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Another mad idea

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by davelectronic, Oct 22, 2011.

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  1. davelectronic

    davelectronic

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Hi every one.
    Been thinking again, bit dangerous in my case, joking aside, i want to improve the signal of a broadband dongle, ok yes i know ive asked before, and discussed the parabolic dish theory, afraid thats as far as i got with that for now.

    So i know of wireless routers in use for retail purchase for pumping up the reception, what i wanted to ask was what about a small type vertical tube plastic for weather proofing the dongle, and mount it on a pole outside the house.
    Problem i can only run 3 meters unpowered, IE the pc's 5 + volts rail can handle that, but beyond this distance the voltage drop would be a problem, so i thought about an outside usb powered hub, fairly close to the dongle plastic pole vertical.

    Ok two questions does the 5 + volts from the hub sound reasonable for say a distance of 9 meters or so, second question, does, or can anyone see a problem with a dongles reception in a vertical plastic sealed tube ? Any ideas or thoughts appreciated, a wireless router would be a last option, as they cost £ 50 quid upwards for the usb types that support dongle use.
    I would opt for the loft, if a powered hub sounded a feasible option.
    Dave. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  2. MattyMatt

    MattyMatt

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    Mar 24, 2011
    This kind of thing has been done quite a few times before, and I have seen some interesting results.

    What I have personally done (this was a while ago, details may be sketchy):

    - I went down to my local fish market and got a box (it was around 40cm x 80cm x 10cm) these boxes are great for outside enclosures because the plastic is thin enough to be flexible, and thick enough to take the abuse.

    - Once I got the box, I then drilled a small hole for power and USB data.

    - I then routed the cabling into the box, and put a rubber grommet around the cable and fit it to the hole I previously drilled. After hooking everything up to the computer inside to test, I then caulked with silicone around the cables to finish up the seal on the box.

    - Once the testing was finished, I constructed the final pieces that I would mount around the USB device, and sealed the box and wrapped in duct tape.

    Now, my equipment I mounted horizontally, but I have seen people mount vertically with no issue. Also note, I used a powered USB hub and a 5 meter extension cable.

    The USB hub did not come with its own power supply, but what I ended up doing, is getting a universal power supply for 5 volts, at 2.5 amps. I don't remember what I used to figure out the current drop (if any) over the extended length of cable, as I had to extend the power supply cable by about 4 meters, I do remember gauging the wire and soldering on about 4 meters of cable to it.

    It worked well, and didn't fail me for the year that I was using that particular setup.
     
  3. davelectronic

    davelectronic

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Thanks for your reply Matt.
    Yes i want to keep the enclosure as thin as possible, and hopefully a plastic that wont impair the reception, i have found a powered hub, fairly cheap, or i could use one of the atx psu's ive modded, for the + 5 volts rail, plenty of current there, i am pinning my hopes on the reception not being impaired by the plastic enclosure.

    The parabolic dish idea works well googling that, people have cracking results, i was considering modding a house size satellite dish, but i was told i might raise a few eyebrows due to my band width use and data speed, not sure, and i would have to find the optimum position in the LMB housing, probably try the vertical first.

    Post result once ive tried it.
    Dave. :)
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    The best trick is to get a piece of the plastic tube, go somewhere with good (but not perfect) signal, and test it.

    See how much the signal is attenuated with the plastic around the dongle.

    Probably best to go and try several plastics at once.

    Remember that for outdoor use, UV stability is also an issue.
     
  5. jackorocko

    jackorocko

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    Apr 4, 2010
    You will get better results hands down with a directional antenna, no doubt about it.

    How exactly does UV affect your reception? I don't ever recall reading about this.
     
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    It doesn't.

    But it does break down plastics. The last thing you want is the plastic breaking down and the dongle exposed to the elements.

    You could also see if you can get a dongle with an external antenna connection.
     
  7. davelectronic

    davelectronic

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Yes there all ideas to take into consideration, and directional would be better than not, the parabolic idea gets very good results according to some that have tried it, but being ill limits my physical capability, plastics contain all sorts of chemical structures, as Steve said some will, or might kill or over attenuate the reception.

    I will have to play with all types, or tube material plastics i can find, although as Matt said maybe a horizontal box might offer better reception, poring rain here at the minute, i will have a play when it drys up.

    Just mention this, i saw one parabolic dish modded for a dongle on the web, the guy lived in the sticks in Australia somewhere, he had a whole blog on it all, his dish was the size of what broadcasting corporations use, it was massive, have to see if i can find it again, this was a while ago now.
    Dave. :)
     
  8. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Just getting your dongle outside and up higher may be sufficient.

    Don't be too bothered about reflectors etc until you know you need them.

    My first try would be to get a USB extension (the ones with repeaters built in) and tape the dongle to a long stick. Hold it up in the air approximately where you could mount a mast and see what happens.

    You need some data!
     
  9. MattyMatt

    MattyMatt

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    Mar 24, 2011
    I agree with Steve, you defiantly need some data, in my application I did need a parabolic reflector, but this is because I was working with the 2.4ghz frequency spectrum with a lower power transceiver.

    NOTE: my project was a proof of concept using wifi at more extreme ranges (for the time).

    Once you get some data about what kind of signal strength you get, and what kind of height you will need (as you will probably need some) then you can figure out if you will need a reflector of any sort.

    I have heard about some of the more "out there" areas of the UK, and what some citizens are doing to make things work for them. Kinda sucks this day in age trying to get some half-way reliable broadband. Maybe I'm spoiled, but I have had to deal with wireless via tethered cell modem... talk about slow and expensive :-(

    Let us know when you get some data, and if you do end up needing a reflector of sorts, I'd be more than happy to help you. I'm no HAM (yet!), but I do have someone that I can call that has worked with microwave frequencies for longer than I have been alive... and he is VERY helpful :).

    Matty-
     
  10. jackorocko

    jackorocko

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    Apr 4, 2010
    in syracuse NY you only have wireless through a modem tethered to your pc?
     
  11. davelectronic

    davelectronic

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    Dec 13, 2010
    I will do what you all suggested, try something semi mounted first to see what happens, your right i might not need a reflector, indoors i get two signal bars, down load speed is not bad, poorer at peak times, but i would think a lot of fixed or wireless broadband is slower at peak times.

    My only use of the net is 3G dongle, if it drops into GPRS i force it back into 3G setting only, its not keen on it, but not necessary often. I should get fairly good results outside, the biggest community of GSM towers is only 2 miles or so away.

    I will run a speed test once i find a good compromise and post the results along with a small pic of the fixture location.

    I am bored of the UK i would enjoy a little time in the USA NY yer quite fancy the US, to stuffy over here, US liberty, i would like some of that.
    Swap with you Matt, lol. :)
    Dave. :)
     
  12. MattyMatt

    MattyMatt

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    Mar 24, 2011
    Jacko-

    No, but there have been several times that I have traveled and visited areas where the cell modem beat the hotel wifi, or there was no wired broadband provider available.

    Dave-

    Believe me, I'd love to swap with you, at least for a little while.... call it a holiday if you will :)
     
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