Ti wifi antenna

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dankephoto's picture
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Ti wifi antenna

scrap iBook = bunch of parts with which to play. Including a very nice AP cable and antennas. My TiBook has sucky reception (shocking but true! :-), thought some nice external antennas might help.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/macdan/images/ti_wifi.jpg

Wow!!! Where before I struggled to get 2 bars of signal strength, now I get 4 all the time.

Heh heh, well, it is rather kludgey, but it works. I'll probably keep these taped on there for now. I'd like to feed the cable out through the hinge instead of the PC card slot and up into the inside of the display, but there ain't any room in that super-slim bezel. Hmmm, I'll ponder some more . . .

Dan K

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happy, happy

more signal strength bars = much more enjoyable wifi experience. Before I had to sit a certain way, else the signal would drop to unusability, but now I can face any old way and I still get full signal strength.

Everything just moves faster, pages load quicker, no stalls, geez, this is the way a TiBook should be!!

Dan K

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If you don't use the ir port

If you don't use the ir port you can pop it out from the inside and go thru there.
http://homepage.mac.com/barrywoods/External%20Antenna%20inside.html

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DVI model, hence no IR port :-(

Great idea though!

Dan K

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Well crap! Just to let you k

Well crap! Just to let you know, going out the vents is too sharp a bend for the cable.

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MacSkinz?

Is that MacSkinz guy still in business? Why not get yourself a nice top skin, run the wires underneath it and epoxy the antennae on the outside?

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Re: MacSkinz?

Is that MacSkinz guy still in business? Why not get yourself a nice top skin, run the wires underneath it and epoxy the antennae on the outside?

http://www.macskinz.com/

TOM

jt
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What kind of wire . . .

. . . do you NEED to run? I wonder if a design gilded in platinum or white gold leaf would work?

:o w00t! How about a new antenna Screened & gilded right on the freakin surface of the lid? Would a near 2D Biquad or more omnidirectional flat antenna pattern work?

jt :?

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re: What kind of wire . . . and MacSkinz

all wifi wire I've ever seen is coax, so I'm not sure about using anything flat. Is there a flat equivilant to coax?

I'm thinking of two solutions.

First is bulging the back surface of the display bezel. Not exactly difficult as I found playing with my sandblaster. Just make a vertical/linear bulge to get the wire from the hinge up to the middle, then a pair of ribs out to the top corners.

I'll play with my scrap bezel to see how well that might work. I don't need much, just enough to get the wire in there. I don't have the thickness dimension of the wire right now, but it's gotta be ~2mm or so.

Other idea is kind of similar to the macskinz thing. I've been meaning to try some of the iron-on plastic film stuff used to cover model RC planes. It's a self-adhesive shrinking sheet plastic. The adhesive is a hotmelt, so you stick down the edges first and then shrink it taut with a heatgun.

eg:
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0097p?CATEGORY=QA

Or, I just keep using it as-is, though ducttape (or its equivilent) may not look as spiffy as these other ideas. Wait a minute!!! I've been using clear plastic tape, what I need is ducttape!! It'd match my TiBook much better. Oooh, ooooh!!! How about aluminum tape??!! I've got this 2" wide stuff used for sealing ductwork, solid Al and looks pretty spiffy . . .

Biggrin

Dan K

jt
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Strip out the teensy co-ax . . .

. . . inside an S-Video cable to see if it's much smaller in diameter than what you're using?

jt :?

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the coax on the antenna is as

the coax on the antenna is as lossy as you can get and still use it. I wouldn't suggest using different coax.

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You could probably screen on

You could probably screen on a directional antenna, but not an omni. The antenni are in the plastic ring frame for a reason. Ti is too reflective and will block all the signal.

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Ducttape = BAD

now wouldn't the duct tape/ aluminium tape Wreck the paint/finish :o which doesn't seem to be what you're going for, what about having those 2 antennas slide in and out of the PC card slot some how, it would look much nicer and you could stow it away in there and no one would ever know Wink

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more

I scoped out putting the cables/PCB inside the bezel, which would work . . . 'cept for the getting it through the hinge-hole part! The MMCX (?) connector is too big to fit through without taking the MLB out. And I ain't gonna do that if I don't have to!!

After mucking about for awhile, I ended up cutting a notch in the edge of the plastic surround at the back by the hinge. I fed the cable through there and then up the outside back of the display. I taped it all in place with aluminum tape.

It still looks a quite hacky, but works dandy as ever. It's much better though than using the PC card slot as that left the cable hanging out along the rear edge. As for putting tape on the finish? LOL, I'm not one to worry about cosmetics. You should see how disrespectful I am to gear like this! Biggrin

Only downsides:
1) still can't use PC card slot, the internal AP connector has nowhere to go if there's an AP card in there, ended up hanging out in the PC card slot area.
2) Cute antenna are vulnerable as they stick up at each corner of the display, better would be some rubbery-type thingys which could bend instead of being knocked off or breaking (these iBook antenna are probably made of polycarb.)

FYI, these antenna are just the coax cable with ~23mm of the center conductor sticking up out of the surrounding shield, all embedded in a plastic stick. A similar antenna could be fashioned from appropriate coax embedded inside a rubbery tube . . .

I gotta imagine this is about as good reception gets with a TiBook. The clamshell iBooks are legendary for their excellent wifi reception and this is as good as that or maybe even better.

Dan K

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If you look at the little cir

If you look at the little circut board that has the two antenna cables attached, you can see where the connector wire is. You can unsolder it and feed the cable thru the hinge. Then resolder. I'm not sure how well it will work in the display bezel either.

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I did think about unsoldering . . .

but it looked like a PITA, plus what with all the other needed mods, I just went back to the external taping job.

Biggest problem remains the delicacy of the antennae, but if I can figure out how to either retract them or construct flexible new ones I might go for the internal approach.

(fantasy)
Picture a pair of antennae popping up vertically out of the corners, give them a slight push in and up they pop (Click!), and when done a push back in (Click!) hides them away again.
(/fantasy)

Too bad there's nowhere to put even such a simple mechanism. Sad

BTW, when I first was messing with this I tried positioning the antennae on the sides, and the top, and one side and the top, but all wholly within the footprint of the display itself. While the resulting reception was better than the 'Book's native antennae, none of those setups come close to my current positioning where the antennae stand vertically clear of the display.

Dan K

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Re: I did think about unsoldering . . .

(fantasy)
Picture a pair of antennae popping up vertically out of the corners, give them a slight push in and up they pop (Click!), and when done a push back in (Click!) hides them away again.
(/fantasy)

Too bad there's nowhere to put even such a simple mechanism.

You could make space by adding a couple 'blisters' to the top of the case, and perhaps incorporate the mechanism from a ballpoint pen or such to pop the antennae out of the blisters...easier to show than say:

Retractable Wi-Fi

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eeun - nice v-hack!

Good idea, I like! I'd put them at the side edges of the display though, that way it'd keep the 'Book nice and thin (just like me! NOT!) Biggrin

However, I keep thinking how easy it'd be to fab rubbery antennae. The iBook antennae are just a precise length of the center wire sticking out the end of the coax, encased in plastic. I'm thinking of making thin little whips out of some 3mm rubber tubing, filled with silicone goo.

Also, I figure I may be able to strip off part of the cable's plastic covering to make it even thinner, thus allowing it to snake out of the edge of the display.

dan k

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Re: eeun - nice v-hack!

The iBook antennae are just a precise length of the center wire sticking out the end of the coax, encased in plastic. I'm thinking of making thin little whips out of some 3mm rubber tubing, filled with silicone goo.

Well, if you want to do it the easy way...;)

There's this Plasti-dip stuff for dipping your tools into :O that might work better than silicone.

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Plasti-dip rocks!

and eeun scores again!! Biggrin

Good idea, and as you say probably a better material than sili-goo.

Another thought - I'm gonna unsolder the main cable from its little PCB, (precision) strip its end and see how well a single antenna performs. This whole thing would be waaay simpler with one wire, no PCB and just one tiny (rubbery) antenna.

dan k

jt
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Gaffer tape . . .

. . . is something you REALLY oughta know about (given your handle) and be using instead of duct tape!

jt Wink

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Look closer to your antenni.

Look closer to your antenni. They are di-pole. the shield is also part of it. I believe they are both cut to length. I'm pretty sure it is 1.22" for both pieces. I also can't rember if plasti-dip is microvave transparent. Might want to nuke a piece of it in the microvave and see if it gets hot or not. If it gets hot don't use it on the antenna!

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re: Look closer to your antenni.

Oh poo! So yer saying my simple-minded approach of just stripping some coax to make an antenna is . . . well, full of poo? Blum 3

Plastidip and microwaves, isn't the stuff just plastic? Guess I'll have to first try that MW-oven test.

Oh yeah, and gaffer vs. duct . . . I never use duct tape, damn stuff is sooo icky! As you obviously know jt! It's just a generic sort of term for generic sort of tape. Mostly I'm addicted to 2" wide "crystal clear" plastic packing tape. Love that damn stuff, it's cheap, sticks to most anything and peels off nicely, even after months or even years.

dan k (who knows nuttin' 'bout antennae! or antenni even!) Biggrin

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Yea, it's just plastic, but w

Yea, it's just plastic, but what makes it black?? I found out the hard way that the stuff that makes spray paint black is magnetic. You'd be amazed at what will stop microwaves dead in their tracks. Some plastics, chicken wire, mirrors, water, trees, people, concrete, that really cool looking window glass that is supposed to block out the heat from the sun.....

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