You'll need a Ricochet modem
, obviously. They work better in pairs, so get at least two. They come up on eBay occasionally, and you can expect to pay ten or twenty bucks including shipping. The pictures in this instructable were taken with a GT modem, but the GS and SX also use H.FL connectors internally, and the procedure is generic. (The SX is first-generation, though, so skip it unless you have a good reason.)
Some U.FL connectors would be nice, obviously. I got mine from Digi-Key
, where they're $1.39 each as of this writing. You can also scavenge them from dead Mini-PCI wireless cards, if you have any sitting around, but removing them intact is tricky.
And of course, you'll need new antennae and cables, since the stock ones won't fit anymore. The easy availability of U.FL pigtails
from a number
was the reason behind this instructable.
For the GT modem, you'll need a 1/16" hex (Allen) key or driver. For the GS, it's a T6 Torx.
A set of really fine needle-nose pliers is essential. I like box-joint pliers
, which have less lateral play than the cheaper pin joint. Tweezers are a fine idea, too.
Get a good soldering iron, or temperature-controlled station. Get the finest tip they offer, in the neighborhood of 3/64" if it's available. I use a refurbished Edsyn 951SX "Loner" station that I got at a ham swap from EAE Sales
. It's changed the way I think about solder, and is easily the best tool purchase I ever made. If you do a lot of electronics work (and you're on this site, you should!), consider it money well spent.
Paste flux is the most overlooked part of any soldering setup. Get good flux and use it every time the iron touches something. Soldering should be called "soldering and fluxing", but I guess that doesn't roll off the tongue so easily. I can't emphasize this enough, use flux! It dissolves oxides, it conducts heat, and it solves all the surface-tension problems that make soldering awkward. If you've had a bad experience with solder, I bet this is why. (If you're getting a solder station from EAE, Bruce will set you up with the right flux and solder, too.)
Oh yes, solder! For most electronics work, finer solder is better. If it's stiff enough not to droop when you extend it five or six inches, throw it back in the plumbing toolbox and get some real electronics solder. Rosin core is nice but not essential if you're using external flux.
Some desoldering braid is nice to have, too. It's cheap and it lasts a long time, so throw some on your Digi-Key order. (I do a LOT of soldering, and I can't remember the last time I reached the end of a spool of braid.)
really helps. Your workbench deserves a Panavise350
or something similar. They're made in the USA and lifetime warranted, so shell out the bucks and rest assured that your great grandkids will marvel at your foresight in buying such a useful, timeless tool.
Safety glasses. Solder and flux can spatter, and small parts can go flying. You only get one set of eyes, so please treat them well! I've been extremely pleased with the MSA SafetyWorks
glasses, which I get at Home Depot. They're absurdly clear, and the lenses are very flat so they don't shift the image like other glasses I've tried. If you feel like you're underwater or on another planet when wearing safety glasses, you're wearing the wrong safety glasses. They're cheap, so keep trying new ones until you find a style you like. Then keep the old ones around for guests to use.