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MR3040 external antenna mod
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TOPIC: MR3040 external antenna mod

MR3040 external antenna mod 4 years, 2 months ago #1892

The MR3040 is the natural progression from the WR703 in MiniPwner land, as it is essentially the same hardware but includes a battery in a nice slim package.

There are a couple of guides for external antenna mods on the WR703, but very few for the MR3040. There's a single reference in this forum, but the link no longer works. And some of the guides I've seen involve burning large gaping holes into the body of the router and other nasty things to make everything fit. This isn't a guide as such, rather sharing my experiences (with photos!)
After all, a pocket router with a built in battery and an external antenna is about as good as it gets (without getting properly fancy)

First mistake, and a warning to everyone who wants to try this: Routers seem to use inverted SMA jacks. i.e the pin (male connector) is on the router, whereas most of the SMA jacks you'll find on ebay expect the pin on the antenna side. So if you do what I did, you'll end up with the antenna screwing on like it should, but a female-female connection on the inside which means no connection at all. I ended up stripping a piece of cable and using the core as a makeshift pin. This works well enough if you can get it to stay there. Be warned

This is the connector I got off eBay

I didn't know that it split into two parts, but I'm glad it did because the job would have been far messier otherwise.

The full size thread needed to go into the hole I drilled, with the nut on the inside. However, due to limited space, this was impossible to do. So, since I'd bought two of the connectors, I simply sawed off the end of the thread (the part with the nut) so I was left with a bare thread.
This allowed me to push it in from the outside, and put a regular nut (stolen from the other connector) on once it was in, and the smaller SMA jack had been screwed in.

The two connectors, before sawing:

The second challenge was mainly due to the fact that I chose to put the antenna in the middle. I could have (maybe) avoided this, but it makes more sense to put it in the middle and it was doable.
The shielded part of the connector is very inflexible for the first few mm. This forces it back into the plastic, so I needed to cut another hole:

This allowed it to fit nicely, and once the case was closed, the battery fitted perfectly without any visible plastic damage or bulging. The only downside is that it takes up some of the space needed to get the battery out, but it doesn't make any difference.

The actual connection to the board is nice and simple. Desolder J1, solder the core to the side of J1 nearest L15 and solder the shield to the nearby ground point. I left a bit of slack for future maintenance purposes, also because it fits fine.

The finished product:

Performance wise, without anything connected to the SMA jack, it is comparable to the built-in antenna. So if you don't want to use the external antenna, you don't have to. If you do use it, then it gets about the same range and my WR741 desktop router.
Haven't found a nice way of properly testing range, so if anyone has any suggestions, or would like to know...
But it definitely makes a difference. And looks pretty cool.

Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions for future mods.
All images link to higher res versions, if you want to take a closer look.
Last Edit: 4 years, 2 months ago by megal0maniac.
The following user(s) said Thank You: ehrichweiss, jargon, zer0byte

Re: MR3040 external antenna mod 4 years, 1 month ago #1894

  • zer0byte
  • Fresh Boarder
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you have done a beautiful job. Loved it ....

Thank you for sharing your experience, Very much appreciated.


Re: MR3040 external antenna mod 4 years, 1 month ago #1902

  • msatter
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You could also use a short SMA bus connector and screw on a reverse to reverse adapter to fixate both. If the antenna is always fitted you can remove the the reverse to reverse adapter.

Re: MR3040 external antenna mod 3 years, 5 months ago #1921

  • Russ
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Thanks for the great info. About to attempt this mod but have a couple questions.

1- anything you would change if you were doing this again?

2- if not, can you please provide the link to the parts you bought?

Thanks - Russ

Re: MR3040 external antenna mod 3 years ago #1931

  • BenGman
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Nice mod, thanks for sharing!

Desolder J1, solder the core to the side of J1 nearest L15 and solder the shield to the nearby ground point

In two pictures the solder point used is furthest from L15, the opposite of what you wrote, or is it that I don't have a good resolution of the pictures to see it?

Can you confirm the location of the connection please?

Thanks in advance!
Last Edit: 3 years ago by BenGman.

Re: MR3040 external antenna mod 2 years, 10 months ago #1936

If you look closely in the photo, you'll see that the conductor of the coax is soldered to the pad closest to L15 - what you're seeing is the clear insulator and the way the photo was taken, it appears that the conductor terminates at the furthest pad. Functionally, you're disconnecting the internal antenna (visible in the photo) from the circuit when you desolder the jumper and attaching the conductor the external antenna to the "live" side of the circuit.

The type of connector you want for the router side of the antenna connection is an RP-SMA female. I haven't seen the type shown in the photo before (where the SMA threads actually screw onto a smaller-size connector). That's a great solution for small spaces.
Last Edit: 2 years, 10 months ago by blackoutxiii.
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