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🔌General Home Automation => Automating Your House => User Modified Devices => Topic started by: glacier991 on May 22, 2010, 08:51:11 PM

Title: Adding an Omni Antenna to replace the patch antenna
Post by: glacier991 on May 22, 2010, 08:51:11 PM
Now, don't get me wrong here. The little "Fractal patch" antennas are pretty good gain wise, but their major drawback is their directionality. Put a couple cameras on Ninja mounts. Add multiple cameras in the house all aimed at ONE receiver from many directions... well you get the idea.

This thread is about how I changed my Video receiver's antenna to get rid of the patch AND allow a remotely mounted antenna. (I suppose this thread should have been entitled "How I got rid of my patch and learned to love "da bomb".)

First, parts. 2.4 Ghz (which is used for cameras and video transmission and reception by X-10) also happens to be the common computer router frequency. The fittings are called RP-SMA fittings. I found a supplier on EBay and bought a couple of mounts with 6 inch pigtails on them... for about $2.50 each, at my door. Cheap. (Picture 1 below.)

I also bought a couple of Router style antennas, commonly called "Rubber Duckies". These have a gain of 5 Dbi, and I think it is pretty close to the patch antenna gain, so don't expect miracles. (Higher gain antennas are another thread I will do in the future). These rubber ducky antennas I also got on Ebay and similarly cheaply. 2 of everything cost me about $10 delivered.

The first step is to open up the receiver (warning this voids all warranties) and carefully remove the patch antenna. To do this turn it upside down and remove the 4 little phillips head screws holding the halves together. You will find that the patch antenna requires you to remove one more screw from inside the lid to get it free from the case. All that will remain is a wire connection.

The final step in this will be to unsolder the antenna wire from two points along the RF converter. It will be obvious once you open 'er up. Unsolder it and remove it.

Next I had to cut off a connector designed for a PC Board from the pigtail, and using a razor blade, carefully expose the wire sheath and remover the outer layer of insulation. Don't press too deep as you score the insulation.

After that I exposed about 3/8 inch of the wire inside the loom, and finally exposed about half of the inner antenna lead. This I soldered where I had unsoldered the old one. It is hard to explain but very obvious once you get there. (Remember that the sheath or loom also has to be soldered to the board as well - you will have to cut along one side to be able to roll it into a "wire" to solder.)

I drilled a 1/4 inch hole in the top of the lid to the receiver, and mounted the antenna "business end" of this little cable. (Picture 2 below)

I screwed the mount into the hole, and carefully ran the wire inside the case (pic 3 below) and screwed the two case halves back together.

With the rubber ducky mounted, it looked like it was made that way.(Picture 4 below)

One of the best parts is that you can buy cabling for this mount and remote mount the antenna up higher and away from interference. (a 6 meter cable can be had for under $5 delivered.)

Stay tuned for that - AND for changing out  an X-10 wireless camera to an omni antenna. Coming up in the future as time permits.
Title: Re: Adding an Omni Antenna to replace the patch antenna
Post by: HA Dave on May 22, 2010, 09:56:21 PM
Very nicely done. And a much needed modification. #:)
A HELPFUL from me.
Title: Re: Adding an Omni Antenna to replace the patch antenna
Post by: Brian H on May 23, 2010, 08:05:05 AM
Very nice.
Helpful from me also.
Title: Re: Adding an Omni Antenna to replace the patch antenna
Post by: IPS on May 24, 2010, 05:09:55 PM
Very nice and very helpful. I need do update my receivers.