External Wifi Antennae



  • Hate to be a pain, but wouldn't this be the way to go?

    Obviously not necessary for an open frame, but looking at the ally box printer I'm about to convert it sure would be a lot easier to run a cable and fit a nice aerial on top than to try and poke that little board mounted unit through a slot in the housing or something.

    There's going to be plenty of people using a cabinet style printer that would like to hide the board away in the bottom.

    Plus depending on the location/strength of the router, the user would be able to select an antennae that works best for his or her situation.

    Just a thought, but it does seem like common sense.


  • administrators

    Yes, we have a design with an esp7 under test. The esp7 is pin compatible with the esp12 we are using, the issue is they don't make esp7s with enough flash so we had to modify the esp board which is ok for a test but not ideal for a production board. Depending on demand we will look into options for procurement of esp7s with more flash or modifying some more but if we do that there will be an extra cost involved.



  • @T3P3Tony:

    Yes, we have a design with an esp7 under test. The esp7 is pin compatible with the esp12 we are using, the issue is they don't make esp7s with enough flash so we had to modify the esp board which is ok for a test but not ideal for a production board. Depending on demand we will look into options for procurement of esp7s with more flash or modifying some more but if we do that there will be an extra cost involved.

    Certainly understand both the reluctance to use a modified board in production, and that there'd be an additional cost (plus the external antennae as well).

    Just seems that it would make the Duet wifi more versatile.


  • administrators

    The other issue is certification. The only ESP8266 modules with FCC and CE certification have built in antennae. I have read that it's not possible to get FCC certification for a module with external antenna.



  • Im pretty new to all this but how does devices like lattepanda or even the davinci pro ship with external anttenas?


  • administrators

    Complete equipment such as a ready-made printer is CE and FCC certified as a complete unit. Maybe the davinci pro has passed certification - if so then the user manual should contain copies of the certification documents.



  • Have worked with wireless radios for 10+ years in the automation industry, the company we used stated that their radios were only certified with the "as shipped antennas". Some people changed them to use higher gain antenna and extension cables when conditions warranted, although they were not FCC approved they worked great. That said, just ship them with a tiny rubber ducky antenna.


  • administrators

    The word I have is that the FCC won't certify a WiFi module (as opposed to a complete piece of equipment) with an external antenna. Most of the ESP8266 modules from AI Thinker, including the one with the antenna socket (ESP07) are not CE or FCC approved. The ESP12F used in the Duet WiFi is one of the few that is.



  • @dc42:

    The word I have is that the FCC won't certify a WiFi module (as opposed to a complete piece of equipment) with an external antenna. Most of the ESP8266 modules from AI Thinker, including the one with the antenna socket (ESP07) are not CE or FCC approved. The ESP12F used in the Duet WiFi is one of the few that is.

    What about the one on the lattepanda would it work for your needs?

    http://www.lattepanda.com


  • administrators

    Is the lattepanda FCC and CE certified?



  • @dc42:

    Is the lattepanda FCC and CE certified?

    https://fccid.io/document.php?id=3084677

    as an IOT device, Duetwifi is an IOT device too 🙂

    It is a development board intended to be used in projects.



  • A complete guess, but the lattepanda board probably underwent its own certification process, since the wifi transmitter is integrated into the board itself. Since the ESP is self contained and you never have to route the RF signal or create an antenna for it, the certification it has covers a product using it, as long as it remains in the same configuration as it was certified,

    http://www.emcfastpass.com/rf-modules/



  • It ships with an external antenna a dinky one (to be upgraded by customer) like was pointed out by the other poster

    I dont have the antenna handy but in this photo you can see the little brass and silver point it clips onto




    online gif hosting



  • The wireless i believe is handled by the intel processor.


  • administrators

    To do the equivalent we would need to get an ESP 7 or another external antenna version FCC certified with a specific plug on antenna. I just don't think there is the demand for external antenna DuetWifis to justify the test and certification costs. I also don't think that AI thinker will pay to have their ESP eternal antenna board certified.


  • administrators

    Alternatively we could ship a DuetEthernet with no Ethernet module and then you could add a ESP with a different antenna using a cheap PCB to route the signals.



  • @T3P3Tony:

    Alternatively we could ship a DuetEthernet with no Ethernet module and then you could add a ESP with a different antenna using a cheap PCB to route the signals.

    I dont want to mess with my working printer to figure it out, but do you think it would be possible to solder an antenna to the Duets antenna?

    The problem with the DuetWifi at least for me is that it is installed inside the Davinci metal + plastic enclosure. It works great when inside my office where I have a wireless access point. The signal becomes weak when i move the printer out to the 4 bay detached shop.

    I plan on building a number of printers with Duets but the problem is setting up another access point out there is not going to be a cheap or easy endeavor ( ethernet burial + $450 AP )

    I realize this isnt a huge issue for many, not everyone lives on 5 acres or has deatached shops But I do have powertful APs and antennas and from a surface pro can stay connected from one end of the property to the other well beyond the distance of the shop.

    Just seems to me that a little soldering might work here 🙂


  • administrators

    Given your description my recommendation would be to use DuetEthernets, with a small LAN inside the detached shop, the LAN can have a wifi repeater plugged in which connets it to your main wifi network.

    I realise that does not help for the DuetWifi you already have, IF you have (or know someone who has) a hotair rework station you could remove the wifi module and then fit the headers for an ethernet module.

    I don't think it's wise to cut the traces on the ESP on board wifi antenna and then solder on an antenna pigtail, it may work but then again….



  • @T3P3Tony:

    Alternatively we could ship a DuetEthernet with no Ethernet module and then you could add a ESP with a different antenna using a cheap PCB to route the signals.

    I have a box printer and am running into the same issues regarding a weak signal. I'm considering de-soldering the perimeter of the ESP module from the Duet main board, relocating the module to some place outside of the printer, and then running jumpers to reconnect the contacts that i de-soldered. Is there any negative consequence that might prevent this from working?

    The only two issues that come to mind are - 1. there will be some length at which the voltage drop through the wire will be too much for the module and Duet to communicate correctly, and 2. there's a potential for these wires to see too much interference from the environment if they aren't shielded. Is it possible for everything to function correctly if the module and Duet were to be separated by 1 ft of wire?



  • Look up dd-wrt. You can turn most regular wireless routers into repeaters. If the router you plan to use has removable antennas, you can add Omni-directional antennas and reach out pretty far.


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