Has anyone ever gotten this message in the middle of converting a CAPWAP access point from CAPWAP to autonomous?

*Mar  1 00:47:59.399: %CAPWAP-3-STATIC_TO_DHCP_IP: Could not discover WLC using static IP. Forcing AP to use DHCP.

This has popped up on both 3600s and 1142s in the middle of the TFTP transfer of the new AP-IOS image halting the conversion process.

I followed these instructions from Cisco (minus the DHCP section because I had POE injectors plugging directly into a computer for TFTP)

Is there a workaround to get the AP converted without a DHCP server?

4 Answers 4


By putting the AP into manual boot mode. You can upload a new image to the AP similar a regular router.

debug capwap con cli  
conf t  
boot manual  

You should see the ap: prompt.

If you issue a set command you'll see a few variables that you can change.

set IP_ADDR  
tar -xtract tftp://<TFTP_svr>/<Path_to_tar> flash:  
set BOOT flash:/<image_directory>/<image_name>  
set MANUAL_BOOT no  
  • disclaimer - thought I'd share these commands as I was given them internally and haven't found them readily available on the web
    – knotseh
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 5:38
  • 1
    Those are the commands I use: legioxi.com/2013/03/02/… Should work ok. Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 13:45
  • @legioxi great blog post! :)
    – knotseh
    Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 2:28

I found that I had to do a delete nvram:startup-config, reload the access point then follow the basic instructions.

ap> en
Password: Cisco
ap# debug capwap console cli
ap# archive download-sw /force-reload /overwrite tftp://

I know you are asking for workaround without DHCP but just my 2c. You can set up your 3600 as DHCP server providing IP to that AP. Or you can also issue debug capwap client no-reload command to avoid the AP to reload during transfer.

But typically I use above commands mentioned by you to convert LAP to AP.

  • 1
    the debug capwap client no-reload command prevents the AP from reloading after the CAPWAP timeout to finding the WLC expires. It does not prevent the interface from re-trying DHCP and removing the statically assigned address. At least this is the behaviour I saw on an AP running 12.4(25e)JA1
    – knotseh
    Commented Jun 3, 2013 at 13:08

The above procedure is detailed in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnmPeZTKnoU it also explains how to break to boot if it doesn't happen the first time. Also how to fix it so it breaks to boot process every time.

  • 1
    Stack Exchange general policy is that answers should provide all necessary information inline. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 18:07

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