ-11 molex.

User the standard COM settings you would use to console into a cisco device:

     COM (x)

     9600 Baud



Plug the RJ-11 into the AUX port on the back of your IP-Phone and DB-9 (female) end into your laptop or PC.  Bring up your favorite Terminal emulator with the above Console port configurations.

Create a TFTP Server and DHCP Server on your laptop (PC)

2:  Download and install TFTpd32 (I use this because it has the built in DHCP server with options as well) you can however use what TFTP app you wish as long as you can create a dhcp server from your machine not connect to the Corp or internal network.. Our goal is to use your laptop as the TFTP server for the phone loads to come from.

          Configure a DHCP Server Scope 

          Use whatever IP scheme you want I used : -

          Set Option 66 with the IP address of the computer your using... I set my laptop IP as the first useable IP in the DHCP range that I created with TFTpd32 such as


          Ensure you disconnect your local ethernet connection, and Set your IP address to

Unzip the Phone loads for the Phone you are trying to work with into a folder.  Using your TFTpd32 server ensure you are pointing to the Cisco Phone loads folder you just unzipped.

Create your own little Network

3.  Use a small switch or hub to connect your laptop (PC), and connect your IP Phone to the same small hub or switch ( you will need a power-brick) to power your phone.  If you have an extra POE switch laying around or your feel comfortable vlan-ing off a switch to allow your laptop to IP-PHONE network to run go ahead and do it.

     Plug in your phone to ensure that you are getting Power:  If and when you get power watch your Terminal emulator Console session and you should see that the phone boots and runs trough a power on self test and broadcast for a dhcp server... Watch the TFTPd32 application DHCP Server and you should see that it provides an IP to your phone.  If you have the Console window and the TFTP server window next to one another you can see that the IP Phone will get an IP address and TFTP server address.

     The IP Phone will run through the nornal attempts to load the firmware, load image files and such.  This process with take about 3-5 minutes and will reboot several times before coming operational.  Once the Phone comes to the point where you see that it is attempting to register you can disconnect it from your private little network and plug it back into production and walk away smiling.

Good luck, and happy hunting.

Joe Sanchez

CCNP,CCSP,CCIP (Friendly Engineer)

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