Adding an external antenna

wireless
antenna
howto
wifi
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#1

For the improved WiFi range and stability in challenging radio environments it is possible to add an external antenna to your Garadget.

Adding the antenna

Antenna can be purchased on eBay for about a buck shipped. Search for 2.4GHz antenna IPEX. There are many types that will work electrically, but are going to be difficult to add mechanically. One type that is easy looks like this:

It only needs a small hole in the back of the unit to get it installed:

##Switching firmware to the external antenna
Next step is to upload the modified Garadget firmware that utilizes the external antenna. For that you’ll need to install DFU driver. Instructions for the driver installation can be found here. The command to upload the firmware is:

dfu-util -d 2b04:d006 -a 0 -s 0x80A0000:leave -D garadget-1-8a.bin

To reverse the firmware to the original version the command is:

dfu-util -d 2b04:d006 -a 0 -s 0x80A0000:leave -D garadget-1-8.bin

Questions, ideas? Please post in this thread.


Garadget spends more time offline than online
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#2

The Garadget I just received came with a external antenna. Did you decide to add this for every newer device?


#3

At this point there is no plan to add an external antenna to all units as a standard feature, but I have thoroughly tested the concept and modded several dozen units. Few are still available for purchase.


#4

So I lucked out then. Nice!


#6

I just adde d external antennas to my garadgets but have 1.13 firmware is there another way to enable external antennas without flashing modified firmware. Might be good to add it as a option in settings.


#7

4 posts were split to a new topic: New order from Kickstarter backer


#8

@Crusader, please PM me the device ID and name and I’ll update the setting remotely. The firmware version will go back to v1.13 when finished


#9

Cool thanks! I can see it went back to 1.11 then now back to 1.13. I don’t see much difference in dB. Probably already got a good signal.


#10

Hi,

I’ve added the following external antenna with VERY positive results:

www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/TE-Connectivity-AMP/2118060-1

Easy to plug in and no changes to the case where needed.

Questions welcome.

-Philip


#11

Hi Philip 3.13 I added the shorter one and i didn’t really see much difference. I might gives yours a try and see what happens. Cheers and thanks, Craig


#12

Mouser also has a few other variants as well.

For me the difference was significant - You will need to ‘garadget’ to switch your antenna input from built-in to external as well.

mouser.com/search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=et9FEJD5S1Y2ddAOPQOnhQ%3D%3D this one has 4.7db of gain!

-philip


#13

Also if you don’t have any WiFi signal in the location the antenna is not going to help, you need some signal for the antenna to work from.


#14

@garadget can you switch my firmware over to external antenna? I can’t seem to find a way to PM you to send you my account info.


#15

Sure. To PM click on the profile picture then on blue “message” button.


#16

Maybe I don’t have enough forum cred to do that yet? Perhaps if you PM me, I can reply.


#17

That’s strange. Ok, I’ll initiate one.


#18

Just finished adding an external antenna and the results so far are fantastic. In my (not so scientific tests) I went from -80-85dB to about -58dB and from 2 bars to 5. Ping response time is low. Pretty sure this will correct my network drop offs from having a detached garage quite a ways away from my AP.

If anyone is wondering which antenna I used, it was this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007XVHQ9M/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

As @garadget mentioned to me in a PM, if you are going this route, it might be good to use the screw mount as it will throw off the weight distribution. I have been using a screw to mount it from day 1 so wasn’t an issue for me.


#19

Nicely done, Eric! Thanks for posting the results.
Those not in a hurry can save few bucks by ordering antenna on ebay.


#20

Oh, that looks great, I think I’ll do that too as I am getting 20 online notifications today.

Is this one ok?

Check out 2.4GHz Bluetooth Wifi Ipex IPX Antenna for ESP8266 Spark Core Zigbee RF Wireless http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-4GHz-Bluetooth-Wifi-Ipex-IPX-Antenna-for-ESP8266-Spark-Core-Zigbee-RF-Wireless/182106369170?roken=cUgayN&soutkn=VC8p1L


#21

Mark,
The antenna you found will work just fine.
The only thing is that it will have to be mounted somehow so it doesn’t just hang on the wire.