Replacing non-Detachable Linksys Antennas

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Doramius
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:13    Post subject: Replacing non-Detachable Linksys Antennas Reply with quote
I did this with a WRT54GS v7.2, but there are a few other models and devices this can be done with.

I acquired a WRT54GS v7.2, which has non-detachable antennas. This becomes a problem as I sometimes need to attach a higher gain antenna or a cable extension for certain uses and instances.


I had a couple of bad BEFW11SR units which graciously donated a few antennas for this cause. Here are the RP-TNC connections I removed from the donor router. I had unsoldered the whole wire with the connector as I figured it would be easier.

It's possible to get crimping TNC connectors and just cut the wire inside the non-detachable antennas. The non-detachable antennas are pretty much useless after the whole procedure, so destroying them shouldn't be a concern. Might be a better choice for those who don't have a soldering iron or may not have reasonable soldering skills. It's not rocket science to solder or unsolder the connections, but if you have questions about your ability to solder...crimping might be the wiser choice.

I unsoldered the points on the WRT54GS so I could remove the top that contained the non-detachable antennas. Use flux, and be sure to completely remove the solder from the pads on the board, but do not accidentally remove any nearby SMD components. Flux is not an option in this case. you WILL need to use it. I suggest a water soluble flux over an acid flux. Although it's a little bit "gummy" and can sometimes be a pain to clean, acid flux that doesn't completely get removed may cause corrosion on components.

I have a variable temperature soldering iron and set it to 840F. I also used a solder braid to wick the solder away. I recommend a light bit of flux on the braid to aid in transferring heat.

My suggestion for resoldering, is lightly solder the braided copper on the antenna wire to the large pad first. It will help hold the wire in place while you solder the core wire to the smaller pad. Then you can go back and completely solder the braided wire as seen in the pictures above.

I was initially going to use a Dremel to cut the area where I was going to attach the TNC connectors. However, I noticed the BEFW11SR shell fit EXACTLY over the ports. This is not always the case where they match up nicely. So I discarded the original shell and used the BEFW11SR top. I did use the original face and the bottom plate, though. The face has the label with the MAC address and other info.


I've used a similar method to attach SMA connectors to a WRT54G2 (hoping to post that tutorial in the near future), and also replaced the non-detachable antenna on a WMCE54AG Media Extender so I could attach a high gain antenna to it.
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Donny
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:16    Post subject: Reply with quote
Very nicely done, and a well needed thread. Great work.
wasutton3
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote
out of curiosity, where did you get the TNC connectors? i purchased some antennae from radioshack (on clearance) and i need to find the connectors to make this work? also about how much are they?
phuzi0n
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 20:05    Post subject: Reply with quote
wasutton3 wrote:
out of curiosity, where did you get the TNC connectors? i purchased some antennae from radioshack (on clearance) and i need to find the connectors to make this work? also about how much are they?


Answered very clearly in the OP...

Quote:
I had a couple of bad BEFW11SR units which graciously donated a few antennas for this cause. Here are the RP-TNC connections I removed from the donor router. I had unsoldered the whole wire with the connector as I figured it would be easier.

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wasutton3
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 20:18    Post subject: Reply with quote
damn, i didnt even see that until i reread it. iv been looking at a few other guides and probably got confused too Razz my bad. Thanks though.
Doramius
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 20:49    Post subject: Reply with quote
You don't have to use those specific connectors, although the port holes are already the correct size. Sometimes the mini-TNC connectors are easier to find, and I know there are places where you can buy antenna extension cables. Plus, some thrift stores carry old or junk routers that do not work or have case damage, but the connectors are perfectly fine. Cutting the extension or removing existing antennas from another unit is my preferred method because it's less work. It's pretty much prepped for you.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:23    Post subject: Reply with quote
RFsupplier.com
Ships from Shenzhen China, but good products cheap.

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Doramius
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 22:47    Post subject: Reply with quote
You'd need the male RP-TNC, and those don't look very mountable. They'd obviously work, if you needed to have an antenna attached via a longer cable. Usually you want a male connector that can mount to a chassis.

If you can find a cable with 2 male mountable RP-TNC connectors, that would be perfect. You only need about 4"-6"(9-12cm)of line on either end. So a 1'(24cm)cable would be more than plenty.
socal87
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 23:19    Post subject: Reply with quote
Are the antennas grounded? Or are they floating plane?
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Doramius
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:38    Post subject: Reply with quote
They should be grounded, as they have braiding over the core. You should be able to see it in the pictures.
jrider202
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 17:39    Post subject: cantenna Reply with quote
will a cantenna attachment work on the newly installed connections? i didnt see a ground wire anywhere. or do the cantennas only require a single wire?
WaBill
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 17:29    Post subject: Antenna coax info Reply with quote
Hi all, just wanted to add a few tips in external antennas.
1- You don't have to use the TNC connector, you can use RG6 or 11.
2- The best Antenna conductor is the one with the least resistance. RG6 has more loss than RG11. With RG6, your loss is about 1.5db per foot, RG11 is about .5db loss per foot.
3. RG series connectors, wire, and tools are more readily available (i.e. home depot, Lowes). TNC supplies are more selective.
4- Router location is a consideration in cable size selection. Use RG59 up to about 5ft, RG6 and RG11can do greater lengths with less loss.
5- Antenna performance WILL BE DEGRADED if the coax cable is bent, kinked, one piece of the aluminum braid touching the center conductor, RG connectors not crimped correctly or spliced.
6- It is better to have one SOLID piece of cable between router and antenna. You loose 1.5db through the splice.
7- The FCC has strict requirements on radio transmission power when considering amplifiers. There are more antenna designs for the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands before considering purchasing an amp. And, just because you can transmit an 802.11 signal 50 miles doesn't mean you can recieve any better. For example, your access point is on top of a large hill, your customer is 15 miles away. Your access point setup is high speed, your customer's premise equipment isn't. Customer needs an amp or a more directional antenna. Helical antennas are just that, more directional, but are better suited for backhaul systems. Microwave horns are more dispersing, but are even more directional than a unidirectional antenna.
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